Functional equivalence in cross-cultural consumer behavior: Gift giving in Japan and the United States



The functional equivalence of products and consumer activities across cultures is a largely unexplored area. Yet, the lack of functional equivalence that exists may suggest the need for modification of some concepts and theories of consumer behavior. The study reported in this paper explores the functional equivalence that exists between U.S. and Japanese consumers in an important consumer activity—gift giving. The results suggest a lack of functional equivalence of this activity and illustrate how researchers should give explicit consideration to this issue in the development and testing of consumer concepts and models.