Country image consists of one's total beliefs toward that particular country (Martin & Eroglu, 1993) and is distinct from country of origin (COO), which refers to the country in which a product is manufactured. Country image is multi-dimensional and includes macro and micro country image (Agarwal & Sikri, 1996; Pappu & Quester, 2010; Pappu, Quester, & Cooksey, 2007). Macro country image is related to consumers' total beliefs about a country as measured by that country's economic, political and technological characteristics (Martin & Eroglu, 1993), while micro country image includes beliefs about the products of a country (Pappu et al., 2007). According to cue theory, similar to brand name and price, country image serves as an external cue used by consumers to infer product quality when other information is lacking (Bilkey & Nes, 1982).
Although the impact of country image has been widely validated by consumers in developed countries (Klein, Ettenson, & Morris, 1988; Li & Wyer, 1994; Nagashima, 1970) and developing countries (Biswas, Chowdhury, & Kabir, 2011; Hamzaoui & Merunka, 2006; Yasin; Noor, & Mohamad, 2007), its application to ascertaining the perspectives of consumers from newly developed countries, such as Saudi Arabia, has been limited. Abbas (2010) and Papadopoulos and Heslop (2002) argue that research investigating the perspectives of developing and newly developed countries regarding the effects of country image is lacking. Hence, this study contributes to our understanding of how country image affects the purchase intentions of Saudi Arabian consumers at two levels.