There’s an undeniable home-base effect for leading consumer brands. So, Starbucks does better in Seattle; Wal-Mart in Arkansas; Heinz ketchup in Pittsburgh. Here’s the abstract for the detailed study published in the Journal of Political Economy.
We document evidence of a persistent “early entry” advantage for brands in 34 consumer packaged goods industries across the 50 largest U.S. cities. Current market shares are higher in markets closest to a brand’s historic city of origin than in those farthest. For six industries, we know the order of entry among the top brands in each of the markets. We find an early entry effect on a brand’s current market share and perceived quality across U.S. cities. The magnitude of this effect typically drives the rank order of market shares and perceived quality levels across cities.
I wonder though if this is just a home-base effect, as brands take hold where they are established and get picked up more slowly elsewhere, or if there might be another (deeper) process which would explain why certain kinds of brands – say like Starbucks and Wal-Mart – crop up in particular locations to begin with.