Table of Content….……………………………….2
Scope of the Study……………………………….4
Rationale and Significance for the Project…….5
Literature Review and Theoretical Concepts….6
Consumer Buying Behaviour……………………6
Factors that Influence Consumer Buying Behaviour.6
Consumer Behaviour Analysis on Mobile Phone
Satisfying customers by meeting their needs is a priority for any organisation that wishes to survive and prosper in competitive markets. This can be realized by seeing the world from the consumers’ perspective in order to understand the irrational nature related to their purchasing behaviour and response to suitable products or services. Ahmed, Gull and Rafiq (2015) point out that consumer behaviour is influenced by factors that simulate the manner in which consumers behave towards a brand and remain loyal to the existing brand or switch to another brand. Consumer behaviour determines the manner in which consumers decide to purchase a product and the various factors that influence such behaviour. From a marketing perspective, consumer behaviour is described as, “the psychology of how consumers think, feels, reason and select between different alternatives like brands, products and retailers” (Perner 2006, p. 1). Having an understanding of consumer behaviour therefore plays an integral role in ensuring that their demands are achieved.
In the consumption of mobile phones, consumers are now exposed to varied brands such as iPhone, Samsung, Nokia, and Sony, among others. Consumer behaviour plays an important role in influencing the kind of mobile phone to purchase. Similarly, consumer switching behaviour describes the behaviour related to shifting of consumer’s attitude from one brand to another brand (Zikiene & Bakanauskas 2006). Such factors as price, speed, features, and status have an influence on consumer behaviour.
Aims and Objectives of the Research
The aim of the proposed study is to explore consumer behaviour in the purchase of mobile phones. The study will be qualitative in nature and its sample shall be drawn from the population in Manchester, in the United Kingdom. The research project will be used to develop greater insights into consumers’ buying behaviour in Manchester.
The proposed study aims to achieve the following objectives:
a) To understand the behaviour of consumers’ while purchasing mobile phones.
b) To determine the factors affecting consumer behaviour with regard to the purchase of mobile phones.
The following research questions have been developed for the proposed study:
1. What are the factors that affect the consumer behavior towards a particular mobile brand?
2. Why do mobile phone consumers have a switching behavior?
The City of Manchester has a large population and is a very popular city with students. The study will be conducted at the University of Manchester and participants shall be drawn from the department of business. The study will be limited to studying consumer behavior and in particular, focus shall be on participants' perspective of mobile consumers in the UK. In the study, the targeted consumers include students because every individual possesses a mobile phone. Students have been chosen because they are accessible and more approachable, compared to the rest of the population. In addition, the City of Manchester is more accessible in terms of data collection in terms of its geographical location.
Moreover, the research study comprises the impact of assessment towards influencing the consumer switching behaviour. The targeted area of research study is the, “mobile phone industry” in the City of Manchester. By exploring consumer behaviour through the use of a qualitative study, the findings of the study could be used to develop insights into consumers’ buying behaviour.
Rationale and Significance for the Project
Consumers’ behaviour in the phone industry is determined by a number of factors such as price, speed, phone features, and effectiveness (Zikiene & Bakanauskas 2006). Therefore, this project will play a significant role in establishing factors that businesses have to put into consideration in order to have influence on the purchasing behaviour of the consumer. The factors help consumers make rational decisions related to purchase of mobile phones. Understanding consumer behaviour can help business to be successful and gain more consumers. For example, by providing mobile phones and accessories which meet the consumer demands, the need to purchase is stimulated, hence influencing their consumer behaviours. Customers usually base their buying decisions and patterns on both emotional and rational reasons (Armstrong & Kotler 2005). Accordingly, understanding the reasons can help marketers in the mobile industry attract more customers.
The study is significant because it will help in understanding why consumers switch from one mobile phone brand to another or remain at one brand for a long period of time. Lastly, the study can help different stakeholders such as marketers and mobile phone distributors as they can use the findings to promote sales in their organizations. Literature Review and Theoretical Concepts
According to Armstrong and Kotler (2005) “Consumer buying behaviour refers to the buying behaviour of final consumers- individuals and households that buy goods and services for personal consumption', and 'all of these consumers combined make up consumer market” (p. 147). Thus, consumer behaviour describes the actions of consumers in decision making process. Consumer behaviour comprises of the decision process and physical activity persons engage when they evaluate, acquire, and use economic services and goods. Similarly, Moutinho (2007) described consumer behaviour as "The process of acquiring and organizing information in the direction of a purchase decision and using and evaluating products and services" (p. 83). The process entails different stages related to the search, purchase, use, evaluate and dispose of products and services. It is thus the way in which individuals act during the exchange process. When searching for products and services as well as ideas, consumers display some behaviour in order to satisfy their needs and want (Kotler, Armstrong, Saunders, & Wong, 2002). Essentially the definitions provided on consumer behaviour comprises of complete process related to the acquisition and the use of different products and services that they have satisfaction on their needs.
Factors that Influence Consumer Buying Behaviour
Consumer buying behavior is directed by two primary factors: individual and environmental. The individual factors that have effect on consumer behavior include demographics, learning, consumer knowledge, motivation, perception, personality, attitudes, beliefs, and life styles (Sata, 2013). The environmental factors relate to external influencers on personal consumer’s decision making process. Examples include culture, reference group, social class, household and family. The aforementioned determine the decision consumers make when planning to purchase a product or service (Blackwell, Miniard, & Engel, 2006).
Eric and Bright (2008) carried out a study to establish the factors that determine customer choices on mobile phone brands. Accordingly, the findings indicated that reliability, quality, and the user-friendliness of the mobile phone brand determined the consumer behavior. Likewise, Das (2012) carried out an empirical research to establish the factors that influenced buying behavior among youth consumers towards mobile phones in India. The study found that reputed brand, usability, pleasurability, advanced value added features, and smart appearance were major factors that influenced consumers to purchase mobile phones. From the literature reviewed, the conceptual framework to guide the research is provided below and it focuses on environmental and individual factors related to mobile consumer behaviour.
A qualitative research approach will be adopted in this research because consumer behaviour can be explored by seeking information on consumer’s experiences and thoughts. In addition, factors related to consumer behavior towards a brand can be determined by exploring the attitudes, and habits and usage. Qualitative research approach is selected because it allows a researcher to access ways that consumers express themselves and it can be used to help debate on certain behavior (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2003).
Saunders et al. (2003) noted that a research strategy is the plan used to assist in answering the proposed research questions. Research strategy provides the investigator with the capability to use specific data collection methods needed to support the arguments established. The population for this study will be students of both public and private universities in Manchester. Business departments’ students will be included in the sampling frame of the study. The sampling unit will be both female and male students of business universities of Manchester. A sample size of 25 will be used in the study to provide the data required to answer the research questions.
Qualitative research makes use of an interview with open-ended questions for research and understands opinions, attitudes, behaviours, and feelings of a person or a group. For this qualitative study, data will be collected via structured interviews. Semi-structured interviews comprise of different key questions that help to define the areas that need to be explored. In-depth interviews are chosen because the interviewer and the interviewee can diverge while in pursuit of an idea in more detail (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, Lowe, 2008). Face-to face in-depth interviews that are semi-structured are suitable for the collection of data from the targeted audience. The interviews are easy to conduct, are time saving, and effective when gathering qualitative data (Easterby-Smith et al, 2008). The qualitative interview is suitable because it provides dialogue, open-ended questioning and discussion between the interviewee and interviewer. In addition, semi-structured interviews allow the researcher to explore the view and motivations of the customers on mobile phone use and purchase (Easterby-Smith et al, 2008). The use of semi-structured interviews can offer a 'deeper' understanding and help in answering the research questions. The data is to be analysed qualitatively via narrative analysis whereby themes are generated.
Some important ethical concerns associated with this proposal and must be taken into account while undertaking the qualitative research includes informed consent, anonymity, and confidentiality. To promote confidentiality, the researcher will ensure that no personal information is revealed to third parties (Sanjari et al., 2014). For instance, the data collected will be stored under lock and key while digital data will be stored in a password protected laptop. It is imperative to minimize the possibility of intrusion by third parties to the autonomy of study participants. Thus, the names of the participants are to be anonymous and replaced with pseudonyms to protect their identity. The principle of informed consent in this proposal related to the researcher’s responsibility to inform people involved of the various aspects related to the research in understandable language (Hemmings, 2005; Stevens, 2013). To promote informed consent, the researcher is to seek consent from the participants and clarify the need for the research. The consent form will be composed of the nature of the study, the researcher identity, the role of the participants, financing body, the manner in which the results are to be published, disseminated, and used, and the proposal’s objectives.
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