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Consumer Behaviour

Essay by   •  February 13, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,508 Words (11 Pages)  •  2,353 Views

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1. Introduction

With the dynamic environment, undoubtedly, each firm attempts to study and understand the consumer behavior due to businesses stay in business by attracting and retaining customers (Arnold, Price & Zinkhan, 2002). That means only gaining a comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior can meet the firmЎЇs marketing goals. According to Solomon (1999), most marketers now recognize that consumer behavior is an ongoing process; decision making unit plays an important role in this process. As the basic consumer decision-making unit, family are most frequently examined by many markets because decision making by family differs in many ways from decisions made by an individual and an organization.

Therefore, many firms tend to study the roles of different members of family regarding the purchase. As same way, I am going to illustrate how these facets affect Chinese consumer behavior and how do Chinese family make automobile purchase decisions. Following, through the progress of decision-making process, the different roles will be evaluated respectively. Besides, the manager benefit from perspective of decision making process also will be discussed

2. The distinct roles in the family decision-making process

As a case, one Chinese family intends to buy a station wagon recently. The purchase activity will experience series decision-making process due to the automobile is valuable equipment for the family. Neal, Quester and Hawkins (1999) define that consumer decision making process consists of five stages: problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation purchase, postpurchase activities. Different members of the family would play different roles in the process.

2.1 The brief background of the family

Each family must stay in a distinct stage of family life cycle in particular period. In the light of Lancaster and Reynolds (2005), family life cycle involves eight stages that consist of unmarried, newly-married couples-no children, young married couples with youngest child under 6, married couples with youngest child or over, older married couples still with children at home, older married couples with no children living with them, older retired couples and solitary survivor.

As for this family in this case of study, it is chosen nuclear family because the nuclear family is the most typical family in China. There are three persons in the family. It is a middle class in a city. One is father, a common clerk, his interesting is travel, one is mother, a housewife without working, her interesting is shopping and outdoor activities, one is seventeen year old son who is a student of high school; his interesting is sport and journey.

2.2 The roles in the different stages

There are many roles for members of family in the decision making process, such as initiator, information gather, gate keeper, decider etc. with this study, different roles in each stage of decision making process will be played by one or more members.

2.2.1 The roles in the stage of problem recognition

Problem recognition is the first stage in the consumer decision-making process. As for Chinese family, father usually seems like a leader. Although mother sometimes dominate the family activities. With the booming of economic situation of the family and growing up of his son, father recognizes that his family lacks a station wagon. Above this situation, father captures the problem and wants to buy a new station wagon for the family. So in the stage of problem recognition, father is initiator for purchasing a new motor.

2.2.2 The roles in the stage of information search

Once the problem has been recognized, an information search is undertaken to isolate an effective solution (Neal, Quester & Hawkins, 1999). Information gather will play a significant role in this stage of decision process.

Men usually are interesting and good at the structure and capability of the automobile. Father of this family usually focuses on various advertisements of the automobile from TVs, newspapers, internet, magazines and talk about it with friends frequently. Therefore, he could get more information about the automobiles and master lots of knowledge of the motor.

Meanwhile, ÐŽothe objective of information search is to build up the awareness setЎЄthat is , the array of brands that may provide a solution to the problemÐŽ±(Jobber, 2004). Through the information search, father has a basic knowledge of automobile brand. This is to say, father and only father is able to plays the role of information gathered in this stage.

He is attracted by an advertisement of Toyota, which not only stimulates him to search more information regarding the Toyota, but also stimulates a search for information about rival brands; he found that in China auto market; ÐŽothe auto manufacturers can be divided into four main market segmentations, German, Japanese brands, China domestic markets and American automobile.ÐŽ±(http://www.china-window.com/china_market/china_industry_reports/china-automobile-market-s.shtml) They occupy majority of Chinese auto market. The series of German auto was mainly represented by Volkswagen, Audi, Benz and BMW. Japanese autos are Honda, Toyota and Nissan etc. China domestic brands are Cherry, Geely and Xiali. American brands are GM, Ford.

2. 2. 3 The roles in the stage of alternative evaluation

After the information of the automobile has been gathered, allowing the family to determine and compare the relevant and feasible alternatives, the decision can be made. To complete this stage of evaluation, the roles of influencer, gatekeepers and decider will be carried out respectively. In this family, parents and son can be the influencers, father and mother are gate keepers, however, father is the decider because he dominates the family and he has economic power to determine the purchase decision.

Sometimes prepurchase alternative evaluation will be quite complex, especially many of the high-priced durable good that we purchase, at this time, ÐŽoevaluative criteria are used to judging the choice alternativesÐŽ± (Engel, Blackwell & Miniard, 1995). For instance, in purchasing a car, consumer may consider factors such as safety, reliability, price, brand name, country of origin, warranty, and gas mileage. The consumer may also consider evaluative criteria more other factors, such as the feelings that come from owning (such as prestige and status) and driving (such as happy and excitement) the car. ConsumersЎЇ evaluative criteria are different from each others. It will depend on

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