Question 1 – Definition of the research problem and critical evaluation of the problem
The research article is based on the study of the decision-making behavior of Chinese consumers. The intention of consumers to switch from cell phones of domestic brands to that of international brands. The survey was conducted on 584 undergraduate students in China. The survey has shown that the domestic brands have a customer base, which are have a low level of brand consciousness and fashion consciousness as well. On the other hand, the international brands have a high level of brand and fashion consciousness. The research problem is to discuss the trends of the consumers towards domestic and international brands of cell phones. There is huge competition between the local and international brands in the Chinese market. The research is based on the trend of the Chinese customers to prefer Japanese and other western brands as compared to the local brands. The preference of customers is based on their previous experience with the brands. The customers normally tend to switch to a different brand if they are not satisfied with the current brand. The availability of alternatives in the market acts as another reason in this case. The marketing managers need to follow the intention of the customers to switch brands and understand the reason behind the same. Further, the managers need to change their current strategy or develop new strategies to retain the customers in their brand. The decision-making styles of the consumer is another factor that influences the buying attitude or brand preference of the consumers.
These are the styles of the customers that are not affected by external factors, that is, these are the inherent styles of the consumer’s decision-making ability. The change in the products or services of the brand does not have any effect on the decision- making styles of the consumers. The study of this research article also takes into account this factor related to the behavior of the consumers. This style of decision-making has an impact on the intentions of the Chinese consumers to change from local brands to the international ones. The three factors that are taken into consideration in the research are, that whether the consumers are willing to switch from their current brands without considering the price of the other brand. Secondly, whether the style of decision making of the consumers have any influence on their intention of switching and finally whether the demographic factors related to the consumers have any influence on their intention of switching.
Question 2 – Evaluation of the literature review conducted in the article
The literature review of this research study is based on the choice of the customers in developed as well as developing countries. The choice of brands of the consumers differs in both the cases. The quality of local products in developing countries is considered to be inferior as compared to international products, whereas, the quality of local products in developed countries is considered to be superior as compared to international products. This trend proves that the people of developing countries consider the foreign products that are imported from developed countries to be superior as compared to their local products. The preference of Chinese consumers towards international brands is analyzed in detail in this research. According to the review of this article, the trust in the minds of the Chinese consumers related to the local products is less. The Chinese have strong preferences towards international brands. However, with development of China, the behavior and preferences of the Chinese consumers are also changing. Their choice has become more diverse and they sometimes tend to choose local brands, as they are much more cost-effective as compared to international brands. The command of the international brands in the Chinese has decreased in the recent years, owing to the improvement of the local products.
The consumers usually have a tendency to switch a certain brand to use some other brands, which is considered to be a psychological trend of the consumers. The main aim of the businesses is to retain these customers so that profits can be generated. The main factors that affect the customer’s intention of switching include the cost of the products, the alternatives of the product in the market and the customer satisfaction. The loyalty of the customers towards a brand and their reluctance to change their present brands due to the lack of better alternatives is discussed. The research study suggests that the styles of decision-making of the consumers have an influence on their attitude towards shopping. The style of decision making of the consumers is dependent in many factors related to their behavior. These include, consciousness of the consumers about the quality of the products, consciousness about the brand, consciousness related to the price of the product, tendency of the consumer to purchase a product based on his impulse, confusion of the consumer due to many choice of products in the market and the loyalty of the consumers towards a brand. The studies have further shown that the customers who are more conscious towards shopping and recreational activities tend to prefer international products as compared to local brands.
Question 3 – Description and evaluation of the research design
The research methodology that is used in this study mainly concentrates on the styles of the decision-making of a group of students studying in the university during the purchase of cell phones and also sports shoes. The reasons behind the choice of this group are, firstly, that the young people are potential customers of cell phone companies and they have the ability to increase their power of buying products. Secondly, this group of people are considered to be the most relevant market in relation to the cell phone companies and finally, the different types of retail markets can be related with various styles of decision making. The main reason being that the two products that are considered in this case, that is, sports shoes and cell phones are the most common products that can be used by university students and they main depict fashion and technology. The total number of surveys that were conducted electronically among the students of the university in Guangdong, China was around 628. These surveys were conducted with the help of questionnaires and after rejecting the incomplete questionnaires, around 584 of these questionnaires were selected for use. The demographic data of the people in the group of students was then collected. Demographic data of the group includes the gender of the students, their level of education, and their income levels. The survey of this research study on the undergraduate level students was done based on their buying behavior of sports shoes and cell phones. The questions were related to the current brand to shoes or cell phones they use and the brands that they wish to use if their financial conditions permit them. The group of respondents were to choose from list of international and local brands that were sold in China. The below snapshot depicts the percentage of the ownership of the local and international brands of sports shoes and cell phones by the students of the university and their intention of purchasing the local and foreign brands.
The results depicted that around 64% of the students had the ownership of foreign products, and the intention and willingness of buying other foreign brands was around 89%. On the other hand around 46% of the students used local Chinese brands and 40% of these students had the intention to buy Chinese brands in the future. In case of shoes, around 45% of the students purchased foreign shoes brands and 79% of the students had the intention to buy foreign shoe brands. However, in this case, around 69% of the students had purchased Chinese shoe brands and 47% of the students had the intention to buy Chinese shoe brands.
Question 4 – Discussion about the data collection methods
The research study was conducted on a group of students from the university of Guangdong, China. The reason behind this is that they are the main market for the products that are taken into consideration. The students are group who have the power of purchasing these products and have the potential by which they can increase their power to purchase. Around 628 survey forms were shared among the students, out which 584 questionnaires were selected after rejecting the incomplete ones. The demographic data of the male and female members of the group were collected. The numbers of male members in the group were around 50.4% and the numbers of female members in the group were around 49.6%. There were some seniors of the college in the group,which was around 3.60%. The monthly income of the group was closed to 900RMB, which is approximately US$150.
The questions related to the survey are listed in the table below. The responses were measured with the help of a five-point Likert scale. The responses were measured from a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means “strongly disagree” and 5 means “strongly agree”.
The above mentioned questions in the figure were asked to the respondents in the group. The survey was done on the basis of the questions that were asked to the group of students which were related to the brands that are currently using and those which they will prefer to use if their economical conditions permit them. These questions will help to indicate the intention of the consumers to switch to another brand except the factor related to price. The next step of the research was to identify the reasons related to the purchase of the products. The question related to this issue that was asked to the group was the factors that the buyers consider during the purchase of sports shoes and cell phones. The answers related to this question were mainly, quality of the product, price of the product, fashion related to the product, promotional activities related to the product, the sale related to the product after the sale is complete and the functionality of the product. The research method has proved that the undergraduate students prefer good quality of products and the low price. The students care for the brand of the cell phones and the promotional activities related to the sports shoes. This method was used to collect the data related to this survey.
Question 5 – Critical evaluation of the sampling strategy
The sample that is taken under consideration for this research is a group of undergraduate students of the university in Guangdong, China. The group consists of both male and female students. The reason behind the selection of this group is the purchasing power of the students of this university and the potential to increase their power of purchasing of products like sports shoes and cell phones. The gender of the group of students acts as an important factor in the deciding the tendency of the students to switch from one brand to another. In case of cell phones, it has been observed that the males are inclined more towards the domestic brands as compared to the females. The observations have shown that the male students are more concerned about the functional and technological aspects about the phone, and on the other hand, the female students are mainly concerned about the phones so that they can keep contact with the valued people in their lives. The cell phone makers in China are now aimed towards providing products that high on performance and are affordable as well. This strategy has also proved to be effective according to the surveys conducted. In case of the sports shoes, the males are more keen towards switching their brand preferences from domestic products to foreign products. However, the female students are more concerned about the fashion quotient of the sports shoes rather than the brand. Owing to this reason, they are more inclined towards the domestic brands, which are more affordable as compared to the international brands. There are many factors that influence the decision of the consumers. The consciousness of the consumers regarding the quality of the products has proved to be significant in case of the purchase decision of local or international brands.
The quality of the local products of China needs to be enhanced. This factor has a significant effect irrespective of the gender of the students. The consciousness of the consumers related to the brand of the product does not affect the decision of the consumers to switch from international to local brands, as the consumers are inclined towards the purchase of famous brands which have high prices, because in this case the price of the product is associated with its quality. The other factor, which is the consciousness of the consumers, related to the recreation and fashion does not have any effect on the purchase of mobile phones, however it effects the purchase of the sports shoes as the young students are more conscious about fashion element of the product. The next factor that is taken into consideration is the price of the products and it effects the purchase decision of the consumers. The consumers are always inclined towards cost effective products. The last factor is the confusion of the product related to the availability of more products in the market. This factor has effect on both the cell phone as well as the sports shoes market. The research related to this factor proves that consumers who are confused regarding their choice of brands are more inclined towards the domestic brands of cell phones. Therefore, it can be said the sampling strategy was successful. However some of the factors are not relevant for any one of the markets. The table related to this study is given below.
Question 6 – Explanation of the data analysis strategy used in this research
The strategies used for analyzing the data in this research method are as follows:
- Exploratory factor analysis – This type of analysis extracts seven different factors that have eigenvalues > 1.0. A total of 25 items were used in this analysis after excluding the other factors. This analysis was based on seven factors related to the responses of the Chinese students, which include, recreation and fashion, confusion of the consumers related to many choices, consciousness related to the quality, consciousness related to the brand, loyalty related to the brand, consciousness related to the price and impulsiveness of the consumers. Table 3 given below shows the analysis based on this method.
- Logistic regression – This analysis was also used during the research for the study of the style of decision-making that is related to the switching of the brand of the consumers. This is a type of regression analysis where a dummy variable is considered to be a dependent variable and there are two outcomes that is possible. Table 4 and Table 5 shown below depicts the process of this regression analysis. This analysis is based on the results of the logistic regression for the styles of decision-making in relation to five types of intentions related to switching if the brands.
The two types strategies used for data analysis in this research have proved to be effective considering the factors related to the intentions of switching. However, some of the factors were also eliminated in both of these methods of analysis.
Question 7 – Assessment of research ethics in the project
The guidelines related to a research projects are as follows:
- The research should be planned efficiently so that the results of the research do not mislead the individuals or organizations related to the research project. The questions should be acceptable to the subjects of the research. The researcher should consider the dignity and the welfare of the subjects of the research.
- The information that is collected during the research process should be collected from the appropriate group of respondents who are linked to the subject of the research. Further, the equipments used for the research should not be faulty and should also be accurate. The researcher needs to follow the standards related to the discipline of the study and also protect the research information properly.
- The researcher has the responsibility to protect the subjects of the research study. The respondents of the research should be comfortable regarding their involvement in the survey or research study. The researcher should also inform the respondents about any type of risks or the benefits of this study.
- The researcher should maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the responses that are obtained in the research study. The maintenance of privacy of the subjects of the research is also the responsibility of the researcher. The relationship of the researcher with the respondents of the research should be trustworthy.
- The data obtained from the research should be free of errors. This is also the responsibility of the researcher.
The guidelines that are mentioned above are followed in this research study. The research is planned well by the team who are performing the study. The researcher protects the collected information and the privacy is maintained. The researchers have followed the guidelines laid by the authorities of the research study. The data is collected in such a manner that it is free of errors.
Question 8 – Evaluation of the report and its implications
The study in this research mainly concentrates on the styles of decision-making of the students of the university related to their intention of switching brands in case of domestic and foreign brands. The findings of this research depict that the behavior of the students related to brand-loyalty and impulsiveness does not have any significant influence on their intention related retaining or switching a product of a specific brand. The conclusion also shows that the domestic brands mainly attract the consumers who are less conscious about brands and quality of the products. They also attract buyers who are confused about purchasing products from foreign brands. On the other hand, foreign brands tend to attract buyers who are more conscious about brands and quality of products. They are less confused regarding the choice of brands and are more fashion conscious related to the brands. There are many implications of this study related to managers. In case of domestic Chinese brands, the consumers tend to calculate the cost-effectiveness of a product during the purchase.
Hence, it is recommended that the local companies should aim at providing more features and high levels of quality of the products at low costs to attract the students of the university. The domestic brands need to enhance the quality of the products and make them efficient so that it can fulfill the local demands. This will help in increasing the equity of the brand in the market. Sponsorships can be offered for sports related activities to promote the local sports shoes. The customers who are confused regarding their choice of products, the international brands can try to develop their customer base so that they can form reference groups with the help of full product range. The strategy to retain customers who are confused regarding their choice of brands can prove to be effective for all types of brands. The local and international brands should always be alert about their shares in the market. The decline of a brand who is the market competitor of the brand in question is an opportunity for the brand to increase its market share. The study depicts that the style of decision making of the consumers is an important factor in their choice of local or international brands. The strategy of the managers should relate to the increase in the loyalty of the consumers. The strategies related to the promotion and marketing of the products should be formulated in such a way so that it can influence their decision-making style.