Assignment Help on Smartphone Purchase
Last week, I was hanging out with my friends at a café and we all had a wonderful time. However, when it was time to head home, the most unfortunate thing happened. I broke my phone! As I was pulling out my car keys, I accidentally dropped my phone on the pavement and its screen shattered, rendering it completely useless.
Like many other young adults, my phone is indispensable and I knew that I had to purchase another one. With the abundant variety that is available in the market for phones, the task ahead of me was nothing less than daunting. I wanted an android smartphone that was not only durable but chic in its features and slim in design. As I tend to take a lot of pictures when hanging out with friends, I also knew that I wanted a phone which had an advanced camera and was resilient.
Since my previous phone was a Sony Xperia Z2, I was strongly inclined towards purchasing from the same brand. I personally feel that over time, I have become a loyal Sony customer and often associate the brand with robustness as well as finesse. I ultimately decided that I would like to buy the latest model in the Sony Xperia line, the Sony Xperia Z3. The Xperia Z3 is a premium smartphone which combines durability with beauty. It has a remarkable camera which Sony claims is its “best smartphone camera yet” (Sony Xperia Z3 2014). Moreover, the Xperia Z3 has innovative battery technology which allows its battery to last up to 2 days. Phonearena.com has summed up its supreme battery life as following: “All bow to the new endurance king: Sony Xperia Z3 scores a record battery life for its category” (Phonearena.com 2014).
Due to the wide variety of phones as well as retailers available to me as a consumer, I decided to make an online purchase. In doing so, I was able to compare prices of different brands and even different stores which were selling the Sony Xperia Z3 across Australia.
I visited the Sony website in Australia to get a better understanding of the specifications of the Xperia Z3 android phone. This website was very helpful because it was the official company site so I was assured that the information presented on it would be authentic. I had originally planned to purchase my new phone from the closest retailer. However, due to time constraints I decided to place an online order on the Sony website. Since I already had an exceptional experience with the earlier model, I was not hesitant to make an online purchase. If, on the other hand, I was buying a particular brand for the first time, I would have liked to make an in store purchase where I would have had the ability to test out the product and get a feel for its complete features and design. The retail price for the phone on the website was $849 AUD inclusive of GST. (Sony Xperia Z3 2014).
I received the Sony Xperia Z3 a few days ago and I cannot be happier with it, especially its striking copper color!
As consumerism continues to grow exponentially, it has become increasingly essential for marketers to understand consumer behavior so as to guide them in effective product development, which in turn, addresses the needs and wants of the consumers. Consumer behavior can best be defined as “the study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use or dispose of products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires” (Solomon et al. 2006).
It was previously believed that marketers had excessive authority to control the behaviors of consumers and could therefore guarantee purchases. However, It is becoming increasingly evident that marketers “…neither have power [n]or information for that” (Yakup, Mucahit & Reyan 2011).
In order to better understand consumer behavior and how external as well as internal stimuli affect consumers’ purchasing decisions, a multitude of theories have been put forward by theorists. This paper will specifically address two theories related to individual personalities and perceptions. Personal factors such as lifestyle, economic situation, occupation, age, personality and self-concept greatly govern purchasing behavior among consumers (Jisana 2014).
The theory of self-perception was developed by Daryl Bem. He argued that people arrive at attributions for their own behavior similar to the way an observer would; that is, they observe their own behavior and the external constraints on it and then form inferences (Folkes 1988). Simply said, individuals are capable of interpreting their own overt behavior rationally in the same way they would rationalize the behavior of others (Folkes 1988). In the aforementioned case study, the individual opted for a Sony Xperia Z3 based on his perceptions of an earlier purchase of the Xperia Z2. The individual is confident that his previous purchase had a positive outcome and therefore imprinted that experience on the latest purchase.
In light of Bem’s theory, it is important to understand that “more frequent past behavior is likely to yield more favorable attitudes, positive perceptions of normative pressure and greater control, (i.e. less difficulty performing the behavior)” (Ouellette & Wood 1998). However, the theory has a certain pronounced limitation. It does not account for the role of internal thoughts and emotions in attitude formation (Self-Perception Theory 2014). The individual’s purchase of Xperia Z3 is based entirely on the observation that a similar phone was purchased earlier and therefore, should be purchased again. There is no evidence that the individual internally favors this product over a competitor’s, or has definitive attitudes about Sony versus say, Nokia. According to Bem, this repeat purchase is justified simply because it has happened before. Contrarily, Scott (1978) argues that “learning from past behavior is not a simple, automatic process but a complex process in which what is learned from previous experiences is dependent upon many interacting factors, i.e. situational factors”.
Personality theories of consumer behavior
Many theorists have promulgated that individual personalities have a definitive effect on consumer behavior. The human personality can best be defined as a set of traits defined as “any distinguishable, relatively enduring way in which one individual differs from others” (Bouhlel et al. 2011). There are three major personality theories that can best explain consumer behavior (Schiffman & Kanuk 2009). These are:
- Freudian theory
- Neo-Freudian theory
- Trait theory
The Freudian theory recognizes the unconscious needs or drives of an individual and argues that these are at the heart of human motivation. The Neo-Freudian theory on the other hand, places an added emphasis on social relationships and how they are fundamental to the formation and development of personalities. Unlike the other two, however, the Trait Theory has a quantitative approach and defines personality as a set of psychological traits (Schiffman & Kanuk 2009).
In attempting to appease human personalities, marketers have understood that consumer behavior can best be influenced if human personalities are matched to brand personalities. “That brands have personalities or human characteristics is now well established in the literature, as is the idea that brand personality is a vehicle of consumer self-expression and can be instrumental in helping a consumer express different aspects of his or herself” (Johar, Sengupta, & Aaker 2005).
The results of a study conducted among 19,000 consumers, showed that preferences for certain snack foods are indicative of consumer’s personality types (Schiffman & Kanuk 2009).
Therefore, it only makes sense to develop brand personalities and thus extend the dimensions of human personality to the domain of brands (Bouhlel et al. 2011). Aaker (1997) developed a brand personality scale on the basis of personality scales from psychology, personality scales used by marketers, and the original qualitative research of a numbers of brands’ personality traits. The five dimensions were: existence, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness (Bouhlel et al. 2011).
The results of a study conducted in China among consumers of smartphones, revealed that Sony was perceived as ‘exciting’ and ‘sophisticated’, but not ‘competent’ (Yufang, Bin & Qiaoyi. n.d.). It is thus evident that the brand personality of Sony is reflective of the individual’s personality and how he is perceived by others around him. From the aforementioned case study, it can be ascertained that the individual is exciting as he is always hanging out with friends but is also sophisticated in his choices and only wants the top of the line phone currently in the market.
Consumer purchasing behavior can be explained with a plethora of theories that aim to assist marketers in identifying target markets. However, in light of the purchase that was mentioned at the beginning of the report, it was believed that the theories of self-perception and personality were more suitable in rationalizing the decision. The individual consumer was a young adult and felt it impertinent to have his personality reflected in the brand that he purchased—Sony. He was confident that the Xperia Z3 would perfectly complement his personality and serve as a means of self-expression. Moreover, the theory of self-perception was best suited because as indicated in the purchase process, the consumer wanted to buy an Xperia Z3 just because he had initially purchased a similar phone. Although the theory downplays emotions, it does rationalize the consumer behavior in this particular case.