An Evaluation of Consumer Buying Criteria and Its Impact on the Purchase of Commoditized Laptops

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AN EVALUATION OF CONSUMER BUYING CRITERIA AND ITS IMPACT ON THE PURCHASE OF COMMODITIZED LAPTOPS
by
Rachel V. McClary

A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the Degree
Doctor of Philosophy

Capella University
December 2006

© Rachel McClary, 2006

AN EVAULATION OF CONSUMER BUYING CRITERIA AND ITS IMPACT ON THE PURCHASE OF COMMODITIZED LAPTOPS

by
Rachel V. McClary
has been approved
December 2006

APPROVED:
JIM MIRABELLA, D.B.A, Faculty Mentor and Chair
RICHARD MURPHY, Ph.D., Committee Member
ELAINE GUERRAZZI, Ph.D., Committee Member

ACCEPTED AND SIGNED:
__________________________________________
JIM MIRABELLA, D.B.A.
__________________________________________
Kurt Linberg, Ph.D.
Executive Director, School of Business & Technology

Abstract
Laptop vendors are constantly looking for new ways to differentiate themselves. The commodization of this market precipitates a deeper view into what drives a consumer purchase of one brand over another. Do certain demographic profiles exist that are more likely to purchase a particular brand? Do certain product or brand attributes serve as the final decision criteria in the purchase process? What is compelling between laptop brands to drive selection? Results support the premise that relationships exist and that consumers are more likely to purchase one brand over another based on age, education level, gender or technical competence. The likely selection of a laptop brand can also be associated with a particular product or brand attribute.

A better understanding of the laptop consumer enhances a vendor’s ability to properly segment and market the message to the right audience, increasing the likelihood of purchase. Implications for laptop vendors and recommendations for them as well as future research are presented.

Dedication
To Stephen, whose commitment and dedication to this journey was equal if not sometimes greater than my own. To Olivia and Elle, may this serve in later years as evidence that anything can be achieved if you work hard.

iii

Acknowledgments
To committee members, Dr. Dick Murphy and Dr. Elaine Guerazzi, thank you for your careful guidance and direction from the first proposal to the final submission. Your contributions were appreciated and made this final product what it is.

An unparalleled gratitude must be extended to my Mentor, Dr. Jim Mirabella, whose tireless commitment, support and confidence given to me throughout the process cannot go unrecognized. I only hope that I can demonstrate the passion and dedication to students he so easily does.

iv

Table of Contents
Acknowledgments

iv

List of Tables

vii

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION

1

Introduction to the Problem

1

Background of the Study

1

Statement of the Problem

3

Purpose of the Study

4

Research Questions

4

Significance of the Study

6

Definition of Terms

6

Conceptual Framework

9

Organization of the Remainder of the Study
CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW

10
11

Introduction

11

Decision Making Theory

11

Consumer Choice Through Decision Making

22

Attributes as Influencers to Purchase

31

Brand Equity Definitions

41

Application to High Tech

43

CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY

46

Design of the Study

46

Methodology

47
v

Study of the Population and Sample

48

Measurement Strategy

50

Variables

51

Research Questions and Hypotheses

51

Data Analysis Procedures

59

Assumptions and Limitations

59

CHAPTER 4. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS

60

Demographics

60

Brand

61

Respondent Characteristics

61

Results

64

CHAPTER 5. RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS

174

The Research Questions

174

The Hypotheses

175

Conclusions

191

Recommendations for Laptop Vendors

196

Recommendations for Future Research

199

REFERENCES

201

APPENDIX...
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