Consumer Decision-Making Styles of Gen Y Consumers in Malaysia Introduction
Market segmentation is a crucial element in marketing because goods can no longer be produced and sold without considering consumer needs and recognizing the characteristic of those needs. Due to the highly competitive environment nowadays, attracting and retaining enough loyal customers plays an important key role when developing business strategies. Therefore, business should understand and target consumer from different background and culture differently in order to effectively adapt their marketing strategies (Yeong & Lovett, 2010). In general, there are many demographic variables can be used to segment consumer market, for instance income, age, gender, ethnicity, marital status and household size. Among these variables, gender has been and continues to be one of the most popular forms of market segmentation for a significant proportion of product and services. According to marketing scholars (Meyers-Levy & Sternthal, 1991; Darley & Smith, 1995) argue that gender-based segmentation, especially if it is based on biological sex per se, meets several of the requirements for successful implementation: the segments were easy to identify, easy to access, and large enough for consumer products and services to be marketed profitably. In addition, there are many studies in the past also provided considerable evidence that gender relates to consumers’ perceptions, attitudes, preferences and purchase decisions(Mitchell & Walsh, 2004; Bakewell & Mitchell, 2006). Because gender has been identified as one of the significant factor in understanding consumer behavior and as a fundamental market segmentation index for companies to satisfy their customer’ demand, therefore marketer should endeavor to understand the gender differences in decision-making styles. In addition, research addressing the issue of gender differences in decision-making styles could help marketers to find better ways of communicating with both sexes and to guide marketing mix decisions (Mitchell & Walsh, 2004).
According to Williams, Page, Petrosky and Hernandez (2010), Generation Y also is referred to as the Millenials or Echo Boomers. They were born during 1977-1994 and are in the 15-32 age range as of 2009. They are children of the original Baby Boomers and their numbers rival that of the Baby Boomers. They grew up in a time of immense and fast-paced change including virtually full-employment opportunities for women, dual-income households as the standard, and having computers at college and home. Moreover Gen Y consumers are more likely to complete their tasks online in just one click in making their decisions (Sengupta & Titus, 2012). Starting in 2000, when the Millennials began attending college, they began to be studied by researchers and marketers to determine the generation’s overriding characteristics. Consumer decision‐making styles can be defined “as mental orientations characterizing a consumer’s approach to making choices” (Sproles & Kendall, 1986, p.268). The aim of Sproles and Kendall (1986) was to provide a potentially useful instrument to assist marketers to better understand consumers’ decision-making styles in purchasing. As consequence, they developed the original 40‐item Consumer Style Inventory (CSI) scale, which identified eight characteristics related to consumer decision‐making styles. The CSI provides a quantitative instrument for classifying different consumer decision‐making styles into distinct categories of shopping orientation. Through empirical research, Sproles and Kendall (1986) defined the following eight categories of decision -making styles namely: 1) perfectionism and high-quality conscious: Consumers carefully search for the best quality in product; 2) brand conscious and price equals quality: Consumer choose to buy more expensive, well known national brands, and believing that a higher price...
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