ABSTRACT. Mobile phone markets are one of the most turbulent market environments today due to increased competition and change. Thus, it is of growing concern to look at consumer buying decision process and cast light on the factors that finally determine consumer choices between different mobile phone brands. On this basis, this article deals with consumers’ choice criteria in mobile phone markets by studying factors that Heikki Karjaluoto is Research Professor in Marketing; Jari Karvonen is Researcher in Marketing; Manne Kesti is Researcher in Marketing; Timo Koivumäki is Professor in Marketing; Marjukka Manninen is Researcher in Economics; Jukka Pakola is Researcher in Economics; Annu Ristola is Researcher in Marketing; and Jari Salo is Researcher in Marketing, all at the University of Oulu, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Finland. Address correspondence to: Heikki Karjaluoto, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Marketing, P.O. Box 4600, FIN-90014 University of Oulu, Finland (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). The financial support of the National Technology Agency of Finland is gratefully acknowledged. The authors also wish to thank all the study participants. Journal of Euromarketing, Vol. 14(3) 2005 http://www.haworthpress.com/web/JEM 2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved. Digital Object Identifier: 10.1300/J037v14n03_04
JOURNAL OF EUROMARKETING
influence intention to acquire new mobile phones on one hand and factors that influence on mobile phone change on the other. With the use of a series of focus group interviews (Study 1) with 79 graduate students followed by a survey (Study 2) of 196 respondents, it was found that although the choice of a mobile phone is a subjective choice situation, there are some general factors that seem to guide the choices. The two studies show that while technical problems are the basic reason to change mobile phone among students; price, brand, interface, and properties are the most influential factors affecting the actual choice between brands. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: Website: © 2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]
KEYWORDS. Buying decision process, consumer choice, mobile phones, mobile services, 3G, Finland
INTRODUCTION Although mobile phones have become a fundamental part of personal communication across the globe during the past ten years, consumer research has devoted little specific attention to motives and choice underlying the mobile phone buying decision process. There are numerous complex factors that need to be taken into account when exploring mobile phone buying decision process, including both macroand microeconomic conditions that affect the evolution of mobile phone market in general and individual consumer’s motives and decision making in particular. Moreover, it is important to distinguish between buying behavior referring to the choice between different mobile phone models and brands and change aspects referring to reasons that affect change. As the mobile phone market is a typical technology push driven market where products are created ahead of the recognition of existing recognized consumer needs (e.g., Gerstheimer and Lupp, 2004), mobile phone development is based on consumers’ possible future needs and thus companies that best hunch the technologies and services of future will be the leaders in the discipline (for discussion of technology push see, e.g., Brown, 1991; Hamel and Prahalad, 1991; Kumar, 1997; Nagel, 2003).
Karjaluoto et al.
The telecommunications sector has been struggling over the past years, not only due to high prices companies paid for UMTS licenses but...