Consumer Choice Behavior during a Social Disruption


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This paper explores the relationship between an external socio-disruptive factor and consumer product and brand decision-making behavior. The social disruption was physical relocation, which resulted in a radical change in the toilet system, which had implications for toilet cleaning product and brands used. By using a sample calculator, a probability sample of 384 households from Cosmo City, South Africa were surveyed using a structured questionnaire. The data from 332 respondents (86% response rate) were analyzed using various inferential statistical analysis techniques to test three hypotheses. Multiple regression path coefficients demonstrated positive and significant changes β=1.709,  p<.0005 in the desired brand benefits following the social disruption, and that there were no significant differences β=-0.601,  p<.027 between households that switched brands and those that did not. The findings underscore the importance of recognizing that consumers re-evaluate their brand choices, leading to significant brand switching in cases where the social change has a radical effect on brand usage. The results also indicate that ‘out-of-market’ changes such as a radical social change have the same impact on consumer brand behavior and brand choice, as “in-market” disruptions such as the introduction of an innovative brand. The findings have strategy implications for marketers of toilet cleaning products in particular and consumer goods in general.

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    • Figure 1. Hypothesized model
    • Table 1. Reliability of the research instrument
    • Table 2. KMO and Bartlett’s test
    • Table 3. Output of factor analysis
    • Table 4. Rotated factor analysis
    • Table 5. Brand switching – binominal test results
    • Table 6. Reasons for switching brands
    • Table 7. Reasons for choosing a brand
    • Table 8. Outcome of regression analysis