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The section will focus on the background of the study, problem statement, significance of the aims, research objectives, hypothesis, justification of the study, and scope.
In the wake of technology development, having a phone is not only necessary for communication but also to enjoy many other features and benefits associated with phones. The innovation in the mobile phone industry is significant, bringing a craze among individuals about adopting new technology in phones. In the mobile phone industry, the demand for smartphones is growing as compared to traditional types of mobile phones with university students having a higher demand (Falayi and Adeniyi, 2014). The traditional phone has little features as compared with the current upgraded smartphone. A change in technology is among the key features that influence consumer behavior increasing the preference of smartphones to traditional phones.
There are numerous mobile phone companies around the globe, which include Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Tecno, and HTC, among others. The firm produces devices with different features and capabilities. As a result of increased competition, companies have unending pressure to become innovative and incorporate new technologies and features into smartphones. The competition pressure is necessary to drive improving the smartphone industry.
Noteworthy, smartphones have a new technology that allows people to use applications like cameras, internet browsing, social media, reading news, taking notes, weather forecasts, emails, listening to music, and navigation, among others (Singh, 2018). Such features, as well as applications, are considered while purchasing a smartphone as individuals understand that they somehow make life easier by offering significant entertainment. If certain smartphones possess features considered necessary, it gets more preferred hence forming a basis for buying intentions.
Apart from features in a phone, there are other factors that stimulate consumer buying behavior, including brand name, durability, price, quality, as well as social factors (Bishal, 2009; Lay-Yee, Kok-Siew, and Yin-Fah, 2013). A strong brand name impact confidence in buyers who believes the smartphones have beneficial features and user-friendliness to support their (buyers) operations hence higher preference. Similarly, durable Smartphones are preferable as consumers attach some value of money with how long a device function. Smartphones that have long-operation-lifetime influences consumer perception. Price is another notable factor. Expensive smartphones from strong brand names like Apple are highly purchased as they signify a particular social class and quality. It, therefore, translate that quality and social class may sometime supersede price in terms of influencing the purchase decision (Uddin, Nusrat, and Oheduzzaman. 2014). However, some consumers buy a smartphone based on their purchasing power.
There are different kinds of phones where smartphones are taking the highest preference. Notably, possessing a Smartphone exposes the user to the technological world, presenting a chance to explore the internet, watch videos, listen to music, and engage in social media platforms, among other things. In developing and developed countries, the percentage of people possessing a smartphone varies. The variance in possession emanates from consumer behavior. If smartphone companies do not address the concept of consumer behavior, they risk providing devices that do not meet customer expectations. Understanding the specific factors that affect consumer behavior on smartphone users is ideal in incorporating innovative changes and producing quality devices.
The overall aim of this research paper is to identify the various factors influencing consumer behavior among smartphone users.
The specific research objectives guiding this study are:
1. To explore the effect of product features on purchase intentions
2. To find out the effect of the brand name on purchase decisions
3. To evaluate the effect of the product price on the demand of smartphones
4. To establish the effect of product social factors on purchase decisions
5. To find out the effect of social influence of smartphone purchase intentions
Given the adoption of smartphones in both developed and developing countries, understanding what influences consumer behavior in smartphone purchase is imperative to producers and marketers. Notably, consumers portray varying preference characteristics in smartphones. This study offers Smartphone companies with an understanding of such characteristics helping them (firms) initiate modifications in marketing strategy and marketing mix congruent to consumer demands, thereby enhancing their overall sales. Similarly, it offers ideas on which features should a Smartphone company innovate and incorporate in the devices to attract more customers and meet changing consumer demands. Furthermore, the study forms a basis for students’ and researchers’ future studies in consumer behavior.
Over the years, different scholars pointed out the different factors that influence a consumer buying behavior of smartphones. Below is a discussion of various literature under different factors.
The smartphone feature is a leading influencer in a consumer buying decision. Singh (2018) indicates that consumers look for features like Bluetooth, application, and other connectivity features in a smartphone before purchasing. Other features include touch sensitivity, screen size, storage, camera, operating system, and Wi-Fi, among others. Singla’s (2010) study indicates that a smartphone feature remains an essential factor in buyers’ decision making. Most smartphones’ features are responsible for making life easier for those using them (Bishal, 2009). A smartphone with advanced connective and computing capability is more preferred to one with less connectivity capability.
Some brand name gets associated with user-friendliness and easy application. For example, Bishal’s (2009) research showed that some consumers preferred Apple smartphones as the applications are easy to operate. Notably, a brand name carries a significant influence on consumers’ perception. The brand that invests more in the latest technology attracts more consumers as they believe the latest technology incorporated I the device solves previous challenges encountered. Surenda, Manminder, and Avijeet (2013) also ascertain the idea that brand name influences consumer buying behavior by changing what the consumer understands about the brand.
Consumer buying behavior gets influenced by the price of the commodity. According to Jeff and Mary (2012), a consumer may evaluate the price of a commodity more at the expense of appearance. A similar perception of checking Smartphone prices before buying is common. Notably, the individual has to evaluate the availability of disposable income before making buying decisions. If they have high disposable income, there is a likelihood of buying a more quality and expensive smartphone and vice-versa. Price also gets linked to value for money on the purchased product. If consumers attached a high value for money in terms of quality, they buy a specific smartphone brand. Walia and Singla (2017) offer a contrary view indicating that some people may buy a costly product after ascertaining other factors like appearance and quality; therefore, the price is not an independent factor in influencing consumer smartphone buying behavior.
The social dimension, which includes public image and class, influences buying behavior. Research shows that consumers make purchases that reflect self-concept and social identity (Aftab, 2015). Therefore, buyers purchase a specific category of products. Brand loyalty lies in this social influence (Pride and Ferrell, 2011). Ignorance of the customer concept supports that some consumers show loyalty regardless of price as it maintains a preferred social status (Reinartz and Wiegand, 2019). Specific social factors that influence consumer buying decisions include family, status, groups, and a person’s role (Bishal, 2009).
This section contains components like research design, target population, sampling design, data collection, as well as data analysis.
Given that this is qualitative research, the suitable research design is descriptive survey. This method will involve describing how two variables relate to each other. The descriptive survey will aim at acquiring firsthand information from students who are the target population.
The research’s target population is university students at Newcastle University, London. University students will be a suitable target population as they have better exposure to different kinds of Smartphones. Similarly, they are of different ages with adequate information about features in Smartphones. The target population will not limit the participant’s gender to acquire a wide range of information to facilitate a better conclusion. All students will be eligible for participation. All participants will have to fill a consent form before participation to enhance ethical standards.
Given that the target population is easily accessible, the study will employ a probabilistic method, specifically, the simple random sampling technique. This method gives each member in the university an equal chance of representation eliminating room for bias. Only a sample size of 20 participants will be selected and included in this research.
This qualitative research will collect primary data from the participants. Using a semi-structured questionnaire will be the most suitable data collection method. A semi-structured questionnaire uses both open-ended and close-ended questions. This type of question will assist in acquiring specific answers through the close-ended questions in addition to digging deep into participant perception and understanding through the open-ended questions.
There will be qualitative data analysis based on research objectives. Every research objective data, namely, brand name, price, social factor, social influence, and product feature, will be arranged together to check its effect on buying decisions. Later, a summation of values attached will be analyzed to check which factor has a more significant influence on consumer buying behavior on Smartphones.
The research proposal above aims at identifying factors that influence consumers’ smartphone buying behavior. The research will evaluate the effects of price, features, social influence, and factors, and brand name influence on buying decisions. It will use a descriptive survey research method, a semi-structured questionnaire for data collection, and a simple random sampling technique to select the estimated 20 participants.
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