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ABSTRACT

Consumer behaviour has been always of great interest to marketers. The knowledge of consumer
behaviour helps the marketer to understand how consumers think, feel and select from
alternatives like products, brands and the like and how the consumers are influenced by their
environment, the reference groups, family, and salespersons and so on. A consumers buying
behaviour is influenced by cultural, social, personal and psychological factors. Most of these
factors are uncontrollable and beyond the hands of marketers but they have to be considered
while trying to understand the complex behaviour of the consumers.
This research aims to study that how consumers attend, process, and select the information
before a purchase and also study the changes social media has brought to consumers in different
stages of their decision making.
Keywords: Social Media, Consumer Behaviour, Young Adults

INTRODUCTION
Consumers started to use Internet and web tools more today thanks to the rapid development of
technology and communication channels. The most important one of these tools is social media.
Consumers access to information that they need about goods and services to be purchased by
means of social media to a great extent. It is clear that today especially the popular social
networks of social media elements such as Facebook and Twitter have been great consumer
markets. New communication technologies offer media based sharing and discussion, and create
environments where people can share their ideas, products and services. Social media has
become a preferred internet application and is the most important communication tool today.

LITERATURE REVIEW
Social Media
Researchers and media experts have proposed various definitions for social media. Kaplan and
Haenlein (2010) give a general definition of social media in consideration of Web 2.0 and UserGenerated Content. Social media is generally defined as, " Web 2.0 based sites which bring
different people together in a virtual platform and ensure a deeper social interaction, stronger
community and implementation of cooperation projects" (Brown, 2009).The most frequently
used definition for social media is "online platforms that people use to share their ideas,
experiences, perspectives and communicate with each other" (Kahraman, 2010).
To summarize, social media is an internet based service that enables people to communicate with
each other about their mutual interests and activities. Web sites or applications that gain value
through user interaction and participation can be defined as social media. In order to define a
web site or application as social media, it should have independent users or members, should be
free of time and place restriction, should allow user based content, and guarantee interaction
between users (Zorlu, 2011).

Consumer and Consumer Behaviour


In the marketing context, the term consumer refers not only to the act of purchase itself, but
also to patterns of aggregate buying which include pre-purchase and post-purchase activities.
Pre-purchase activity might consist of the growing awareness of a need or want, and a search for
and evaluation of information about the products and brands that might satisfy it. Post-purchase
activities include the evaluation of the purchased item in use and the reduction of any anxiety
which accompanies the purchase of expensive and infrequently-bought items. Today the
accessibility and transparency of information has profoundly influenced the decision making
process; therefore, it is important to examine what are the hurdles and fiction points that hold
prospects becoming consumers, or keeps consumers hesitating from repurchasing. Consumer
behaviour can be defined as those acts of individuals directly involved in obtaining, using, and
disposing of economic goods and services, including the decision processes that precede and
determine these acts.

Social media and Consumer Behaviour


During the past five years, social networking sites have been the preferred communication
method for many people. Especially since 2010, the popularity of social media tools has rapidly
increased. Social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter, blogs and wikis, and multimedia
sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr, have instigated deep-rooted change in the
communication process. While web sites can be used as important tools for marketing since they
provide an opportunity to advertise and sell products, social networks are known as tools that
empower social and economic networks. Such social networks are one of the most important
marking methods in media.
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The penetration of media into the entire society and the increase in time that consumers spend on
the Internet and social media also has impact on commercial life. For this reason, consumption
trends have changed. Consumers and sellers using magazines, interviews and catalogs and such
traditional tools are replaced by those shopping on web sites through e-mails and sharing
networks in social media without any need for a physical environment. The effective role that
social media plays on the increased times spent on the Internet, and consumers departure from
traditional shopping environments, cannot be ignored. Social media tools have turned into
environments where products are offered, opportunities are discussed, and brands are praised and
criticized (Grsakal, 2009).
The information sources that today's active consumer's use for products or services they want to
buy are constantly changing. Consumers use social media considerably to access the information
that they need. Social networking sites greatly affect product and service purchasing decisions as
they provide platform on which consumers share their experiences with each other.
Consumer behaviors are differentiated by social media. Demographic, psychological, sociocultural and situational factors that affect consumer behavior within the general consumer
behavior model are also valid for social media. Businesses can carry on more effective social
media marketing activities by categorizing social media users by demographic features such as
age, gender, educational level, geographical location and occupation/income level.
Consumers satisfaction or dissatisfaction reported on social networking sites offer important
opportunities for businesses to predict the buying decisions of other consumers. Businesses
should closely follow, understand and efficiently use social media in order to have a sustainable
competition advantage. For this purpose, the development of strategies and policies specific to
social media environments is crucial for the business world.
Due to the increasing use of the internet, consumers exchange their ideas within the context of
discussion forums that are facilitated by social networks with the purpose of asking for help,
information and suggestions before buying a product or service. Social networks have become
platforms that businesses consider for their brands, images and sales revenue. Today, people
spend so much time on these platforms that it is normal for businesses to consider these
platforms as advertisement areas and social media users as potential consumers (Iyengar,
Sangman & Gupta, 2009).

OBJECTIVE
Acknowledging that consumer behaviour is a relatively general and broad topic, which it will be
challenging to gather, inspect and conclude all the necessary data and findings into one research.
The objective of the research is to explain why, when, and how social media has impacted on
consumer decision making process.
Primary Objectives:
1. To study that how do consumers attend, process, and select the information before a
purchase?
2. To study the changes social media has brought to consumers in different stages of their
decision making?

Secondary Objectives:
1. To identify the potential factors that influence consumer buying behaviour under social
media context.
2. Combining qualitative and quantitative research methods and techniques to solve the
research questions better.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The research methodology includes the description and techniques of the way the research has
been conducted. Researcher has taken information from secondary data as well as from primary
data to shape up the research. Journals and Research papers have been studied and exploratory
research has been undertaken with the help of questionnaires.

Research Design:
Descriptive research: This research was descriptive in nature. The information was collected
from both primary and secondary sources. Descriptive research methods are very much as they
sound- they describe situations. They do not make determine cause and effect.
A well- structured questionnaire was prepared to collect the individuals response about the topic.
Survey:- In survey method research, participants answer questions administered through
interviews or questionnaires and then the researcher describes the responses given.

Sampling Process:
Sample Profile: Hundred and one (101) individuals have filled the online questionnaire for the
purpose of this study.
Data Collection: Primary and secondary are the two types of data used by the researchers. In
this research paper, primary data has been collected through questionnaires based on qualitative
and quantitative data. The survey was conducted through online questionnaire consisting of
various questions related to their participation in Facebook/twitter such as involvement, ease of
use and telepresence.
Data Analysis: Data has been analysed qualitatively to seek answers to questions about peoples
views on brand engagement through social media. How well they connect to the brands they
subscribe and the reasons behind their subscription.

DATA ANALYSIS

Interpretation: A survey was conducted. Out of the total respondents 55.4% falls under the
age group of 21-25.

Interpretation: Out of the total respondents 94.9% are active on social media.

Interpretation: 40.6% of the total respondents used social media only for 0-3 hours per
week. Only 12.9% used social media for than 10 hours per week.

Interpretation: Majority of the respondents often search for related information on social
media before making a purchase.

Interpretation: 53.5% agrees that reviews on social networking sites influences the
respondents to try new brands/products/services.

Interpretation: 44.6% respondents agrees that information provided on social networking


sites clear their uncertainties regarding a purchase.

Interpretation: 41% people sometimes change their initial purchase decision after searching
for relevant information via social media sites.31% of the total respondents has a tendency to
change their decisions after social media search.

Interpretation: 59% agrees that feedback in any form on social media sites affect their
purchase.

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Interpretation: 51% agrees that social media is a great platform for the consumers to interact
with each other and also with the companies.

Interpretation: 45.5% of the respondents voice out their opinion regarding their purchase via
social media platforms and provide for post purchase evaluation about the performance of the
product.

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FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS


Out of the people surveyed, it has been found that:

94.9% of the respondents are active on social media.

55.4% of the people fall under the age group of 21-25 years of age.

29.87% falls under the age group of 26-30.

40.6% of the respondents use social media for 0-3 hours. 25.7% use for 4-6 hours and
20.8% use for 7-9 hours per week.

It was to examine the exposure they get on social media which is an important tool for
marketers to promote their products.

36.6%, 27.7% and 23.8% of the respondents always, often and sometimes search for
information of the product before making a purchase.

31% and 41% of the respondents sometimes and often tend to change their purchase
preference after searching their relevant information via social media sites.

59% of the total respondents feel that reviews in forms of comments, blogs, etc. affect the
purchase.

35% and 51% of the respondents strongly agree and agree that social media provide for
an effective platform for the consumers to communicate with each other and with
companies.

This process provides for a transparent feedback system which benefits the company in
correcting its faults.

45.5% feel encouraged to voice out their opinion after a purchase via social media
platforms.

This is the last step of consumer decision making model. Post purchase evaluation gives a
feedback upon the expected and the actual performance of the product

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CONCLUSION
The motive of the research was triggered by personal interest in how consumer behaviour has
changed in the Digital Age, in particular with social media. The amount of information available
to us increases in each new day; as a result, we are overwhelmingly exposed and attained to
different aspects of information via the Social Web. The central gravity of the research was to
explain why, when, and how social media has impacted on consumer decision making process both in
theory and in practice.
Today, people can access the internet anywhere and share their ideas and feelings with their
friends. Consumers can easily share shoes in a shop, a meal in a restaurant or a video with people
in their profiles and can reach thousands of people in only a few seconds. It is possible to reach
hundreds and even millions of people through just one person by means of social networking
sites.
Many individuals have noticed and agreed that with social media, they are able to voice out their
opinions and to communicate with other consumers and with the company more effectively.
However, again, many of them have felt not encouraged to voice out their feedbacks and to pass
along their comments to peers, friends, or family members via social media.
Consumers are able to access to relevant information not only in a great range but also in a faster
speed, which mass media consumes more time in searching information. In contrary, contents are
not in control and monitored, thus the chance of getting false and nonfactual information which
the consumers have shown concern of. In terms of a business context, marketers have to be
aware of the bad mouth on social media, because it can be spread virally and led to a damage to
brands reputation.

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REFERENCES
Brown, R. (2009) . Public Relations and the Social Web: How to Use Social Media and Web 2.0
in Communications, New Jersey, Kogan Page Publishers
Grsakal, N. (2009) . Sosyal A Analizi, Dora Yaynclk. Bursa
Iyengar, R. Sangman, H.& and Gupta, S.(2012). Do Friends Influence Purchases in a Social
Network, Harvard Business School Working Paper,
2009, Online: http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/09-123.pdf, Eriim: 10 Nisan 2012.
Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Uers of the world, unit! The chanllenges and
opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53, 59-68.
Kahraman, M. (2010) . Sosyal Medya 101, Mediacat, 1.Bask. stanbul.
www.facebook.com
Zorlu, O. (2011) . Sosyal Medyann Cazibesi, Zorlu Dergisi, Say 33(6):11-23.

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QUESTIONNAIRE

Name
Short-answer text

Age
15-20
21-25
26-30
31-35
Are you active on social media?( Facebook, twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn,etc)
Yes
No
Time approx spent on social media per week
0-3 hours
4-6 hours

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7-9 hours
More than 10 hours
Do you search for related information on social media before making a purchase?
Always
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
Never
Do you agree that, for instance, advertising/blogs/FB pages/user reviews on social media
influence you to try new brands/products/services?
Strongly agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly disagree
Do you rely on information available on social media if you have uncertainties regarding a
purchase?
Strongly agree
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Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly disagree
Do you change your initial purchase preference after searching relevant information via social
media sites?
Always
Often
Sometimes
Seldom
Rarely
Never
Do you agree that feedback (reviews/comments/posts and so on) on social media affect on
purchase?
Strongly agree
Agree
Neutral

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Disagree
Strongly disagree
Do you agree that social media provides an effective and powerful platform for consumers to
communicate with each other and with the companies?
Strongly agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly disagree
Do you feel encouraged to voice out your opinion after a purchase via social media platforms?
Strongly agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly disagree

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