Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior: A Study among University Students in Malaysia

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior: A Study among University Students in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Abstract

The objective of this study is to examine how personal factors such as lifestyle, personality, and economic situations affect the consumer behavior of Malaysian university students. A quantitative approach was adopted and a self-administered questionnaire was distributed to collect data from university students. Findings illustrate that 'personality' influences the consumer behavior among Malaysian university student. This study also noted that the economic situation had a negative relationship with consumer behavior. Findings of this study improve our understanding of consumer behavior of Malaysian University Students. The findings of this study provide valuable insights in identifying and taking steps to improve on the services, ambience, and needs of the student segment of the Malaysian market.

Keywords: lifestyle, personality, economic condition, consumer behavior, university students

1. Introduction

Market segmentation is a crucial element in marketing. Products can no longer be manufactured and sold without taking into account the consumer needs and appreciating the heterogeneity of those needs (Wedel & Kamakura, 2000). The earliest attempts of market segmentation were based on demographics. While there are many other ways to recognize a market, to date, the placements of products and services are still largely based on demographic factors of consumers. Demographic segmentation remains popular because of the possible correlation between demographic factors and specialized consumer activities such as buying and shopping. Products such as personal care and clothing are specifically designed, targeted, and promoted with either men or women in mind. The ability to easily measure and a very well defined demographic category contributes to the popularity of demographic segmentations (Pol, 1991). On top of that, there is readily available data on demographics from government agencies, which is reliable; this helps a lot in segmenting potential customers.

Today, decision-making has become more complex and is considered very important for consumers. This is due to the rapid change of the competitive global business environment. Consumers are being exposed to advertising campaigns, news sources, and direct mailing that feed abundant information; most of it has too many mixed messages. On top of that, the increasing number and choices of goods, retail outlets, and shopping malls, and the availability of multi-component products and electronic purchasing facility have broadened the sphere for consumer choices. This makes decision making more complicated (Hafstrom et al., 1992).

In addition, nowadays, there are more sophisticated and complex products, reducing inter-brand differences, and elevating counterfeits and products that look alike, therefore, some consumers feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to decide (Mitchell, 2001). Profiling consumers' decision-making process focuses on studies of the majority of consumer interests (Sproles, 1985). Consumer affairs professionals use such profiles to understand consumers' shopping behavior, while advertisers and marketing researchers use them to segment the consumers into various segments for product positioning (Srinivas, Steven & Andrews, 1993).

Understanding consumer decision-making is very important for companies and marketers in coming up with appropriate marketing strategies to suit their target groups. In this relation, personal factors, such as age and lifestyle stage, economic situation, occupation, lifestyle, personality, and self-concept have been identified in many literatures on the theme of consumer shopping behavior as a significant element in understanding consumer behavior (Kotler & Armstrong, 2006). It has also been identified as a fundamental marketing segmentation indicator for companies to meet their customers' needs and wants. Therefore, marketers should always strive to understand the differences and similarities in decision-making styles. …

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