Investigating cigarette purchase patterns by Gauteng smokers.
As the tobacco industry is one of the most highly legislated industries in the world, with the industry facing declines in volume both globally and in South Africa, having a thorough understanding of the factors affecting the purchase patterns of brand Loyal and brand Disloyal Gauteng smokers is critical in terms of growth. This research sought to understand the cigarette purchase patterns of both brand Loyal and brand Disloyal smokers in Gauteng so as to understand, firstly, the potential impact which the proposed tobacco legislation changes could have on the cigarette purchase patterns of brand Loyal and brand Disloyal smokers. Secondly, to identify the specific brand and product attributes favoured by brand Loyal and brand Disloyal smokers. Thirdly, to understand to what extent the purchase patterns of brand Loyal and brand Disloyal smokers are affected during brand out of stock situations, changes in income, bundle-pack cigarette offers as well as changes in cigarette prices. The research was quantitative in nature and the sample size was 103 Gauteng smokers. The selection criteria for participants were that they needed to be smokers; to be eighteen years of age or older, and to have smoked one or more cigarettes in the last 30 days preceding the research. The data was analysed using SPSS statistical software as well as Wincross. The results revealed that the sample of Gauteng smokers are very brand loyal and that there are critical differences between the purchase patterns of brand Loyal and brand Disloyal smokers including their preferred place of purchase of cigarettes, whereby brand Loyal smokers prefer to buy their cigarettes from Shoprite and Pick ‘n Pay stores, whilst brand Disloyal smokers prefer to purchase their cigarettes from Spar and ‘other retailer’. In addition, the findings of the proposed legislative changes indicate that should Plain Pack legislation be passed in South Africa, it would result in the cessation and / or reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked of 59% of the sample of Gauteng smokers. The study has generated insights and recommendations in terms of how cigarette companies in South African can leverage these findings so as to grow their customer base and market share in a declining market and a tougher tobacco legislative environment.