Toilet-care product brand switching behaviour : a case study of consumers of Cosmo City, Gauteng Province, South Africa.
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South African consumers face increasingly highly competitive brand offerings in the toilet-care product category due to the proliferation of multinational manufacturer and (private) retail store brand offerings. The economic environment has also compelled consumers to review their brand choices, with significant shifts towards the purchase of retail brands, as they try to balance the ever shrinking disposable incomes. In this context, the primary objective of this study was to examine the factors motivating toilet-care product brand choice by households, who relocated to a government demarcated residential area (Cosmo City). The relocation was perceived as a radically disruptive social change for some consumer segments, since it entailed a physical change in the place and type of residential dwelling. The relocation had a significant impact on the residents because the change resulted in most cases to a radical change in the type and system of toilet facilities. The resultant effect was a change in the brand-consumer relationship with consumers switching brands as they adapted to the new residential facilities. A structured questionnaire was used to investigate the before and after usage of toilet-care product brands. The benefit of using the structured questionnaire was to capture the brand usage behaviour of respondents of were being studied. The questionnaire was divided into four sections with questions on administrative and demographic data, brand switching, change in place and type of residence, and desired toilet-care product brand benefits. The questions were constructed on a five-point Likert scale, and the questionnaire was administered to a randomly selected sample of 332 residents from Cosmo City. The sample was chosen from the Cosmo City housing list which included house numbers, and street names. The housing list informed the selection of sample units which ensured that the three segments were proportionally represented in the survey. The SPSS (V17) software was used to analyse the data. Descriptive statistical analysis was conducted on the data and the means, standard deviation and sample variances obtained were presented and conclusions drawn. Inferential statistical analysis techniques such as Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Pearson’s correlation coefficient tests, and logistic regressions were conducted on the data to evaluate the research objectives and hypotheses. The relationship between brand benefits and brand switching following a radical social disruption were both positive and significant. Logistical regression path coefficients (β = 1.709, p<.0005) on the brand benefits and brand switching demonstrated positive and significant changes in the desired brand benefits following the social disruption. The same results were affirmed between brand benefits and lifestyle change where ‘brand benefits’ significantly predicted ‘lifestyle’ (β = .595, p<.0005). The other finding was that the binominal and T-Test results on brand switching following a change in the type and place of residence was significant (p<0.0005) because the p-value is less than 0.0005. The relationship between a social disruption (change in the place and type of residence) and lifestyle, using Pearson’s correlation tests, confirmed significant correlation (r = -.278, p<.0005) between the aforementioned variables. The Logistical regression analysis proved that there social disruption significantly predicted lifestyle change (β = -.278, p<.0005). However, the findings based on regression analysis indicated that there were no significant differences (β = -.601, p=.027) between households that switched brands and those that did not, meaning that the social disruption was not strong or significant enough to motivate them to change their lifestyle and switch brands. The aforementioned summary findings underscore the importance of recognising that consumers re-evaluate their brand choices leading to significant brand switching in cases where the a social change has a radical effect on brand usage. The results explicitly indicate that ‘out-of-market’ changes such as a radical social change have the same impact on consumer brand behaviour and brand choice as ‘in-market’ disruptions such as the introduction of a radically new innovative brand. The findings further illustrate that both ‘in-market’ and ‘out-of-market’ disruptions motivate consumers to behave in similar ways with regards to brand choice.