The dynamics of consumer behaviour to beverage consumption in a harsh economic environment : a case study of Zimbabwe.
Living Standards Measures (LSMs) are a way of segmenting or classifying the adult population of a country based on access to and use of a wide range of goods and services. LSMs are a very strong tool for grouping people for the purposes of target marketing rather than demographic segmentation. In any country with third world characteristics where a large portion of the economy is informal rather than formal, understanding consumer behaviour for the purpose of targeting consumers effectively becomes a formidable challenge. A research has been conducted, centered on LSM3-10 consumer behaviour with regard to purchase and consumption of non-alcoholic beverages in Zimbabwe. Beverage consumption patterns are revolving since Zimbabwe started experiencing an economic downturn from 1992 and subsequently went into recession. Beverage consumption patterns continue to change as the economic climate changes, and hence, the need to understand consumer beverage consumption patterns to Zimbabwe's changing harsh economic conditions. A hypothesis has been put to test, that is, "LSM3 to LSM10 will maintain their beverage consumption irrespective of the country's economic conditions". The methodology used in this survey is quantitative and descriptive with use of observation data, desk research and a survey instrument, the questionnaire which was designed for the purpose of the study. The research findings show that the motivation goal for a shopping trip have evolved from obligatory motive to circumstantial. On the cultural factors, life styles and social influences have also changed hence affecting shopping behaviour across all LSMs. It is empirically concluded that the hypothesis is false given the fact that the research findings show a shift in shopping behaviour as outlined above. It is therefore recommended that from a product development perspective, marketers develop products and services that are aligned to socio-economic changes in a country whether positive or negative.