Factors affecting choice of and satisfaction with mobile phones : an investigation of university of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg) students.
Ijumba, Bridget Christabel.
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Today, the liveliest market environment is the mobile phone market. This this is because of the growth and the advancement in technology. Thus, studying the consumer buying decision process of these markets can show marketers what factors influence the markets’ choices of mobile phones. The growing competition by mobile phone companies has led to increased concern regarding which mobile phone device is beneficial to own as a consumer considering the vast number of mobile phone brands and versions available to the market. This concern warrants the need to investigate factors that currently determine consumers’ choices of mobile phones taking into account the saturated level of the mobile phone industry. The intention of this study is to examine if factors previously examined in the previous research studies in different contexts also influence the South African environment. Furthermore, to identify the unique set of factors that impact South African customers’ selection of and satisfaction with mobile phones. The main objective of this study is to reveal key factors that affect the choice and satisfaction of mobile phones among university students of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus. Through a convenience sampling technique, structured questionnaires were used to collect primary data from 257 mobile phone owners. The questionnaire comprised of 5-point Likert scale questions and open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis, custom tables, and NVivo were used to analyse data that was obtained from the students. Results of the descriptive statistics showed that product features and design was a major factor influencing the choice of mobile phones. Overall performance was a major factor contributing to the satisfaction of mobile phones. Battery life was the main feature that consumers considered when acquiring a mobile phone. The exploratory factor analysis results revealed six factors that contributed to the choice of mobile phones. Namely; marketing elements, social factors, features of the mobile phone, durability and portability, brand name and cost/price. Results of six factors that contributed to the satisfaction of mobile phones included; internal, external & operation attributes of the mobile phone, style, small mobile phones, and cost/price. The results also revealed six factors that students considered when purchasing a mobile phone. These are; the size of the mobile phone, output attributes of the mobile phone, the build/make of the mobile phone, basic model, technology features and generation of the mobile phone. The custom tables revealed that the main five factors that students wish to see improved on their mobile phones include; battery power, memory size camera, phone design and audio capacity. Furthermore, the results revealed that apart from the factors revealed in the exploratory factor analysis, the following factors affect choice, satisfaction and features students seek when purchasing a mobile phone; battery life, camera, and security features. Overall, students agreed to be satisfied with their current mobile devices. This study is important because the student market is vibrant and fall in the category of early adopters and early majority. Marketers will be able to understand this market together with their needs in reference to mobile devices. This research will be beneficial to telecommunications managers and mobile phone manufacturers to comprehend the mobile phone requirements of the students’ segment and align suitably their product designs and marketing communications strategies. The scope of this study is limited to university students of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus. The study can be adopted to a broader population group thus improving the scope for mobile phone manufacturers.