Determining generation Y's customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and relationship intention towards smart phone brands
Competition in the smart phone market is fierce and despite the high market growth, smart phone manufacturers find it difficult to maintain their market share. Generation Y consumers generally have a good command of technology and engage in technology-related behaviour such as texting, tweeting and web-surfing. Therefore, when it comes to the adoption of smart phones applications, Generation Y is leading the way. For this reason, it is important to consider Generation Y consumers‟ attitudes and perceptions towards smart phone manufacturers and their brands. It has thus become critical for smart phone manufacturers to achieve customer satisfaction, generate loyalty, and build meaningful long-term relationships with Generation Y consumers. The primary objective of this study was to investigate customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and relationship intention amongst Generation Y consumers towards smart phone brands. The questionnaire was distributed by means of non-probability, convenience and quota sampling among 18 and 26 year old respondents living in Gauteng who owned or used a smart phone. In total, 395 respondents participated in the study. Based upon the literature review, a theoretical model was proposed that hypothesised the relationship between customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and relationship intention amongst Generation Y consumers with respect to their current smart phones. From the data analysis, it was evident that respondents exhibit a strong level of customer satisfaction, a mediocre level of brand loyalty, and a strong relationship intention towards their current smart phone brand. The results confirm that the measurement scales used to measure customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and the five dimensions of relationship intention all exhibit construct validity and internal consistency reliability. The study also uncovered significant differences between groups of Generation Y consumers in terms of gender, home language, education, employment status and time period of smart phone brand usage. The results of the structural equation modelling (SEM) technique used to test the theoretical model found that customer satisfaction exhibits a significant and large positive influence on brand loyalty, and a significant and medium positive influence on relationship intention. Furthermore, brand loyalty exhibits a significant medium positive influence on relationship intention. Finally, the dimensions of relationship intention exhibit significant medium to large effects on relationship intention. It is recommended that smart phone manufacturers should provide customers with a customer service application to measure customers' satisfaction in terms of their needs met. Smart phone manufacturers should also introduce new ways to communicate with Generation Y consumers to generate brand loyalty. Innovating ideas should be considered for smart phone manufacturers to retain Generation Y consumers. Brand loyalty can be improved by adding more applications according to Generation Y consumers' needs. The more a smart phone manufacturer focuses on customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, the more consumers will want to build long-term relationships with their smart phone brands. Recommendations for future research include the possibility to investigate each construct separately to ensure a more detailed investigation. Different cultures and age groups, as well as geographical areas can be studied to broaden results on how different consumers of different generations exhibit customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and relationship intention towards their smart phones. Specific smart phone manufacturers could be investigated to obtain specific information on customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and relationship intention so as to formulate appropriate strategies on improving the constructs measured.