Determining consumer ethnocentrism and lifestyle among Black Diamonds in Sandton
Goldberg, Roland Henry
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The combined study of consumer ethnocentrism and lifestyle is a unique approach that marketers can use to determine consumer buying behaviour and to refine market segmentation. In particular, marketers need to study consumer buying behaviour and examine the main influences regarding what, where, when and how consumers buy, as this knowledge will allow marketers to predict how consumers make their purchase decisions and how they will respond to various marketing strategies. A better understanding of the buying behaviour of consumers in a prospective market segment will help marketers to devise more effective marketing strategies for targeting consumers in the particular market segment they wish to pursue, and therefore, market segmentation is an extremely useful marketing tool. The Black Diamond consumer segment in South Africa has been receiving heightened attention from marketers recently due to the increasing purchasing power of this segment, and therefore it is necessary for marketers to gain a more profound understanding of these consumers so that they will be able to address Black Diamonds' specific needs, wants and preferences. This will assist marketers to devise marketing strategies that target the Black Diamond segment more effectively. The primary objective of this study was to determine consumer ethnocentrism and lifestyle among Black Diamonds in Sandton. This objective was addressed by using an adapted version of the Consumer Ethnocentrism Scale (CETSCALE) to measure the level of consumer ethnocentrism among Black Diamonds and by determining the lifestyle of this group by using the activities, interests and opinions (AIO) approach to measure the levels of six lifestyle dimensions, namely fashion consciousness, self–consciousness, health consciousness, homemaking, community orientation, and cost–consciousness. Based on literature consulted, an interviewer–administered questionnaire was developed and distributed to Black Diamond consumers by five fieldworkers in the Sandton area, in the city of Johannesburg, in the Gauteng province. Convenience and judgement sampling (non–probability sampling methods) were used and a total of 200 respondents participated in this study. The validity and reliability of the adapted version of the CETSCALE used in the questionnaire to measure the level of consumer ethnocentrism of respondents, as well as the six batteries of statements used to measure the levels of the respective lifestyle dimensions, were determined by means of factor analysis. The results indicated that consumer ethnocentrism is moderately high among respondents. Furthermore, moderately high levels of fashion consciousness, self–consciousness, health consciousness and cost–consciousness were found among respondents. Low levels of interest were established in homemaking activities and community orientation. It was found that various underlying relationships exist between consumer ethnocentrism and lifestyle dimensions of respondents, specifically between the lifestyle dimensions of health consciousness, homemaking and community orientation. It was further found that significant differences exist between the perceptions of respondents toward consumer ethnocentrism and the lifestyle dimensions in terms of their diverse age categories. It is recommended that marketers should stress product attributes, benefits, and superior aspects of the product by underplaying the product's country of origin, in light of the high level of consumer ethnocentrism prevalent among Black Diamonds. Furthermore, it is recommended that marketers and organisations should adapt and modify their current marketing strategies in order to appeal to the various lifestyle dimensions of Black Diamonds, specifically focussing on the higher levels of fashion consciousness, self–consciousness, health consciousness and cost–consciousness among Black Diamonds, whilst underplaying homemaking and community orientation. By considering consumer ethnocentrism and lifestyle, and realising that these factors affect the buying behaviour of Black Diamonds, marketers will be able to develop effective marketing strategies that will allow them to target the Black Diamond consumer segment more effectively and efficiently. Recommendations for future research include examining consumer ethnocentrism and lifestyle among Black Diamonds in a wider geographic area, drawing a larger sample size from the target population, and being more selective with regard to the respondents included in the study, in order to ensure that the most appropriate respondents do indeed form part of population under scrutiny. Furthermore, in order to improve the validity of the study, future research could be conducted by incorporating more qualitative forms of research such as focus groups and interviews. In addition to the six lifestyle dimensions that were measured in this study, a wider range of lifestyle dimensions can be measured in future research.