Differential Patterns in Consumer Purchase Preferences using Self-Organizing Maps: A Case Study of China
Market research and consumer segmentation is still in its infancy in the People’s Republic of China. Yet, marketers desperately need information about differential response patterns and consumer segments to formulate viable strategies for the drastically growing Chinese consumer market. This chapter presents the results of consumer surveys with hundreds of respondents conducted in Beijing and Shanghai in the spring of 1997. The data were analyzed using self-organizing maps, a technique that offers easy and convenient visualization of the data obtained without imposing stringent linear constraints on the data. Results indicated important differences in the number and type of consumer subsegments in the Beijing and Shanghai markets with respect to influences on purchase decisions (and, to some degree, lifestyles) but large similarities in media behavior, importance of product attributes, and brand attitudes. The study illustrates the usefulness of the methodology of self-organizing maps. Marketers may use the results of the study as a model of how to collect and analyze consumer surveys to formulate strategies and tactics for the Chinese consumer market.
KeywordsPurchase Decision Brand Image Brand Attitude Component Plane Brand Parity
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