A Product Feature Prioritization-Based Segmentation Model of Consumer Market for Health Drinks

A Product Feature Prioritization-Based Segmentation Model of Consumer Market for Health Drinks

Chandan Parsad (Rajagiri Business School, Kochi, India), Chandra Prakash Chandra (Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Raipur, India) and Shekhar Suman (Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Raipur, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJSDS.2019040104
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This study sets out to identify the various factors of a health drink product that affects the consumer decision-making process. It aims to determine the relative importance connected to multiple aspects of health drink beverages, such as brand, nutrition content, taste, muscle building, brain boosting, price, ingredients, and country of origin. The paper also aims to identify consumer segments by the relative importance consumers give to various attributes of health drinks. Through examining the literature, the researchers identified various attributes of health drinks, which they analyzed empirically using a choice-based conjoint survey conducted with the help of the internet-based software 1000minds. Cluster analysis was also done to identify different consumer segments. The study identified two consumer segments: brand conscious and value conscious. As the name indicates, the brand-conscious segment gives more importance to a trusted brand, followed by nutrition content and price.
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For many decades, health drinks—especially malt-based beverages like Boost, Bournvita, Complan, Milo, and Horlicks—have provided consumers with nutrition and energy. These health drinks have captured a prominent place in the regular diets of numerous adolescent and adults. Presented as a nutrition drink with a taste enhancer, such drinks are usually consumed with milk, or sometimes as a substitute for milk among growing children and for adults. Companies have linked the health drink with enhancement of physical endurance (muscle building, bone strengthening) and concentration as well as visual information processing and verbal reasoning (brain boosting).

These product characteristics have aligned malt-based health drinks with market realities in India, as an increase in health consciousness among consumers, desire for a higher standard of life, and increase of disposable income emerged as the new drivers of consumption patterns among middle- and upper-class India. As the home of 1.34 billion people with the gross domestic product of 2.44 trillion USD (Statista, 2018), India is ranked as the world’s largest market for malt-based health drinks, with sales of more than 1.11 billion USD in 2015. With 8% CAGR, it is expected to constitute 47% of the global malt-based health drink market in 2020, from 41% in 2015 (Lee, 2016).

Despite the massive potential in the Indian market, there has been very little research done on Indian consumer behavior, especially the influence of culture on the purchase decision-making process, which leaves considerable research gaps. One of the most prominent such gaps is the lack of research on health drink purchasing behavior among Indian consumers, given that India ranks first in the malt-based drink consumer market.

Although a sizable studies have been done on customer tradeoff behavior during the purchasing decision, they mostly focused on Western countries. These studies raised questions about the generalizability of findings in non-Western nations, particularly South Asian countries like India.

The product attributes that a purchaser considers while making a purchase decision regarding a health drink, especially in the context of fruit juices (Bonilla, 2010; Lee et al., 2014; Sorenson & Bogue, 2005) and energy drinks (Jacob et al., 2013; Malinaukas et al., 2007; Scholey & Kennedy, 2004), has been already discussed in a number of previous studies. Despite many Indian consumers’ adoption of malt-based health drinks, however, no study has been conducted to identify the attributes that play a significant role in making a final purchase decision.

To fill the above-stated research gaps, this study examined and analyzed attributes of malt-based health drinks that are priorities of Indian consumers while making the purchase decision. Hence, the findings of this study have filled a gap in the literature of product attribution (price, nutrition content and ingredients) related to purchasing decisions in the South Asian context, specifically India. This research also provides a point of comparison to findings from Western-focused studies and discloses the particular way Indian consumers tend to prioritize attributes during product purchase. Such a comparison may lead to identifying cultural differences between Indian and Western consumers and discovering how those differences affect the product purchase decision.

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