Analysing Different Consumption Practices among Different Settings

Analysing Different Consumption Practices among Different Settings

Hans Rüdiger Kaufmann, Yianna Orphanidou, Haritini Tsangari, Agnes Neulinger, Inés Kuster, Natalia Vila, Iga Rudawska, Sylwia Bakowska, René Arvola
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 48
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2857-1.ch007
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The chapter’s main aim is to provide evidence for the need to differentiate consumer behaviour exemplified by drinking patterns and the various factors influencing these patterns as to different European clusters. These clusters emerged from the empirical research stage of the COBEREN project. They are compared to currently well-known European cluster differentiations (i.e. geographic clusters, cultural clusters, or Established European Economic Settings vs. Transitional European Settings in Central and Eastern Europe). This research aims to investigate European consumer behaviour on drinking, hypothesizing that other than the traditional cultural and/or geographical clusters, differentiated explanatory factors emerge calling for more localized strategies of the beverage industry. A new contribution to knowledge relating to differentiated consumer behaviour patterns not existing so far could eventually be provided. This new knowledge contribution is reflected by a triangulation of qualitatively (picture selection analyzed by Sphinx software) and quantitatively derived explanatory factors of drinking behaviour (i.e. content analysis, correlation, and multiple regression analysis). Very interesting in this context is the discussion as to if the often currently cited differentiation of settings based on mainstream cultural and geographical categories correspond with the actual behavioural patterns, or if new insights could be won for a different, and eventually, more localized differentiation of European clusters. A variety of innovative cluster profiles and the explanatory factors on budget expenditure provided are regarded as very useful for informing managerial strategies (see also the chapter on managerial implications) regarding, for example, the often existing strategic dilemma as to standardization and/or adaptation.
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7.1. Introduction

The concept of clusters has gained considerable recognition, and is increasingly referred to by policy makers, practitioners and academics. Many different cluster definitions exist, however, and their economic impact on competitiveness and innovation is still diffuse (Le Bail, 2008). Cluster analysis has been subject to extensive criticism. Alderferer & Blashfield (1984) pointed out that, although its objective is structure-seeking, the algorithm is structure-imposing. Everitt (1993) stressed the risk that a cluster analysis may generate clusters even when applied to random data. The use of several classification methods has reduced this risk and increased the likelihood that the identified hard-core clusters will correspond to a natural configuration based on strong similarities of beverage consumption patterns. The COBEREN study provides a new cluster analysis for the consumption of beverages in Europe. The COBEREN analysis allows new policies to be created, as well as enabling a deeper understanding of European consumer behaviour.

Consumer behaviour is an issue that concerns many companies which seek to understand how international consumers decode advertising messages, evaluate alternatives, choose among options and engage in post-purchase behaviour. The consumer behaviour of each target market is different, which is why companies try to unlock the mindset of their target market in order to identify the values and needs required and communicate those in a consistent manner so as to meet customer expectations. Consumers in one region often behave very differently from consumers in another. The reasoning behind this difference is that idiosyncratic cultural, demographic, psychological and economic factors affect consumer behaviour.

Therefore, for a company intending to expand into international markets, market research is essential to recognize the idiosyncrasies of the markets in question. On the other hand, globalization is perceived to entail a more homogeneous market environment. Against the background of these contradictory perceptions, the COBEREN research examined the diversity of European consumer behaviour, in order to provide insight into the extent to which marketing strategies can be standardized or should be adapted.

In this chapter, we analyse and evaluate the findings of a survey that was conducted in 30 European countries to examine the drinking consumer behaviour of Europeans and the possible existence of newly emerging European consumption clusters. The countries have been divided into various clusters according to the responses of their citizens.

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