Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to discover the consumer decision-making style clusters within the context of automobile purchases in Australia. It also examines the differences between consumer decision-making styles in terms of the importance given to external influences, such as importance of dealers, importance of friends/family members, number of cars test driven, time spent researching final decision and importance of information sources (e.g. internet, magazines, TV ads, word of mouth, etc.), prior to making their final purchase decision.
Design/methodology/approach - Data were collected from 209 respondents using self-administered questionnaires. Cluster analysis and ANOVA were employed to identify and analyse the differences between consumer decision-making style clusters. Consumer Styles Inventory (CSI; Sproles and Kendall, 1986) was used to measure respondents consumer decision-making styles in relation to automobile purchases.
Findings - Three clusters were identified from the analysis, namely innovative traditional differences were found between the clusters in terms of the average time they spent with each car dealer, the time they spent on researching final decision and the importance of consulting with family members prior to making their final purchase decision.
Practical implications - The paper found that some consumers rely heavily on friends/families and dealers as the most important sources of information. Other sources of information consumers use include television advertisements, newspapers, billboards and magazines. Based on the findings, marketers should focus on providing similar types of information/messages by using these above-mentioned sources when communicating with this type of consumers. Dealers could be trained to spend time explaining product features and benefits in full with these consumers and their friends and family members whom they are likely to bring along before making the final purchase decision.
Originality/value - The findings of this study have extended the knowledge by determining the impact of external influences on consumer decision-making styles using the CSI in context of specific product which is yet to be known in relation to Australian automobile consumers.
- Consumer decision making
- External influences