Impulse buying is a habit which every consumer often displays in his or her daily buying experiences. Although, Consumers hesitate to associate with impulse buying attitude, they hardly adhere strictly to the original buying plan which had earlier been articulated before visiting the retail stores, and this reflects impulse buying habit. Engel and Blackwell (2002) described impulse buying as a buying action undertaken without a careful buying plan previously having been articulated or formed prior to entering the retail store. Also, Bateman and Holmes (2005) defined impulse buying as a sudden strong wish or need to buy something without thinking about it carefully. In the same vein, Phillips and Bradshaw (2002) affirmed that impulse buying is a sudden strong wish or need to buy something without planning or thinking about it carefully or comparing such goods with similar or related goods with a view to making a better purchasing choice.
Impulse buying also paints a scenario which de-emphasizes the fixed plan of items to be purchased prior to visiting the retail store on the argument that store environment could provide a better purchase stimulation. Cobb and Hoyer (2006) affirmed this assertion by positing that shopping is much easier with products highly visible and store environment acting as prompt lists, allowing consumers to defer decision making until they are in-store. Also, Dittmer (2008) noted that consumers’ intent to purchase is far from fixed and can continue to be modified right up to the point of purchase. Douglas and Isherwood (2008) supported the above idea by stating that consumers need not have a fixed or permanent plan of buying action prior to visiting the retail store because store environment always provides a better buying stimulation on account of the presence of large varieties of highly visible products displayed and competing for attention of consumers who visit the retail store. Therefore impulse buying in the context of this research is a sudden strong wish or need to buy something without careful planning or without adhering strictly to the original buying plan which had earlier been articulated before visiting the retail stores.
Buying habit involves the planning and articulation of the goods to be purchased before visiting the retail store, however, the prevalent practices of impulse buying is a buying habit which consumers often display due to the influence of in-store-stimuli. Philip and Duncan (2008) distinguished four types of impulse buying habit as follows: pure impulse buying, reminder impulse buying, suggestion impulse buying and expected impulse buying. Pure impulse buying is the type of impulse buying which lacks any element of cautious and considered approach to a purchase. Pure impulse buying exposes the consumer or shopper to a feeling of overwhelming force from the products to be purchased and also a feeling of having to buy the product-immediately thereby ignoring any negative consequences from the purchase. Reminder impulse buying occurs when a consumer or shopper sees an item and remembers that the stock at home is exhausted or low or recalls an advertisement or other information about the item which triggers up the sudden decision to buy the item. Suggestion impulse buying occurs when the consumer or shopper sees a product for the first time and visualizes the need for it, even though she has no previous knowledge of the item. Under suggestion impulse buying consideration, product quality, function and the like are evaluated at the point of purchase. Expected impulse buying occurs when the consumer or shopper enters the retail store with some specific purchases in mind, but with the expectation and intension to make other purchases that depend on price specials or coupons offers. Female lecturers could exhibit any of the above form of impulse buying habit based on the extent to which certain features of such goods influence their impulse buying.
In more specific terms therefore, the researcher intends to examine six features or characteristics of goods which pre-dispose such goods or make them prone to impulse buying and investigate the extent to which female lecturers perceive these features or characteristics to determine their impulse buying. Stern, in Geof and Clive (2004) articulated these features or characteristics and referred to them as determinants of impulse buying. A determinant therefore is an element that identifies the nature of something or fixes or conditions an outcome. Determinants of impulse buying are those features or characteristics or qualities of goods which induce or stimulate consumers’ impulse buying of such goods. These determinants are low price goods, small size goods, colour of goods, low weight goods, portable goods and brand of goods.
Low price goods are goods whose prices are deliberately reduced by retailers without tampering with the quality. Another dimension of low price goods are those frequently used household consumer goods that are bought immediately and mostly in small amount without meticulous planning and search efforts and they are often categorized under household convenience goods such as salt, pepper, toiletries, provisions, to mention a few (Kotler, 2003). Narasimhan, Neslin and Sen (2006) noted other aspects of low price goods to include those goods whose qualities have deliberately been reduced by retailers and other middlemen in the channel of distribution as an instrument of reduction in their prices, for instance, hard discs for music and other low quality electronics, handsets, shoes, dresses and many other low quality consumer goods. Whichever form of price reduction associated with low price goods, the ultimate aim is to stimulate or induce impulse buying of such goods, using low price as a strategy. Consequently, most of these household consumer goods have relatively low prices which attract impulse buying. Secondly, retailers employ various low pricing policies to attract impulse attention and buying among consumers. Retailers also employ advertising messages, tradeshows, among others, to inform and sensitize consumers about the low price goods and these enlightenment campaign elicit tremendous amount of impulse attention and buying among consumers (Stanton, 2001).
However, most consumers or shoppers engage on impulse buying of goods that are not necessary for the family or individual use. When such goods are bought on impulse due to low price the goods are not used at the appropriate time because the goods are bought without intention to make any specific and immediate use. Sometimes such goods got wasted. Also retailers could reduce the prices of low quality and expired goods to attract impulse buying and these retailers’ action are always at the expense of consumers who buy on impulse without carefully examining the goods being bought. Rampant cases of house wives or house helps buying all sorts of low price, but needless jewelries, fashion outfits and the like at the expense of highly needed family food stuff and other family consumer goods abound. Another characteristics of goods that can cause impulse buying is small size goods.
Small size goods are described as goods that are not large in size, number, amount or degree. Small size goods stimulate impulse buying consideration because these goods are easily picked and purchased without any form of meticulous planning coupled with the fact that most of them have low prices. Consequently, supermarkets and department stores display large quantities and varieties of small size goods such as provisions, cosmetics and soft drinks in front and shelves or counters of their retail stores instead of allowing them in cartons for whole sale. Displaying of small size goods can induce impulse buying because small size goods form the bulk of goods that are routinely purchased and used by consumers sometimes, on the spur of the moment and therefore consumers often look forward to seeing such goods displayed in retail stores (Henry, 2004). In many cases however, small size goods are grossly inadequate for use by larger families and also uneconomical when considered in terms of large scale economic benefit which stipulates that large scale purchases lead to low price per unit cost and piece meal or small scale purchases increase the cost per unit of goods purchased. Hence, such small size purchases lead consumers to waste of financial resources. Furthermore, the colour of goods can influence consumers to make impulse buying.
Colour of goods describes the appearance that goods have which results from the way in which the goods reflect light. Duane and Sarah (2004) distinguished the colours of good as follows: yellow, green, blue, violet, red, orange, yellow-green, blue-violet, red-violet, red-orange and yellow-orange. Other colours include golden colour, metallic colour, gray colour, light blue, silver colour, white colour and so on. Colour of goods identified specific goods whose colour represents any of the above mentioned colours, among others (Duane and Sarah, 2004). Colour of goods induces or stimulates impulse buying among consumers because different colours represent different attractions, feelings, emotions, affections and purchase considerations among different consumers of different goods (Kotler and Armstrong, 2004). Female lecturers may select colours that match their dresses, handbags, shoes or slippers as well as headties and necklaces. According to Duana and Sarah (2004), female lecturers prefer colours of dresses, in purple and accessories in gold or silver colours. Accessories are fashion elements which support and bring out the beauty of main dress or outfit, such as shoes, ear or handrings, necklaces and headties. Thus, Supermarkets, department stores and related retail outlets display varieties of goods with different colours to entice consumers, including female lecturers.
Incidentally, it is a common saying that all that glitters is not gold. Some retailers and manufacturers of goods could be fraudulent in the name of profit maximization. Experience has shown that inferior, expired and old consumer goods are carefully refurbished and repainted in enticing colours to attract impulse purchases from unsuspecting and, of course, sometimes careless and passive consumers or shoppers at very exorbitant prices using the colours to deceive consumers to believe such goods are new. Some examples of refurbished and repainted goods could be found among such goods as electronics and ICT gadgets. Similarly, the low weight goods can influence consumers to impulse buying.
The low weight goods are goods that are light in weight which can be carried or utilized anywhere, anytime and are relatively small in nature. According to Fredrick and Russel (2004) low weight goods attract impulse buying consideration because these goods are so convenient to be picked and purchased on the spur of the moment without any hindrance arising from the weight or size. Accordingly, retailers display large quantities and varieties of low weight goods such as provisions, soft drinks, confectioneries and so on in front of their retail stores and on shelves or counters inside retail stores to attract impulse attention and buying among consumers. These practices or methods of display were adopted because most of these goods are bought on reminder or planned impulse buying basis, and need to be made readily available and accessible among consumers. Female consumers, including female lecturers who visit retail stores are attracted to buy low weight and small quantities of provisions, toiletries and other low weight consumer goods on the spur of the moment for routine family uses and without complex and meticulous prior planning processes.
Although, most goods with low weight and attendant small sizes attract impulse buying, quality and durability of most goods go hand in hand with the relative weight of most goods such that quality jewelries, clothes, electronics, for instance, have relatively heavier weight than the fake and inferior ones. Often times, manufacturers fake these goods to be inferior and with relative low weight to attract impulse buying from passive consumers who buy on impulse without careful examination. Therefore, low weight but fake and low quality goods could be purchased on impulse at the expense of the consumers. The portability of goods may to a level determine impulse buying habits of most consumers including female consumers.
Portable goods are described as goods that are so much lighter in weight and smaller in size to induce tremendous amount of impulse attention and impulse buying consideration among consumers. David (2001) opined that portable nature of goods are major factors in consumer purchases decision because the very low weight, small size and sometimes very low price make purchase decision for such goods very easy. Therefore retailers display large quantities and varieties of portable goods in show cases as well as on shelves or counters in the retail stores to compete for impulse attention and purchases among consumers. Retailers also advertise or carry these portable goods in open vehicles, sometimes with entertainment music as a form of trade shows which attract a tremendous amount of impulse attention and buying among consumers (David, 2001). Some of these portable goods include handsets, recharge cards and cosmetics and most of these portable goods are often displayed during sales promotion campaign to attract impulse attention and buying among consumers including female lecturers. Although, portable goods such as handsets, laptops, recharge cards, jewelries and dresses attract tremendous amount of impulse buying, these handsets and laptops are sometimes used to commit such criminality as kidnapping, internet fraud and browsing of corrupt western films at the expense of useful endeavours. The same negative uses is applicable to jewelries and dresses where ladies and even some young men buy them on impulse as goods in vogue, so to speak, to be used for improper dressing and its attendant prostitution. In addition to the other characteristics of goods that may determine consumers’ impulse buying is the brand of goods.
A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol or design or a combination of these, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and differentiate them from those of competitors. Supermarkets and department stores, among others, tend to brand their goods because the brand name position the goods in the minds of consumers (Kotler and Armstrong, 2004). Female lecturers tend to be attracted to different brands of consumer goods based on their taste and choice. Also, advertising messages employ the brand names to attract impulse buying (Nonyelum, 2000).
Incidentally, brand and brand of goods in vogue are often used negatively, especially by young people. For instance, the craze for new brand and high capacity handsets and laptops to commit examination malpractices as well as pre-mature high tastes for other luxury brand of goods at the expense of legal and useful endeavour is dangerous for the society. Most household consumer goods, especially foods items are purchased by women. The role of women in the purchase of consumer and household goods is critical because over seventy five percent of these categories of goods are purchased by women and they also do the cooking and managing other related household affairs (Luo, 2005). Therefore, the burden of proper management of consumer goods’ purchases involves the ability to reconcile rational and impulse buying which is fundamentally more pronounced in women (Peck and Childers, 2006). Many women have significantly improved their educational and socio-economic status over the years, and these have empowered them to understand the nutritional contents of food items and how to improve on home management, hygiene, sanitation and Medicare, and the overall purpose is to raise the standard of family living.
Pursuant to the above responsibility of raising the standard of family living, among others, female lecturers do patronize super markets and related retail outlets or stores where large varieties of merchandise abound and which elicit various types of impulse buying habit based on their perception of such goods. Perception is the process by which an individual selects, organizes and interpret information input to create a meaningful picture of the world around him. Perception reflects the opinions expressed by consumers on particular issues in question, for instance, the choice of items of goods to be purchased by female lecturers. Times Higher Education (THE, 2011) defined a lecturer as a person with relevant academic qualifications in specific areas of specialization up to Doctor of Philosophy and who holds academic position in a University or similar Institution and who teaches and engages in research activities as well as leads or oversees research groups. Also, Lee Elliot (2006) described a University as an institution of higher education and research which grants academic degrees in variety of subjects and provides both undergraduate and postgraduate education.
In Nigeria, female lecturers posses relevant academic qualifications ranging from primary school to the University level. UNESCO (2004) listed academic qualifications to include First School Leaving Certificate at the Primary School level, Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSCE/NECO) at the Secondary School level, First Degree Certificate obtained at the University level and Masters and Ph.D obtained at Postgraduate level. These qualifications enable or equip these female lecturers to teach at the University level as Assistant Lecturers, Lecturers II, Lecturers I, Senior lecturers, Readers and Professors. With regard to the condition of service, the National Universities Commission (NUC, 2011) stipulates three (3) years interval for promotion of academic staff from one level to another, subject to fulfillment of other requirements which include research and publications. The salary range from assistant lecturer to professor always reflects the order of seniority such that the difference in salary of assistant lecturer and professor, among others, is enormous in addition to academic and related allowances per annum. The condition of service prepared by NUC ought to be for both Federal and State owned Universities. However, various State owned Universities tend to operate according to the whims and caprices of respective State Authorities and often pay less than what obtains at Federal Universities and sometimes engage in arbitrary deduction of salaries. The salary structure prepared by NUC prescribes a salary and allowances of about N250,000 per month for Lecturer 1, but different State Universities pay arbitrarily and differently such that Imo State University pays about N157,000 per month to same Lecturer 1. The prevalence of underpayment and lack of uniformity in salaries of various state owned Universities and labour disputes arising therein can not be over emphasized. The extent to which the salary disparities between State and Federal owned Universities influence the purchasing attitude of lecturers, particularly impulse buying need to be compared, so also the influence of salary differential across various ranks of lecturers. In addition to the above issues of salary disparities and differential, the influence of marital status of female lecturers need to be understood vis-à-vis their perception of impulse buying. Tindall (2004) noted that the young and unmarried female consumers purchase more of fashion outfits, entertainment and telecom gadgets, fast food and cosmetics as well as engage in travels. Tindall also observed that the working class category of unmarried consumers, including female lecturers, usually have a lot of discretionary income which pre-dispose them to a lot of unplanned and impulse buying unlike their married counterparts who are more cautious due to numerous family commitments and responsibilities.
The extent to which observed differences in purchasing pattern of married and unmarried female lecturers influence their perception of impulse buying need to be compared. Also female lecturers are chosen for this research study based on their education and training which enable them to examine critically and consciously every steps taken, more especially when making purchases with the limited financial resources, unlike their less educated counterparts who are likely to engage in impulse buying without being much conscious of their actions. More so, female lecturers in Universities in the North East Nigeria are chosen because preliminary investigation by the researcher revealed that impulse buying has become rampant among female consumers and female lecturers of higher institutions in the North East of Nigeria. Many supermarkets and other retail stores owners in various parts of the North East -Nigeria reported incidence of impulse buying among female consumers, including female lecturers around their area. Most often, female lecturers do this probably because they do not normally come out at will on account of cultural and religious beliefs. Their movements are often restricted by their husbands. Consequently, anytime they are out, they probably seize the opportunity to buy whatever they can lay hand on with little or no planning and this situation promotes impulse buying.
Consumers most times impulsively succumb to the attractions of large varieties of low price, small size, colourful, low weight, portable and branded goods attractively displayed in large retail stores and conventional open markets. The above scenario often times leads consumers to spend the limited financial resources on goods that may not be useful or not budgeted for (Bernard, 2003). Most often, unguided expenses through impulse buying have negatively affected the savings of consumers as well as leads to business collapses because of inability to plan for savings and financial capital to invest or sustain business. According to the result of preliminary studies conducted by the researcher, rampant cases of consumers buying expired drugs and other household consumer goods that are fake and of low quality on impulse due to low prices abound and these purchases are injurious to health and socio- economic well being of consumers. Similarly, small size goods are grossly inadequate for use by larger families and also, uneconomical when considered in terms of large scale economic benefit which stipulates that large scale purchases lead to low price per unit cost.
In some cases, the packages of fake or expired drugs and other packaged consumer goods are carefully redesigned by retailers in enticing colour combinations with new expiring dates attached, to attract impulse buying from unsuspecting consumers using the enticing colour combinations on the packages to deceive consumers to believe the goods or drugs are newly manufactured. Also, some consumers use portable and high capacity brand of handsets and laptops to commit internet fraud, examination malpractices and browsing of currupt Western films. Similarly, specific brand of jewelries and dresses in vogue are highly patronized, especially by women, for engaging in prostitutions. On account of restriction of their movements by their husbands due to cultural and religious beliefs, most female lecturers in North East Nigeria Universities engage on impulse buying of consumer goods that attract their sudden interest whenever they are opportuned to be in retail stores and this scenario leads to waste of limited financial resources and consequent economic and social problems.
Although, different categories of consumers, including female lecturers are attracted to impulse buying, it is not yet known exactly how these categories of consumers perceive impulse buying and determinants of impulse buying and whether consumers can as well engage in impulse buying conscientiously. More so, the high prevalence of impulse buying and consumers’ hesitation to associate with impulse buying habit is not only a serious contradiction but also stigmatizes impulse buying (Geof and Clive, 2004). Based on the foregoing issues and concerns and coupled with female lecturers’ academic profile, this research study intends to determine female lecturers’ perception of the determinants of impulse buying in Universities in North East Nigeria.
The major purpose of the study was to determine female lecturers’ perception of the determinants of impulse buying in the Universities in North East Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought the extent:
1. Low price goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria.
2. Small size goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria
3. Colour of goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria
4. Low weight goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria
5. Portable goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria
6. The brand of goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria
Significance of the Study
The findings of this research study would be of immense benefit to manufacturers, retailers, consumers, female lecturers, teachers of marketing courses and students of marketing. The findings of this research study would equip manufacturers of consumer goods to understand the new and current features or characteristics of consumer goods in vogue which attracts consumers into impulse buying habit. With understanding of changing taste of consumers and attendant production technology, manufacturers would always improve the quality of their products and keep abreast with trends of demands with its attendant profit maximization. Such new trends which include new brand, colour, size, portable nature and improved quality can induce impulse buying among consumers. Dissemination of information on new techniques of production through seminar, conferences and workshops would help to sensitize manufacturers about new trends and technology of production which aim at inducing consumers to buy such products on impulse.
Retailers of consumer goods would also benefit from the findings of this research because they would be sensitized on the need and techniques or strategies for the display of large varieties of low price, small size, colourful and branded goods in an attractive manner both in front of their stores and counters inside their retail stores to attract a significant share of consumers’ impulse purchase. This practice of display ultimately results to rapid sales turnover and consequent profit maximization. Once information on the above strategies and display of consumer goods are relayed to retailers through further training and seminar on sales promotion, among others, retailers would be highly equipped to adopt all relevant strategies.
Advertising agents would also benefit from the study because they would apply and utilize the colour combination and designs on packages of consumer goods, the brand of such goods, the low price and portable nature of the goods as instruments of advertising campaign and production of advertisement materials. The effective utilization of colour and brand on advertising media like Billboards, Magazines, News Papers, Radio and Television is of immense value or benefit and attracts impulse buying because this research study reveals the fact that different colours of goods attract different emotions, feelings, concerns, attitudes, and behavior among different categories of individuals resulting to increased sales turnover and maximum profit. This in turn results to more requests for advertising services by retailers and manufacturers.
Consumers of goods would also benefit because, through sensitization of the media, consumers would make informed choice of goods to be purchased based on brand, colour or price. Low income consumers and other categories of consumers who prefer to buy on piece meal basis would always have the benefit of buying according to other financial capacity and desires. Female lecturers would also benefit in their capacity as consumers and they would further utilize their education and training to analyze more critically, their purchasing habit especially as it concerns impulse buying.
Teachers of marketing courses would benefit because impulse buying would be inculcated or included to enrich the curriculum of marketing as a field of study. For instance, such topics as brand of goods and impulse buying would expose the fact that brand is the most valuable company assets which produce consumers goodwill and influences tremendous amount of impulse buying. Therefore, teachers would be challenged to seek to expand the curriculum of marketing with reference to such topics as low price goods and impulse buying, small size goods and impulse buying, colour of goods and impulse buying, low weight and portable goods and impulse buying as well as brand of goods and impulse buying. By so doing, impulse buying will constitute a course unit in marketing as against the present arrangement where no text book in Marketing has ever devoted reasonable spaces or pages to discuss impulse buying. The little discussions ever devoted to impulse buying often appear in journals and this may be part of reasons why impulse buying as a concept seems to be relegated.
Students of marketing education will immensely benefit based on the above mentioned expansion of impulse buying study as one the major courses in Markting. The above measures or development will open up the minds of students and even the general public to the importance of impulse buying and the study of impulse buying.
The following research questions formulated guided the study:
1. To what extent do low-price goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria?
2. To what extent do small-size goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria?
3. To what extent does the colour of goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria?
4. To what extent do low-weight goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria?
5. To what extent do portable goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria?
6. To what extent do the brands of goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying by female lecturers in Universities in North East Nigeria?
The following null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.
H01: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of female lecturers in the State and Federal Universities on the extent low price goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying in Universities in North East Nigeria.
H02: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of married and unmarried female lecturers on the extent small size goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying in Universities in North East Nigeria.
H03: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of female Assistant lecturers, lecturers II and Lecturers I on the extent colour of goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying in Universities in North East Nigeria.
H04: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of female Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors on the extent brand of goods constitute a determinant of impulse buying in Universities in North East Nigeria.
Delimitation of the Study
The study is delimited to female lecturers’ perception of the determinants of impulse buying in the Universities in North East Nigeria. It covered the issues relating to the extent low price goods, small size goods, colour of goods, low weight goods, portable goods and brand of goods constitute determinants of female lecturers’ impulse buying of such goods. It also covered issues pertaining to whether female lecturers in Federal and State Universities, married and unmarried and in different academic ranks perceive the above determinants in similar manner or not. No attempt will be made to cover other issues not contextually related to the ones enumerated above.
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