Consumer knowledge and its implications for aspects of consumer purchasing behaviour in the case of information-intensive products

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to better understand consumer knowledge, its constituents, antecedents and consequences or implications for other consumer behaviours so as to assist wine marketers and marketers of other information-intensive products with their marketing strategy development.  Wine is a complex product difficult for consumers to evaluate particularly prior to purchase but it is also a difficult product for marketers.  Wine has a very large number of both intrinsic and extrinsic attributes.  As a result of the numerous attributes and the multitude of combinations of these attributes there is a plethora of wine brands available making for a highly competitive industry and a complicated product for consumers.   Consumer knowledge affects all aspects of consumer purchasing behaviour and is thus an important phenomenon for marketers to research and understand.  Consumer knowledge also affects all aspects of the marketing strategy developed to satisfy target segments.  Marketing decision makers need to understand consumers to be able to analyze and profile segments, choose target markets and develop marketing strategies that will best align with those target markets.  Calls particularly for better understanding of different segments within the wine market provide justification for this research.The research problem was divided into three components: Consumer wine knowledge constituents, Antecedents of consumer wine knowledge and the Implications of consumer wine knowledge.  The latter component of the research problem explored the implications of consumer wine knowledge for segmentation, as well as the relationships between consumer wine knowledge and exploratory purchasing behaviour, variety-seeking behaviour and opinion leadership and opinion-seeking behaviours. This study provides evidence of the existence of two distinct constituents of consumer knowledge i.e. what consumers know (objective knowledge) and what they think they know (subjective knowledge) and these constituents in the context of wine are significantly related.  However it is also clear that these constituents are significantly different, with different antecedents and implications for other consumer behaviours.  This study provides a visual depiction of a simplistic nomological map developed for the construct of consumer knowledge based on the studies reported in this thesis in the context of an information-intensive product such as wine.  Objective knowledge is largely driven by demographic antecedents, specifically age, gender and education while subjective knowledge is mostly driven by, or affected by consumption.  On the implications side of the map, objective knowledge significantly positively correlates with exploratory acquisition, and opinion leadership while subjective knowledge is positively related to opinion leadership and negatively to opinion-seeking behaviours.  Theoretical implications as well as recommendations for wine marketers and researchers are provided.

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