The research focus to study the buying pattern of Indian consumers for cosmetic products. This paper attempt to identify the various factors that impact or influences the customers for buying a product. The study reveals that different factors like quality, price, advertisement, packaging and brand have significant impact on consumer buying behavior. This paper helps to contribute to the knowledge or give an extra idea to cosmetic companies so that they can understand the purchasing behavior of the consumers.
Keywords: Consumer buying pattern, Cosmetics, Quality, Brand name, Advertising, Price, Product labelling, Purchase Intention
In today’s world, the customer’s demand and the power of the retailers is tremendously growing due to competitive environment and changing business. It is vital to have a long term relationship with customers and it became necessary for both survival and success of producers. Nowadays in the market a tremendous growth is experienced by the beauty products and has become one of the leading industry in the world. In Indian scenario too, the consumption and using of cosmetic products have increased rapidly. In our country, annually 15-20% of cosmetics market is reportedly growing. Comparing to other beauty products, demand for skin whitening is driving the trend. As consumer’s awareness about appearance, beauty, grooming and choice of personal care products increases results in the increasing demand of cosmetics and beauty products in the market. Manufactures are likely to be aggressive to identify consumers’ needs and requirements across all categories in cosmetics. Customers purchase products based on their preferences, needs and buying power.
Media have an idea about how the customers in this era can be targeted and they have the power to change their thinking way through their emotions, wants, needs and demands. Market researchers and organizations is conducting a plenty of studies and they are spending billions of dollars to identify the important factors that influence consumer’s cosmetic consumption. The customer’s purchase decision is now becoming a complex process. Consumer’s behavior, perceptions and attitudes determine their purchase intentions. To evaluate and access a specific product, purchase behavior becomes a key point for consumers
Key to the success of any business organizations lies in the hands of customers. Understanding their needs, wants and their buying behavior determines the organization success. To predict the future trends, marketing personnel are analyzing the customers buying behavior pattern. The term Consumer behavior is defined as the analysis of when, why, why and how people purchase a product. In ancient days’ people don’t prefer to buy cosmetic products, as they know the harmful effect of using these artificial but now the trend has changed. Youth and adults in India are more concerned about their looks and for that they prefer to buy cosmetics products.
Consumer’s cosmetic consumption depends on different attributes like Price, Quality, Brand name, Brand loyalty and Labeling. All these attributes now become a new trend in the market. Currently, people are falling for quality, branded and cheap priced products. Early days price was the only factor in the mindset of people. But now, all these factors have a major role in dominating the market.
The main purpose of this study is to contribute to a knowledge and better understanding of consumer buying behavior towards cosmetic purchasing and what all are the factors influencing the consumers in purchasing cosmetics.
CONSUMER BUYING BEHAVIOR
Consumer buying behavior is a decision process as well as an attitude of the people involved in purchasing and using products. Consumers make purchase decisions for buying small as well as large products. After recognizing a need or a want, consumers begin searching for products or services that fit their requirements.
Their decision depends upon many criteria. However, consumer purchases have happened much before their actual purchase. Marketing plays an important role in this. Marketing & Advertising have a strong positive impact on buying behavior of consumers, and they directly influence consumer buying a product from a company that she/he is well aware of. In ancient days, consumers were not bothered about the attributes before buying a product. But there comes a tremendous change in the consumer buying behavior of the 21st Century.
Consumer purchase decision has now become a complex process. Purchase intention is usually related to the perceptions, attitude and behavior of consumers. Consumers considered purchase behavior as a key point to access and evaluate specific product. Ghosh (1990) states that to predict buying behavior of consumers, purchase intention is an effective tool. Due to the influence of price, quality and value there is a possibility for changing purchase intention. Gogoi (2013) state that during the buying process, consumers are influenced by external as well as internal motivations. Kotler & Armstrong (2010) & Kawa et al (2013) talks about the six stages which are: knowledge, awareness, preference, interest, persuasion and purchase that researchers have proposed before planning or deciding to buy the product. Gogoi (2013) states that, Customers have an intuition that products that are little known, low cost, and simple packaging have a high chance of risk because the quality and value of these products is not trustable.
CONSUMER PURCHASING DECISION TOWARDS COSMETICS
Before buying a product, Consumers walk or move through a series of steps. They emphasis the product in a way that it should satisfy their needs and have good quality with low or more affordable price, and should deliver them with value added features.
Consumer buying pattern differ when comes to the product quality, price, status, features, packaging. They mostly follow the rhythm of fashion and this changing preference affect their buying pattern. To identify and predict this changing behavior, marketers spend million rupees every year for market research. Currently the marketers are facing difficulties to understand and target the consumer’s behavior because they are flourished by the different varieties, affordable price and changing trend in the market of cosmetics.
Consumers preference are changing along with time.
Five stages of consumer buying behavior
There are mainly five steps/ stages in consumer decision process
1. Recognition of problem
Recognition of a problem starts when a customer realizes a problem or need. In all phases of life, humans are considered to be the customers of one company or another. And they have requirements and needs which have to be fulfilled at each phase. These requirements may be low or high involved ones. The first step of consumer buying behavior starts when the customer realizes that he needs or wants something.
2. Search for information
Once a customer identifies a problem, the next step is to adequate enough information to solve the problem. The extent of search for information depends on the customer’s level of involvement in the purchase. The major source of information which influence the consumer’s buying behavior are – Advertisements, Friends, Public, commercials and experience.
3. Evaluation of alternatives
Evaluating alternative is the next stage of the consumer decision process. In this stage the Consumer will find the alternatives. They will compare and understand what they know about the alternative products and brands with what they considered the most.
4. Purchase decision
After making a decision whether or not to purchase, a consumer might move through the first decision process as it plans and intends to purchase a particular brand or product.
In this step, after critically analyzing each stage in the decision process, final purchase is made.
Cosmetic products are referred as beauty care substances which can be made either with natural substances or chemical compounds to enhance both odour and appearance of human body. Cosmetic products are using to beautify human appearance. Today people are more concerned about self-personality and self-consciousness, hence the demand for cosmetic products is increasing rapidly. Without affecting the body’s structure or functions, cosmetic products are intended to be applied for promoting attractiveness, beautifying, cleansing or altering the appearance of human body. There are many leading cosmetic companies which are globally well established such as The L’Oreal Group, The Procter & Gamble Company, Unilever, Shiseido Company Ltd and Estee Lauder Companies Inc. Cosmetic products have modernized not only the foreign countries but also Indian society and eventually Indian customers, especially youth and adults who have now started purchasing various cosmetic brands viz. Lakme, L’Oreal, Avon, Mac and Chambor, Pond’s, Fair & Lovely, Maybelline, Color Bar, Dove, Elle 18, Revlon, Clinique, and Garnier. There are many factors that consumers will look for before buying a cosmetic product: Brand, Quality, Labelling, Price, Advertisement.
The Brand is considered as a name and symbol of a company. Brand plays an important role in creating a positive image among customers. Brand name have the ability to create loyal customers as well as to retain companies market share. Loyal customers always remain loyal to a brand, do repurchase and through word of mouth they recommend it to others. Erics (2012), state brand loyalty as the willingness of customers to pay high price for a particular brand against its alternatives. Molla & Licker (2001) in their study show that loyal customers are great asset to a firm as they bring profitability and growth to a company.
Irshad (2012), show’s that there is a strong relationship between purchase intention and brand equity among customers. Azizi & Ajini (2012) found a positive relationship between brand equity and to recommending brand to others. Zeeshan (2013) in his study found that brand image has a significant effect on the purchase intention of men. Divolf (2005) states that high brand awareness has a positive impact on influencing consumer to buy that brand. Many research shows that branded product has a significant impact on purchase intention.
Singh J.D. (1981) state that Indian consumer’s preferences for a product is changing and now they are becoming more brand loyal. They have single or multiple brand loyalty depending upon the nature of the product and they are: quality, habit of use and regular availability of the product.
Debiprasd Mukherjee (2012), states that brand loyalty have a connection with the celebrities on the brand. Consumers show high brand loyalty for brands with images of celebrity that they aspire to be like.
Loudon and Della Bitta (1988), states that from different resources, customers get a thought or feeling about brand image. Customers prefer familiar brand because of high quality and less purchase risk.
Mrs. HemaPatil and Dr.BBakkappa (2012) says that global brands understand and fulfill the needs and wants of the customers through quality products and that is the reason behind consumers prefer to buy cosmetics of preferential brands.
Kotler (2000) in his study contends that brand is referred as a name, term, symbol, design or all the above, and it is used to distinguish a company’s products and services from their competitors.
Keller (1993) in his study, defines brand image as a consumer’s memory towards a product based on their perception or association.
Thus, brand image is brought out by advertisements, promotions and it does not exist in the technology, features or the actual product itself. Brand image helps a consumer to recognize a product, evaluate the quality, reduces their purchase risks, and obtain certain experience and increases the satisfaction level.
Grewal, Krishnan, Baker, and Borin (1998), found out that consumers give more recognition to a product quality if it has a better brand image. Richardson, Dick and Jain (1994) state that consumers get confused during actual purchase time due to their lack of time and product knowledge. But brand image and brand loyalty helps the customer to make a quick product decision.
Akaah and Korgaonkar (1988) conclude that to lower the purchase risk, consumers always prefer to purchase well-known brands with positive brand image.
Rao and Monroe (1988) also support this argument that positive image of a brand have a direct effect on lowering product perception risk and an increase in positive feedback from customers. Therefore, consumers have a believe that well-known brands can increase their satisfaction level and decrease purchase risk.
Quality of a product plays an important role in assessing purchase intention. It can be termed as a process of continuous improvement because the product performance and satisfaction of customers will increase due to continuous changes. Zeeshan, (2013), state that quality is an important tool for creating competitive advantage. Tariq et al (2013), in his study he argues that Quality should need to be improved every moment. Chi et al. (2008) state that purchasing intention of customers depend upon the product quality and it have a positive impact on it. Tsiotsou (2005 and 2006) found that high quality product creates higher customer purchase intention than low quality products.
Jalilvand et al. (2011) found that product quality has a direct and positive impact on customer purchase intention. Other researchers also found that quality creates an impact on customer purchse decision.
KisanShivajirao Desai (2014) states, for purchasing cosmetic products consumers are found to be more quality conscious because they wait for the brand during non-availability. Shahzad khan (2011) defines quality as how excellent and worse the things are or highly valued.
P. Priyanga1, Dr. R. Krishnaveni (2016) states that, when a women consumer turns brand loyal it is due to the quality of beauty care product. High quality cosmetics helps to build and maintain the confidence of targeted customers and convince them to purchase it. Customers are concerned about the quality of cosmetic products before deciding to purchase them. To remain competitive among the competitor’s cosmetic firms, should increase and concentrate more on improving the quality of products.
Russell and Taylor (2006) explains quality as “fitness for use” or ‘conformance to requirement”. Indian consumers are interested in high quality product with less price. Even if the price is high they are willing to buy if it has the stated quality. Quality plays an important role in consumer purchase decision. To reduce the perception risk and to meet their needs and wants, consumers always prefer quality products.
Rahimniya et al (1391), in his research says packaging in its new role acts as the representative of manufacturer and through this position it can be used as the carrier of advertising messages, purchase motivational tool, and the carrier of company slogan. Yang (2004), states that proper packaging helps to create distinctiveness for most of the companies. Companies understand the needs of packaging and how a slight change in packaging results in their profitability. Therefore, companies are now focusing on different aspects of packaging and how it can help to reap high productivity and profitability.
Deng (2009), states that customers will look for the packaging style of food products. The visual aspect of labelling and packaging has an important role in the food purchase process because it has a direct relation with customer and its effect on customer mind. As Cahyorini and Rusfian (2011) states that packaging definitely have strong impact on purchase decision. During the time of unplanned purchases, customers are attracted by the color, labelling and totally the appearance of the product. Rahimniya et al. (2012) in his study state that for purchasing food products there is an impact of functional and visual aspects of packaging. Aghazadeh et al (1390) and Deng (2009) in their study state that there is a positive impact of packaging on customer purchase and it shows a direct relationship between packaging and customer purchase. Khraim (2011), according to his study packaging, brand loyalty and customer purchase intention these three are related to each other. packaging has a significant impact on brand loyalty which in turn have a positive effect on customers purchase intention. Kawa et al. (2013) in his study also showed a significant positive impact of packaging on customer’s product purchase intention.
Kotler and Armstrong (2010), in their study gives an explanation about price as the money that customers used to exchange in terms of service or product, or the value they receive. Levy & Weitz (2012), states that Loyal customers are ready to buy a product even if it cost high. Company always give more attention and care to loyal customers and take necessary steps to retain them as they bring more profit to the firm. Wickliffe & Pysarchik (2001) states that product features (brand and price) will definitely have an inherent impact on customer behavior.
Hermann et al (2007) studies showed that price and customer satisfaction are related. For purchasing a product price plays an important part and it has a significant impact on the satisfaction level of the customers. In another research, lee et al (2010) studied and identified the consumer perception of price and its impact on purchase decision. Khraim (2011), state that for a loyal customer price doesn’t matter and it effect on the purchase decision of customers.
Cadogan and Foster (2000), according to them, for an average customer price is an important factor and they are concerned about that. For their favored brand, loyal customers are willing to pay premium price and therefor there purchasing intention is not affected by price. Keller (2013), state that before making actual purchase, customers make a comparison and evaluate price with alternative brands because customers have a strong faith or belief in the value and benefit they get from their favorite brand. Comparing price with value and perceived cost is the best method to build customer satisfaction. It is observed that consumers are willing to purchase a product if the perceived values are greater than cost of the product. Long –life duration of customers with a brand makes them more price tolerant and they didn’t show any interest in making price comparison with the alternatives.
It is through price; a company communicate its value positioning of products or brands to the market. Sproles and Kendall (1986), explained price consciousness as finding the best value of a product and purchasing at a lowest price.
Advertising can be considered as a subset of marketing mix that is 4p (price, place, product, and promotion). For promotion of a product, one of the main strategies used is advertising. In order to make awareness of a product in the mind of a potential customers, advertising is an important tool and it influence the customer’s decision to buy a product. Abideen and Latif (2011) states that, through advertising manufacturers create an emotional link with customers and it will long last in the mind of the consumers.
If an advertising is attractive, then customers pays more focus on that and thereby creates a feeling towards the product and that leads to the way of brand promotion. Those who have loyal feeling shows a positive attitude towards a brand. Tang et al (2007), in his study found that positive response to certain advertising or brand increases the positive evaluation. Bostan & Nabsyeh, (2012) in their research on Malaysian consumers found that advertising is a powerful tool which plays an important part to affect and inform consumer behavior. Abideen and Latif (2011) in their study paper found that there is an impact of advertising on consumer buying behavior.
The main attempt of this study is to figured out the factors that affect the consumer’s consumption of cosmetic products. Through this study, it was identified that the five factors, product quality, price, brand name, packaging and advertising have greater impact on customer purchase decision. Consumers go through the rigorous thought process in making their buying decisions,
since there are alternative products which compete in the areas close proximity, relatively cheaper price, quality, etc. Brand, Quality and price are one among the strong competing factors in the decision making process. When it comes to beauty products, it is even more intense that all the five factors play a major role in consumer buying decision. Manufacturers and retailers of beauty products must have this thought at the back of their mind as they embark on the marketing of their products.