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The behavioral economics of consumer brand choice: patterns of reinforcement and utility maximization

Foxall, Gordon Robert, Oliveira-Castro, Jorge M. and Schrezenmaier, Teresa Caroline 2004. The behavioral economics of consumer brand choice: patterns of reinforcement and utility maximization. Behavioural processes 66 (3) , pp. 235-260. 10.1016/j.beproc.2004.03.007

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Abstract

Purchasers of fast-moving consumer goods generally exhibit multi-brand choice, selecting apparently randomly among a small subset or “repertoire� of tried and trusted brands. Their behavior shows both matching and maximization, though it is not clear just what the majority of buyers are maximizing. Each brand attracts, however, a small percentage of consumers who are 100%-loyal to it during the period of observation. Some of these are exclusively buyers of premium-priced brands who are presumably maximizing informational reinforcement because their demand for the brand is relatively price-insensitive or inelastic. Others buy exclusively the cheapest brands available and can be assumed to maximize utilitarian reinforcement since their behavior is particularly price-sensitive or elastic. Between them are the majority of consumers whose multi-brand buying takes the form of selecting a mixture of economy- and premium-priced brands. Based on the analysis of buying patterns of 80 consumers for 9 product categories, the paper examines the continuum of consumers so defined and seeks to relate their buying behavior to the question of how and what consumers maximize.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 03766357
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:47
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/2692

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