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Table of Contents

ABSTRACT 6

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 7

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1.1 Contextual Information on the Study 7

1.1.0 Introducing the Topic and its Context 7

1.1.1 Locating the Topic within Current Academic Literature 8

1.1.2 Drawing from Non-academic Literature 9

1.1.3 Contemporary Nature of the Study 9

1.2 Stating Problem of the Study 10

1.3 Purpose of the Study 10

1.4 The Objectives 11

1.4.1 The General Objective 11

1.4.2 Precise Objectives 11

1.5 The Questions of the Study 11

1.6 Study’s Significance 12

1.7 Study’s Scope 12

1.8 Chapter Summary 12

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE 13

2.0 Introduction 13

2.1 Review of Preceding Studies 14

2.1.1 Celebrity Endorsement on Consumer Online Buying Behaviour 14

2.1.2 Celebrity Endorsement on Consumer Perception with regard to a Product or Brand 19

2.1.3 Correlation of Celebrity Endorsement and Consumer Behaviour 21

2.2 Theoretical Review 22

2.2.1 The Game Theory in Marketing 22

2.2.2 The Marketing Mix Theory 23

2.2.3 Consumer Behaviour Theory 25

2.3 The Conceptual Framework 26

2.4 Operationalization of variables 27

2.5 Review of Figures on Online Retail Market 28

2.6 Chapter Summary 28

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY 30

3.0 Introduction 30

3.1 The Design Selected 30

3.2 Nature of Data to be collected 30

3.3 Target Population 31

3.4 Sampling Technique 31

3.5 The Size of the Sample 32

3.6 Instruments that will be used in collecting Data 32

3.7 Procedures of Analysing Data 33

3.8 Limitations of the Study Approach 33

3.9 Ethical Considerations 34

3.10 Chapter Summary 34

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION 35

4.0 Introduction 35

4.1 The Response Rate 35

4.2 Bio-data Information 36

4.2.1 Respondents’ Gender 36

4.2.2 Age of the Respondents 36

4.2.3 Education 37

4.2.4 Employment 38

4.3 Influence of Superstar on Consumer Online Buying Behaviour 39

4.3.1 Purchasing Products Associated with Celebrities 39

4.3.2 Likelihood of Purchasing Celebrity Endorsed Items 40

4.4 Impact of Celebrities on Consumer Perception to Products and Brands 41

4.4.1 Trusting Endorsing Celebrity’s Opinion who has Never Used the Product 41

4.4.2 Use of Famous and Non-famous Celebrities 42

4.5 Correlation between Endorsement and Consumer Online Buying Behaviour 43

4.5.1 Effects of Negative Media Coverage Regarding a Celebrity 43

4.5.2 Buying a Celebrity Endorsed Product due to Peer Pressure 44

4.6 Critical Discussion of Findings in Relation to Literature Reviewed 45

4.7 Chapter Summary 46

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSIONS 47

5.0 Conclusions to the Study 47

5.1 Discussions 48

5.2 Summary and Recommendations 49

References 51

Appendix A 56

List of Tables

Table 4.1: Response Rate 35

Table 4.2 Respondents’ Gender 35

Table 4.3: The Age of the Respondents 36

Table 4.4: Education 37

List of Figures

Figure 2.1: A Conceptual Framework 28

Figure 4.1: Employment 40

Figure 4.2: Purchasing Items Associated to Celebrities 41

Figure 4.3: Probability of Buying Celebrity Endorsed Items Online 42

Figure 4.4: Trusting Celebrity’s Opinion 43

Figure 4.5: Use of Famous Celebrities 44

Figure 4.6: Celebrities’ Negative Media Coverage 45

Figure 4.7: Peer influence with Regard to Celebrity Endorsement 46

 

Investigation Of The Impact Of Celebrity Endorsement On Consumers’ Online Buying Behaviour

Abstract

This study was focused to determine the influence of celebrity endorsement especially on online buying behaviour of consumers. The study had specific concern on ensuring that appropriate information on celebrity endorsement is documented which can be used in ensuring that modern business environment benefits from the concept. Further, the study sought to evaluate how online marketing has evolved to the extent of using celebrities as ambassadors for brands, businesses and non-governmental organizations.

The study adopted a good and objective approach by allowing the respondents to vividly express their opinions concerning the topic of study. The study focused on all age groups of people although by chance majority of the respondents happened to be the youth who have advanced well in academic and professional development. In overall, the study employed a descriptive approach and collected data form 10 respondents from different regions in UK. The findings confirm most of the reviewed literatures’ findings with a few discrepancies. The purposes of the study and the enquiries were answered satisfactorily, confirming that independent variables had an impact on the dependent variable with accessibility to internet through information technology. However, it is of great importance to note that perhaps the study would have focused on a greater sample population so as to collect divergent views.

The study also had various limitations which include: time constraint that led to limitation of the study’s scope to a small sample; human error that would have resulted in framing of questions which perhaps would have resulted in misunderstanding among different respondents; failure to undertake a pre-test in order to test the validity of data collection instruments; and also accidentally selecting more females than males.

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Contextual Information on the Study

1.1.0 Introducing the Topic and its Context

In today’s business world, most businesses have resorted to the application of more sophisticated approaches of marketing in order to be able to compete favourably and attract customers to their businesses (Mosca and Gallo 2016, p.28). Celebrity endorsement is basically the approach of using well-known people such as sportsmen, actors, musicians among others in product promotion and marketing (Waters 2011, p.74). The strategy is used by companies, non-profit making organizations, brands, and any other forms of businesses by typically employing a celebrity’s social status so as to enhance the marketing efforts in order to gain consumer loyalty to a business or range of products (Shimp 2010, p.22). Ideally, the principal concept is that marketers are more often than not optimistic that the positive image accrued to a celebrity will definitely be passed down to the product or business (Marshment 2014, p.93).

Additionally, some businesses do not only use celebrities to promote products but also as a means of branding their products; an act that is commonly known as celebrity endorsement (King 2015, p.35, a). Irrespective of the approach employed, the main concern is that celebrities are usually believed to be in apposition to influence and convince many buyers in order to make organizations gain unconditional positive regard from customers as far as products and services are concerned (Kotler 2012, p.13). It is important to note that most celebrities usually have very excellent communication and media skills, a fact that places them at a better chance to be brand ambassadors of companies, non-profit making organizations and brands as well (King 2015, p.85, a). This form of marketing is applicable in any platform of marketing but more importantly in online buying through social media platforms and company websites too (King 2015, p.74, b).

1.1.1 Locating the Topic within Current Academic Literature

As a matter of fact, there have been numerous efforts by majority of researchers and academicians in undertaking various methodological studies aimed at exploring the concept of celebrity endorsement in marketing, in the modern business environment. Ahmed, Seedani, Ahuja and Paryani assert that celebrity endorsement is a fundamental approach especially on the current century in which technological advancements have taken roots and hence important to be studied (Ahmed et al 2015, p.1). Some of the significant benefits of this method of marketing as indicated by the authors include brand recognition, positive image, a market entry strategy to new consumers, and a means of creating a long-lasting impression concerning a product (Ahmed et al 2015, p.8). In this regard, this area has gained attention from various researchers as it contributed greatly to marketing philosophies recognizing the new era in which social media and other forms of electronic (technological) market such as e-commerce have become enormously common (Kurtz and Boone 2010, p.41).

1.1.2 Drawing from Non-academic Literature

Fundamentally, the concept of celebrity endorsement is a greater concern for corporates and business people in the modern society considering the influence celebrities have on people (particularly their fans and supporters) (Bowen and Clarke 2009, p.32). For instance, in the contemporary business community, Michael Jordan (the great and famous sportsman) has been in the fore-front in supporting and endorsing “Hanes” clothing brand for a period of more than ten years for now. Another example is the influence of Britney Spears on “Pepsi” soft drink that is widely purchased by young people globally (Keillor 2007, p.45). These are among the many examples in which marketing messages have been taken on the internet and consumers are influenced to buy such products in addition to building brand loyalty (Dahlen and Lange 2010, p.11).

1.1.3 Contemporary Nature of the Study

As far as this marketing tactic is concerned, there are many successful and unsuccessful campaigns that have been launched and others still continue to be in operation throughout the word (Greenwood 2013, p.56). While focusing on the new trends and developments in technology, online buying and selling has become the best option for most businesses selling both goods and services (Kennedy and Kessler 2012, p.18). In this regard, this concept is a modern ideology which is significantly relevant and commendable to be researched (Hoyle 2002, p.30).

1.2 Stating Problem of the Study

Since companies have resolved into adopting online (e-commerce) businesses in which people are exposed to advertisements meant to capture attention and subsequently attract them to buy items, this research therefore is relevant in establishing the cost-benefit of using celebrities as a competitive strategy in marketing (Kaser and Oelkers 2008, p.10). Primarily, marketing experts say that in business it is important to identify and understand the approaches used by a business’s competitors, so that it becomes easier to design approaches to counter them (Ang 2013, p.21). Since it is obvious that majority of businesses are using this approach and most likely it is working for them well, it is of paramount importance to have an analysis of the merits and demerits, in terms of benefits and costs, and if indeed it is an appropriate strategy especially in the contemporary world (Choudhury 2015, p.71). Further, this study looks into the issue holistically with intent of determining if indeed the businesses adopting this strategy have already benefited from it or not (Stadtler 2011, p.36). Although it has become a widely used approach, there is no exhaustive study to identify potential dangers in relying on celebrities or even the negative impacts they may cause on the products and businesses (Blakeman 2014, p.78). This study will seek to address pertinent issues surrounding the concept and its relevance in the modern world.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The aim is to ensure that appropriate information on celebrity endorsement is documented that can be used in ensuring that modern business environment benefits from the concept. Further, the study will seek to evaluate how online marketing has evolved to the extent of using celebrities as ambassadors for brands, businesses and non-governmental organizations.

1.4 The Objectives

This study’s objectives will be categorized into two; the overall (general) and the specific objectives as presented below.

1.4.1 The General Objective

This study’s general objective is to investigate the impact of celebrity endorsement on consumers’ online buying behaviour.

1.4.2 Precise Objectives

The precise objectives for this research will be as follows;

  1. Investigating celebrity endorsement impact to consumer online purchasing behaviour;
  2. Examining celebrity endorsement impact on consumer perception with regards to a product or brand; and
  3. To critically analyse the correlation between celebrity endorsement and consumer online behaviour.

1.5 The Questions of the Study

From the objectives (specific) above, the study questions can be formulated as follows;

  1. What is the impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer online buying behaviour?
  2. What is the impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer perception with regard to product or brand?
  3. What is the correlation between celebrity endorsement and consumer online buying behaviour?

1.6 Study’s Significance

The research will be of great importance to various stakeholders such as the business community, online consumers, and the celebrities. The business community (corporates) will basically use the knowledge from this research in determining whether using celebrities in marketing is a worthwhile concept. Secondly, the online consumers can benefit from this study by establishing whether the influence on them by celebrities is founded on good grounds and fairness. Finally, the celebrities can as well use the study findings in determining if their influence is beneficial to both parties (organizations and consumers).

1.7 Study’s Scope

The focus will be on online businesses, and specifically consumers while investigating the role played by celebrities. The study will target individuals who use social media and seek to interview them on various dimensions considered necessary in relation to the topic of study.

1.8 Chapter Summary

The section has covered contextual information of the study, and in particular has given a brief introduction of the topic of study and its context. Efforts of locating the topic within current academic literature and non-academic literature as well have been made. The chapter has also covered the topic’s nature on contemporary world. Further, statement of problem, questions of the study, objectives of study, significance and scope of the research have been given. The next chapter will cover literature review as well as conceptual framework.

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF LITERATURE

2.0 Introduction

The topic will start by presenting the previous studies clearly indicating the methodologies that were applied in each case, findings of the studies, and possible gaps as documented by different authors. A theoretical review will then be presented followed by a conceptual framework that will basically cover the variables as identified by specific objectives and study questions. Finally, a conclusion will be presented after an operationalization of variables.

2.1 Review of Preceding Studies

In this review, emphasis will be put on the studies that have focused on the three specific objectives which include: “impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer online buying behaviour; impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer perception with regard to a product or brand; and the correlation of celebrity endorsement and consumer buying behaviour”.

2.1.1 Celebrity Endorsement on Consumer Online Buying Behaviour

A study by Anmol and Javeed in 2014 on “impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer buying behaviour” that employed an empirical approach by targeting 50 respondents from among young people sought to collect views concerning the influence of celebrities in online buying behaviour (Anmol and Javeed 2014, p.176). The study employed convenient sampling approach to collect the responses from the target population through emails and online social platforms (Anmol and Javeed 2014, p.177). There were several findings obtained by the researchers. Firstly, they established that consumers are usually influenced to make purchases of things they need through the online platforms greatly by the presence and endorsement of the celebrities by different business organizations (Anmol and Javeed 2014, p.187). It was noted that the main contribution by celebrities is enhancing accessibility to product information which is more attractive than when other advertising and marketing techniques are applied according to views of the young people interviewed. Additionally, it was established that the enhanced awareness caused by this strategy makes individuals to get know the availability of products and services hence motivating them to buy (Anmol and Javeed 2014, p.187).

In contrast to the above findings, the study also established that some consumers believed that some products which are endorsed by celebrities are actually not used by the very people who endorse them (Anmol and Javeed 2014, p.187). Further, there was a feeling among the respondents that in terms of quality, some of the products as much as they are being advertised by such personalities may not be of good quality (Anmol and Javeed 2014, p.187). This was supported further by some of the consumers who indicated that purchase decisions are actually influenced by quality as opposed to advertisement as far as their decisions were concerned. Finally, it was found out that there are those who were for the idea that in situations where the celebrities are changed frequently, then the buying decisions of such products are also discouraged and hence resorting to substitute goods and brands (Anmol and Javeed 2014, p.187).

Another study was carried out by Malik and Muhammad in 2016 on “the impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer buying behaviour”. The study employed an exploratory design in investigating the possible relationships between the variables that were being investigated. From the findings, it is evident that indeed celebrity endorsement influences consumer buying behaviour especially on online platforms. Further, it was established that gender of the endorsers is one of the influencing factors as well as attractiveness, credibility and the frequency of ads displayed online (Malik and Muhammad, p.123).

Malik and his colleague elaborated that, since in today’s marketing environment competition has become so stiff, marketers all over the world are competing against each other for a limited number of potential buyers or consumers through different platforms such as television, radio, websites, billboards, newspapers and magazines, for just a slight percentage of their time so as to ensure that they are captured to get to know the uniqueness in the products they advertise. However, it has become a modern issue that celebrities are put in the process so as to ensure that attraction is well created and that consumers can be influenced by the fact that these celebrities are their favourites when it comes to different areas of entertainment, sports and comedy (Malik and Muhammad, p.122).

The study had a clear focus which included: establishing consumers’ perception concerning the current trend of increased ads by “social marketers” or celebrities as they are commonly referred to, especially in individual behaviours of making purchases for services and goods on online platforms; investigating the apparent effectiveness that accrue to firms that are using endorsements of celebrities to market their products; identifying and narrowing down possible key factors that might be contributing towards consumers being influenced by such personalities; and finally examining various impacts of such personalities on consumption intentions among consumers (Malik and Muhammad 2016, p.113). The findings found a close relationship between the mentioned variables and consumer buying behaviour in which the consumers endowed a lot of trust to such characters and consequently ended up making their minds for the products as opposed to those not endorsed by personages (Malik and Muhammad 2016, p.126).

Despite these findings, it was evident from their study that to some people, their purchase purposes are more often than not disrupted or negatively affected by too much involvement of such characters in ads (Malik and Muhammad 2016, p.126). Ideally, such consumers dislike the fact that they can find a celebrity endorsing more than one product and to some time competing products (substitutes), a fact that makes such people to lose trust and perceive the advertising people as not having a clear stand and hence opting not to be influenced at all (Malik and Muhammad 2016, p.126). Likewise, the study pointed out that in the modern society, consumers are becoming extremely informed on products especially in terms of quality and therefore no amount of endorsements can change the attitude already developed towards certain goods and services (Malik and Muhammad 2016, p.1257).

Another important observation by the researchers is that technological advancements have equally changed the trend of doing business especially in the 21st century. One of the changing trends is that on one hand business organizations are these days using much sophisticate approaches in all their operations including marketing and advertisement (Malik and Muhammad 2016. p.117). On the other hand, consumers as well are finding internet transactions more convenient in terms of saving tome as one can do shopping from his or her home adjust wait for the products to be delivered right to doorstep of the buyer.

The authors also noted a few limitations of their study which included: the adoption of a small sample that would not have been an appropriate representation of the entire online consumer base as many people are connected to the internet than in the ancient days; secondly, the study focused on students and there’re it would be inappropriate to generalize such results relating to young people to older people as well; thirdly, the study had also concentrated its sampling from urban Centers a fact that demonstrates neglecting rural population who are equally able to access internet and make purchases online; fourthly, the research had constraints in terms of resources including time; fifthly, the fact that the qualitative approach was absolutely ignored and concern put on qualitative approach implied that the study was not able to collect all the necessary information that would otherwise not be quantified; sixthly, the use of convenient approach was purely affected by preconception since it is non-probabilistic in nature; seventhly, the restriction of the study to Pakistan City does not give a good picture on the global scale; finally, an assumption that all the respondents had sufficient knowledge about celebrities was not accurate based on practical grounds (Malik and Muhammad 2016, p.124). Based on these limitations, various research gaps can be recognized from this publication of Malik and Muhammad that this study will seek to address by employing corrective strategies.

Kofi, Asimah, Agbemava and Kafui conducted a study on “the influence of celebrity endorsement on the buying behaviour of the Ghanaian youth” in the year 2015 and made a number of observations as well. Firstly, they established that this practice is not a recently emerged issue as it has flourished over time, implying that it was indeed practiced some time back but the thriving has also continued to increase with time (Kofi et al 2015, p.6). According to the researchers, in the recent past this form of marketing has actually become a multi-million business in which people are being used to undertake several advertisements while being paid huge sums of money (Kofi et al 2015, p.2). Additionally, the study claims that the greatest impact or influence on consumers by this group of people is actually the distortion on the buying decision model. Typically, a consumer buying model should actually follow some sort of chain or steps which include the recognition of a problem, searching for pertinent and relevant information, undertaking an evaluation of the information obtained concerning the problem that had already been identified, purchasing the product, consuming, undertaking a post-consumption analysis to establish satisfaction and product effectiveness (Kofi et al, p.4). but due to influence form external forces such as those impacted by celebrities while endorsing particular problems, some consumers find themselves undertaking purchases of products which have actually not undergone the stages. In this regard, such consumptions can be termed as impulse buying behaviours, which are as a result of skipping one or more of the stages. For instance, if a person what conducting an online search for a different information, suddenly spots an ad by a celebrity and decides to check it, and then gets attracted and influenced to purchase a certain product online due to the involvement of the advertising person, then such a person can be said to have been influenced towards an impulse buying. Ideally, the main reason for using famous personalities in running ads is to create demand that probably did not even exist in order to increase sales and improve on performance, and hence be in a position to compete with other organizations effectively and favourably (Kofi et al 2015, p.4).

The study employed a descriptive methodology in collecting perceptions and opinions of students from a polytechnic college in Ghana, and used the qualitative data to form the conclusions (Kofi et al 2016, p.7). This renders the study a weakness in the sense that the results are appropriate for students and not the entire customer base that usually use online platforms to purchase different commodities. Secondly, a critical analysis of the findings and methodology reveals that the researchers employed closed ended questions hence not able to allow respondents to express themselves deeply in order to collect more data. Further, the study made a conclusion that this form of marketing is very much suitable to firms that have already turned their images in order to apply a good public management to regain the company image. However, the study does not mention that at some time the celebrities might even worsen the image of a company of not carefully chosen as some may be having bad public image to different customers or consumers.

2.1.2 Celebrity Endorsement on Consumer Perception with regard to a Product or Brand

A study published on the Pacific Business Review International in 2015 by Vikas and Singh on the topic “customer perception towards celebrity endorsements” employed a descriptive approach in interviewing 100 university students in order to determine what could be their perceptions towards this emerging form of marketing. The study established that indeed “celebrity marketing has become an emerging winning strategy in terms of attracting customers who specifically are influenced by celebrities’ physical appearance, attractiveness, trustworthiness, popularity, image or goodwill, brand, aspiration and reliability” (Vikas and Singh 2015, p.52). However, the study also mentioned that at times the public is negatively influenced by the “negative roles of celebrities in some product ads” (Vikas and Singh 2015, p.52). In this regard, it can be deduced that customers attach the way marketing personalities appear to the brands and products being promoted. Hence, the presence of celebrities plays an integral role in shaping the perceptions the public develop towards certain range of products in the market and especially those sold online where there is no physical contact with the manufacturers or sellers (Vikas and Singh 2015, p.48).

The study encountered a couple of limitations which include the respondents’ biasness, cost and time constraints, use of a small size of sample, and focusing in a specific region (university) without incorporating views from a wider scope. Nevertheless, the study’s findings are ideally critical to the development of this research since it gives the fundamental foundation from which data collection and analysis will be based. Ideally, in overall it can be seen that in the modern society use of these personalities has drastically changed the way the consumers perceive products and brands that are endorsed online by superstars (Vikas and Singh 2015, p.51).

Another study was conducted by Gupta, Nawal and Verma in 2015 on “impact of celebrity endorsement on consumers’ Ad perception” and found out that in essence, the first impression created in the mind of consumers is how the advertisement has been planned and presented (Gupta, Nawal and Verma 2015, p.36). In this regard, the consumers then attach this to the people presenting it as well as the company or products being advertised. In general, it was the study’s observation that ideally the perceptions trickle down to influencing consumers on the importance of products and therefore decide whether to purchase or not (Gupta et al 2015, p.40). It therefore implies that the main effect on consumers depends on their attitude towards the personalities involved, whether they are publicly considered to be people of good will or not. As such, the products and brands will be associated with the characteristics of the luminaries involved (Gupta et al 2015, p.48).

The study which had employed a survey technique and empirical review was not able to present vividly the factors behind the nature in which the customers firstly connected individual persons’ traits to merchandises and brands. It indeed did not focus on a wider scope of the overall effect which perhaps can be as a result of the nature of the activities the celebrities are known for or even where such people come from. Ideally, there are people who disregard celebrities who do not come from their regions, tribes, social groups, religion or even nation. It this case, the limitations of the study which also included a focus on a group of people in the same location demonstrates the presence of a gap that this study will seek to fill by conducting a well-organized study that will consider other inherent factors especially on human behaviour.

2.1.3 Correlation of Celebrity Endorsement and Consumer Behaviour

There are numerous studies that conducted to establish the relationship between consumers behaviour of buying with endorsements by famous personalities. In this study, an emphasis was put on studies carried out by Fariba and Bahram (2015) on “celebrity endorsement and its effect on consumer behaviour”; Ahmed, Seedani, Ahuja and Sagar (2015) on “impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer buying behaviour”; and that by Khan, Rukhsar and Maria (2016) on “influence of celebrity endorsement on consumer purchase intention” respectively. From the three studies, it is evident that there is a correlation between the two parties (consumers and celebrity endorsements). Specifically, it was noted that despite the common factors that contribute towards decision making process by buyers on various items such as social influences, cultural influences, psychological and family influences; celebrities greatly affect he social influences and at times consumers consider this fact more than the rest and hence creating a strong correlation between the two (Ahmed et al 2015, p.18). Additionally, the expertise and congruency of celebrities as well make the relationship to be enhanced further in which case consumers tend to rely on the commendations as a major factor in settling on certain products (Khan et al 2016, p.7). Finally, the nature of the message used by these personalities greatly determine to what extent in which their relationship with consumers can be a determinant factor in purchase decisions (Fariba and Bahram 2015, p.622).

2.2 Theoretical Review

In this section, theories that contribute towards the use of celebrities in marketing and on the concepts of consumer tailored advertisements will be reviewed in brief. Such theories include; game theory, the p’s of marketing and consumer behaviour theory respectively.

2.2.1 The Game Theory in Marketing

Game theory that was once a revolutionary discipline became applicable in many fields including philosophy, psychology, management, marketing and mathematics among other professional fields in the modern business environment (Miller 2003, p.114). This theory enables firm managers especially the marketers to adopt a number of strategies otherwise referred to as “winning strategies” in turning around business firms’ performance and business profits (Anderson 2010, p.52). Based on the fundamental developments of the theory, it was first based on economic principles especially when a market is faced with oligopolistic characteristics, in which there exists stiff competition where firms produce homogeneous products for sale (Miller 2003, p.120). Because of the competition, it becomes apparent that marketers consequently find themselves in a marketing decision dilemma where choices are limited and difficult to make as possible alternatives seem to be fruitless or already explored (Jorgensen and Zaccour 2004, p.87). It is important to note that at some point, companies set prices which are slightly lower as a competitive strategy, and in return the rest of the firma will equally be faced accept such low prices or even set lower than already established pricing limits in order to win customers (Anderson 2010, p.35). This is a typical example of dilemmas that organizations can find themselves in more often than not.

Following the complexities that sometimes can emerge in the marketing and business operations, it sometimes force rivals in competition to cooperate so that in the long-run they are all worse off because sometimes the competition might become cut-throat which are dangerous in doing business (Anderson 2010, p.57). Ideally, this is the point at which the game theory becomes operative and adopted at least to solve the difficult situations that become evident in the market. The basis on which the theory works is to establish the best marketing combination and decisions on the foundation of rationality (Anderson 2010, p.82). Generally, game theory has seen marketers globally get to discover many avenues of undertaking the marketing campaigns including celebrity endorsement as a strategy to win the consumer loyalty and attention in order to favourably compete with rival competitors (Anderson 2010, p.86).

2.2.2 The Marketing Mix Theory

This theory encompasses marketing strategies that is commonly used and referred to as the philosophies of effective marketing (Pearson 2014, p.23). For a long time, marketers have been referring to the philosophies as being in number namely; “product, place, price and promotion” (Pearson 2014, p.23). However, in the modern marketing environment, more philosophies have been developed particularly affecting service industry which include; “people, positioning and packaging” (Pearson 2014, p.24). Following the addition of this p’s, the list consequently rose from 4 to 7, and marketers try to put more emphasis in each of them as the effects are enormous if well managed (Pearson 2014, p.25). Further, emphasis has been put to link the 4 p’s with the c’s which relate each as follows; “product to customer value, price to cost, place to convenience, and promotion to communication respectively” (Pearson 2014, p.25). Fundamentally, borrowing from these developments, it is clear that this theory emphasis on “doing the correct thing at the accurate time and place as far as marketing is concerned”. For instance, it is imperative that once products have been developed or manufactured, efforts should be made to let the customers be informed that they exist (promotion or communication) by using appropriate approaches (Kotler 2014, p.52). Secondly, it is important to ensure that the best pricing strategies (price or cost) have been determined which will enable the firm to realize profits as well as compete favourably by ensuring that products are affordable (Kotler 2014, p.52). Thirdly, efforts should be made to ensure that quality products are manufactured ideally as the first step that ensures customer satisfaction (product or customer value) in order to attract new and retain the existing customers (Kotler 2014, p.53). Fourthly, ensuring that as much as products have been developed, priced well and communicated, they must be made available to where consumers can access them (place or convenience). In addition to these strategies, extra efforts can be employed to have the concern on the welfare of people, who consume them (quality), make them attractive (packaging), and finally positioning the products in market through effective advertisements and campaigns (Kotler 2014, p.53).

Basically, linking the above philosophies to online marketing and especially use of celebrities, it is evident that this has been considered as a necessary move especially by ,making use of the current developed technologies as well as positioning products and brands well through invoking the place, promotion, and positioning philosophies (Chandrasekar 2010, p.74). In this context, these personalities are just but components that have been explored to make the marketing mix a complete and restructured approach (Rao 2007, p.43). Ideally, it is important that people must be informed of the existence of a given product, be reminded to purchase if they are existing customers, be persuaded to purchase by lowing prices and enhancing the relevance and importance of the products through promotions (Kartajaya et al 2013, p.15). Fundamentally, this is the primary role of celebrity endorsements in marketing (Pearson 2014, p.74).

2.2.3 Consumer Behaviour Theory

Consumer behaviour theory is a conglomerate of theories which are put together in trying to learn and understand consumers in a market (Mooij 2011, p.13). In a nutshell, consumer behaviour refers to different characteristics that are exhibited by persons when it comes to making buying decisions (Close 2012, p.20). According to this theory, consumers can be affected by a number of factors such as “the reasoned action, the need- motivation theory, and impulse buying model” (Parsons and Maclaran 2009, p.45). The theory presupposes that individuals go through a series of stages in identifying, selecting, securing, using and disposing products in a typical process of decision making (Lindquist and Sirgy 2008, p.11). Further, purchases (or consumers) are classified into several types according to this theory which include; the initiators, the deciders, the purchasers, the influences and the users as well (Close 2012, p.13). Therefore according to this theory, for an individual to buy an item, it will depend where such a person belongs among the above classes. Consequently, the underlying factors that will motivate a person to decide to acquire a product can also be understood through this theory which provides that motivators must be inherent for any purchase to be made (Mooij 2011, p.52). Based on these foundations, it becomes imperative to employ the celebrity endorsers especially if it is believe that such person indeed understand the type of their fans in terms of the classifications and hence using messages that are soothing and motivating to have them buy goods and service through online platforms based on the convenience (Parsons and Maclaran 2009, p.25).

2.3 The Conceptual Framework

Refer to a strong presentation of variables and ideas conceived in a study, clearly showing their relationships diagrammatically (Duncan 2012, p.84). For the purpose of this study, a conceptual framework will be formulated from the research objectives, by identifying independent variables that will be linked to the dependent variable as suggested by the topic of the research. Further, the literature reviewed will also contribute towards the identification of the variables. In this regard, the independent variables for the study will be; the perceived expertise, trustworthiness, credibility, and attractiveness/physical appearance. The dependent variable based on the topic of study will be the online consumer purchase intention or decision, while the moderating variable will be information technology (IT) as represented below.

Moderating Variable

Information Technology

Independent Variables

Perceived Trustworthiness

Dependent Variable

 

Perceived Expertise

Perceived Credibility

Attractiveness

 

Source: (Malik and Muhammad 2016, p.116)

Figure 2.1: A Conceptual Framework

2.4 Operationalization of variables

This section will show the relationship of variables with the study objectives as conceptualized by the researcher.

2.4.1: Perceived trustworthiness: As far as the study is concerned, it is believed that when the celebrities are trusted by the public, then the influence on online buying decision will be having more impact on the consumers in a positive way and vice versa.

2.4.2: Perceived expertise: This is in relation to the experience on marketing and advertising as well as the role played by the involved personalities on the public domain.

2.4.3: Perceived credibility: This is fundamentally the way the source of information is perceived with regard to a receiver’s subjectivity and objectivity.

2.4.4: Physical appearance or attractiveness: This refers to the extent in which the customers are influenced by a personality based on his or her overall appearance that includes both dressing and presentation among other qualities.

2.4.5: Information technology: Information communication technology is considered a platform that makes it possible for consumers to access information and products traded online. It is the medium through which celebrities can deliver message to a wider group of people such as the use of social media and websites. Further, it creates the market place on electronic devices that consumers place orders on and receive goods delivered to them.

2.4.6: Online buying intention: This is the ultimate effect on consumers regarding various products endorsed by celebrities as to whether purchase them or not.

2.5 Review of Figures on Online Retail Market

According to a review by Price Water Coopers Consultancy Firm (PWC) on “online retail market survey in 2016”, it was evidently established that the online retail has grown globally and now about 34% of people globally concede that “their phones will ultimately become a major tool of shopping” (John 2016, p.2). This was a survey of 23,000 online consumers (shoppers) that were interviewed from 25 countries in the world. Ideally, the report indicated that out of the interviewed people, 67% accepted that reviewing, reading and writing comments on social media greatly determined their buying behaviour on online stores. Among the leading countries in the world as determined was China with more than 65% of the population buying online using mobile phones every month, while the US recorded 22% of the country’s population. Further, the report indicated that online retail generally improved in the year 2016 globally due to the changing trend in which people are becoming sensitively attracted to shopping tendencies that are more convenient, price competitive, and having large pool of inventories to select from (John 2016, p.2). Finally, the report indicated that for the first time in history, online sales were to a tune of more than $20 billion in 2016, a fact showing that in future more and more people will be attracted to this form of shopping (John 2016, p.2). The report did not focus on how celebrities in particular influence online retail market. Another report by “Centre for Retail research” of 2017 targeted Britain, US, Canada and Europe on online retail growth and indicated that UK has recorded tremendous growth and currently leads in the European market at £60.43 as far as 2016 trading analysis is concerned (See Appendix A).

2.6 Chapter Summary

In this topic, more emphasis has been put on the studies that have been undertaken previously on this topic. The review has also focused on theories of marketing that support the literature reviewed, specifically on the concept of celebrity involvement in advertising and marketing. Further, a conceptual framework was developed that shows the relationship between variables through a diagrammatic representation followed by the operationalization of the variables into the study’s context. A review on the most recent online retail surveys by a reputable organization has also been presented to enable the researcher to have a clear vision of the current state of online businesses. The next topic will discuss the methodology adopted in carrying out this study.

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY

3.0 Introduction

This section will present a research methodology employed in undertaking this important research. Specifically, the section will present the research plan, characteristics of the facts to be collected, data gathering processes, target population, sampling technique, sample size, methods of analysing data, the study’s limitations, and ethical considerations respectively.

3.1 The Design Selected

A design is actually the strategy that is in overall selected in undertaking a study (Kothari 2004, p.52). This study will generally employ a descriptive design, which was considered appropriate as it enables the researcher to answer questions like what, when, who, how and where as recommended by Kumar (2011, p.23). This approach is advantageous in the sense that it allows a researcher to collect both quantitative and qualitative data for analysis that can give conclusive evidence while answering research questions. However, the approach is not able to precisely answer questions on why based on the variables (Kumar 2011, p.23). Nevertheless, Kuada (2012) indicates that a good study design is one that can be able to allow the researcher to manipulate the data obtained in identifying the relationship that variables form with each other (Kuada 2012, p.87). Thus, this chosen strategy will enable a researcher to organize different components and integrate them in a coherent manner in order to make conclusive inferences about the phenomena under study.

3.2 Nature of Data to be collected

The study will focus on qualitative data. This is data that is not numerical in nature but rather concerned with peoples’ ideas and perceptions concerning a phenomenon (Goddard and Melville 2001, p.42). Since this study was specifically to measure the impacts of celebrity endorsement on consumer online buying behaviour, it was appropriate to collect this kind of information in order to have a clear picture of what people think as opposed to quantitative data that will primarily need to be measured (Goddard and Melville 2001, p.42). However, given that qualitative data is not easy to analyse, it will be converted to numerical and coded using numbers such as (1 for yes, and 2 for no) in order to render simplicity in analysing it. This will help the researcher to link the findings to the reviewed literature using statistical measurements and evidence as well (Goddard and Melville 2001, p.43).

3.3 Target Population

From the literature reviewed, there were numerous limitations and gaps identified and one of them was that most studies focused on young people only and hence eliminating the aged people in collecting data. Further, the review revealed that there was a deliberate limitation of the studies to specific regions and geographic areas without consideration to other areas. Such weaknesses can potentially result to the production of biased conclusions if care is not taken. According to Daniel and Sam (2015), a good population must be one in which all the possible variations can be obtained while undertaking a study (Daniel and Sam 2015, p.11). Based on these foundations, the study will target people of all age brackets in different regions by having them respond to questions while interviewing them face to face or via phone calls.

3.4 Sampling Technique

Khanzode (2004) clearly explains that sampling technique is that strategy a researcher ought to use in selecting a sample from the entire population that ought to be studied (Khanzode 2004, p.33). This study will employ a “probability sampling techniques” in order to ensure that the sample obtained is having all the representations of the targeted population. In this regard, a simple probabilistic random sample will be obtained through inspecting online users especially those whose contact details can be easily obtained and requesting them to respond to interview questions that through phone calls or face to face if the proximity to them is cost effective (Khanzode 2004, p.50).

3.5 The Size of the Sample

Due to the fact that carrying out a study through a census in which case all the population targeted is interviewed is not feasible at all, it is necessary to select a few representatives of the population and subject them to a study. A sample is defined as the typical sub-set of the entire population eyed by a researcher in order to obtain data concerning them and finally make inferences to the entire elements of a population (Chawla and Sondhi 2011, p.41). In this case, a sample size must conform to various characteristics or requirements which include; it must be a member of the larger population, it must be a true representative of the elements considered for a study, and it must have all if not most of the characteristics that are common among the elements. For purposes of cost considerations, this study will focus on a sample of 10 respondents distributed in all age brackets from different regions in UK, who will be key informants to the study as far as online purchasing is concerned.

3.6 Instruments that will be used in collecting Data

This study will employ a self-administration closed ended questions that will be used to interview the respondents and responses written down by the researcher. The reason why the questions will be closed is that since the nature of data to be collected is qualitative, this will make it easier to code the information by assigning numerical values for analysis using statistical approaches. Further, the questions will be closed ended in order to render motivation to respondents so that they are not discouraged from answering the questions (Daniel and Sam 2015, p.67). Additionally, closed ended questions are able to allow respondents to answer questions quickly without taking much time as well as enabling the researcher to control the scope of the research by limiting the type of responses to be obtained (Daniel and Sam 2015, p.67).

3.7 Procedures of Analysing Data

After the targeted information has been obtained as raw data, it will first be sorted, cleaned and coded in order to make it appropriate data for analysis. Sorting will include identifying the instruments that have been filled and those not filled as intended. Cleaning and coding will involve the process of assigning numerical values while entering the figures into a system for analysis. Ideally, data will be analysed using Excel feature of Microsoft office that possible features for manipulation and computation of statistical functions in making inferences. All the queries in the questions will be analysed appropriately.

3.8 Limitations of the Study Approach

Based on the approaches used, the process will be faced with a few limitations. Firstly, since it is established that a census survey is not possible, the study will employ a sampling approach to select representatives to the population. This will imply that the results will not be conclusive but assumptions based on the identified units of population. Secondly, the study will focus on 10 respondents to due to time constraints as well as cost, this sample is a small size when comparing to UK population that uses online platforms for their shopping. Thirdly, the study will largely depend on literature reviewed while concluding in connection with the findings; this will mean that the inefficiencies of the literature obtained will most likely be carried forth to this study’s findings. In order to solve these limitations, the researcher will be more vigilant and objective while undertaking the study.

3.9 Ethical Considerations

While maintaining ethical issues at one hundred percent effective when human beings are employed as participants is difficult, emphasis will be put on the fundamental issues that otherwise might compromise ethical guidelines. Ethics in research is defined as actions that reflect utmost good faith and integrity while collecting, analysing, disclosing and disseminating the information or findings (Cauvery et al 2003, p.88). In this regard, ethical rules will be upheld while collecting information by ensuring that the respondents are assured of their anonymity in order to be free in giving information. Some of the strategies to be employed will include ensuring that there is no place in the instruments that the name of the respondents will be written or even contact information. Secondly, during the analysis, the researcher will ensure that only the data obtained will be analysed. Thirdly, it will be ethical to ensure that no information is disclosed to unauthorized persons and that it will be typically be disclosed and disseminated to relevant persons only. The study findings will be sued for academic purposes only.

3.10 Chapter Summary

This topic has presented in detail the strategy that will be employed in carrying out this study, in particular it has emphasized on the design, nature of data, population targeted by the study, sampling approach, sample size, data collection instruments, analysis of obtained data, limitations of the methodology as well as ethical considerations. Analysed data will be presented in tables and figures in the next chapter that will deal with findings, summary and discussions respectively. Chapter five will present conclusions and recommendations.

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION

4.0 Introduction

The section will cover data presentation as well as analysis with respect to the research questions and literature review. Specifically it will be organized into bio-data information, consumer online buying behaviour, consumer perception on products and brands endorsed by celebrities online, correlation between celebrity and buying behaviour, analysis based on literature review and summary to the data analysis.

4.1 The Response Rate

For purposes of ensuring high rate of replies was received, time was taken to request the targeted respondents ta spare their time and answer the questions which were greatly reduced to 10 in number so that to give the respondents easy time to respond. Out of the 10 contacted respondents, the researcher managed to receive 10 collaborating responses which is actually 100% return rate, which is much far better and beyond the minimum required rate of 30% as recommended by Nunnally and Farkas (2017. p.21). The higher return rate achieved implied that the research achieved its objectives adequately. Data obtained is represented in table 4.1 below.

Table 4.1: Response Rate

Item description Number Percentage

Contacted Respondents 10 100%

Collaborative Respondents 10 100%

4.2 Bio-data Information

In order to determine of the sampled population was a true representation of the entire community, the study sought to determine the bio-data information of the respondents. The key issues targeted under this section involved the respondents’ age, level of education, gender, and employment statuses as analysed in the following sub-sections.

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4.2.1 Respondents’ Gender

Out of the 10 responses obtained, only 2 were from male respondents while the rest were female respondents representing; 20% and 80% respectively as shown in the below table.

Table 4.2 Gender

Gender

Frequency

Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

 

Male

2

20.00

20.00

Female

8

80.00

100.00

Total

10

100.00

 

4.2.2 Age of the Respondents

The study also focused on determining the age of the respondents. The interview required respondents to indicate the age group they belonged which was either below 18 years, between (18 to 25 years), (26 to 35 years), (36 to 45 years), (46 to 55 years) and (above 56 years) respectively. The findings indicated that 70% of the respondents who were the majority belonged to the age bracket of 18 to 25 years, while 26 to 35 years were represented by 10%, 36 to 45 years 10% and above 56 years 10% respectively. There were no respondents in the age brackets of 46 to 55 years as well as below 18 years respectively. The data is represented in a table as shown below.

Table 4.3: Age

Age Bracket

Frequency

Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

 

Below 18 years

0

0.00

0.00

18-25

26-35

36-45

46-55

Above 56 years

7

1

1

0

1

70.00

10.00

10.00

0.00

10.00

70.00

80.00

90.00

90.00

100.00

Total

10

100.0

 

4.2.3 Education

The study also focused on the level of education obtained by the respondents. Respondents were required to indicate if they had not achieved high school level, if they were in high school, college, university bachelor’s degree, masters or PhD. From the findings, there were no respondents who had not achieved high school credentials. The results designated that 30% of respondents had achieved college qualification, 10% university level, 30% graduate level, and another 30% master’s level respectively as presented in table 4.4 below.

Table 4.4: Education

Education

Frequency

Percentage

Cumulative Percentage

 

Below High School

0

0.00

0.00

High School

College

University

Not Graduated

Graduated

0

3

1

0

3

0.00

30.00

10.00

0.00

30.00

0.00

30.00

40.00

40.00

70.00

Masters

PhD

Total

3

0

10

30.0

0.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

4.2.4 Employment

It was also imperative to determine if the respondents were employed or not. The respondents were required to indicate whether they were in a full-time job, part-time, freelancer, unemployed or if they were students. From the findings, 70% of the respondents were in full-time job, 10% part-time, 10% students and 10% unemployed respectively. No respondent was a freelancer. Data obtained represented in figure 4.1 below.

Figure 4.1: Employment

4.3 Influence of Superstar on Consumer Online Buying Behaviour

The study’s first question involved establishing the” impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer online buying behaviour”. The questionnaire sought to determine this by asking questions such as if the consumers were purchasing items online associated to celebrities and how likely would they buy items endorsed by celebrities in future. The results obtained are discussed below.

4.3.1 Purchasing Products Associated with Celebrities

The respondents were required to indicate of they at any time have purchased products associated with celebrities. They were required to indicate “yes” or “no” to the question and the responses obtained indicated that 50% of the respondents purchased items online which are associated to celebrities while the other 50% did not as represented in figure 4.2 below.

Figure 4.2: Purchasing Items Associated to Celebrities

4.3.2 Likelihood of Purchasing Celebrity Endorsed Items

Further, the investigation pursued to find out the chances of the respondents purchasing items associated with celebrities online in the future. They were required to select from options such as very likely, somewhat likely, neutral, somewhat unlikely, and very unlikely. The responses indicated that 30% of the respondents were somewhat likely to purchase celebrity endorsed items online, 30% were neutral, 30% somewhat unlikely, and 10% very unlikely respectively as presented in figure 4.3 below.

Figure 4.3: Probability of Buying Celebrity Endorsed Items Online

4.4 Impact of Celebrities on Consumer Perception to Products and Brands

The second question this research sought to answer was the impact that celebrities had on consumers’ perception with regard to brands and products. The responses obtained are presented in the sub-sections below.

4.4.1 Trusting Endorsing Celebrity’s Opinion who has Never Used the Product

The respondents were asked whether they can trust an opinion of a celebrity endorsing a product which the celebrity has never used before. The findings indicated that 80% of the respondents would trust an endorsing celebrity even if the celebrity does not use the product or brand being endorsed. The data is presented in figure 4.4 below.

Figure 4.4: Trusting Celebrity’s Opinion

4.4.2 Use of Famous and Non-famous Celebrities

The respondents were also asked to give their opinion regarding the use of famous and non-famous celebrities. They were required to indicate yes or no and give explanations to support their opinion. The findings indicated that 80% believed it does not matter whether a celebrity is famous or not while 20% indicated that it indeed matters if a celebrity is famous or not as shown in figure 4.5 below. Most of those who were for the opinion that fame did not matter cited that celebrities were considered to attract attention provided they had already been known. However, the 20% who said that fame was a factor to be considered cited that the more famous a celebrity is, the more attraction and attention he or she will get from the public.

Figure 4.5: Use of Famous Celebrities

4.5 Correlation between Endorsement and Consumer Online Buying Behaviour

Finally, the study sought to establish if indeed there was a connection between endorsement of products by celebrities and the behaviour of online buying exhibited by consumers. The findings are presented below.

4.5.1 Effects of Negative Media Coverage Regarding a Celebrity

The respondents were asked to demonstrate their opinion regarding the effect of negative media coverage on their purchase behaviour especially with regard to products endorsed by such personalities. The results indicated that 50% will be affected by negative publicity while the other 50% indicated that was indeed not an issue to them. The results are presented in figure 4.6 below.

Figure 4.6: Celebrities’ Negative Media Coverage

4.5.2 Buying a Celebrity Endorsed Product due to Peer Pressure

The study sought to establish how likely would the respondents purchase products endorsed by celebrities due to peer pressure influence. The responses obtained indicated that only 10% were very likely to be influenced by peer pressure, 20% somewhat likely, 10% were neutral, and 40% were very unlikely while 20% were unlikely as presented in the figure.

Figure 4.7: Peer influence with Regard to Celebrity Endorsement

4.6 Critical Discussion of Findings in Relation to Literature Reviewed

From the findings, it is evident that the population interviewed informed the study that, indeed the celebrities have impact on consumer online buying behaviour although to some extent. Further, the study established that 80% of people will entirely rely on the opinions given by celebrities concerning products without consideration of how famous the personality is. The study also found out that “there is a correlation between celebrity endorsement and consumer online buying behaviour” since 50% of the population would take it seriously as 40% of respondents would not depend on peer influence concerning their perceptions on celebrities.

Basing our arguments from literature reviewed, it was established that the perceived expertise, trustworthiness, credibility, and attractiveness/physical appearance of a celebrity contributed greatly towards consumer influence on products endorsed by such personalities (Malik and Muhammad 201, p.116). Further, it was reviewed that advertisements which are endorsed by celebrities are more appealing than those by different personalities (Anmol and Javeed 2014, p.187). Comparing these findings in literature and review and the study’s findings it can be concluded that in overall, celebrity involvement in advertisement and marketing has a potential impact on consumer’s online buying behaviour.

In this study however, the researcher noted that there were unusual findings especially on the fact that 80% of respondents indicated they would not mind about the fame of a celebrity where as it was a common notion from the theories reviewed that perceived expertise and fame were very critical influencing factors. Secondly, the fact that the study’s findings indicate that about 50% of the population will actually not mind about the celebrity’s negative media coverage is unusual since the literature reviewed clearly indicated that credibility and trustworthiness were very essential factors. However, a close analysis of the population reveals that a higher proportion of respondents were in the age bracket of 18 to 25 years (youth) which can explain the reason behind the impulsiveness exhibited in the findings.

4.7 Chapter Summary

The section has vividly offered data obtained using tables and figures, and has rendered a critical analysis of the findings while drawing a comparison with literature reviewed in chapter 2. The next chapter will present brief conclusions, research limitations, gaps and recommendations for improvement and further study as well.

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSIONS

5.0 Conclusions to the Study

The study employed a descriptive approach in collecting qualitative data that was coded and assigned numerical values for easy analysis using Microsoft excel. After obtaining results, there were efforts to link the findings with literature reviewed by identifying areas of agreement and unusual findings as well. From the results, it has been established that, indeed, there is a connection between endorsements of products by celebrities with the online buying tendencies of consumers. Although the study also notes that the basically consumers are rational beings, there are those who will be affected by peer influence concerning particular celebrities. Majority of the respondents were female (90%), age of between 18 years to 25 years representing 70% of the population of study, academic qualifications ranging from college at minimum and master’s level at the most, and in formal employment (70% full-time). Over 50% of respondents indicated that celebrities influenced their online buying behaviours, as 80% indicated that they would trust celebrities’ opinions about products and brands provided the personalities are of good public image. Finally, the study found a correlation between celebrity endorsement and consumer online buying behaviour.

In essence, the study’s findings are in line with what has already been researched and established in the area of study. Indeed, majority of the interviewed people confirmed that at any given time, the influence of famous personalities is of significant influence to their personal decisions on consumption of goods and services traded online. As revealed by the study’s findings, there are members of society (about 20%), who can easily be swayed by peer pressure to consume items which are endorsed by such peers’ favourite personalities. Nevertheless, majority of the interviewed respondents represented by 40% indicated it was very much unlikely to be influenced by friends’ opinion on products supported by favourite persons to them. It therefore implies that people make their personal decisions as far as the attitude towards celebrities is concerned without depending on opinions from friends.

5.1 Discussions

This study has adopted a good and objective approach by allowing the respondents to vividly express their opinions concerning the topic of study. The study has focused on all age groups of people although by chance majority of the respondents happened to be the youth who have advanced well in academic and professional development. The findings confirm most of the literature reviewed findings with a few discrepancies. The purposes of the study and the enquiries were answered satisfactorily, confirming that independent variables have an impact on the dependent variable with accessibility to internet through information technology devices as diagrammatically presented on conceptual framework. However, it is of great importance to note that perhaps the study would have focused on a greater sample population so as to collect divergent views.

The study also had various limitations which include: time constraint that led to limitation of the study’s scope to a small sample; human error that would have resulted in framing of questions which perhaps would have resulted in misunderstanding among different respondents; failure to undertake a pre-test in order to test the validity of data collection instruments; and also accidentally selecting more females than males (ratio of 4:1) of the sample.

Generally on findings, all the three objectives to the study were well answered despite the limitations observed above. On the first objective, it was evident that celebrities influence the consumers’ online buying behaviour. This was concluded so after a series of questions asked here proved to be supporting the assumption. Indeed most of the respondents indicated that they entrusted famous persons who acted as their role models in society especially when it came to selecting items for purchase on online platforms. Notwithstanding the fact that online shoppers do not have personal touch with the selling companies, the fact that famous people endorse such products makes them to have confidence on the brands and products and hence considering them for buying.

On the second objective, to some extent it was evident that such personalities shaped the nature of attitude consumers developed on certain products. The overall observation was that some people would associate characters of the endorsing personalities to the products and brands. It therefore implies that if an endorsing person is of good character, most likely the products being endorsed will be well appreciated and accepted by some people, although there were still some proportions of people who did not mind about the character traits of endorsing personalities.

On the third objective, the findings from the two objectives above plus some additional tests revealed a close relationship between consumer online buying patterns and celebrity endorsement. This revealed that the strategy is being considered as a modern approach towards enhancing effective marketing as well as sound competition that is necessary to make firms to survive in the market. It gives organizations opportunities to strategically place themselves a head of their competitors be ensuring that the public is well informed about the existence of their products in the market.

5.2 Summary and Recommendations

In summary, this study has proved to be a relevant study especially in the modern business environment where focus is shifting to e-commerce globally. The study has drawn its foundations from both academic and non-academic sources to ensure that a coherent approach is used to have adequate and reliable results. The study has also proved to be informative to the researcher by shaping the understanding of how marketing theories can be adopted by firms especially by encouraging celebrity endorsement, and ensuring that they are careful in selecting these personalities based on a number of dimensions. Indeed this was a very educative and enriching process to the author and a lot has been learnt.

From the study, recommendations on further study can be given as follows; there is need to have further studies to establish the impact of celebrity endorsement on a larger population sample which should be drawn from across the globe; secondly, a study should be carried out to determine how age affects perception of celebrities on product endorsement based on the fact that young people are more attracted to superstars than old people. As a matter of fact, any actions that can be seen as a way of developing the nature, approach and findings of the current study are highly recommended.

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Appendix A

Table 1 - Online Retail Sales and Growth Rates 2016 and 2017 Source: http://www.retailresearch.org/onlineretailing.php