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Consumer Research Group

The aim of the Consumer Research Group is to conduct research on consumer behaviour which both extends theoretical knowledge and has commercial relevance. Our findings are publicised both to academic workers through refereed academic papers and conferences and to marketing practitioners and managers via specialised conferences and short papers. The most extensive work has been conducted in the field of word of mouth. Here we have shown that a number of beliefs about the impact and incidence of word of mouth are not supported by evidence and we have begun the process of establishing clear findings for different categories. This work has been presented in academic settings in Europe, Australia and the USA and to managers in the UK, Estonia and Germany. We co-operate and publish with colleagues in Massey University in New Zealand and the Universities of South Australia and New South Wales (Australia). Recent work has focused on the mechanisms underlying the diffusion of innovation.

We have compared the behaviour and the attitudes of shoppers buying groceries online and in traditional supermarkets.  Here we have established the importance of situational factors, such as having a baby or developing health problems, as triggers for starting to buy groceries online. Many shoppers are found to discontinue online grocery shopping once the initial trigger has disappeared or they have experienced a problem with the service.   We have also found that, contrary to expectations, brand purchase behaviour and brand loyalty patterns online and in supermarkets are very similar.   This work has attracted a great deal of attention from the media and has been published in international journals and conference proceedings. 

Other research areas include the study of brand extensions, brand alliances, the purchase behaviour of older consumers, as well as consumer behaviour with regards to cinema and art events attendance.  For these projects we have worked in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Portsmouth, University of Zaragoza (Spain) and Nielsen BASES in Japan.

We use our research in teaching, particularly in the postgraduate modules on Buyer Behaviour, Strategic Brand Management and Brand Equity Management and this has stimulated students to conduct further research in their dissertation work.

The Research Team

Current Project Titles

The Consumer Research Unit has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the marketing industry, particularly by being given access to market databases. The interests and expertise in the unit covers 'Forms of loyalty to goods and services', 'The reasons for switching', 'Word of mouth', 'Loyalty card effects', 'Branding and re-branding', ‘The role of situational variables in online grocery shopping’, ‘Goods and Services brand extensions’, etc.

David and Ina share their experiences of studying a business course



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