Choosing between different beer containers. What factors influence the purchasing decisions of Generation Y in England?

Bachelor Thesis, 2015

78 Pages, Grade: GPA 4.0, UK first-class honours


Table of Contents


Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

1 Introduction
1.1 Academic Rationale for the Research Project
1.2 Personal Rationale for the Research Project
1.3 Aim and Objectives
1.4 Dissertation Structure
1.5 Chapter Conclusion

2 Literature Review
2.1 Beer Market
2.1.1 Trends
2.1.2 Prices
2.2 Consumer Behaviour
2.2.1 Consumer Decision Making
2.2.2 Purchase Behaviour
2.2.3 Brand loyalty
2.3 Generation Y
2.4 Advertising and Marketing Implications
2.5 Beer Packaging
2.6 Chapter Conclusion

3 Methodology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Importance of Research Studies
3.3 Mixed-Methods Research
3.3.1 Quantitative Research Strengths Limitations Online Surveys
3.3.2 Qualitative Research Strengths Limitations
3.4 Sampling
3.5 Data Analysis
3.6 Research limitations
3.6.1 Time and Cost
3.6.2 Limitations to Access
3.7 Pilot Study
3.8 Ethics
3.9 Conclusion

4 Research Findings and Analysis
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Sampling
4.2.1 Age Samples
4.2.2 Gender Samples
4.2.3 Duration of Residency in England Samples
4.2.4 Employment Status Samples
4.3 Key Research Themes
4.3.1 Price and Promotion Off-trade On-trade
4.3.2 Taste Off-trade On-trade
4.3.3 Material benefits Off-trade On-trade
4.3.4 Brand loyalty Off-trade On-trade
4.3.5 Occasion and Image Off-trade On-trade
4.3.6 Value for money Off-trade On-trade
4.3.7 Advertising
4.4 Conclusion

5 Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Answering the Research Question
5.2.1 Objective
5.2.2 Objective
5.2.3 Objective
5.2.4 Objective
5.3 Concluding Statement
5.4 Recommendations for the Beer Industry
5.5 Limitations
5.6 Recommendations for Further Research
5.7 Conclusion

6 References

7 Appendices
7.2 Appendix 2: Informed Consent Form – Focus Groups
7.3 Appendix 3: Informed Consent Form – Questionnaires
7.4 Appendix 4: Approved Ethics Form
7.5 Appendix 5: Questionnaire Sample
7.6 Appendix 6: Qualitative Findings from Questionnaires
7.7 Appendix 7: Transcript of a Focus Group


This research is focused on the investigation of factors influencing purchasing decisions of generation Y in England when choosing between different beer containers; specifically canned, bottled and draught beer products.

The objectives for this research were to review current and relevant literature on the beer industry, consumer behaviour and marketing sector in relation to beer purchasing by generation Y in respect of different beer containers; to carry out primary research regarding the influencing factors of beer purchasing decisions of this segment; to analyse the research findings by offering discussion and evaluation of both primary and secondary data; and to present research conclusion including identification of limitations to this research and make recommendation for the beer market and further research.

Mixed-method approach was applied within the research methodology to verify the reliability and validity of the data collected, allowing an in-depth analysis of the results. Quantitative data was collected through questionnaires and online surveys totalling 128 responses. Using a multi-stage sampling method participants were chosen to partake in 3 focus groups providing qualitative data for this research.

It has been established through primary and secondary research that the major influencer of generation Y is price and value for money when purchasing beer off- trade. In regards to beer packaging, cans were considered to be the best value for money for its cheaper price and higher volume, while bottles were seen as a more sophisticated container with a better taste. Draught beer was found to be the most popular form of beer on-trade for its taste and selection of unique beers (e.g. craft ales). Generation Y was also willing to pay a little extra for a draught beer as they were paying for the experience as well as the taste. However other aspects were also found to play an important role when choosing between different beer containers including material benefits, occasion, location, image, brand loyalty and advertising.

It is recommended for beer marketers to market different beer containers in different ways as each container is bought for different purposes and reasons. However in order to appeal to generation Y, beer adverts have to be creative and engaging as this segment responds to adverts on an emotional level rather than functional; therefore they do not respond to regular adverts that are only focused on the product.

Word Count: 9,937

List of Figures

Figure 1: Pictorial representation of the dissertation structure

Figure 2: Volume trends in sales of beer, by channel, 2007-12

Figure 3: Mean answers for price and promotion as influencers of purchasing decisions

Figure 4: Mean ranks of different genders on buying whichever container is on promotion

Figure 5: Most popular containers off-trade for males

Figure 6: Most common reasons for purchasing cans off-trade

Figure 7: Main influencers when purchasing beer off-trade

Figure 8: Main influencers when choosing between different beer containers off-trade

Figure 9: Most common reasons for purchasing bottles off-trade

Figure 10: Most popular containers on-trade

Figure 11: Most common reasons for buying draught beers on-trade

Figure 12: Taste and selection of new/unique beers as influencers when deciding between different beer containers on-trade

Figure 13: Material benefits of cans as purchase influencers off-trade

Figure 14: Volume of draughts as a purchasing influencer on-trade

Figure 15: Mean ranks of different drinking frequencies on buying a favourite brand

Figure 16: Mean ranks of the most popular containers for different occasion

Figure 17: Most popular beer containers for females off-trade

Figure 18: Mean ranks of students and non-students on buying the cheaper option on- trade

Figure 19: Mean ranks of 18-25 and 26-34 age segments on buying the cheaper option on-trade

Figure 20: Most influential beer advertisements.

List of Tables

Table 1: Objectives

Table 2: Mean prices of beer in

Table 3: Most popular off-trade drinking habits, by demographics, May

Table 4: Next most popular off-trade drinking habits, by demographics, May

Table 5: Most popular reasons for trying new drinks, by demographics, May

Table 6: Other reasons for trying new drinks, by demographics, May

Table 7: CRUSH elements

Table 8: Strengths of mixed-methods approach

Table 9: Advantages of focus groups

Table 10: Mean rank of different age groups on buying the cheaper option off-trade

Table 11: Mean rank of different age groups on buying the cheaper option on-trade

Table 12: Mean ranks of different drinking frequencies on buying the better tasting option

Table 13: Mean rank of different gender on preference of bottles/cans for safety/security reasons

Table 14: Mean ranks of different gender on buying different containers for different occasions

Table 15: Mean ranks of different genders on peers as influencers of beer purchasing decisions off-trade

Table 16: Mean ranks of different genders on peers as influencers of beer purchasing decisions on-trade

1 Introduction

This chapter introduces the research topic from both an academic and personal perspective. It develops by stating the aim and objectives of the research project followed by a pictorial representation of the dissertation structure.

1.1 Academic Rationale for the Research Project

Lock (2004) argues, backed up by Egyptian hieroglyphs, Roman tablets, and European frescoes, that beer is almost as old as civilisation itself with scientists suggesting that beer was actually the drive for the development of agriculture, not bread. Whereas, Hornsey (2003) states that beer production and consumption is an indication of civilised society. Therefore since the ancient civilisation beer played a vital role in shaping the human culture and continues to do so. Scientists theorise that beer production grew in scale as organised societies elevated (Hornsey 2003; Pearson 2010). It later became primarily a function of the state and it was drunk by politicians at state functions, workers, soldiers, and it was also incorporated into religious ceremonies (Gourvish and Wilson 1994; Lock 2004).

In modern society beer is the leading drinks category in the UK by some distance in both volume and value sales. Value reached £16.9 billion in 2014 (Mintel 2014c). In this competitive market; product and packaging innovations are essential in order to create or maintain competitive advantage. Beer companies are introducing various fruit flavoured products and new package designs offering new ways to serve up a colder and smoother drink experience, and they have become adept at tapping into consumer insights to help direct such innovations (Marketing News 2014). According to Mintel (2014a) instantly recognisable packaging is vital for brand driven sales, therefore essential for drink brands to succeed in a competitive environment. This research is focused on three major types of beer packaging: canned, bottled and draught beers and examines purchasing behaviour within the English youth market in the age banding 18-34: often referred to as generation Y (Mintel 2014d).

The purpose of this research is to help English beer companies and breweries to comprehend the behaviour of this market segment in order to aid them in directing their advertising implications in regards to beer packaging.

1.2 Personal Rationale for the Research Project

The researcher has a particular interest in the beer market, being from the Czech Republic where beer is considered to be an essential part of social culture and can be regarded as the national drink. Hence the researcher wanted to investigate this topic in greater detail and depth especially in relation to his generation (generation Y). Beer culture varies across the globe and each country has its individual attitude towards beers. This research is conducted in England where the researcher currently resides, in order to understand the English culture and discover their drinking habits and the reasons behind making certain purchasing decisions. The researcher loves to travel, gain experiences and learn from different cultures around the world. He aims to develop his career within the hospitality industry where beer is a necessary element; therefore understanding the current trends of generation Y in England will help him to compare their cultural habits to other cultures. In modern cross-cultural society, especially in the hospitality industry, it is important to accommodate all types of customers from different countries. Understanding generation Y is particularly of interest to the researcher as they are the future of the industry and on a certain level they share some attributes that can be generalised beyond the English population.

1.3 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research project is to investigate and critically evaluate the factors which influence the purchasing decision process of generation Y (18 – 34yo’s) in choosing between bottled, canned or draught beer products in England.

In order to meet the stated aim objectives have been set as portrayed in Table 1:

Table 1: Objectives

1. To investigate the current understanding of the academic community, the beer industry, consumer behaviour and the marketing sector in relation to beer purchasing by generation Y in respect of bottled, canned and draught beers by carrying out a complete and comprehensive critical review of current and relevant literature.
2. To evaluate influencing factors in relation to beer purchasing decisions of generation Y by carrying out primary research in the form of both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods.
3. To analyse the research findings and identify current trends and themes of the selected market, recognise the reasons affecting their purchasing behaviour by offering discussion and evaluation of both the primary and secondary data.
4. To identify and present gaps by offerings research conclusions and discuss limitations in the research findings whilst making recommendations for the beer market and for further research.

1.4 Dissertation Structure

Figure 1: Pictorial representation of the dissertation structure

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1.5 Chapter Conclusion

This chapter has allowed the research to be clarified and for the direction of the study to be determined. As the chapter progressed clear aim and objectives have been set. The following chapter will go to meet the first objective stated above by carrying out a comprehensive and critical review of current and relevant literature.

2 Literature review

This chapter will carry out a comprehensive and critical review of current literature in terms of the beer market, consumer behaviour and decision making process, providing an insight into generation Y usage/values, and marketing and advertising implications; thereby achieving the first objective of this research project.

2.1 Beer Market

As a result of price rises, inflation and beer tax escalator the UK beer market continues to rise in terms of value sales (Walsh 2013; Mintel 2014c), with £16.9 billion in 2014, and is expected to maintain its growth, reaching £18.1 billion by 2019 (Mintel 2014c). On the other hand the volume sales fell by 10.2% between 2009 and 2013 (BBPA 2014), with 4.2 billion litres in 2013, but are expected to bounce back into growth reaching 4.3 billion litres by 2019 (Mintel 2014c). This growth in the beer industry is suggested to be driven by promotional activity and a move towards cost- effective multipacks (Walsh 2013; Mintel 2014c). Therefore this research aims to discover the reasons behind this growing trend from the consumers’ perspective.

2.1.1 Trends

Over the past few years UK consumers’ drinking habits have changed due to increased inflation, reduced consumer expenditure and a long-term decrease in alcohol consumption (Key Note 2014), therefore the cheaper version of off-trade drinking is becoming more popular than on-trade drinking (Mintel 2013; People1st 2013). As shown in Figure 2 the volume sales of on-trade beer drinking has been declining for the past couple of years with the off-trade beer drinking becoming more popular and slowly overtaking the on-trade sales. Eric Schmidt (Cited in Prepared Foods 2014), director of research at Technomic gives potential reasons for the increase in value sales and decrease in volume sales trend:

The slow economy and a level of uncertainty have some consumers reducing their visits to, or spending in, restaurants and bars, while at the same time their interest in more complex flavour experiences is prompting them to continue exploring more expensive products, such as single-malt Scotch, imported vodka and craft beer. It is reminiscent of the ‘drinking less but drinking better’ trend of the early 1990s.”

(Schmidst, cited in Prepared Foods 2014, p.22).

Figure 2: Volume trends in the sales of beer, by channel, 2007-12

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Mintel 2013)

According to a research conducted by Prepared Foods (2014) more than half of customers (56%) agree that it is important for on-trade establishments to offer a wide selection of craft beers as they are becoming more popular with an increasing demand for fuller-flavoured beer and local products from independent producers (Lofstock 2010; Bennett 2014; Datamonitor 2014; Goodfellow 2014; Roland 2014).

2.1.2 Prices

The on-trade prices are typically higher than the off-trade prices with on-trade beer being around twice as more expensive than off-trade in 2010 as shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Mean prices of beer in 2010

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Adapted from Collis et al. 2010)

In general the off-trade beer prices have been lower than the on-trade and continue to be so due to supermarkets relying on promotions and multipacks to keep the consumers involved in the off-trade beer market (Mintel 2013; Walsh 2013). The popularity of multipacks and promotional activity continues to help moderate prices and provide a notable cost saving when compared to drinking beer on-trade (Walsh 2013; Mintel 2014b).

2.2 Consumer Behaviour

A consumer is generally thought of as a person who identifies a need or desire, makes a purchase and then disposes of the product during the three stages in the consumption process (Solomon et al. 2006). It is particularly important for marketers to understand how consumers buy; additionally how consumers use and dispose of a product is also becoming a fundamental interest amongst marketers (Wayne et al. 2008).

2.2.1 Consumer Decision Making

A decision is a selection of a choice between two or more alternatives, therefore in order for consumers to make a decision there must be a choice of alternatives available (Schiffman and Kanuk 2004; Evans et al. 2009). Schiffman and Kanuk (2004, p.555) also believe that “the act of making a consumer decision consists of three stages: need recognition, pre-purchase search and evaluation of alternatives.”

Evans et al. (2006) claim that one of the key constructs of the marketing concept is the understanding of consumers’ needs and wants, hence marketers need to focus on identifying those and then matching features of their products that are relevant to the consumers’ needs and wants. In order for consumers to fulfil these needs and wants they need to have a motivation, which acts as the driving force that impels them to act (Schiffman et al. 2012). Maslow (1968), Alderfer (1972) and Herzberg et al. (1993) all argue that meeting the basic needs of an individual will propel them up the ladder to more sophisticated and complex desires.

2.2.2 Purchase Behaviour

The key determinants of purchase behaviour and product choice are argued to be consumer perceptions of price, quality, and value (Bishop 1984; Jacoby and Olson 1985; Kassarjian and Robertson 1991). A number of researchers distinguish between objective price (the actual price) and perceived price (price encoded by the consumer) (Gabor and Granger 1961; Allen et al. 1976; Kassarijan and Robertson 1991). For example some customers might perceive the objective price as expensive and others as cheap. It is also argued that price serves as a cue to quality (Lambert 1972; Shapiro 1973). It all comes down to perceived value; people have different perceived values of products and if a consumer perceives the value to be greater than the cost, he/she is more likely to purchase the product (Peter and Olson 2005).

According to Schiffman et al. (2012) there are three types of purchase customers make: trial purchase, repeat purchase and long-term commitment purchase. They believe that when a customer makes a purchase for a first time in a small quantity, it is regarded as a trial purchase; therefore it serves as a test whether the brand satisfies the customer’s needs and wants. When the purchase proves to be more satisfactory or better than other brands, the customer is more likely to repeat the purchase (Evans et al. 2009). Satisfaction is a key influence in the formation of future purchase intentions (Evans et al. 2006) and can be gathered from all aspects of the product including branding, packaging, price, and taste (e.g. with beer products) (Solomon 2007). Brand loyalty is a form of repeat purchase that reflects a conscious decision to carry on buying the same brand (Solomon et al. 2006).

2.2.3 Brand loyalty

Brand loyalists are customers that prefer one brand which they buy on a regular basis and they have a vast knowledge of the brand and the product, which is associated with previous satisfaction; therefore they stay loyal to that brand as they strive for the most suitable brand or a product to satisfy their needs (Peter and Olson 2005; Solomon 2007). In order for a customer to be brand loyal he/she needs to have a cognitive commitment to that brand and it needs to represent important benefits and values to the customer instead of only purchasing the same brand repeatedly because of convenience or deals (Peter and Olson 2005). According to Solomon et al. (2006) brand loyalty may first occur due to personal preference that is based on objective reasons, but over time it may create an emotional attachment due to heavy advertising or a long existence. For example in regards to beers a research conducted by Crecca (2003) showed that some customers stay loyal to Corona simply because they like it regardless of the higher price. Another survey of around 2000 customers showed that 48% stay loyal to their favourite beer brand (Peter and Olson 2008). Berry et al. (2002), Haeckel et al. (2003), Solomon (2007), Iglesias et al. (2011) and Maheshwari et al. (2014) all argue that marketers should focus not only on the functional attributes of their offerings but also on the emotional attributes in order to create brand loyalty.

Peter and Olson (2005) claim that brand loyalty within generation Y is formed early. They surveyed women aged 20 to 34, with 30 percent claiming that they made a brand decision as a teenager and continue being loyal to that brand until now, and 64 percent claimed that they were looking for specific brands as teenagers. On the other hand Solomon (2007) argues that generation Y is less brand loyal than previous generations and that they are more likely to change brands if the mood strikes; according to a survey only one in five looks for a particular brand.

2.3 Generation Y

The 25-34s are set to become a dominant age group in 2015, accounting for 14% of the UK population (Mintel 2010) and they are also amongst the most likely groups to drink beer (Mintel 2013). According to Solomon et al. (2006) people who belong in the same age group might differ in many ways, but they do tend to share a set of values and common cultural experiences that they carry throughout life, which makes it easier for this research to be generalised. Mintel’s data (2013) also indicates that people under 35 are an experimental group of drinkers. The data reflects that older people are more fixed in their drinking habits and it would be more difficult to persuade them to change. On the other hand younger drinkers are more open to the idea of experimenting as they have less preconceived ideas about beer which makes an opportunity for beer marketers to experiment with flavours and different types of packaging to attract this segment and find out what they prefer.

Many 18-24-year-olds still visit pubs regularly even though high prices are the main deterrent for this age group, which according to Mintel (2013) might be due to having fewer responsibilities such as mortgage and claims on their time and incomes from having a family, which is more common among 25-34-year-olds. People1st (2013) claim that many customers are increasingly driven by value for money. In the current economic climate, customers are more price-sensitive (especially students), however value is not only about price, but also about experience and quality (Kassarjian and Robertson 1991). Miller brands said in 2009 that its yearly results were attributable to Generation Y consumers in their twenties and thirties, who chose to cut back on big-ticket items such as cars, rather than giving up small treats such as their favourite beers in the recession (Mintel 2010).

With the cheaper version of drinking off-trade becoming more popular (Bainbridge 2012; Mintel 2013; People1st 2013), a research was conducted by Mintel (2014a) to discover the most popular reasons for drinking off-trade. The results are shown in Tables 3 and 4.

Table 3: Most popular off-trade drinking habits, by demographics, May 2014

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

*Asked only to those who drink alcohol at home

(adapted from Mintel 2014a)

Table 4: Next most popular off-trade drinking habits, by demographics, May 2014

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

*Asked only to those who drink alcohol at home

(adapted from Mintel 2014a)

The results from Mintel’s (2014a) research show that most common reasons of generation Y for drinking off-trade are to socialise (drinking with friends), to relax after work/school, and to drink before going out to save money, which is most popular reason, especially amongst 18-24 year-olds.

Tables 5 and 6 display the results of another study conducted by Mintel (2014a), showing the most popular reasons for trying out new drinks.

Table 5: Most popular reasons for trying new drinks, by demographics, May 2014

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(adapted from Mintel 2014a)

Table 6: Other reasons for trying new drinks, by demographics, May 2014

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(adapted from Mintel 2014a)

Based on the results from Mintel’s (2014a) research, the most popular reason for trying out a new drink is a discount or special offer, followed by recommendations from family and friends, and trying a new product of their favourite brand; therefore according to those results most of generation Y is driven by price in terms of off-trade drinking and trying a new product, as well as being loyal to their favourite brand. Given that canned beers cost less than bottled beers (Penm 1988; Wilcox et al. 2013), and most of generation Y in this research is driven by low price it might indicate that they would prefer cans over bottles, however it is only an assumption and a more detailed analysis of packaging preferences will be discussed further in this research.

2.4 Advertising and Marketing Implications

Authentic brands with strong, clear values are more likely to do well with generation Y as it is easier for them to identify themselves with these brands (Rod 2013). When a brand matches consumers’ personality and self-image they tend to create brand loyalty (Hanzaee et al. 2011).

According to Rod (2013) there are five CRUSH elements introduced by Bergh and Behrer in a book “How Cool Brands Stay Hot” that are essential for brands to appeal to generation Y: coolness, realness, uniqueness, self-identification, and happiness as portrayed in Table 7.

Table 7: CRUSH elements

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Rod 2013)

In terms of off-trade consumers Rajiv et al. (2002) believe that they differ on three dimensions: preference for service, shopping costs, and store switching costs. Based on these dimensions, stores consider two types of promotional advertising: offensive (attracting new customers) and defensive (retaining customers) (Kumar and Sudharshan 1988; Rajiv et al. 2002).

2.5 Beer Packaging

Beer producers can differentiate their products quite strongly in a variety of ways, not only by the overall segment (lager or bitter, for example) but also by brand, strength, ingredients, and style, among other options (MarketLine 2014).

Glenn Tutssel, executive creative director at Enterprise IG claims that “Packaging is becoming the emotional interface with the consumer and a tangible manifestation of a brand and its values.” (Carter 2005, p.6) Many brewers tackle the beer packaging trends, trying to match customers’ needs. Brad Stevenson, vice president of operations at Founder Brewing Company, believes that giving customers a choice is vital (Lewis 2014). When it comes to choosing between canned, bottled or draught beer there are various factors that consumers take into consideration. According to Stevenson it’s all about customer preference, depending on occasion or location (Lewis 2014). For example bottles wouldn’t be a good fit for outdoor activities (hiking, camping, boating) as the weight and breakage might be a concern, where cans would be more suitable (Datamonitor 2014; Lewis 2014).

There is an increasing trend among craft brewers to produce canned beers as they are cheaper, easier to recycle, more appealing, and make the beer taste great (Tapper 2014). US brewer Oskar Blues has packaged its products only in cans. Chad Melis, marketing director at Oskar Blues says: “We are all about the cans” (Lewis 2014) presenting the benefits of cans: cans can keep the beer fresher for a longer period of time as there is no damage caused by light and ingressed oxygen; the lightweight of cans can reduce the fuel costs and carbon footprint when shipping beer; beer can be enjoyed at places where glass is not permitted (pool, boat, etc.); cans are the most easily recycled container, and recycling can significantly reduce pollution and energy during production (Browne 2006; Lewis 2014).

However there is a traditional bad reputation amongst cans, such as its metallic taste or tasteless lager (Dredge 2014; Tapper 2014). Today’s cans are lined with water- based coating resulting in the beer and the can never touching, therefore there is no flavour exchange (Lewis 2014). Vangerhaegen et al. (2006) argues that cans and kegs might even keep the beer fresher for a longer period of time than bottles as it reduces the risk of spoilage by eliminating light interface and ingressed air. According to Johansson et al. (1999), Smythe and Bamforth (2002) and Wilcox et al. (2013) product information might have a psychological effect on product perception. Siegrist and Cousin (2009), Cerjak et al. (2010) and Wilcox et al. (2013) all argue that consumer tastes are influenced by prior knowledge of brand and product, in other words consumers create a mental image of how a product will taste and this mental image can alter the taste of the same product to that consumer. In this manner, consumers may choose to purchase a bottle over a can to avoid any negative characteristics they perceive a can might possess (e.g. metallic taste).

2.6 Chapter Conclusion

This chapter has reviewed the current literature in terms of beer market, consumer behaviour, and advertising implications in respect of generation Y and beer packaging. The literature that has been reviewed will largely contribute towards forming questionnaires for this research which will be discussed further in the following chapter along with the justification of the chosen research methodology.

3 Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This chapter explains the importance of research studies and outlines and justifies the research methodology chosen for the primary research of this study, providing advantages and disadvantages of each method.

3.2 Importance of research studies

Research is a systematic and organised process of obtaining knowledge about specific problems encountered in daily life and professional practice that need solutions (Sekaran 1992; Gill and Johnson 1997; Gray 2004; DePoy and Gitlin 2011). Research produces findings that add significance and value to society (Saunders et al. 2000) and contributes to the development of general knowledge in several ways. It might generate various theories about peoples’ attitudes and behaviour, it tests previous theories that form the basis of specific phenomena, and it examines and validates the effectiveness of various practices in attaining their intended (and unintended) outcomes (Gray 2004; DePoy and Gitlin 2011).

3.3 Mixed-Methods Research

Primary research for this project was conducted using a mixed-methods approach; specifically triangulation, which refers to the use of more than one method, in this case questionnaires/surveys (quantitative method) and focus groups (qualitative method), to verify the reliability of a particular research tool and the validity of the data collected, resulting in greater confidence in findings (Creswell 2003; Mcneill and Chapman 2005; Tashakkori and Teddlie 2010; Bryman and Bell 2011). This method was chosen as it also provides a better view of things by looking at them from more than one perspective; therefore increasing the credibility of results (Mcneill and Champman 2005; Easterby-Smith et al.2012; Mengshoel 2012). Table 8 shows further strengths of using this method, argued by Jick (1979), Tashakkori and Teddlie (2010), Bryman and Bell (2011) and Venkatesh et al. (2013).

Table 8: Strengths of mixed-methods approach

1. It has the ability to address confirmatory and exploratory research questions simultaneously
2. It has the ability to provide stronger inferences than a single method or worldview
3. It provides an opportunity for a greater assortment of divergent and/or complementary views

(Jick 1979; Tashakkori and Teddlie 2010; Bryman and Bell 2011; Venkatesh et al. 2013)

Bergman (2008) believes that by attaining data from various sources that might have different potential limitations to validity, it may reduce the risks of reaching false conclusions.

Bergman (2008) also suggests that mixed-method approach might have some drawbacks such as contradictory findings, meaning when the quantitative and qualitative data do not agree. Tashakkori and Teddlie (2010) propose that the disagreement between the results of different research methods might occur due to researcher’s errors in data collection and analysis or poor application of theoretical aspect. It is also argued that combining different methods might result in the inability to join the two parts of the study together as they have different underlying assumptions (Morgan and Smircich 1980; Easterby-Smith et al. 2012). Therefore the researcher was cautious when designing and conducting the primary research to minimise any potential errors.

3.3.1 Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is used when quantifying the variation in a phenomenon, situation, problem or issue using numerical measurement and analysis approaches (Brannen 1992; Coolican 1999; Kumar 1999; Zikmund et al. 2013). Questionnaires/surveys were used in this research as a quantitative research method to capture facts, opinions, behaviours or attitudes of certain population which could then be objectified (Bagdoniene and Zemblyte 2005; Karami 2011). This method was used in order to receive information from a large number of respondents in a limited time which could then be analysed. Strengths

Questionnaires and surveys, when conducted properly provide quick, inexpensive, effective, and accurate means of accessing information about a certain population (Karami 2011; Zikmund et al. 2013). This method also provides higher data volume than qualitative research method (Bagdoniene and Zemblyte 2005); therefore it is easier to generalise the results to a wider population (Bagdoniene and Zemblyte 2005; Karami 2011). Limitations

Questionnaires and surveys might not be effective when researchers do not follow the research principles such as careful survey and sample design (Zikmund et al. 2013). Quantitative methods can be problematic and insufficient when generalising knowledge claims (Zachariadis et al. 2013). Online Surveys

Apart from questionnaires that were completed by hand, online surveys were also used to collect quantitative data. The reason behind choosing this method is that this research is aimed at generation Y who are “digital natives” that prefer digital communication (especially social media) for interaction with others (Bolton et al. 2013). Additionally, online surveys also enable the researcher to reach participants from across England and therefore get answers from different areas which could reduce biased results from people living in the same area affected by the same factors and they would be easier to generalise.

3.3.2 Qualitative Research

Qualitative research method is used when the purpose of the study is primarily to describe a human behaviour or phenomenon (Kumar 1999; Hair et al. 2011). A focus group interview was used in this study which is an unstructured interview with a small group of people, usually between six and ten, that is concerned with exploring a certain topic (Cooper and Schindler 2003; Bryman and Bell 2011; Zikmund et al. 2013).

Opposed to regular one-on-one interviews focus groups offer several advantages which are listed in Table 9.

Table 9: Advantages of focus groups

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Cooper and Schindler 2003; Stokes and Bergin 2006; Easterby-Smith et al.2012; Zikmund et al. 2013)


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Choosing between different beer containers. What factors influence the purchasing decisions of Generation Y in England?
Bournemouth University  (School of Tourism)
GPA 4.0, UK first-class honours
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Beer, Beer containers, Purchasing decision, generation Y, beer cans, beer bottles, off-trade and on-trade, UK
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Michal Man (Author), 2015, Choosing between different beer containers. What factors influence the purchasing decisions of Generation Y in England?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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