Male respondents represented 46.5% of the total 200 target respondents registering a crude frequency count of 93 individuals. The female respondents however represented 53.5% of the 200 target respondents registering a crude frequency count of 107 individuals. However, it was imperative to refine these figures because some questionnaires were not answered to hence the descriptive statistics needed to be compared to 194, since this is the number of filled questionnaires that were analysable. When refined in this sense, the male respondents represented 47.9% of the total response with a count of 93 responses while the female respondents represented 52.1% of the total response with a count of 107 responses. The table below provides supplementary information about gender representation in the sample and responses received.
The main objective of the study was to explore the influence of country of origin effect on the consumer behaviour and focus on British Airways in China as the focus case for the study. For this reason, the study analysis was carried out with a specific focus of fulfilling this aim and all the objectives of the research study. In order to explore and examine the consumers’ behaviours toward British Airways based on the country of origin as the main cue; descriptive statistics are used to explore the demographic profile of the respondents. The examination of the perception of the consumers and their attitudes also takes a notch higher and includes the use of other tools such as frequencies and inferential statistics. In order to have an image of the impact of the country-of-origin effect on the growth of British Airways in China, growth trends of the company and prospects are also explored and the main source of this information is the company’s financial records and other secondary sources of information. The study also aimed at establishing whether the consumers’ behaviour towards British Airways was or is influenced buy their perception toward the United Kingdom.
Qualitative research strategies applied in the study are used to introduce the social aspects of analysis in the data. Analysis based on existing theory is performed, with elements of past experiences playing a role in the analysis of data. For instance, the research study asks the respondents whether they have used British Airways services in the past or if they collect information about the country of origin of products before making purchase decisions. In addition, qualitative research offers in-depth analyses on opinions from participants measured against existing theories and information drawn from the literature review, with this information originating from assertions in the questionnaires and interviews. According to Dawson (2002), use of the two models should contribute to comprehensiveness of the analysis as opposed to contradictions in assertions. Due to the adoption of the mixed-method approach in the study, the table below provides the philosophical rationale to support the choice of the methodology.
The research design for this study is of the case study type, and British Airways is the subject of the case with the Chinese airline industry being the setting of the case study. Ayelet et al (2008) state that the principal objective of such studies should be to find out the conditions that are fit for an individual setting or case under the specified circumstances. By conducting the consumer perception research, the study attempts to assess the best method of serving the consumers and customers to ensure maximum satisfaction and repeat purchases and also ensure that there is continuous flow of understanding of consumer perceptions toward country of origin in the airline industry.
The study takes both qualitative and quantitative approaches to achieve the desired objectives. The qualitative approach helped in the examination of the current market elements that would impact the consumer buying exercise in the airline industry in China and any other country while exploring the various factors that may act as drivers to the consumers’ perception about the country image where British Airways. By evaluating the aspects in this format, it possible to come up with or propose marketing strategies to be adopted by British Airways to ensure utmost satisfaction of the customers that is founded on strong grounds of understanding of the consumer perception. This mixed method is appropriate because initially, this research aims to examine the extent to which country of origin influences customer buying behaviour in the airline industry then constrict this enquiry to the customers of British Airways in the Chinese airline industry. This is achieved by assessing the array of variables that are related to country of origin cue and which are likely to influence customer decision making during their buying experience in the airline industry while using qualitative means to explore the perceptions that drive the consumers to make their buying decisions when they choose to buy British Airways tickets over any other option of their choosing. This is followed by a quantitative inquiry whereby the study examines the relationship of influence between various factors such as demographic, price of goods, among other variables on the purchase decisions such as frequency of purchase. This is important because it helps in eliminating other potential factors that are known to influence consumer buying behaviour.
The sample used in the study targeted individuals of male and female genders from the age of 18 and above. With regard to the aspects of consumer perception toward the country of origin of British Airways among consumers, a number of instrumental factors were identified. First, the consumers’ place of birth was identified as one of the factors that played a non-invigorating role in influencing the consumers’ choice of British Airways carrier. In contrast, there was no statistically significant relationship between the gender of the respondents and their perception toward British Airways based on the coo cue.
Using a one-way ANOVA, it was tested whether there would be a change of the consumer perceptions about British Airways if the prices of its products or the prices of the products offered by another carrier of the consumers’ choosing changed either through price increase or price reduction. To achieve this, the null hypothesis tested was that there is no relationship between willingness to buy and the price changes. This hypothesis was accepted at the significance level of 0.05 (F=3.12, p=.08). The analysis revealed that there was no statistically significant difference between the interviewees’ willingness to buy British Airways products and their motivation to buy products of any other carrier when the two carriers are from the countries with similar attributes.
There was a strong positive correlation between the consumers’ choice of British Airways and their knowledge of the country of origin. From the correlation tests, it is clear that there exists a positive correlation between the consumer knowledge of the UK and the choice of the national carrier for airline services from all aspects of consumer characteristics, with statistical significance in all the factors measured. With a high level of correlation established between the country development status and the country of origin being an important factor that influences the consumer choice (.944, pp= 0.042, it shows that this relationship is strong, positive and statistically significant. Moreover, when correlation analysis was conducted for the relationship between consumer attachment of quality to the country of origin and country of origin influence, there was still more evidence indicating a statistically significant correlation between the two aspects (with Pearson correlation coefficient = .842 and p= 0.048). This provides more evidence that country of origin effect is instrumental in determining consumer perceptions about British Airways.
The main aim and objective of the study was to establish the existence of or lack of existence of the country-of-origin effect in impacting consumer behaviour and choices in British Airways in China. Alongside this aim and objective, the study explored the various factors that enhance or might influence the type of decisions made by consumers when choosing a product, which in this case are British Airways products. Through a creational study based on the responses of the selected sample, the findings of the study were analysed in order to determine the specific factors that contributed to consumer perceptions toward British Airways products as a product made in the UK. Consumer behaviour, especially the buying behaviour, is a product of a multiplicity of factors related to marketing, customer care at the point of sale and product attributes, thereby, making it possible for the consumers’ purchase decisions to be influenced by the interplay of many factors, and most of them are tackled under the literature review. Some of the factors reviewed, and which influence the consumer purchase decisions, include the price of the products, advertisement, branding and placement or positioning of the customer care centres.
It is therefore justified to conclude that the greatest proportion of the participants of the study had knowledge about the country of origin of British Airways and which was essential in making decisions when making purchase choices.
There was no doubt that all the respondents believed that the country of origin of British Airways is a developed country as the response rate indicated 100% (representing 194 responses) for those who strongly agreed that to their opinion the country is a developed country. In addition, most respondents had familiar knowledge of the country from which British Airways originates indicating they were well familiar with the country and its culture, the location, economy and such country attributes. This represented 54.1% of the respondents further representing a frequency count of 105 responses. Those who had some knowledge of the country represented 44.8% of the responses and this accounted for 87 participants. The proportion of those who had no knowledge of the country represented 1.1% accounting for 2 participants only. The graph below provides graphical illustration of the representation of the outcome developed using excel from SPSS data output.