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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1:1 Introduction to the organization Darley Butler & Company Limited Darley Butler &

Company Limited (DBCL) Sri Lanka is a leading Sri Lankan marketing and distribution organization of consumer products & pharmaceutical products in Sri Lanka. ( The Company had its beginning in 1848 when the partnership was founded by two pioneering individuals, namely Edward J Darley, and Samuel Butler. With the acquisition in 1967, the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of E B Creasy & Company Ltd, which is listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange. ( The main business activity of the company involves marketing a range of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) categories which comes under well known brands in Sri Lankan market. To facilitate distribution of these products, company gets the support of 132 professionally trained consumer sales representatives, and 20 sales management and supervisory staff. Sales done through the service of 45 long standing stockiest located strategically thought the country, and sale related activities (except cash collection) done with the support of developed IT system called Sales Reps Automation (SRA) system The company markets a diverse range of fast moving consumer goods, which are some of the most prestigious household brand names in the country. The product range consist with Cow & Gate milk and cereals, Laxpana batteries, Hacks and Candy Man sweets, Bic disposable razors an ballpoint pens, Denta, O-Gurd and Ultra-B toothbrushes, Ninja mosquito coils, Darley cake and pastry margarine and DCL bread improver. DBCL operates 5 strategic business units as Darley Butler personal care including brands of Bic and Denta, Darley Butler home care with brands of Ninja and Laxapana, Darley Butler health care with brand of pharmaceutical range Cow & Gate, Darley Butler foods with Hacks and Candy Man sweets, Darley cake & pastry margarine and DCL bread improver and Darley Butler distribution. 1

The company which has gone through several phases of evolution has today emerged as an aggressive marketing organization. The medium and long-term strategic goals of the company are to identify opportunities in high growth mass market consumer categories, and enter those markets offering high quality & reasonably priced products. ( 1.2 Background to the study Globally, writing instrument industry is rising at a healthy rate even despising the growing computerization. Writing instruments plays significant role particularly within every business, school and household. Five million ballpoint pens are sold in Sri Lanka per month with schoolchildren being the main users (Sirimanna, B. 2001). The demand is completed under various pen brands. Out of those competitors the study focuses on the BIC ball point pens. BIC is a world market leader in product categories of stationery, lighters and shavers for over 50 years and sells them over more than 160 countries all over the world. BIC clicks with most of the worlds population, though its penetration is largely in western countries. About 40% of the total BICs sales come from North America and 30% from Europe. Latin America accounts for over 20%, while the Middle East, Africa and Asia contribute about 5%. ( BIC manufactures and sells 22 million stationery and pen products in 150 different countries every day. BIC, giving its user the best writing pleasure ever, is the number one manufacturer of ballpoint pens in the world, and a leader in stationery products. Under the stationary category BIC produces more than 20 pen varieties, such as Cristal Fine, Cristal Large/ Bold , Cristal Grip ,Cristal Click , Cristal Pocket, Cristal Pocket Scents, Cristal Fashion, Orange Fine, NS Fine etc. Each of medium point pens can write for more than 2 miles and each fine point pen will write for more than 3 miles. These customized pens comes in a wide range of vibrant colors from plain black to forest green, red, blue, etc.

BIC NS Fine is the pen, which has introduced to the Sri Lankan market under the BIC brand. The presence of the pen took place in year 2007. Distributor for the pen in Sri Lankan market is the Darley Butler and Company limited, the local distributor for BIC products. BIC NS Fine pen comes with the classic fine point with a Nickel Silver point and tropical ink and the silver lib guaranteeing user, more than 3 km of writing or writing distance of 10 times the height of Eiffel Tower. The ventilating cap of the pen is American standard one. The pen comes in 3 colors as blue, red and black under the cost of 15 rupees per each. BIC NS Fine gives the writing experience like a pencil, well balanced and light weight for comfortable and control writing and also avoid additional strain on fingers. Furthermore, the Nickel Silver fine point gives a smooth writing without damaging the paper. ( Advent of the BIC NS Fine pen to the Sri Lankan market took place in a situation where the other branded ball point pens had captured the market, specially the Atlas products. Atlas provides a big range of stationeries to the Sri Lankan market. Never the less with performance time period Atlas has built up an image for quality products. The brand BIC first and for mostly came to the Sri Lanka with the product of disposable razors in 1982. It is the No 1 razor in the current market place. So that consumers identified the BIC brand with disposable razors and double edge blades. Due to this fact, stationary item (BIC pen) was completely different expansion of product category for the Sri Lankan market. Still the BIC NS Fine pen has not invaded the majority of the ball point pen user in Sri Lankan market. Most of them even do not aware about the pen. Within that context there is a big problem of selling BIC NS Fine pen in the Sri Lankan market. Not even that, since its introduction the pen has been reporting a decrease in sales volume and comparing with other competitive ball point pens in Sri Lankan market BIC NS Fine has only small market share, around 3%. Consequently the sales of the pen in Balangoda sector also has been reporting lower performance.

Table 1.1 Sales of BIC Ns Fine pen in Sri Lankan market Year 2007 2008 2009 Sales quantity 1033491 1105832 924106

(Source: company sales record-2009) Table 1.2 Sales of BIC NS Fine pen in Balangoda sector Sales Year Quarter Month quantity Target 2009 Qt3 July 166 1765 August 1194 1765 September 244 1765 Qt4 October 339 1765 November 1107 3450 December 30 3450 2010 Qt1 January 858 3474 February 158 930 March 66 930 Qt2 April 90 660 May 43 1080 June 93 1080 (Source: company sales record-2009) Figure 1.1 Sales and target of BIC NS Fine pen in Balangoda sector

Target Sales quantity

(Source: company sales record-2009)

Due to that low demand the Darley Butler Company have been facing a big problem of selling the BIC NS Fine in Sri Lankan market and the product is going to be dropped from the company product range as low profit contribution. So this research is highly favorable for further enhancement needed to be done regarding the BIC NS Fine pen or selecting any other developed stationary item for the company product range. 1.3 Research problem When considering the global point of view the BIC branded pens has great demand in worldwide, especially in western countries. Higher percentage of income, around 53 % generate from BIC brand, comes under BIC stationary items, even though the Sri Lankan market captured by the BIC disposable razors. BIC NS Fine was introduced to the Sri Lankan market in around three years before. And the design of the pen has not yet been subjected to any changes from its original design in France. Also the price of Ns fine is bit higher than the other competitive products in the market. And now the company has increased its price from 12.50 rupees to 15.00 rupees due to high production cost involvement. The Balangoda sectors of the DBCL sales scheme consist with 14 routs and 881 shops. Most of the above shops normally subject to two visits per month. According to the number of shops available in the route, the sale of BIC NS Fine pen took place within small number of shops. Within the sale of the first two quarters of this year that percentage has stayed less than 3%. Therefore the BIC NS Fine, to place among the players of ball point pens in Sri Lankan market need to be more competitive than ever. With technological improvements of writing instruments the usage of ball point pens are in a challengeable position. So that to face the decreasing demand, it require identification of end user preferences on the product and providing one that best match with what they want. In this context, in order to solve this problem it is necessary to identify the root cause of decrease in demand of BIC NS Fine and thereby take necessary steps to minimize or avoid those negative factors associated with the product. 5

1.4 Objectives of the study Due to low level of sales volume of BIC NS Fine in Sri Lankan market and subsequently in Balangoda sector, the aim of this study is to explore why the BIC NS Fine pen is not a fast moving product in the market place. In the process of conducting the study, the researcher has set the following objectives which are expected to accomplish.

Main objective To identify the reasons for low demand of BIC Ns fine pens in Balangoda sector of Darley Butler Company Limited. Sub objectives To identify key selection criteria when purchasing a ball point pen To identify the consumer attitude for the BIC NS Fine pen To identify most affecting factor for low demand of BIC NS Fine pen To identify possible solutions for achieving higher demand for BIC Ns fine pen

1.5 Research Questions 1. What are the key selection criteria when purchasing a ball point pen? 2. What is the consumer attitude for the BIC NS Fine pen? 3. What is the most affecting factor for low demand of BIC NS Fine pen? 4. What are the possible solutions for achieving higher demand for BIC NS Fine pen?

1.6 Significance of the study The study attempts to diagnose and solve problems, which are at the root of low demand of BIC NS Fine Pens in the market so the study, is significant in many aspects, No prior research has been carried out by the company regarding the lower performance in sales of BIC NS Fine pen. Therefore the findings of this study will help to identify what are the issues regarding the BIC NS Fine pen in the market and reasons for low demand of the product. Further it will help to clarify what are the attitudes of consumers toward the pen. Through that the company will be able to identify what are the improvements need to be carry out regarding the BIC NS Fine pen or selling procedure of the pen. Also the study will provide comprehensive information on consumer preferences on writing instruments and it will help in selecting any other pen product or designing new product for the market. Consumer preference for a product can be changed time to time, especially regarding the design and performance of the product. So that findings of the study are worth wile for producers and the marketers of writing instruments in the Sri Lankan market. The study covers a little area, so there are several areas which can be further explored and invested in further studies. This study will be a welcome addition to the already existing literature; furthermore this study will also be helpful for academics, seeking to pursue further studies on the matter.

1.7 Conceptualization Based on the literature survey and observed factors in the market, researcher identified six main factors influencing demand of a ball point pens and subsequently demand of BIC NS Fine pens in Darley Butler Company, namely Brand name of the pen, Design, Performance, Price, Promotion, and Availability. Buying decision for a pen comes under low involvement purchase decision. So that the decision of which pen to purchase take place in the actual buying situation. In that case if the pen has an established brand name, purchase decision may be catering around that background support. As well as if the pen has a good design that may be a cue to be the selected pen of the consumer. If the consumer has previous sound user experience on the same kind of pen that will lead simplify his buying decision. Other than of that price of the pen plays significant role and the consumer compare competitive prices and select one that match with his requirements. When the consumers is in the store and see the brand, then he remembers seeing an advertisement for it. That advertisement may act as a support for his decision. And finally the availability of the pen in the store is important. Because consumer may not visit many stores for the required pen and he will switch to another brand. Figure 1.2 Conceptualization of factors affecting demand of BIC NS Fine pen Brand name Design Performance Price Promotion Availability

Demand of BIC NS Fine pens

1.8 Limitations of the Study The study has several limitations. First the study limits to findings at a particular area (Balangoda sector) and generalization to the large population or to the writing instrument industry in Sri Lanka, might be difficult. Another limitation is the study shall limit itself on the stated aims and objectives. Thus the researcher has to identify whether the brand name, design, performance, price, promotion and availability have an impact on decrease in demand. With the interview method, ability of obtaining free ideas from respondents may be difficult. Limited time duration for the study completion and budgetary constraints were prevailing as barriers to collect more information and further limit the study as follow, Selection of ball point pens for the study based on currently available pen varieties in the market and selected only one pen category comes under each brand. Time limitation further confines the study, simplifying selected factors and study effect of those factors for low demand of the pen. Population is considered as the students, even though the students are not the only one category that uses ball point pens. If the study considers all the pen users findings can be change. In the focus group interview researcher made arrangement to experience writing of all the selected pen varieties. But, it is more practical if the researcher could let them to use the pen about a week or more.


2.1 Consumer decision making Customers make product purchase decisions in different ways. Understanding the way in which buyers make decisions and the factors that impact upon the decisions process can affect the effectiveness of marketing communications. Types of consumer decision making Extended problem solving An elaborate decision-making process, often initiated by a motive that is fairly central to the self-concept and accompanied by perceived risk; the consumer tries to collect as much information as possible, and carefully weighs product alternatives (Garrett Rodger, 2009) Limited problem solving A problem-solving process in which consumers are not motivated to search for information or to rigorously evaluate each alternative; instead they use simple decision rules to arrive at a purchase decision (Garrett Rodger, 2009) Habitual decision making (routine response behavior) Consumer decision making or problem solving requiring only minimal search for, and evaluation of, alternatives before purchasing, also referred to as automatic response behavior, routine response behavior and routines problem solving



Figure 2.1 Types of Consumer Buying Decisions Routine Response Behavior Limited Decision Making Extensive Decision Making

Less Involvement

More Involvement (Deborah Baker, 2002)

2.2 Consumer Involvement Involvement is, in which the amount of cognitive effort applied to the decision-making process is directly related to the level of importance that the consumer places on acquisition of the specific product. (Michael Richarme, n.d.) High Involvement occurs when consumer perceives an expected purchase which is not only of high personal relevance but also represents a high level of perceived risk. Low involvement occurs when consumer perceives an expected purchase with little threat or risk to consumer. In the consumer decision making process, consumers spend lot of time, effort, and energy for more expensive and personal products which are called high involvement products (e.g. computers , automobiles and medical care) they spend less time, effort, and energy for inexpensive and less exciting products which are called low involvement products (e.g. soft drinks, cereals and washing powders). The main feature of product involvement is the personal relevance of the product to the need and value of the consumer. If consumer perceive that the product is relevant, their involvement is higher. (Celebi.S, n.d.) With low involvement products, consumer behavior does not pass through the normal sequence of belief, attitude, and behavior. Consumers do not search extensively for information, evaluate characteristics, and make a decision on which brand to buy. Instead they are passive recipients of information and or print ads. Ad representation creates brand familiarity rather than brand conviction. After purchase, they may not even 11

evaluate the choice because they are not highly involved with the product. For low involvement products, the buying process begins with brand beliefs formed by passive learning and is followed by purchase behavior, which may be followed by evaluation. (Kotler, 2000, p. 177)

Figure 2.2 Low involvements hierarchy ATTITUDE Based on Behavioral Learning Process




(John C. Mowen & Michael Minor, n.d)

Under low-involvement conditions consumers are not likely to make brand choices on the basis of attitudes established through developing clearly formulated beliefs about the product or service. In essence, their interest is too low to spend time thinking about products and evaluating them in a rational and deliberative fashion. Consequently, on potential low-involvement strategy may be to change consumers attitudes by using peripheral cues to encourage favorable reactions toward advertisements used to promote the brands. Such cues might involve use of pictures, color, attractive spokes people or characters, creative placement of advertisement components, and music in broadcast advertisements. (Bello. L, 2008) Habitual buying behavior and low consumer involvement often present challenges to the marketer of FMCG brands consumers with low involvement would not conduct an extensive search for information, make few comparisons among product attribute, perceive that brands with a given product class were homogeneous, and show little brand preference. Therefore, it seems logical that product involvement has favorable effects on evaluation of product attribute cues towards such willingness. (Celebi.S, n.d.)


2.3 Brand American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brad as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors (Kotler P, 2000) (Laura Lake, 2010) Commenced branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem Further the author suggest A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. It's important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It's a foundational piece in your marketing communication and one you do not want to be without Communicate to consumers using a brand, compared to non branded products, is a tool to distinguish it from competitors. All of the dimensions of branding are distinct, yet interrelated with each other adding value to the brand. Through utilizing these dimensions, companies are able to establish a relationship with their consumers including other core values and attributes associated with each particular brand which is communicated through goods bearing the brand name. (Shah, Virag.A, 2006) in the study, author suggests that In the Pen Market the consumers are not loyal to a particular Brand, majority of them do not stick or purchase the same brand. Repeat Purchase is very less. The major reason for this is Pen is Low Involvement Product, as well as low price but in huge product verities and Price range. Consumers do not purchase the same brand mainly due to Influx of Newer and Newer Products in the Market by different players and in different Price range ultimately changing the consumer buying Decision


2.4 Brand awareness Brand awareness is consumers ability to identify the brand under different conditions, as reflected by their brand recognition or recall performance. (Kotler & Keller, 2005, p. 286) 2.5 Brand extension When a firm uses an established brand to introduce new product, it is called as brand extension. When a new brand is combined with an existing brand, the brand extension can also be called as sub brand. Recognizing that one of their most valuable assets is their brands many firms have decided to leverage those assets by introducing a lot of new products under same of their strongest brand name. Most of new products are in fact line extensions typically 80% to 90% in any one year. With a brand extension, consumers can make inferences and form expectations. As to the likely composition and performance of a new product based on what they already know about the parent brand itself and the extent to which they feel this information is relevant to the new product. (Kotler & Keller, 2005, p. 296-297) 2.6 Design Selling one kind of a product is only half the equation. The other half is selling customers a creative experience that lets them fiddle with colors, patterns, textures, shapes and sizes (Goodman. M. (2009) As competition intensifies, design offers a potential way to differentiate and position a companys products and services. In increasingly fast paced markets, price, and technology are not enough. Design is the factors that often give a company its completive edge. Design is the totality of features that affect how a product looks and functions in terms of customer requirements. The design has to figure out how much to invest in form, feature development, performance, conformance, durability, reliability, and style. To the company a well designed product is one that is easy to manufacture and distribute. To the customer, a well designed product is one that is pleasant to look at and easy to open, install, use, repair, and dispose of it. (Kotler & Keller, 2005, p. 377-378) 14

2.7 Price Price is another form of attribute used by consumers to evaluate a product. Price can sometimes be an indicator of quality, with a high price indicating higher quality. Consumers perceive that a higher price can be attributed to the higher cost of quality control. Some consumers are highly price sensitive (elastic demand), whereby a high prices may shift consumers to competitive brands. Therefore price can have a positive or negative influence on customers. ( Through most of history, prices were set by negotiation between buyer and sellers. Traditionally, price has operated as the major determinant of buyer choice. Although non price factors have become more important in recent decades, price still remains one of the most important elements determining market share and profitability. (Kotler & Keller, 2005, p. 432) In economic theory, price is viewed as having a negative influence on choice as higher price tend to have a negative impact on a consumer budget. But, from a behavioral perspective, price may also be perceived as a product quality cue. The use of price as an indicator of quality reflects the belief that price is set by the competitive interplay of the forces supply and demand. Therefore, price may be viewed as an indicator of security, or as quality cue or both. (Hidayat. A, Mizerski, Ogilvie. M, 2008) The price of an item is clearly an important determinant of the value of sale made. In theory, price is really determined by the discovery of what customers perceive is the value of the item on sales. Researching consumers opinions about pricing is important as it indicates how they value what they are looking for as well as what they want to pay ( (Shah,Virag. A, 2006) discuss on his study that It is the exchange value of product or services always expressed in monetary terms. Price is matter of Importance both for the buyer and seller. Price is important factor in purchase decision. To the seller price is the source of revenue and to buyer price is the sacrifice of purchasing power. Price is


powerful marketing tool. Thus it must be used correctly from the outset. Therefore all marketing planners must plan an accurate Pricing Decision.

2.8 Promotion Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods and services by an identified sponsor. Ads can be a cost effective way to disseminate messages, whether to build a brand preference or to educate people. (Nkakatkar, 2009) (Shah,Virag. A, 2006) Author stated that out of the advertising Medias TV Advertisement is having a significant impact on majority of the pen Consumer. Influence of different Advertising Media is not differing by Profession. Thus almost all media is having the impact on buying decision of different consumer Segments. Retail display is an effective tool way to vitalize brand sales for retailer. Point of Purchase Association International (POPAI) estimates that at least 70% of purchase selections are made within the store. Thousands of brands in shopping centers are competing for attention, and the competition is getting more and more sophisticated. As a retailer you need to differentiate from the mass to feature your product using retail display solutions that sell. Retail Displays are in-store visual displays to show off your inventory or to accentuate a high-margin product. We distinguish between three main types of retail displays. (Tom Tram, 2009) 2.9 Products availability in the market In reality, purchasing fast moving consumer goods is simply a case of buying the right product at the lowest price, and quite often buying these products are impulse buyings. Availability is becoming an increasingly important issue for consumers seeking out convenient grocery solutions. (Awbi. A, 2006)


2.10 Use of ball point pens Ken Y-Ns (2010) study found the following: Most of the consumers (65.2%) use ball point pen almost every day and 20.5% of them use three to five days a week while 0.6% of users are not experiencing the writing of ball point pens. Study further highlights that most of consumers prefer to spent low amount for their pen and consumers fundamentally expect better writing performance in terms of smoothness when writing, how well the ink flows, ease of holding at el. Only 5.7% consider about the brand and 11.4% about long lasting ink. According to the study 29.3% of consumers always try out the pen in the shop.15% of them always buy the same pen. 2.11 Students consumer segment (Shah, Virag. A, 2006) Author suggests that, in student consumer segment it cannot be predicted or analyzed that any one characteristic is impacting their decision. But student wants everything in the Pen affordable price, proper grip, long life and even the performance of the pen. Thus student buying decision regarding pen is influenced equally by almost all variables



For the study, questionnaire and interviews are the primary source of data collection where the aim of this study is exploring the reasons for low demand of BIC NS Fine pens in the market. The research design, sampling design, data collection are discussed in this chapter. 3.1 Types of data Both primary and secondary data were used in the study 3.1.1 Primary data Primary data were collected using mixed method, of questionnaire and focus group interviews. Questionnaire method Using questionnaire (see appendix iii), free views of respondents were collected. The questionnaire consisted of three parts. Part A was design to collect demographic data of respondents and part two structured to collect data on purchase decision of ball point pen. Part three of the questioner intended to collect information on selected factors namely Brand name, Performance, Price, Promotion and Availability, effect when purchasing a ball point pen. Focus group interview Same respondents, who filled up questionnaire, are used for the focus group interviews and selected three to five interviewers for one group. First, researcher made arrangement, interviewers to experience the writing of selected seven pen varieties which are used in the study. Then the discussions were carried out in the way of obtaining respondents ideas for nine pre-determined questions (see appendix iv). Question number three used to collect views on brand awareness of respondents on BIC brand. With the question number four, data was collected their preferences on shape, color of the body, point and appearance of BIC pen. Intention of the question number five was to pick the ideas on writing experience, grip, and color of the Inc of BIC pen. Using question number six,


responses collected abut reasonability of price of the pen. With question number seven examined respondents ideas on company promotional efforts such as TV commercials, Posters, Competitions, Display arrangements etc 3.1.2 Secondary data Secondary data has been collected through referring company sales records, other related reports in the organization, Internet, magazines, articles related to sale.

3.2 Data collection method

Population Study was carried out with special reference to Balangoda sector of DBCL sales schedule. Due to students is the category which uses ball point pens very often, the study based on responses of students who comes in between age ten and thirty. Hence the population is considered as all the students in Balangoda area who are in between age ten and thirty.

Sample Out of the population, 130 respondents were selected using convenient sampling method. It is one of the methods of non probability sampling. 3.3 Data presentation and analysis methods Data analysis was a major part of the research. After collecting primary and secondary data the next step was analyzing of data. By using percentage, and mean value with MS Excel and SPSS, data were analyzed. The researcher used Pie charts, Bar charts, Tables and Descriptive methods to present the findings of this study.



This part is based on the data collected through the questionnaire (see appendix iii) which was administered to 130 units of the total population who are students in Balangoda area, and the views obtained for pre-determined questions (see appendix iv) with focus group interview. 4.1 Data Presentation 4.1.1 Demographic factors Figure 4.1 Age composition of respondents

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) According to figure 4.1, majorities of the sample 51(39%) consist with 15 to 19 age category. under age 10 to 14 category represents 28 (12%) students. Students who comes under age 20 to 25 and 25 to 30 consists in the sample respectively 35(27%) and 16 (22%). Figure 4.2 Gender composition of respondents

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) 20

According to figure 4.2, 70 (54%) male respondents represent the majority of the sample while 60 (46%) for female respondents. Figure 4.3 Education categories of respondents

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) Within the selected sample 57 (44%) respondents comes under GCE ordinary level category. 24 (18%) respondents are in the GCE advanced level category. Undergraduate students represent 41 (32%) of the sample while rest of the students consist with 8 (6%) of professional education category.

4.1.2 Purchase decisions of ball point pens Figure 4.4 Respondents' ball point pens usage

(Source: Survey Data, 2010)


According to the figure 4.4, majority of the students 91(70%) used Atlas pens. Number of respondents uses BIC and Reynolds pen was 4(3%). Within the sample there was zero respondent which use LINC and Richard. 15 (12%) of the students in the sample were using Radiant pens and rest of 16 (12%) respondents used Rotomac pens. Figure 4.5 Most affected reasons when purchasing ball point pens

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) Table 4.1 Most affected reasons when purchasing ball point pens Most affected reason for purchase of ball point pens Des. No. of Res. % Rank Brand name 4 3 6 Design 6 5 4 Performance 63 48 1 Price 22 17 3 Promotion 5 4 5 Availability 30 23 2 130 100 (Source: Survey Data, 2010) According to the figure 4.5 and table 4.1, from the sample, 48% respondents purchase ball point pens mainly considering performance of the pen. Second large portion of respondents purchase ball point pens mainly based on availability of the pen in the store.17% of students consider the price of the pen and consideration of design of the pen, promotional activities and brand name as prominent factors before purchase was respectively 5%, 4%, and 3%. 22

4.1.3 Selected factors effect on Purchase decisions of ball point pens Figure 4.6 Brand name considerations

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) Out of the sample, 42% (8%, 34%) of the respondents stated that they do not consider about the Brand name when purchasing a ball point pen. 29% (25%, 4%) responses were that they consider about Brand name before their purchase. 28% were neither disagree nor agree with the statement. Figure 4.7 Design consideration

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) According to the figure 4.7, 35% of respondents disagree with the statement, that they do not consider design of the pen when selecting a ball point pen. Similar responses of 32% were that they neither agree nor disagree with the statement.


Figure 4.8 Performance consideration

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) According to the figure 4.8, 12% of respondents stated that they do not consider about the performance of the pen when they take buying decisions. 8% of them did not neither agree nor disagree with the statement while 80% of them agree that they consider performance of the pen before purchase. Figure 4.9 Price consideration

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) 22 % of sample consist with respondents who dis agree with the statement of price consideration when purchase ball point pens. 59 % of them stated that they consider about price of the pen when deciding to purchase. 19 % respondents were neither agree nor disagree with the statement.


Figure 4.10 Effect of promotional activities

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) According to figure 4.10, Majority of the respondents 55% stated that it does not effect promotonal activities for their purchasing decision. 20% of the students in the population responded that promotional activities has an infact when purchasing ball point pens. Rest of the respondents of 25% were neither agree nor disagree with the statement.

Figure 4.11 Effect of availability

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) 17% and 19% of respondents disagree with that they do not purchase what ever the available pen variety in the store while 32% and 13 % altogether 45% of responces were stating that they do purchase out of the available pen varities.19% of the respondents neither agree nor disagree with that statement.


Figure 4.12 Respondents preference of purchasing ball point pens

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) According to the figure 4.12, Majority of the respondents of 81% in the sample prefer to purchase Atlas pens. 8% of them prefer in using Rotomac pens. 6% and 4% of responses were about preference of pens respectively Reynolds and Radiant. No one respondent prefer in using BIC and Richard. Out of the sample 1% of students prefer in using LINC pens. 4.1.4 Consumer attitude for BIC pen Figure 4.13 Reason for not selecting BIC pen

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) Out of the sample 32% of the respondents stated that design of the BIC pen was reasoned for not purchasing the pen. 26% responses were about bad writing performance of the pen. 15% and 12% of them respectively said that price and availability of the pen were main reasons behind not selecting the BIC pen while 8% stated about lack of promotional activities and 6% of responses were other reasons. 1% of them stated about brand name.


Table 4.2 Reason for not selecting BIC pen No. of Res. Brand name Design Performance Price Promotion Availability Other (Source: Survey Data, 2010) Figure 4.14 Awareness of brand name of BIC 1 41 34 20 11 15 8 130 % 1 32 26 15 8 12 6 100 Rank 7 1 2 3 5 4 6

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) According to the Figure 4.14, 52% (20%, 32%) of the respondents are well aware about the BIC brand name. Brand awareness of 32% was in moderate level and only 17% (3%, 14%) were not much aware about the name of BIC. Figure 4.15 Satisfaction of design of BIC pen

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) 27

According to the Figure 4.15, 45% (5%, 40%) respondents are not satisfied with the design of BIC pen while 19 % (18%, 1%) are satisfied. 36% of respondents stated moderate level of satisfaction about the design of BIC pen. Figure 4.16 Writing performance of BIC pen

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) 62% (11%, 51%) of the sample are not satisfy with the writing performance of BIC pen. 33% of them stay in moderate level of satisfaction while only 5% of respondents are satisfy with writing of BIC pen. Figure 4.17 Price of BIC pen

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) According to survey data in figure 4.17, majority of the respondents 98% stated that relatively BIC pen has high price. Only 2% of respondents stated that the price is in moderate level. 28

Figure 4.18 Promotional activities of BIC pen

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) Majority of responces 95% (67% , 28% ) were that promotional activities on BIC pen is not satisfiable. Only 5% of responces were that promotional activities are in moderate level.

Figure 4.19 Availability of BIC pen

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) According to the figure 4.19, 93% (63%, 30%) sample unites are not satisfy with the availability of BIC pen. 4% of them stay in moderate level. Rest of the students of 3% are satisfy with availability of BIC pen in the stores which they purchase products.


Figure 4.20 Willingness to purchase BIC pen next time

(Source: Survey Data, 2010) Among the sample unites 43% are not willing to purchase BIC pen in a future purchase. Decision of 38% respondent depends while 19% of them willing to purchase the pen next time.

4.2 Analysis and Discussion

According to the findings of the study, purchase decision of students whether which pen to select is mostly influenced by the performance of the pen. That selection criterion does not change with the gender of the students (see appendix ii, table v) or their education category (see appendix ii, table vi). The data collected prove that majority of the students are using Atlas pens while Rotomac and Radiant pens, holding the second place of the market. Both the BIC and Reynolds pens posses 3% of the market share. Most of the students (63%) are willing to purchase the same pen variety next time. Only the 8% of them are dissatisfy with the pen which they are using at present. 29 % of the students are not stick to one particular pen variety (see appendix ii, table xv). Quantity of the pen purchase at a time differs with the consumer. Major portion around 50% of them purchase one pen in one purchase and most of their repeat frequency is moderate (see appendix ii, table vi & vii). 30

Table 4.3 Descriptive Statistics for question number 09-14 in questionnaire Q Description Mean Std. Deviation 09 I am highly consider about the brand name when purchasing a ball point pen 10 11 I always purchase a pen which has good design Good writing performance of the pen highly effect for my purchase decision 12 13 I always purchase a pen which has reasonable (low) price Promotional activities on the pen has strong impact on my decision of whether which pen to purchase 14 I always take purchase decision out of whatever the available pen varieties in the store, without searching for desired pen variety in several stores Mean value for the question number 9 is less than value 3 indicates that there is little relationship in between demand and brand name of ball point pens. Mean value of question number 10 and 13 also stating the value less than 3 represents low relationship of design and promotional activities with the demand of ball point pens. Question number 11, 12 and 14 with higher mean value than 3 indicates positive relationship of design, price and availability with the demand. Though the mean value of question number 10 is less than value 3, it is very close to the 3. So that design of the pen also makes substantial impact on demand. There is a different of students ball point pen usage and actually what they are willing to use. This is particularly due to the availability factor and low involvement of the consumer with decision they make to purchase a pen. 23% of students have mentioned that they purchased the pen as there was no other optional variety. Only 70% of students are using Atlas, but 81% of them willing to use Atlas. Double of the students are willing 31 3.04 1.320 2.46 1.122 3.52 1.156 2.95 4.03 1.092 1.063 2.82 1.030

to use Reynolds pen than its present users. Conversely Radiant, Rotomac and BIC users indicates poor preference for their selected pen variety. According to the findings in the study students are not using BIC pen mainly they are not satisfy with the design of the pen. Other than of that the performance of the BIC pen has stated significant effect on not to be selected. BIC has well brand awareness among the students. Majority of them are familiar with the name of BIC. But design of the pen is not in the satisfactory level. Students do not like to the Shape, Color of the body, point, appearance et al of the pen. Students attitude for the performance of the pen is that BIC pen is not suitable for better writing. They are not satisfy with the grip and also about the color of inc.15 rupee of price for the pen is not so affordable for the consumers. Cheaper prices of other competitive products prevent them expecting the BIC pen at 15 rupees. Most of the students do not exposure for promotional activities on the BIC pen. They are not satisfied with any of the efforts such as television commercials, posters, competitions or even display of the product in retail stores. Availability of BIC pen in the market is also not in complacency level. 93% of the students have stated that they cannot find the pen in their market. After the introduction about features, performance and introducing the pen itself first time for some students in focus group interviews, 19% of them stated that they willing to purchase the BIC pen next time.



5.1 Conclusion This study was carried out to identify key selection criteria when buying a ball point pen and consumer attitude for BIC NS Fine pen. After identifying influential factors behind low demand of the pen researcher expected to provide possible solutions for achieving higher performance in sales of BIC NS Fine pen. By analyzing the data collected for the study the researcher was able to come up with following conclusions. When consumers selecting a ball point pen to purchase, they highly consider about whether the pen going to be selected provides good writing performance. Disputing the gender or age of the users they commonly expect proper writing. The brand name of BIC possesses good awareness within the consumers. Most of them are very much familiar with the name because it is well established brand name in Sri Lankan market. Though the other selected factors of design, performance, price, promotional activities, and availability regarding the BIC NS Fine pen are not in noticeable positive level. Demand for BIC NS Fine pen in the market to record that much of bad performance is a result of mainly the pen does not have good design. Other than of that as discussed in the study, the writing performance, price and availability in the store of a pen has strong impact on its demand. Thus the writing performance, price and availability of BIC NS Fine pen effect for its low demand. Within the ball point pen market, most of the users prefer to purchase the same pen variety which they are currently using and majority of them purchase one pen at a time. Further they purchase ball point pens in moderate frequency. On the other hand some consumers could not purchase their desirable pen from the market and they are using that


what is available pen variety in the market. Promotional activities only itself do not make significant impact on demand of ball point pens. But when consumers are aware about quality, performance and other features of the pen it urges them to select that particular variety. 5.2 Recommendations The main reasons behind the low demand of BIC NS Fine pen is its design which does not match with consumer requirements. Even though the Darley Butler Company manufactured the pen, company cannot change its design from original design in France. Then the company has the other option that manufacturing another pen which best match to the Sri Lankan market. This is the best option can be taken regarding the BIC NS Fine pen. Other than of that, demand for the pen can be increased with subsequent recommendations. Consumers need a ball point pen at low price. But they does not much consider about expecting the long last pen. So the Inc level of the pen can be bit reduced and use the reducing cost to decrease the price of the pen. Over and above most of them purchase one pen at bit higher (moderate) frequency. With that criterion they need a pen at low price other than of durable pen. Considerable amount of consumers purchase pens other than of the pens they willing to select and no one brand of pens acquired 100% availability in the market. The BIC NS Fine has this opportunity to keep its availability all over the market. Consumer awareness about the pen needs to be increased. After they aware about the BIC pen 19% of them were ready to purchase it next time. This can be done through TV commercial, Posters, Proper display at el. When it display, the package of the pen is very important. Consumers attraction first catches by the package not the pen. So that the current dreary package of the BIC NS Fine pen need to be changed for an attractive one.