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CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR

Analysis of Consumer Behaviour for


Online Purchase of Furniture
Project 1B

Submitted To: Prof. Utkarsh


8/27/2018

Submitted By:

(Section 2)

Thomas Dominic – 17S454

Jane Joseph - 17S421

Siddharth Kallada - 17S448

Russa Saha – 17F235

Ron K Sunny – 17F233


Introduction

A few years back, purchasing online was considered as an activity of tech-savvy consumers. People were
hesitant to purchase durable and high involvement products online. Such days have long passed by,
consumers are nowadays proactively purchasing online. Their online purchase items are no longer
confined to books or electronic gadgets. Improvement in payment facilities, availability of peer ratings,
and wide choice of products and ease of transaction are some of the factors that can be attributed to this
shift in buying behavior. What strikes the most is that the sale of some products are happening now
exclusively through online stores. It is in this background that the study of online purchase behavior
behind furniture products becomes particularly important. Traditionally, more than just utilitarian value,
furniture products were associated with pride and prestige of the customers. The quality of the wood and
the design were of utmost importance for customers. Families often spent an entire day on furniture stores
looking for the right products. With the advent of online facility for purchasing furniture, many have
started to purchase furniture online. The project aims to understand the various factors that influence
consumer behavior while they purchase furniture online.

Methodology

The project is descriptive in nature. Data have been mainly collected through primary research. Focused
group discussions and 6 in depth interviews (3 male and 3 female) were conducted to understand various
aspects of consumer behaviour behind online purchase of furniture. Convenience sampling method was
used for the primary research. The respondents were in the age group of 20-40. Choosing respondents
from this particular segment was predicated on the assumption that this age group was more exposed to
technology and were more likely to make purchases online.

Research Findings

“Information Search” plays an important role in shaping online purchasing behavior for furniture
products. The focused group discussions and the interviews hint that the information search for
online purchase is mainly focused on reviews and ratings given by other customers. Websites
like Amazon, Flipkart, Pepperfry and Urbanladder have options for posting reviews and ratings.
Average ratings given by other customers play an important role in forming ones’ judgment on
the quality of the furniture products. The first source of information for online customers is the
peer reviews that appear under the product in the website. The reviews are given by those
customers who have purchased the product before. Some of them are verified customers and
some are not. The respondents gave more weight to the reviews of verified customers.
Consumers generally purchase furniture less frequently as compared to other products. While,
furniture items like shoe racks, laptop tables, chairs, book shelves are considered as less durable,
products like dining tables and almirahs are considered as long term investments. While, the
respondents preferred to purchase low involvement furniture products like shoe racks, laptop
tables, chairs and book shelves online, high involvement products like dining tables are
considered as too risky and inconvenient to purchase online. They feel the stakes of purchasing
high end furniture products online is too high. Buying such high priced products from an offline
retail shop gives them the assurance of quality as they themselves check it. The rapport between
the local store manager and the customers also plays an important role in some cases.

On the other hand, respondents are comfortable with purchasing low involvement, low priced
furniture products online. Better prices, convenience of delivery and wide variety of choices are
some of the factors cited by the respondents for their preference towards online purchase. The
online stores give wide variety of choices with latest designs. It is easier for a customer to
browse across the pages rather than walking through the offline store, looking for the right
product. It also gives them the convenience to select the products and save it in their account,
which helps them to defer their purchase. This is very advantageous, as the students and working
professionals often find it difficult to spare continuous hours on shopping. Another major
advantage of online purchase, as cited by the respondents, is the price discounts. E –commerce
firms like Amazon and Flipkart offer discounts on a regular basis. On top if this, they conduct
big discount days, which is a period of two to three days wherein products including furniture
items are offered at lower prices. Customers often defer their purchase to these days, to avail
better prices.

The gender differences in consumer behaviour were mainly reflected on emphasis of design and
time duration. The female respondents tend to spend more time while purchasing furniture
online. They add many variants of the same product to the wish list before deciding on the final
product. Female respondents also focused on the design aspect of the furniture. They give more
importance to factors like shape and colour of the product. Male respondents gave more weight
to the utility and the price factors.
Respondents gave huge weight for the post sale services offered by online stores. They prefer to
purchase from those online firms, which offer easy return policy. In case of offline purchase, the
bargaining power of customers is lower and they feel they are stripped of information about the
product. Whereas going online, help them to access information from various sources. Most
often, the ecommerce firms offer exchange or easy return policy, which reinforces the
confidence of customers on such transactions. Availability of payment on delivery offered by
online firms has influenced customers to make their purchases online. Respondents invariably
agreed upon the importance of safety and ease of payment system for purchasing furniture
online.

Conclusion

The frequency of purchasing furniture online has increased over the time. Ease of payment,
better prices, ease of delivery, and availability of latest design are some of the factors which have
contributed to this trend. Majority of such purchases are limited to low cost furniture products
like shoe racks and laptop tables. The project also found out that female consumers tend to spend
more time for online purchases and gave more importance to design of the furniture product. On
the other hand male customers focused more on functional aspects and price factors.

Limitations

The sample size for the project is too small to arrive at any generalizations on the behaviour of
consumers. The findings are purely based on the in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. While
it gives directions on how consumers are thinking, it’s premature to arrive at concrete conclusions based
on these findings alone. The insights from the research should be verified with more secondary research.
However, the project throws some light on aspects like the role of gender in online purchase behaviour,
which could be further explored.
Appendix

Questionnaire
1. How often do you purchase furniture online?
2. What kind of furniture do you buy online and offline?
3. What are the advantages of purchasing online?
4. What are the design related advantages you get when you purchase online?
5. How do price discounts and other offers affect your mode of purchase?
6. What technological factors give online purchase an advantage over offline purchase?
7. What kind of difficulties do you face when you purchase online (like delivery of the
product etc)?
8. What are the sources of information you check when you want to make an online
purchase?
9. Which online portals/applications or websites have you used for online purchase?
10. How much time do you spend when you purchase furniture online?
11. How important is the after sales service for you, when you purchase online?
12. Which mode of payment, do you prefer? (Cash on delivery, debit card, credit card, net
banking etc...)

Respondents’ Details

Name Gender Age Profession


Tarun Gorugantu Male 25 Student
Working in services
Jeet Bhattacharyya Male 30 sector
Akshay Thomas Male 24 Student
Soumya Mukundan Female 24 Student
Teena Antony Female 32 Engineer
Geethu Akhil Female 34 Housewife