Seo Koo Lee


Brand switching data frequently used in market structure analysis is adequate to analyze non- durable goods, because it can capture competition between specific two brands. But brand switching data sometimes can not be used to analyze goods like automobiles having long term duration because one of main assumptions that consumer preference toward brand attributes is not changed against time can be violated. Therefore a new type of data which can precisely capture competition among durable goods is needed. Another problem of using brand switching data collected from actual purchase behavior is short of explanation why consumers consider different set of brands. Considering above problems, main purpose of this study is to analyze market structure for durable goods with consideration set. The author uses exploratory approach and latent class clustering to identify market structure based on heterogeneous consideration set among consumers. Then the relationship between some factors and consideration set formation is analyzed. Some benefits and two demographic variables - age and income - are selected as factors based on consumer behavior theory. The author analyzed USA automotive market with top 11 brands using exploratory approach and latent class clustering. 2,500 respondents are randomly selected from the total sample and used for analysis. Six models concerning market structure are established to test. Model 1 means non-structured market and model 6 means market structure composed of six sub-markets. It is exploratory approach because any hypothetical market structure is not defined. * Business Administration, Korea Nazarene University The result showed that model 1 is insufficient to fit data. It implies that USA automotive market is a structured market. Model 3 with three market structures is significant and identified as the optimal market structure in USA automotive market. Three sub markets are named as USA brands, Asian Brands, and European Brands. And it implies that country of origin effect may exist in USA automotive market. Comparison between modal classification by derived market structures and probabilistic classification by research model was conducted to test how model 3 can correctly classify respondents. The model classify 97% of respondents exactly. The result of this study is different from those of previous research. Previous research used confirmatory approach. Car type and price were chosen as criteria for market structuring and car type-price structure was revealed as the optimal structure for USA automotive market. But this research used exploratory approach without hypothetical market structures. It is not concluded yet which approach is superior. For confirmatory approach, hypothetical market structures should be established exhaustively, because the optimal market structure is selected among hypothetical structures. On the other hand, exploratory approach has a potential problem that validity for derived optimal market structure is somewhat difficult to verify. There also exist market boundary difference between this research and previous research. While previous research analyzed seven car brands, this research analyzed eleven car brands. Both researches seemed to represent entire car market, because cumulative market shares for analyzed brands exceeds 50%. But market boundary difference might affect the different results. Though both researches showed different results, it is obvious that country of origin effect among brands should be considered as important criteria to analyze USA automotive market structure. This research tried to explain heterogeneity of consideration sets among consumers using benefits and two demographic factors, sex and income. Benefit works as a key variable for consumer decision process, and also works as an important criterion in market segmentation. Three factors - trust/ safety, image/fun to drive, and economy - are identified among nine benefit related measure. Then the relationship between market structures and independent variables is analyzed using multinomial regression. Independent variables are three benefit factors and two demographic factors. The result showed that all independent variables can be used to explain why there exist different market structures in USA automotive market. For example, a male consumer who perceives all benefits important and has lower income tends to consider domestic brands more than European brands. And the result also showed benefits, sex, and income have an effect to consideration set formation. Though it is generally perceived that a consumer who has higher income is likely to purchase a high priced car, it is notable that American consumers perceived benefits of domestic brands much positive regardless of income. Male consumers especially showed higher loyalty for domestic brands. Managerial implications of this research are as follow. Though implication may be confined to the USA automotive market, the effect of sex on automotive buying behavior should be analyzed. The automotive market is traditionally conceived as male consumers oriented market. But the proportion of female consumers has grown over the years in the automotive market. It is natural outcome that Volvo and Hyundai motors recently developed new cars which are targeted for women market. Secondly, the model used in this research can be applied easier than that of previous researches. Exploratory approach has many advantages except difficulty to apply for practice, because it tends to accompany with complicated model and to require various types of data. The data needed for the model in this research are a few items such as purchased brands, consideration set, some benefits, and some demographic factors and easy to collect from consumers.

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