Patterns of brand and store choice
The sublects of brand choice and store choice have been widely studied, but these two aspects of consumer behaviour have tended to be treated in isolation from each other. This thesis therefore provides a detailed examination of the way in which brand choice and store choice patterns compare and interact. The results are based on AGB consumer panel data, and relate to three frequently-bought grocery products. Despite the multiplicity of factors believed to influence brand and store choice, at the aggregate level many highly regular patterns (concerning for instance the rate of purchase at a store, or the extent to which a brand's buyers also buy another brand) are found in each context. These various patterns are shown to be predictable by the Dirichlet, a stochastic model of buying behaviour, using only market share as brand-specific or store-specific input. Importantly, the Dirichlet is shown to apply not only to the "whole-market" contexts of brand choice and store choice (as is known from previous research), but to the "submarket" contexts of within-store brand choice and within-brand store choice. This indicates that, although the numerical values may differ, at a rather more fundamental level brand choice patterns are the same within different stores, and store choice patterns are the same for different brands. It also means that the practical utility of the Dirichiet - generating theoretical norms to help interpret the observed data - has been extended, providing retailers and manufacturers with a more detailed and flexible market analysis tool. A wide range of new findings are reported regarding the relationship between brand and store loyalty. For instance, it is found (via a new methodology to take account of the crucial influence of market share) that the levels of brand loyalty and store loyalty are quite similar in degree, although the latter does tend to exceed the former - a result which holds important implications for consumers' reactions to a brand delisting or stock-out. It is also found on a number of measures that the overall level of within-store brand loyalty varies little from store to store, and that consumers exhibit marked brand loyalty across stores (i.e. they show no tendency to switch brands when switching stores). In all these cases, the value of structuring the (often complex) observed patterns via the Dirichlet is amply demonstrated.