Selected factors influencing maven tendency and cosmetic products’ trial by female consumers in Southern Gauteng

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Dlamini, Zinhle Lindani
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Vaal University of Technology
In the case of cosmetic products, which convey both psychological and symbolic benefits to consumers, it is imperative for marketers to expand the scope of product trial as it presents a novel strategy for signalling the success of new products. In lieu of this, considerable attention should be accorded to the ubiquitous role of influential consumers who are instrumental in influencing the behaviour of other consumers through exemplary conduct and/or interpersonal word-of-mouth (WOM) communication. In this vein, this study sought to examine the influence of selected factors on market maven tendency and the ultimate trial of new cosmetic products by female consumers in the southern Gauteng. This presents the need to examine empirically the role of market mavens who play an indispensable role in filling the omitted information gaps existing within the market. Particularly, this research is in response to calls for unremitting replications of the work seeking to establish the nomological variables that are antecedent to the market mavenism construct. The study drew from the confluence of the Two-step flow theory and the Stimulus Organism Response (SOR) theory, which provided theoretical lenses in understanding how various stimuli could possibly influence the maven tendency (organism) and the ultimate trial of new cosmetic products (response) by those mavens situated in the southern Gauteng region of South Africa. In view of achieving the overarching objective of this study, a sample survey was conducted in 2018 using a sample of female market mavens that were selected on referral basis, after applying the snowball sampling technique. In the cross-sectional based sample survey, a self-administered questionnaire was utilised. Drawing from the responses, a trichotomisation was developed, enabling the researcher to categorise the participants by including those individuals reporting either low (n=86), moderate (n=141) or high (n=248) maven tendency scores. Resultantly, the findings from a cross-section of 475 female mavens were admissible for statistical analysis. Drawing from the statistical analysis, the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) procedure steered the extraction of six components that are salient towards calibrating the tendency towards market mavenship among female consumers of cosmetic products. The scale items along these six components yielded acceptable internal consistency reliability (Cronbach’s alpha coefficients ranged between 0.792 and 0.876), whereas the results of the descriptive statistics revealed mean score rankings above 4.0 across the six components, thereby signalling agreeability among the participants with regard to the determinants of market maven tendency. Likewise, weak to moderate correlation coefficients that were positive and statistically significant (p <0.01) were also established in this work (ranging between +0.297 and +0.639). This inferred the existence oflinear and direct relationships among the variables examined in this work. Based on this, it was possible to conduct a structural equation modelling procedure. Prior to testing the hypothesised relationships, model fit of the measurement model was evaluated. Moreover, analysis of the statistical accuracy measures in terms of the reliability and validity of the measurement model pointed to the existence of a six-variable structure of new product trial, comprising consumer innovativeness, aspirational attractiveness, social norms influence, advertising efficacy, market maven tendency and new cosmetic products’ trial. Correspondingly, the direction and prediction among these constructs was tested by specifying a structural model. The structural model yielded adequate fit indices. In terms of prediction, the four constructs, namely consumer innovativeness (ß=+0.441; Z=9.292; p<0.01), social norms influence (ß=+0.339; Z=7.272; p<0.01), advertising efficacy (ß=+0.293; Z=6.607; p<0.01) and aspirational attractiveness (ß=+0.182; Z=4.099; p<0.01) were proven to have positive and statistically significant predictive influence on market maven tendency, in that order. Together, the four stimuli are presumed to explain approximately 43 percent of the variance in the tendency towards market mavenship among the responding female consumers. Market maven tendency was confirmed as a predictor of new product trial in this research (ß=+0.478; Z=8.448; p<0.01). This latter path proved that the tendency towards market maven behaviour explains approximately 23 percent on the variance in new product trial among female mavens. These maiden findings suggest that it is possible to anchor the construct of market maven tendency along a broader behavioural science theory, comprising selected stimulus elements. In particular, the results derived in this study demonstrate the three-fold orientation of the female maven in terms of innate (consumer innovativeness), context-based (social norms influence and advertising efficacy) as well as the desired or sought-after (aspirational attractiveness) stimuli that influence market maven tendency. In addition, the study confirmed that new product trial could act as an invaluable tool for raising awareness about the features and benefits of new cosmetic products. Based on these results, it is recommended that marketing managers capitalise on the contribution of market mavens as auxiliary dispensers of new beauty product information.
M. Tech. (Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management Sciences), Vaal University of Technology
Consumer innovativeness, aspirational attractiveness, social norms influence, advertising efficacy, market mavens, new product trial