The indecisive and impulsive consumer dominates the wafer product category. It seems that adding a little sweetness to everyday life is often a spontaneous decision, which usually happens at the spur of the moment.
Every manufacturer wants to better understand the behavior and desires of the average consumer – what exactly is your average Joe’s shopping style and what are the key moments that could provoke his loyalty or antipathy towards a certain brand.
Consumers of sweet snacks, in particular wafers, have a specific behavioral profile. The analysis of this profile reveals much about the attitudes towards this toothsome product, so beloved by many Bulgarians, which could in turn help in the development of successful marketing strategies.
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, AND WHY
Chocolate and plain wafers are an integral part of the daily life of a rather small part of the target group – only 5% eat the sugary products every day. Ardent fans of coated and uncoated wafers are few and far between in our target audience, but this does not mean that the average consumer does not have a place for this type of food in their menu. A significant share (42%) of respondents take a bite of one of the two types of wafers at least once a month.
Coated wafers are the prevailing choice for consumers, with two-thirds saying they have consumed the chocolate version at least once in the past month. Only a quarter of the audience says the same about uncoated wafers.
In regards to size and packaging, plain wafers in family size packaging are consumed at least once a month by 14% of respondents, while the single package – by 10%. In the case of chocolate wafers, the preference for individually-packaged wafers is much more pronounced, with more than half favoring the single serving option, while the larger alternative intended for sharing is chosen almost five times less often.
For half of consumers, wafers, regardless of their variety, provide a moment of sweetness when it is not yet time for one of the main meals of the day – breakfast, lunch or dinner. One-third admit to eating the product on the go, thus saving valuable time, while about 17% of consumers bring this variety of sweets with them in their backpack when going on a trip.
Despite the established preference for single packaging and consumption of wafers before/after the more social in nature meals such as lunch or dinner, the percentage of consumers who share this product with other people is still considerable – 30%.
Furthermore, almost the same number of consumers buy the sweet product for their loved ones. This fact further strengthens the notion that this product category is closely linked to food sharing and sociability.
CLASSIFYING BEHAVIOUR: LOYAL, IMPULSIVE, CHAOTIC OR PROMOTION HUNTERS
When it comes to choosing a brand, in almost half of the cases, the observed behavior amongst the target audience is that of impulsive decision making – buying items upon which the consumer has not decided before starting a shopping trip, e.g. “an unintentional purchase”. This means that factors such as the emotional state of the consumer, the atmosphere in the store, the positioning of the products, as well as advertising materials can greatly influence the choice of brand. All those factors should be taken into account when forming a strategy to win over the impulsive segment that comprises the majority of consumers in this product category.
On the opposite spectrum sit the loyal, unwavering shoppers. They are loyal to a particular brand and find it somewhat harder to change their buying tendencies – they are the ones whose actions can be predicted and rarely change their preferences abruptly. The process of encouraging and consolidating loyalty takes time, but the group of brand devotees are one of the most valuable assets.
THE ANTITHESIS OF THE LOYAL CONSUMER – WHAT AROUSES ANTIPATHY TOWARDS A BRAND
Contrary to the possible positives of attracting loyal consumers, let’s look at what disappoints the average Joe among the target audience when it comes to choosing a brand. It is worth noting that the aspect concerning negative emotions and subsequent behavior is less frequently analyzed in the field of market research. However, a number of studies show that in some cases negative experiences could actually have a greater impact on consumer behavior than positive ones.
For example, when consumers are dissatisfied with a product, they are much more likely to share their opinion online or discuss it with their loved ones compared to when they have positive experiences. Given how easy and fast it is for consumers to express their opinion via the internet, identifying the specific reasons for the emergence of brand antipathy becomes essential.
A significant share (77%) of consumers in the product category indicate that they have switched brands and almost everyone has discussed their disappointment of a brand with a loved one. Nearly a third have made the decision to avoid a specific brand at all costs, while a quarter of consumers admitted that their brand antipathy has lead them to make online complaints.
According to Professor Marc Fetscherin and his colleagues, the reasons for strong negative feelings about a brand are divided into three main groups: negative previous experience, inappropriate image and moral, social, environmental or other type of incompatibility with the brand.
When it comes to brand antipathy, it seems the biggest factor for consumers is the negative previous experience, which refers to the low quality of products (76%), poor attitude (23%) and inconvenience of products (21%). In fifth and sixth place are statements closely related to brand policy, which are contrary to the moral beliefs and values of the target audience. The inappropriate image of a brand appears to provoke least amount of antipathy. It is worth to mention that decline in overall quality was also mentioned by some, who deemed it as separate to the more general “low quality of the product”.
Factors contributing to a negative attitude towards a brand can lead to passive (changing and / or avoiding a brand) or active actions (online complaint or sharing the dissatisfaction with others). Nevertheless, both passive and active actions have long-term adverse effects on brands.
What manufacturers and traders can do is put in place an effective mechanism for identifying and addressing complaints and integrate new corporate social responsibility strategies to minimize the likelihood of discontent or moral, social, environmental or other incompatibility of the brand with consumers.
* Hegner, Sabrina & Fetscherin, Marc & Delzen, Marianne. (2017). Determinants and outcomes of brand hate. Journal of Product & Brand Management. 26. 13-25. 10.1108/JPBM-01-2016-1070.
* Fetscherin, M., (2019), “The five types of brand hate: How they affect consumer behavior”, Journal of Business Research , Vol. 101, pp. 116-127.
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