This research was meant to study the factors that affect consumption behaviour of the international students in KICL College, London. It is notable that the consumption by international students has somehow removed that of local students. The research study made use of quantitative methods in which 50 respondents, drawn randomly from both the foundational and pre-masters students, were surveyed by use of structured questionnaires. The sample population was representative of both genders; each side had 25 representatives. Frequency analysis was used to analyze the collected data and findings represented in terms of graphs. The whole research process followed all the ethical requirements of scientific research activities. The research found out that the consumer behaviours of the international students are informed by product characteristics such as brand, quality, popularity, reputation, and advertising. Other factors include payment methods available, parental influence, and culture. There are also other factors that affect the consumption behaviour of the international students; such factors are such as those that affect the consumption behaviour of any other consumer who is bale to make rational choices in the goods and services market. So the main aim of this research was to establish an understanding of the factors that affect the consumption behaviour of the international students in KICL College.
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Consumption is a common concept in the field of economics. The specific definition of the concept “consumption” is varied according to different schools of economists. However, according to the school of mainstream economics, the concept is used to refer to the purchase of goods and services by the end user. Consumption entails satisfying the material and cultural needs of an individual or a group of individuals. The end users of goods and services are known as consumers. The producers of goods and services depend heavily on consumers for the disposal of their manufactured and processed products; this implies that without the consumer the production process would stop. It is important to point out that, economically; consumption of manufactured products is greatly determined by such factors as choice and preferences, affordability to the consumers and mostly importantly, the varied consumer behaviour. These are the reason producers engage in marketing and advertising of their goods and services; so that they can influence consumer behaviors for their own benefit.
In groups of consumers, young people, especially international students are their force. Consumption index of international students and their impact on the economy are increasingly coming into vision. Some forms of consumption such as personal values, and social relations will affect the students’ overdraft consumer behaviour (Autio & Heininen, 2004). It is important that international students establish a correct concept of consumption and improve their financial awareness. The aim of this research was to do a study on the consumption behaviour of international students in KICL. The study examined the factors that influence the consumption behaviour amongst the international students in KICL, London. Generally, the consumption of the international students KICL involves the utilization of material and spiritual products to meet the students’ varied and differing needs as experience during the period they are studying in college.
Studies show that characteristics of international students would be the base of identifying factors that influence the purchasing behaviours. According to the survey of Kitsantas et al (2008), following features are in the list of vital factors, considering consumption by international students: the international students become more rational than ever; searching for brands based on individuals become a mainstream; social consumption gradually emerging. Moreover, according to formers studies, international students show differences from adult consumers (Autio and Heininen, 2004; Ziliak and Knieser, 2005). They tend to pursue individuality and self-satisfactions, self-conscious and seldom listen to their parents.
Self-Identification would have some effects on international student brand preference and brand loyalty (Assael, 1998). The brand that international students choose shall be suit for their concept, life styles and social status. If brands cannot show a certain personality, they are not worth any loyalty. In conclusion, brand choices depend on self-identification are reasonable to some extent.
Moreover, Autio and Heininen (2004) pointed out that personal values and social relationship can influence international students’ traits as related to consumption. The perspective that international student behaviour is influenced by students’ personal values is also tested by Ziliak and Knieser (2005). As the research found, international students are cognitively independent and their characters are not limited, so they rather get funds from credit card companies than their parents.
In Addition, culturally, people in Western countries tend to use further money from loan and credit card while people in East like to deposit. As Scott, et al (2008) stated that parents are the first financial teachers to their children; they help children form consumption behaviour.
Finally, international students’ consumption behavior may greatly be influenced by time. Based on Park and Baker (2007), the time refers to a stage or a period of time when people are between 18 to 25 years old. It is a period when people must join in the society, so they begin to think their long term career plan, including consumption behavior. For example, alcohol consumption among college students is popular today. Several studies show that international students and common college students had the same consumption pattern (Phillip, et al, 2007).
Although several studies have focused on different personality factors to influence the international students, other researches indicate that the environmental condition and four aspects accounts for international students. Some studies indicate that related environment would obviously affect international student s’ behaviour (Sheth, et al., 1999; Evans et al., 1996). International students’ purchase psychology, viewpoint and actions are directly or indirectly impacted by several external situations, such as brands, reputation and popularity. Several environmental factors would impose influence on consumption behaviours of international students. In addition, former studies show that fours aspects, including brand name, product quality, price and advertising are elements that enterprise or merchants can choose to attract the attention of international students. (Mei-mei et al., 2006; Evans et al., 1996)
On The One Hand, several scholar emphasise the usage of well-known brands, one of them is “Famous brand name can disseminate product benefit and lead to higher recall of an advertised benefit than a non-famous brand name.” (Keller, 1998, p 148)., so people, including international students would like to use the conception. In that case, various brands for a single product show up in the market; this makes the international students to be indifferent.
Though people said “Price is probably the most important consideration for the average international students” (Ryan et al., 1999, cited in Mei-mei et al., 2006, p.3), loyalty international students seem to insist on the choice. The principle is suitable for international students. Furthermore, advertising can directly influence brand loyalty because international students’ choices have something to do with international students’ impressions, beliefs and perspectives to products and brands. And then their purchase behaviour is affected (Evans et al., 1996). Simon and Suliiivan (1993) also found that advertising contributes to the loyalty to a certain brand.
The whole research study involved the use of quantitative methods. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from the sample population. The choice of quantitative research methods as informed by the fact that it was the most appropriate due to short time within which the study was to be conducted, analysis of data done and findings represented. Since quantitative methods are easy administer and the fact that it is cost-effective, it was the most appropriate means of conducting the study given also that the participants were likely to be busy at the time of the research study; this means that the method used was considerate of the limited time the respondents would have answering the questionnaires presented to them by the researcher.
The researcher experienced a number of benefits from utilizing quantitative data collection methods. First, the researcher was able to gather highly reliable and relevant data; the data collected by this means do not need the complexity of data coding which is subject to personal biases of individuals involved in data coding. Second, the participants were able to fill the questionnaires objectively; this implies that all the participants were able to answer the questions without involving their personal biases, instead, the make choices from answers already provided.
The selection of participants in the research process was drawn using random technique. The sampling process was stratified where 25 of the respondents were representative of foundational level while the remaining 25 were drawn from pre-masters students. Both genders were equally represented in the sample population. The participants were each presented with a questionnaire which they were expected to fill in independently. The demographic of the participants included students who were between the ages of 18 years and 25 years old. All the fifty participants turned up for the study.
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Data Collection and Analysis Procedure
The most appropriate procedure used in the collection of data was the administration of structured questionnaires in which all the participants were issued with structured questionnaires. They were supposed to fill the questionnaires by making as many choices as appropriate from the alternatives provided. Since the respondents were very few, only 50, only one researcher was involved in the process of data collection. Lastly, the quantitative method enabled the researcher to work within limited time constraint hence being able to work fast through the analysis process and drawing of outcomes. The analysis of data was done using frequency analysis; the data was converted into numerical form after which the frequency analysis was performed. The analyzed data was then represented in forms of graphs for easy interpretations and inferences.
Ethical Issues during Data Collection Process
To ensure that the respondents were confident and therefore would give accurate information, they were assured that the information they would provide would not be used for any other purpose than the stated study purposes; otherwise, in case of any need to use the research findings for other purposes, they would be contacted either directly or through the contact information they provided prior to the commencement of the questionnaire filling process. Besides, the participants were offered the opportunity to decide to terminate their participation either before or during the study process. They were also assured that the findings and outcomes of the study will be availed to each one of them. Most importantly, every participant was set free to choose to answer all the questions on the questionnaire or just answer few as he or she wishes. They were also allowed to seek clarification on any question that might have seemed ambiguous to their understanding. The whole research also followed all the ethical procedures required for scientific research process.
The study revealed that there are varied factors that affect the consumption behaviour of the international students. Such factors include cultural background, financial constraints, parental influence, time and the nature of products. In relation to the nature of the products, it was clear among the respondents that adverting, brand and popularity of goods and services do not play a major role in determining the consumption behaviour of the international students; in total, these factors only accounted for small impact as compared to the rest of the compared factors. However, the factors related to the nature of the products characteristics were found to have significant effects; they are represented in the table and graph as follows:
|Item||No of Respondents||Percentage|
The above graph represents the percentage account of products characteristics as they affect consumer behaviour of the international students in KICL College. Looking at the graph, it is evident that price of goods and services plays the major role in influencing the consumer behaviour of the international students studying in the college; amongst the surveyed students, 40% of them would consider the prices above all other factors. This implies that given the amount of money a student may have, he or she will first check whether he or she is willing to spend on the products taking into account the product prices in the market.
For about 23% of the students surveyed, quality of the products is important after the price. The respondents indicated that after they determine the amount of money they are willing to spend on products, they are next driven by the quality of the product in the market. For most students, prices and quality are considered together; in this case, they determine the quality of the product by the price tag on it. However, some are would be willing to pay the value of the price tag so long as they are convinced the product is of the quality they want. Other factors that also determine their consumption behaviour include popularity at only 5%, advertising accounts for 8% and reputation at 14% and brand which accounts for 10%. All these factors affect consumer behaviours in any market segment (Foxall, 2002).
With regards to payment methods, the students surveyed varied choices which are represented as follows:
Table of payment mode preference.
|Card||No of respondents||% preference|
The majority of the surveyed student would pay for their purchases using cash (60%). 30% of the international students would pay using credit Cards. However, only 10% percent of the students will use credit cards. This can be attributed to the fact that most of them may consider the methods unsustainable since they have to deposit some cash with credit providers.
The research found out that many of the international students get sponsorships from other people, mostly their parents; this implies that the students are not financially stable, have not constant inflow of cash and hence must depend on the advice from their parents and guardians. The results of the parents influence the consumption behaviour of the students appears as follows:
According to the findings, 50% or the respondents acknowledged that their parents support their expenditure, those who support themselves accounted for 20% whereas 30% of the surveyed students explained that different circumstances dictates whether their parents should come in and support them financially or they just find their way out without the intervention of their parents. This fact is consistent with the expected outcomes as explained in the research proposal.
Besides, the above factors, the research also found out that 70% of the respondents would listen strongly to their parents, 20% will listen to some extend but major rely on their own decision, 7% would listen to their parents only some times while 3% would never listen to their parents.
Some of the findings during the research process are consistent with the facts that were represented in the literature review section. For instance, several researches have found out that cultural background affects the consumer behaviour certain ways. This can be attributed to the cultural beliefs in which an individual is brought up; these beliefs may be linked to how a particular community of individuals regard a given product. Therefore, an international student will only consume what is consistent with his or her cultural upbringing. For instance, an international Muslim student less likely to consume foods products made from pork or those that contain pork products.
The parental influence is largely due to the fact they are the ones providing for the upkeep of their sons and daughters in the overseas colleges. Most probably, the students who receive advice from their parents, with regards to consumption behaviour, do not have their own source of income. The other factors such as brand prices, quality, reputation and advertisements can be considered under the general factors of rationality that informs all rational consumer behaviours when it come to the purchase of goods and services in the product market.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The study was very significant in term of understanding the factors that affect the consumption behaviour of the international students in the KICL College, London. This research will be of great value to those who are concerned with how international students behave, when compared to the local students, with regards to consumption behaviour. Even though the research was meant to study consumption behaviour amongst students studying at KICL College, the findings can be generalized to the whole international students’ population all over the nation.
However, the research had certain limitations. The sample population used was very small compared to the proportion of the international students in KICL College alone. It follows therefore that the result may not be very representative of the entire international students’ population. Besides, the quantitative method of collecting data was not effective to some extent. The data was collected using structured questionnaires with closed questions; this limited the respondents from giving more information as they were only required to choose their responses from the alternatives provided. This implies that there is great possibility that some of the vital information might have been left out during the data collection process.
Even so, the research has opened a process in which the consumption behaviour of the international students, both in KICL College and other colleges, can be studied. The research can be used to identify the gaps and discrepancies that arose during the previous studies on the problem; thereafter, attempts at bridging the gap can be made through new research study using the most appropriate and effective methodologies. More study should be done to obtain more information on the factors that will most likely affect the international students’ consumption behaviour. The necessity of future research on this area is due to the fact that such factors are changing and are dynamic, especially, given that the advancement of technology is causing lots of changes on the global sphere; due to this the number of international students is likely to increase, so do the factors studied in this research.
I am a graduate diploma student. This survey is conducted to investigate “The facts affect the consumption behaviour of international students” for my Research Project Module. It will only take you 5 minutes to complete this questionnaire. I guarantee that all questionnaires will be anonymous and all information will be kept confidential. Last, but not least, thank you very much for spending time to finish this questionnaire.
- What is your gender? _________
- How old are you? _________
- < 18
- > 25
- What is your nationality ____________________?
- What factors do you consider when purchase a particular good? You could choose more than 1 answer. _________
- In the following choices, which type of payment do you use most frequently? Please specify the reason why you use that type of payment.______
- Debit card
- Credit card
- Why you use that type of payment?__________To what extent do you agree that your consumption behaviour formed in the college time affect your current consumption behaviour? ________
- Greatly agree
- Fairly agree
- Not agree
- Will you continue to purchase the same brand you hold for long if the product quality has no change. __________
- Does your purchasing supported by your parents or yourself? _________
- Depend on different situation
- To what extent do you listen to your parents’ suggestion when purchasing particular goods? _________
- Strongly listen
- To some extent
- Totally not listen
- Which factor do you think influenced the Consumer Person Factors for international students? Put these answers in order of importance. Rank from 1(most important) to 6 (least important)
- Age ______
- Income ______
- Cultural background _______
- Education _______
- Personal values ______
- Others (Please specify)
- What do you think are the key characteristics to influence the consumptions behaviours of international students? _________
- Diversified trend
- High pursuit of individuality and self-satisfied
- Self conscious
- Listen to the views of their parents less
- Special attitude toward the risks
- Others (Please specify)
- How can you change consumer’s behaviours by influence the Consumer Person Factors, by influence the? _________
- Personal values
- Others (Please specify)
Thanks again for your time!
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