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Consumer analysis

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If there is a new product within microwave ovens, it is often promoted through open-air kiosks, where there is a demo for consumers who are keen to explore the product.The target market for microwave oven consists of working individuals – both single and married. At first glance, this seems to be the best possible interpretation of the target market. However, we could also consider another target market: the retired people. Understanding the demographics of this segment is relatively easy. ‘Working people’ signifies that the age band for the potential customers of microwave ovens is 22-40. We are not considering the 40+ age band as a significant target since a small proportion of people in this segment could, at best be looking at replacement or upgrade options. Again, considering the retired group, we can also have another band as 60+ years of age.From the marketers’ standpoint, they divide the market into distinct groups and try to design products that would meet each group’s needs in a fitting manner, hoping that their understanding is correct (Hoek, Gendall & Esslemont, 1996). For a sophisticated, yet commonplace product such as microwave ovens, the demographics need to be defined carefully by marketers. Possibly, research could throw up insights that define the right age bands more closely; for instance, research may show that most customers purchase microwaves just after their marriage, which could be at the age of say, 28 years. Whether males or females influence the purchase decision is another point for research.The product is a consumer durable and it is likely to be used for at least three to five years by most consumers. Hence the decision making is a fairly involved one. We apply the five stages of the decision making process (Mowen & Minor, 1998, p. 349) to understand the consumer behavior with regard to microwave ovens.Stage1: Problem Evaluation. Here the consumer is assessing the problem which may be stated in different forms. Instances could be “it is difficult to start the cooking unit just to de-frost the chicken” and “I need something to warm up the food in 60 seconds”. Here the customer is looking for a solution that could help. Among other options, microwave ovens fit the requirement well.Stage 2: Search. The consumer is looking at different solutions. Does he / she consider buying a smaller stove or an electric kettle? There could
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