Consumer Confusion in the German DSL Market.

Neigenfind, Simone (2006) Consumer Confusion in the German DSL Market. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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As a result of the ever increasing amounts of information consumers can access for a proliferating product variety as well as shorter product-life-cycles, especially in terms of technology-based goods and services, the notion of consumer confusion is becoming increasingly important in todays highly competitive marketplace.

Apart from consumer goods markets, this development can more and more also be found in services industries. After having reviewed the current state of knowledge of consumer confusion this research addresses the lack of exploratory, qualitative research by examining the German DSL market in terms of the extent to which confusion is present as well as its sources, consumers coping strategies, consequences and factors influencing its likelihood.

With the help of demand- and supply-side in-depth interviews, it was found that confusion exists. Its predominant source is the ambiguity of information due to extensive terms and conditions, disorderly pricing systems as well as technical jargon used in offer descriptions. Furthermore, information overload has also been detected, but only to a limited extent as consumers rely heavily on word-of-mouth as an information source and base their decisions to a good proportion on other peoples recommendation which is why other information sources are not used extensively. The third source of confusion identified in literature, stimulus similarity, further interacts with the prior two to increase the overall level of confusion due to the difficulty of identifying differences between certain offers.

Coping strategies such as postponement of the decision, and reliance on heuristics and, again, word-of-mouth to reach a decision have been uncovered. Frequently named consequences were indecisiveness and decreased trust, but also frustration, exasperation and increased switching behaviour. Expertise appears as significantly limiting the potential for confusion while other individual characteristics require further research in this direction.

While providers seem to be aware of the prevailing confusion among consumers, they lack ideas as to how to overcome this situation as they see themselves forced to continually develop their offers further to match competitor actions and react to new technology advances. It is suggested that providers should focus on developing simpler packages with a clearer pricing system to appeal to a specific target audience instead of simply following the competitive pressure for constant innovation and offer differentiation.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: MA Marketing, marketing, consumer confusion, confusion marketing, customer confusion, Germany, german, qualitative research
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2018 23:22

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