Consumer savvy: conceptualisation and measurement

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Copyright: Macdonald, Emma K.
Abstract
Against the backdrop of the interconnected global marketplace and the resulting decrease in consumer-firm information asymmetry, an increasingly prevalent assumption is that consumers are "empowered" and "savvy". However there are contrary findings that consumers are not empowered but feel "trapped", "victimised" and "manipulated" in interacting with firms. Additionally, while the notion of a growing base of increasingly competent consumers has captured the collective imagination, it is important with any social trend to consider variance that may occur due to individual characteristics. With the aim of establishing the truth-status of "consumer savvy" this study addresses the following questions: (1) What are the dimensions of consumer savvy? (2) Is savvy invariant across genders and age groups? (3) Does savvy affect consumers' approach to the consumer-firm interaction? (3a) Does it relate to desire for co-creation? (3b) Does it relate to perceptions of value in interacting with the firm? (3c) Does it increase the likelihood of consumer activism activities? (4) Are the effects of consumer savvy moderated by: (4a) the hedonic-utilitarian characteristics of products? or (4b) the technological innovativeness of products? In addressing these questions, the initial emphasis is on establishing a conceptualisation of the characteristics of the savvy consumer. These characteristics are operationalised as a six dimensional "SAVVY" scale which becomes the focus of validation, assessment and application. The new scale's factorial (item-level) measurement equivalence is established for gender. However, measurement non-invariance is found for Gen X versus Baby Boomer consumers, hence caution is required when using it as a generational profiling tool. A vignette experiment to test the scale's predictive validity found that high-savvy consumers have significantly greater desire to engage in co-creation, are significantly more likely to perceive value in the interaction, and are significantly more likely to engage in word-of-web, but are not more likely to complain, than low-savvy consumers. The findings have implications for researchers and practitioners interested in the potential for consumer-centric marketing approaches. The two key contributions are the development of a framework for conceptualising consumer savvy and the operationalisation and validation ofthe SAVVY scale as a tool for prediction and population profiling.
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Macdonald, Emma K.
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Publication Year
2009
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Thesis
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PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty
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download Macdonald-014178931.pdf 9.98 MB Adobe Portable Document Format
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