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U.S.A.: Prentice-Hall, p. 179. Each stage in the decision-making process should not be seen as being separate scenarios
but rather as a blend of each one into another. Purchase involvement is accredited to
playing a role in this regard and is defined as the level of interest in the purchase process,
triggered by the need to consider a particular purchase [Hawkins et al., 2001:504]. In
other words, it is a temporary state of a consumer, susceptible to various influences. A peculiarity, however, has to be mentioned between purchase involvement and product
involvement. A consumer may be very involved with a brand or product category but
still have a low involvement with a particular purchase of that product because of internal
and external influences [Hawkins, et al., 2001:505]. A child, for instance, knows what
her favourite chocolate brand is but doesn’t necessarily give it much thought when she
actually wants to buy one. One attempt in explaining the concept of complexity and involvement is to consider a
continuum of decision-making complexity ranging from high to low. When consumers 72 lack experience and are making a decision for the first time, they need to use something
as their point of reference in order to assist them in carry out problem solving processes.
If this process is complex, it is called extended problem solving. Limited problem
solving, however, represents a lower degree of complexity [Burgess, 1998:7]. Engel et
al. [1995:155] have added another dimension of midrange problem solving to the middle
of the continuum. The consumer decision-making continuum is illustrated in figure 2.14.
Since this research study focuses on children in the fast moving consumer goods
convenience industry, it is believed that extended problem solving will play a minimal
role. Figure 2.14: Consumer decision-making process continuum
Solving (EPS) High Midrange Problem
Solving Degree of Complexity Limited Problem
Solving (LPS) Habitual Decision
Making Low Source: Engel, J.F., Blackwell, R.D., Miniard, P.W., 1995, Consumer behavior, 8th edition, U.S.A.:
Dryden Press, p. 155. According to figure 2.14, the consumer decision-making process continuum can be
categorised into four types, namely extended problem solving, midrange problem
solving, limited problem solving and habitual decision-making. These categories are
discussed in the following section. i. Extended problem solving Levy and Wietz [1998:121] define extended problem solving as a purchase decision
process in which customers devote considerable time and effort to analysing alternatives.
It is the response to a high level of purchase involvement. Experts concur that when
extended problem solving is activated, all stages of the decision process are likely to be
followed. It is likely that many alternatives will be evaluated and a wide variety of
information sources consulted. Furthermore, the decision on how and where to make the 73 purchase also may require additional search and evaluation. Generally speaking,
purchases of this nature occur extremely frequently amongst adults. Children,...
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