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Journal cover: Journal of Services Marketing

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Online from: 1987

Subject Area: Marketing

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Pre-purchase decision-making for a complex service: retirement planning

Document Information:
Title:Pre-purchase decision-making for a complex service: retirement planning
Author(s):Catherine Rickwood, (University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia), Lesley White, (University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Citation:Catherine Rickwood, Lesley White, (2009) "Pre-purchase decision-making for a complex service: retirement planning", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 23 Iss: 3, pp.145 - 153
Keywords:Australia, Consumer behaviour, Decision making, Financial services, Gender, Services marketing
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/08876040910955152 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The researchers acknowledge and thank AXA Pty Ltd for their financial support of this study.

Purpose – This purpose of this paper is to respond to calls for further research into consumer pre-purchase decision-making, and investigate the factors that cause a customer to make a decision to save for retirement.

Design/methodology/approach – Exploratory research using eight focus groups was undertaken in Sydney, Australia with a total of 55 participants. The data were analysed using the approach suggested by Cresswell and includes coding into chunks, development of themes, interpreting, and validating findings.

Findings – Three key findings emerged from the research. First, there are certain internal, external, and risk factors that have a major impact on propensity to save for retirement. These are: involvement level, motivation, needs and wants, family influence, marketer influence, competitive options, financial risk, functional risk, and psychological risk. Second, no clear and universal gender differences in the pre-purchase decision-making process emerged during the focus group discussions. Finally, alternative options for spending and addressing risk negatively influence pre-purchase decision-making and therefore the desire or ability to save.

Research limitations/implications – This study is constrained by its exploratory nature. Consequently, future research could utilise quantitative methodology to confirm findings and allow generalisation of results. Also, a study incorporating ethnicity would add breadth to the findings.

Practical implications – Managers and policy makers benefit from understanding that marriage and turning 40 years old are highly influential to a consumer's likelihood to save for their retirement. This information is particularly useful for the development of marketing and communication campaigns.

Originality/value – This is the first exploratory study of pre-purchase decision-making which researches the triggers for buying complex financial services associated with saving for retirement.

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