1.1 Background of the Study
In recent years the online environment is viewed by users from a new perspective, in a commercial way. Its development and the emergence of online stores have turned users into consumers. Also the most important role of social media has changed the way consumers and marketers communicate. (Hennig-Thurau T., Gwinner K., Walsh G. & Gremler D., 2004). Informational society influences affect the consumer buying decision and product evaluations. Social media provides a new channel to acquire product information through peer communication, (Kozinets, 1999). However, with the aid of information and modern communication technologies, consumers are able to shop via Internet using several Social Media and different websites (Toomey and Wysocki, 2005). This type of shopping mode can come in several names such as online shopping, online buying behavior and Internet shopping. All names of shopping mode refer to the process of purchasing and buying products or services via the Internet using several Social Media and different websites (Li and Zhang, 2002). Social Media (SM) are web-based services which are also known as "Social Networking Sites". Social Media (SM) refer to network of relationships and interactions among different users (groups or individuals) (Kempe & Chin, 2003). Social Media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter enable users to maintain great connections among themselves as well with others (Ellison & Kozinets, 2007) by achieving more than one task and facilitating the way of communicating and sharing different information (comments, thoughts, videos and images) (Kietzmann, 2011). Social Media is playing significant roles in different aspects of our lives. What is interesting in SM is that it supports users in several sectors, such as, business, marketing, advertising and education (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010). From business perspective, businesses and buyers can interact directly by SM with each other, and thereby find whatever products and services they are looking for (Parson, 2013). Consumers today are progressively utilizing technology and particularly Social Media as an effective tool in their online shopping process. This process can be defined as is an electronic process that allows consumers to deal with business people and meet their purchases' needs. Pookulangara and Koesler (2011) in their study of social media marketing indicated that SM enable 25% of all consumers to post links about products and services information in their retail sites to update other users about the purchase process. Another study of Miller (2010) stated in his research of online marketing that social marketing has made very important role in persuading consumers to buy online. He found that 70% of consumers are visiting Social Media to get useful information, 49% of them made the decision to buy certain product and 60% of consumers prefer to share their information about the products with others online. However, the actual transactions of purchasing processes occur for only 7% of consumers (Miller and Lammas, 2010). Online shopping is growing everywhere and different categories of consumers are influenced by this phenomenon. For instance, the percentage of online buyers is increasing in India, China, Japan and Australia for about 87%, 85% (North Asia and Europe), 83% (North America), 81% (South and Latin America) and 53% (Africa and Pakistan) (Solorzano, 2011). The overall online purchasing process has enabled 875 million consumers to boost the percentage of other online shoppers to 40% in the recent two years due to the recommendations posted in different SM about products.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The introduction of the Internet has changed the way organizations promote their products and services and products as well as the channels of communication between them and their customers. This is seen in the way they market and communicate their brands and products, which has become a challenging project.
Customers are overwhelmed by marketing commercials and promotional events. The sensitivity of customers to get excited is fading out on promotional events and consumers are beginning to resist the effect of some companies at marketing them.
Basically, the promotional focus of some organizations is on the conventional mass media advert style, which includes commercial TV, radio jingles and advertisements in print formats such as newspapers and magazines along with billboard placements. It is now on record that as the Internet is fast advancing across the global marketplace, the effectiveness of traditional mass media is fast on the decline.
It is on this background that this study needs to be carried out in order to determine the rate at which social media can contribute to the sales of Toyota Brand of vehicles.
1.3 Research Questions:
1. How do consumers perceive online buying of Toyota brand of vehicle?
2. What are the factors that motivate consumers to buy Toyota vehicles through social media?
3. What are the changes social media has brought to consumers of Toyota Brand of vehicles in different stages of their decision making?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The research aims to determine the impact of social media on consumer buying behavior to Toyota brand of vehicle. The study specifically, determine to:
1. Examine consumers’ perception towards buying of Toyota brand of
2. Examine the factors that motivate consumers to buy Toyota brand of
vehicle through social media.
3. Examine how much social media has affected consumers’ buying
Behavior of Toyota brand of vehicle.
1.5 Statement of Hypotheses:
The hypotheses could simply state below to help us accept or reject our
1. H0: Customers have negative perception towards online shopping
of Toyota brand of vehicle.
H1: Customers have positive perception towards online shopping of
Toyota brand of vehicle.
2 H0: Social media has not significantly influenced the different
stages of consumer decision making on the purchase of Toyota Brand of vehicles
H1: Social media has not significantly influenced the different
stages of consumer decision making on the purchase of Toyota Brand of vehicles
1.6 Significance of the Study
It has been suggested by the researchers that the consumers look for information assisting them in deciding the relative significance of the several appraising criteria, and might further seek concepts regarding the degree to which they alternate features that they consider significant. Online consumers in the past were confined to sharing information with their neighbors, family or friends; however, now people are able to impact the international community by articulating their personal experiences on the Internet. In accordance with the relevant researches, the external resources may be either online or offline (Breiger, 2004). Many sources of external search include; interpersonal search and media search. Interpersonals are powered by social software and Web 2.0 tools that support social behavior to create and recreate social conventions and social contexts. The Internet allows consumers to interact, compare experiences, and exchange ideas with other consumers.
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Research
The scope of this study will focus on the impact of social media platform on consumer buying behavior with particular reference to Toyota brand of vehicles in Akwa Ibom State.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
This study is limited by some factors that are likely to be encountered during the course of carrying out the research. These are:
1. Time Constraints: The short duration for the project research and the interference of other academic work will affect the timely conclusion of the work.
2. Financial Constraint: Being a student, the researcher has little means of earning and so finance needed to travel to places to acquire data for the research work will be difficult to get, however, the researcher intends to try her possible best to acquire the finances needed for the project to be carried out.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Consumer Buying Behavior
This refers to the multi-step decision-making process people engage in and the actions they take to satisfy their needs and wants in the marketplace (Kotler, 2008).
Schiffinan and Kanuk (2004) define Consumer Behaviour as the behaviour that customers display in searching for, purchasing, using, evaluating and disposing of products and services that they expect will satisfy their needs. Consumer buying behaviour incorporates the acts of individuals directly involved in obtaining, using and disposing of economic goods and services
including the decision process that precede and determine these acts (Huctings 1995).
Consumer Decision Making
Mahatoo (1985) defines Consumer Behavior decision making process as consisting of a number of steps that begin before the purchase and reaches beyond the buying act. He suggests that marketers have to go beyond the various influences on buyers and develop an understanding of how consumers actually make their buying decisions.
Economic Factor is the set of fundamental information that affects a business or an investment's value and a buyer’s spending behaviour. According to Brassington (2011), economic factors include among others; the level of income, credit availability, attitude towards spending, liquid assets.
Socio Cultural Factors
Social cultural factors include a number of factors that characterize the relationships and activities of a group of people within a particular set environment (Jones, 2007).