Influence of Music on Consumers Term Paper

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Music on Grocery Store Shopper Habits

Marketers continuously attempt to influence shopper habits by manipulating their environment. It has been known since the early 1970s that factors such as lighting, layout, sounds, colors and temperature invoke emotional responses in consumers (Kotler, 1973). Research has shown that the amount of time spent in a restaurant was directly related to the amount of money spent (Caldwell and Hibbert, 2002). Musical preferences were found to play a factor in the restaurant experience. However, the tempo of the music was not found to be significant (Caldwell and Hibbert, 2002). Several researchers have focused on the effects of music on consumer behavior (North, Hargreaves, and McKendrick, 1996; Yalch & Spangenberg, 1990; Milliman, 1982).

There have been two types of studies performed regarding the subject of environment and shopper behavior. The first group of studied treats the store atmosphere as a whole. Other studies focused on one element of the atmosphere. Areni and Kim (1993) studied the influence on different types of music on consumer behavior. Some studies focused on one particular aspect of the music on consumers. Factors such as the presence or absence of music (Park and Young, 1986), musical preferences (Gorn, 1982; Yalch & Spangenberg, 1993), and various factors such as elements of the structure of the music (Alpert & Alpert, 1990) were found to have an influence on shopper behavior. It is believed that music affects shopping habits by effecting arousal mechanisms in the brain (Kellaris, and Kent, 1991).

Many studies have been conducted on department stores and restaurants. However none have focused on grocery store activity. This is a service related atmosphere, but poses a different research environment that n other service industries such as general department stores and restaurants. People go to department stores and restaurants primarily for entertainment. They may buy basic necessities such as clothes or appliances. However, people go to the grocery store for food, a necessity of life. It is assumed that people go to grocery stores with a particular budget in mind and that they will be more frugal in their shopping habits than in the department store atmosphere. In addition most people go to the grocery store on a regular basis. This provides the chance to measure consumer habits over time. This study makes the basic assumption that grocery store shoppers are of a different mind set than those who are shopping for entertainment purposes.

Several studies have suggested several effects similar to the element being studies. Smith and Curnow (1966) demonstrated that if loud music was played in a supermarket, customers spent less time shopping. Milliman (1982) demonstrated that music tempo affected the speed with which consumers moved around a store and reported a 38% increase in sales when the store played slow music rather than fast music. Both of these studies support the premise of the hypothesis that will be the subject of this research.

This study will expand on previous research and determine if music being played on a grocery store intercom will have an influence on shopper behavior. Previous studies have shown that music had a positive effect on the time spent in restaurants and stores and that the time spent had a direct relationship to the amount spent. This study will expand on previous research and attempt to answer the question of, "Will music influence shoppers in a grocery store?" The research will focus on the effects of music on a grocery store environment and the time spent in the store. In addition it will measure the amount of money spent vs. The amount of time spent in the store. This research will test the hypothesis that when musician ins played, regardless of the type of music played, that shoppers will spend more time and more money as opposed to the amount of time and money spent when the music is not being played.


The primary focus of this study is to determine if music effects the amount of time spent in the grocery store and if it has an effect on the amount of money spent in the store. This will be an observational experiment conducted at a local supermarket. The study will involve a series of observations that will take place during various times of the day and different days of the week. This method will involve the shopping habits of customers due to social factors. For instance, shoppers on a Saturday may be more apt to spend more time than weekday shoppers. The study will involve a minimum of 200 observations at various times of the week.

For the conduct of this experiment a variety of musical selections will be chosen of various tempos, modes and styles. These will be varied during the observation times. The music will be played for a certain periods of time, followed by periods of time when the music is not played, the intercom is silent. For this study the researcher will stand at a location where they can see both the entrance and check outlines. The researcher will make five observations per session to reduce the chance of error in identification. The researcher will observe a person entering the grocery. The timing will begin when the subject places their hand on a cart. The researcher will note the time this occurs. The researcher will record their time when the subject enters the check out line. This will occur during different times during different music selections.

Sample subjects will be selected randomly and will encompass the general population of shoppers. Varying the sampling times will ensure a more random sampling of subjects. In addition, subjects will consists of only those who choose carts for their shopping and will not include those who choose hand held baskets. It is assumed that those who choose baskets do not intend to shop for an extended period of time. The time when the subject enters the check out line will be end time. It is assumed that the amount of time spent standing in the check out line is not intentional. Sample subjects will be numbered upon entry into the store and a description entered by the researcher.

The subject groups will be divided according to shopping time and the presence or absence of music during their shopping experience. The music will not be changed during any one sampling session. Music selections will be changed after the completion of one sampling set and will be started prior to the next sampling session. This will eliminate the possibility that the music selection and personal musical preferences of the subject will cause them to hurriedly leave or prompt them to stay longer.

The sampling periods will consist of subjects that shopped while there was no music, and shoppers who shopped while there was music playing. The shoppers will be random and will be from varying demographic groups. Nothing will be known about their age, income levels or physical condition. This research will be subject to some sampling bias by the researcher. However and attempt will be made to eliminate this by recording the first five people who walk through the door and choose a cart for their shopping. Sampling bias will also be eliminated by conducting the sampling at varying times during the day and on different days of the week.

The measurement instrument will be the time spent shopping. The dependent variable will be the presence or absence of music while shopping. The control group will consist of those who shop while no music is playing. The test group will consists of the group that shops while music is playing. All times will be recorded to within one minute. This is expected to be sufficient precision to produce meaningful results. The sample size will consist of 40 sets of five observations, one in each category..

Data collection will be conducted by a log sheet that records when the subject entered the store and when they entered the checkout line. In the event that he researcher loses the subject, that trial will be discarded and the sampling will continue with the next subject entering the store and choosing a cart. It is believed that the sample size will eliminate many biases that are inherent in each sampling session. The study will consist of 100 sessions with music and 100 sessions without music, for a total of 200 observations. The researcher will not choose the subjects, but they will be random according to who happens to walk through the door.

Demographic data will not be a part of this study, except of whether the subject is male or female, which is a trait that can be easily observed. Customers who enter the checkout line and then leave again will not be counted as entering the checkout line until they're enter it of the final time. A note will be made to this effect and will not effect data tabulation.

Data will be analyzed using descriptive statistics. The null hypothesis will state that the group of…[continue]

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