In this case, the attitude towards the packaging confers a resonating attitude to the product itself -- packaging is also crucial for purchase decisions.
A study by Wakefield, Germain, and Durkin (2008), this time on the perception of smokers on the perception of cigarette brands, showed how the importance of packaging reiterates itself again by product quality perceptions -- plainly packaged cigarettes were seen as having lower tobacco and having a decreased level of satisfaction. The level of change was such that the number of brand elements removed from the pack is correlated with the decrease in perceived valuation of the respondents.
Hoyer and MacInnis (2008) corroborates the data with the more recent studies with the idea that the psychological core of the consumer does indeed reflect their particular hedonic perceptions based on what is just sensed on the onset. It can even be said that the influence of packaging could be amplified by way of the correct timing of the placement of the packaging, a fact that could easily be noticed within the context of a brick-and-mortar purchase (Underhill, 2006).
The Influence of Price
Price also becomes a general purchase driver that consumers bank on given that there is an intense regard for value-for-money purchase decisions just after the global economic crisis of 2007 (Galinsky, Ku, and Mussweiler, 2009). Bennet (2009) describes the effects of price as essentially similar to the general influences of brand, quality, packaging with resulting threads that intertwine in the context of consumer purchase behavior. For example, a high price would almost certainly be perceived as correlated with a high product quality or a service that may be seen as rationally defensible given the terms of the valuation that was pegged by the company. In this case, stating a high price for a product would most certainly be important if the product valuation that the company is aiming for is more of a sophisticated image.
However, the affect services that were previously described in the discussion on quality influence are also important in the calculations of pricing equivalents as is the case with Paul et al. (2009). In the study, the specific drivers correlated with pricing can be dependent on the actual perception that the consumer has on the product and the valuations that have they already developed prior to product exposure. Simply said, there will be times when such pricing influences could backfire given the opportune time that consumers would be able to rationally optimize the service that they pay for and what they actually get -- a high price requires excellent service.
Of course, cheap doesn't necessarily mean carrying a negative connotation not if the consumer perceptions sees the product as a value-for-money decision that gives a distinct calculation of the purchase (i.e. price) with what the consumer perceives as the benefits it confers to the him or her. In this case, the mass market implementation of a product could be rolled given that pricing influencing mechanism in mind (Hoyer & MacInnis, 2009)
Specific Influences Toward Skin-care Products
In the context of Asian markets, the platform for analyzing the pricing, quality, packaging and quality valuations of skin-care products could now be employed as a way to explain the increase in the specific product. Bird et al. (2010) explains this phenomenon as hinged on the associations of pale, smooth skin with the standard for Asian beauty. Having a lighter or paler skin creates an opportunity for a higher perception -- a better 'brand image' if you will' -- of the individual who has obtained these attributes; paler skin is associated with wealth, status, and power in Asian societies (Bird et al., 2010). This has a simple physical correlate in that those who have white skin do not have to venture outside to work in the fields or do some rough activity that requires some exposure to the sun (Li et al., 2008).
It can be said then that the rise of the skin-whitening market in Asia had capitalized on these widespread cultural norms. In fact, it becomes a boon to those who 'whiter skin' because it doesn't matter what kind of social status or environment they have. Buy buying a skin-whitening product people have an accelerated way of achieving 'white skin' regardless of whether they really are exposed to the sun or not. In short, the consumers buy-in to the ideal that having a 'white skin' confers to people (Bird et al., 2010).
Normative Influence in Purchasing Behavior
The whole skin-care product line in Asia is now hinged on normative social influence for purchase decision. Hoyer and MacInnis (2009) defines this particular characteristic as one that is not only fueled by individual choice but is primarily driven by the standards put by a particular culture. The universality of the status conferred by having 'smooth, white skin' becomes the normative reason by which women by skin-care products of this type (Li et al., 2008). In this case, it creates a cycle by which an opportunity for the market to expand is widened through the cultural norms already in place, which in turn creates an opportunity for further expansion given the widespread popularization of the skin-care product use. It is not an illogical assumption then to point out that there will still be a steady rise of the market in the coming future.
The Case for Self-Image
Given the normative influences that are already in place, there is an almost cultural requirement most women in the region to buy-in to the idea of having white skin. The aspirational aim that the products per se represent a key benefit that may not be easy to tamper with. Hoyer and MacInnis (2009) places this as a consequence of the mechanisms behind the psychological core of the person for the easy out take of such a product to one's perceived self-esteem could be immediately be pointed out.
Sirgy et al. (2007) resonates with the same result given the apparent congruence of the product with the social aspirations that the person is willing to go for. Again, if a product could easily confer a specific attribute that is more meaningful that its actual physical countenance then it increase the valuation of the product all the more, even more than any of the purchase drivers available. Bird et al. (2010) had already observed this in the study of the skin-whitening market so far, exemplifying the idea that the market is in no danger of collapsing.
Asian Pacific Post. (11 May 2006). Asia's Obssession with White Skin Leaves a Black Mark. Retrieved from: http://www.asianpacificpost.com/portal2/ff8080810b1faf95010b2498f44a01b7_Asian_white_skin.do.html.
August, M. (2 June 2008). Asian Mania for Skin Whitening. Retrievd from www.china.org.en/health/2008-06/02/content_15585579_3.htm, August 2, 2009, 2008.
Bennett, A.(2009). The Big Book of Marketing. NY: McGraw-Hill.
Bird, D., Caldwell, H., & DeFanti. (2010). The quest for beauty: Asia's fascination with pale skin. Business Research Yearbook, 17(1), 39-32.
Burns, A., & Bush, R. (2001). Marketing Research. NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Cuadrado, P. (2007). General skin-care products. In: Analysis of Cosmetic Products, A. Salvador and A. Chisvert (Eds.). 324-327. NY: Elsevier Science.
Draelos, Z. (2010). Cosmetic Dermatology: Products and Procedures. NY: Wiley:Blackwell.
Fitzsimons, G., Chartrand, T., Fitzsimons, G. (2008). Automatic effects of brand exposure on motivated behavior: how Apple makes you "Think Different." Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 21-35.
Galinsky, A., Ku, G., & Mussweiler, T. (2009). To start low or high? The case of auctions vs. negotiations. Association for Psychological Science, 18(6), 357-361.
Hoyer, W. & MacInnis, D. (2008). Consumer Behavior. CA:South-Western College Publishing.
Ghoshal, T., Boatwright, P., & Cagan, J. (2009). Unwrapping the good news: packaging pays and "how"! The role of packaging in influencing product valuation. Advances in Consumer Research, 36, 254-256.
Hsee, C., Yang, Y., Gu, Y., & Chen, J. (2008) Specification seeking: how product specifications influence consumer preference. Journal of Consumer Research, 35. Retreived from: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1290867.
Iyer, G. & Kuksov. (2010). Consumer feelings and equilibrium product quality. Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 19(1), 137-168.
Li, E., Min, H.J., Belle, R., Kimura, J., & Bahl, S. (2008). Skin lightening and beauty in four Asian cultures, Advances in Consumer Research, 35, 444-450.
Paul, M., Hennig-Thurau, T., Gremier, D., Gwinner, K., & Wiertz. C. (2009). Toward a theory of repeat purchase drivers for consumer services. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 37, 215-237.
Sirgy, M., Lee, D.J., Johar, J.S. & Tidwell, J. (2007) Effect on self-congruity with…