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Title: An empirical study of wine-consumers' preferences and willingness to pay
Authors: Yip, Tsui Lisa
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: In the past two decades, researchers have investigated the relationship between the price of a wine and its quality. Numerous studies have been conducted on the influences of objective wine attributes on consumers' preferences. However, little attention has been paid to the sensory attributes of wine. In most cases, secondary data in the form of reviews, scores and tasting notes produced by wine experts and wine critics have been used to develop price-quality functions. Primary data generated by consumers have rarely been collected and analysed, and the relationship between consumers' sensory preferences and willingness to pay remains unclear. Utility theory can be drawn on to describe how consumers' preferences affect the perceived value of wine because that value is determined not by its price, but by its attributes. This perceived value is also influenced by the consumer's background and his or her assessment of the situation. Hedonic-pricing models have been used in wine research for a number of years and its application has moved beyond the objective and sensory attributes of wine to include demographics and the circumstances of consumers. In addition, the hedonic function no longer includes market price but willingness to pay. Unlike previous studies, which have been based in a single country, this study constructs a hedonic-pricing model using data drawn from two countries: China and France. This study employs quantitative methods to examine similarities and differences between wine consumers from the two countries. In this mixed-methods research the objective and sensory attributes of wine were first explored using a qualitative methodology in a pilot study conducted in May and June 2016. The attributes identified were then fine-tuned to develop questionnaires designed to elicit rich quantitative insights in a larger study. Data collection was conducted in May to June 2017 in China in the cities of Chengdu, Shanghai and Shenzhen, and in June and September to December 2017 in France in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Paris. Participants were asked to state their preferred attributes of a wine before a tasting session and then to record their actual preference after trying a variety of wines. The purpose of this study is to examine the similarities and differences between French and Chinese wine consumers through a hedonic-pricing analysis. Comparatively little research has been done on the social aspects of wine consumption.
Through an experimental examination of wine consumers' preferences and WTP for red wine, differences between the two cultures were assessed through hedonic-pricing models. Wine consumers from France were found to be willing to pay more for a wine with a well-known brand name but would not pay more for award-winning wines; they were willing to pay for the aroma, alcohol content and balance of the wine. Chinese consumers were willing to pay for the complexity and smoothness of a wine. Chinese wine consumers' willingness to pay was influenced by their gender, educational background, wine knowledge and age. Older Chinese women with a lower level of formal education had more knowledge about wine and were willing to pay more for it. In contrast, it was the younger French consumers who were willing to pay more for wines. Overall, respondents' stated sensory preferences before they had tasted the wines were very different to the revealed sensory preferences after the tasting. Additionally, more sensory attributes than objective attributes were statistically significant in the final hedonic-pricing models. Key practical and theoretical implications of consumers' behavioural differences based upon their level of knowledge about wine are considered. A key marketing implication is that to increase Chinese consumers' willingness to pay, wine educators in China need to be involved in the selling of wine as consumers' knowledge of wine is correlated with willingness to pay. Wine educators will have to fill the gap that wineries traditionally fill because wineries are not widely available or accessible in China. For local or overseas wineries to target Chinese wine consumers, it is necessary to partner with wine educators to sell and distribute their high-quality wines.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Consumer behavior
Wine and wine making
Alcoholic beverages
Pages: xxiv, 231 pages : color illustrations
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