The study was aimed at assessing the influence of aesthetics on smartphone patronage. The survey research was used in this study to sample the opinion of respondents. This method involved random selection of respondent who were administered with questionnaires. The target population of the study comprised managers of selected smartphone shops in Kaduna state. The questionnaire administered was one hundred and ten (110) copies and one hundred copies retrieved which constitute the sample size. The descriptive and analytical approach was adopted using Chi-square to test and analyze the hypotheses earlier stated. The findings revealed that aesthetics has a significant influence on smartphone patronage and that there is a significantrelationship between aesthetics and patronage of smartphone. It was therefore concluded from the findings that there are some aesthetic factors that affect the intention to buy smartphones of customers. Since then, businesses and marketers can focus on improving products and attracting customers to achieve more business benefits. It was recommended that the company will know the direct effect of aesthetics or the indirect effect of aesthetics on intention to buy smartphones via the functional vale, social value and emotional value.
Aesthetic principles often are used in the design of personal information, communication, entertainment, technology products (Swilley, 2012; Charters, 2006); however, the aesthetic elements of such products, whether and how appreciation of the aesthetics of that product may lead to purchase intention by personal (as opposed to business) purchasers, are unclear. While there are studies that have researched the factors influencing aesthetic appreciation of a product (Hoyer and Stokburger-Sauer, 2012) there are fewer studies on how aesthetics can influence purchase decisions (Turel et al., 2010).
As products become more and more similar, consumers increasingly tend to make consumption choices based on visual design and aesthetic value (Dumaine, 1991; Schmitt & Simons, 1977). Design “refers to the form characteristics of a product that provide utilitarian, hedonic, and semiotic benefits to the user” (Bloch, 2011, p. 378). Aesthetics “plays a central role in object perception, recognition, interpretation, understanding and use” (Veryzer, 1995, p. 641) and is concerned with a product’s ability to please perceivers’ senses (Desmet & Hekkert, 2007). Smartphone aesthetics is a tool that could be harnessed to attract users to frequently visit the smartphone shops to purchase smartphones. There is need to find out if the look of the smartphones could have influence on users’ patronage. Aesthetic appearance of a phenomenon attracts attention, therefore the smartphone should create user friendly environment, full of glamour and splendour that attracts the patronage of the users’ community.
In a similar way as a product’s design influences consumers’ perceptions (Bloch, 1995; Hollins & Pugh, 1990), a service environment, including the store design, affects consumers’ shopping behavior (Turley & Milliman, 2000). It has, for instance, been shown that store environment plays a central role in driving consumers’ affective responses to visually aesthetic stimuli (Groeppel-Klein & Baun, 2001; Wakefield & Baker, 1998). In this stream of research, however, the role of individual difference variables in the relationship between store design and consumer responses has largely been neglected. We, therefore, propose and test for the relevance of the construct “centrality of visual store aesthetics” (CVSA) in this context.
According to Nielsen Nigeria Report (2017), about the behavior of smartphone, the number of smartphone users compared to the number of regular phone users accounts for 84% in 2017; there is an increase of 6% compared to 2016 (78%). In secondary cities, 71% of people use smartphones in 93% of mobile phone users. More notably, in rural areas, while 89% of the population uses mobile phones, 68% of them own a smartphone. Through the above statistics, it can be seen that smartphones are no longer a new phenomenon for the Nigeria market. The smartphone's hardware is gradually becoming saturated, and there is not much difference in the same price range, the external design will undoubtedly be one of the critical factors to impress, persuade users to make buying decisions. It can be said that the basic principles of aesthetics commonly used in the design of personal communication devices, entertainment and technology (Swilley, 2012; Charters, 2006). However, according to Toufani et al. (2017), the aesthetic factors of the product and the evaluation of the product's aesthetics may lead to unclear intentions to buy from individuals. Compared to the research on factors affecting the evaluation of the aesthetics of a product (Hoyer; Stokburger-Sauer, 2012), studies on aesthetics can affect buying decisions are a few (Turel et al., 2010). Besides, smartphones are described as a cultural artifact and expanding the social relations of users (Shin, 2012). Therefore, there is the debate that feeling interest and social practices are becoming more relevant to feel the usefulness in influencing the intention to buy (Lin; Bhattacherjee, 2010). Moreover, the research results of Toufani et al. (2017) found that aesthetics has a direct effect on the intention to buy, but is weaker than the aesthetics affecting indirectly the intention to buy through perceived value. The reason is that the nature of digital products is the product that customers need to spend much time, cost and effort (Li; Gery, 2000), so they carefully evaluate the value that they can gain from the aesthetics of smartphones before they intend to buy. It can be said that the aesthetics and perceived value of customers are increasingly concerned, leading to a high level of competition in the smartphone market. When the hardware war has almost no effect as before, the breakthrough design is vital for manufacturers to conquer consumers. In this situation, the aesthetic and perceived value measured from the customer's point of view becomes essential to get a competitive advantage; and as a result, they increase the intention of purchasing potential customers. This study examines how potential purchasers’ perceptions of the aesthetics of a smartphone influence their purchase intentions. Described as an interactive, hedonic technology (Lin and Bhattacherjee, 2010), smartphones have been described as “a cultural artifact and an extension of their users’ social status” (Shin, 2012, p. 566). As such, it is arguable that perceived enjoyment and social usage are becoming more important than perceived usefulness in influencing purchase intention (Lin and Bhattacherjee, 2010). Therefore, the study "The relationship between aesthetics and patronageof smartphones will help researchers understand the importance of factors affecting buying intention; from there, it is possible to conduct empirical research and provide practical solutions for consumer behavior.
Business services outsourcing arrangements have several benefits but often fail (Eggert et al., 2017). Outsourcing arrangements in the telecommunication industry failed in different angles. The general business problem was that some business managers do not understand how to gain consumers’ confidence and increase patronage for long-term business sustainability. The specific business problem was that some leaders of ITSPs lack brand marketing strategies to increase patronage.
Consistent with the argument that aesthetic factors stimulate behavioural reactions (Wang et al., 2013), and using a smartphone as an example of a fairly standardized technology product which has both utilitarian and hedonistic attractions, this research addresses three related issues: for this type of product, what are the most suitable dimensions that should be considered within an aesthetics scale? Does aesthetics influence purchase intention directly? Or, does it influence purchase intention indirectly through various dimensions of perceived value drawn from the aesthetics? Addressing these questions can contribute to a better understanding of the dimensions of aesthetics that are perceived important for this type of product in terms of evoking purchase intention. By examining possible links between aesthetics and purchase intention, especially in terms of the kinds of perceived values that may be evoked and their relative importance, the interplay of hedonic attraction vs usefulness can be better assessed, leading to improved product and promotional strategies better tailored to these perceived values. These issues are investigated using a sample of smartphone owners. The embrace of mobile technology and the rapid shift to smartphones is reflected in the statistic that, 57 per cent of the population replaced their mobile phone four or more times. Over this decade, the importance of technology as a reason for replacement varied in terms of importance as smartphones emerged within the mobile market. The reason “wanting the latest technology/ smartphone” peaked between 2011 and 2014, suggesting both the acceptance of smartphone technology and use, and the growing importance of other sources of perceived value influencing the phone replacement decision. The research seek to capture dimensions of consumers’ perceptions of the aesthetics of a technology product and how this appreciation may influence different factors of perceived value as well as purchase intention. To ensure a strong focus on the aesthetics and purchase intention relationship, the study was framed to exclude other potential mediating variables such as the influence of brand, bundled services and pricing considerations. Respondents may differ in their visual product aesthetic preferences (Brunel and Swain, 2007), but the effects of this potential heterogeneity are also excluded.
The major purpose of this study is to examine influence of aesthetics on smartphone patronage. Other general objectives of the study are:
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H0:Aesthetics has no significant influence on smartphone patronage
H1: Aesthetics has a significant influence on smartphone patronage
H0: There is norelationship between aesthetics and patronage of smartphone
H1: There is a significantrelationship between aesthetics and patronage of smartphone
1.6 Significance of the Study
The research information will provide knowledge to the policymakers and regulators to design new strategies and policies for enhanced services in mobile phone sector. The researcher will seek to clarify how aesthetics act to influence buyer intentions to purchase. Results from this study can assist the development of guidelines for managers in terms of a more efficient evaluation of which aesthetic attributes of a product have a high degree of utility. The findings will provide insights to managers in mobile phone industry to better understand the different dimensions of services quality and how they influence customer’s satisfaction which is important in attracting and retaining their customers. This study will be important for researchers and students and will be beneficial locally for future research.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is based on influence of aesthetics on smartphone patronage
1.8 Limitations to the Study
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
Perceived Value: It can be conceptualized as the outcome of the customer’s trade off or exchange between quality discernment and the monetary and non-fiscal sacrifices (Zins, 2010).
Satisfaction: It refers to the ability of a firm (in this case airline company) to provide its customers (or passengers) with the benefits that surpass their expectations in so doing give them a perception that some value has been added (Lucchesi, et al, 2015).
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