Empirical Analysis of Spawton’S (1991) Segmentation of the Australian Wine Market

ABSTRACT - Purchasing of wine involves many tangible and intangible product features. The more tangible features include the shape of the bottle, colour of wine and the price. The intangible product features include taste, smell and grape type. Spawton (1991) discusses consumer expectations and risk-reduction strategies in the purchase of wines. Spawton (1991) refers to a four-segment model of the market. These segments include Connoisseurs, Aspirational Drinkers, Beverage Wine Consumers and New Wine Drinkers. Spawton’s (1991) four segments were empirically tested in this study and validated.



Citation:

John Hall and Maxwell Winchester (2001) ,"Empirical Analysis of Spawton’S (1991) Segmentation of the Australian Wine Market", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, eds. Paula M. Tidwell and Thomas E. Muller, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 319-327.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4, 2001      Pages 319-327

EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF SPAWTON’S (1991) SEGMENTATION OF THE AUSTRALIAN WINE MARKET

John Hall, Victoria University, Australia

Maxwell Winchester, University of South Australia, Australia

ABSTRACT -

Purchasing of wine involves many tangible and intangible product features. The more tangible features include the shape of the bottle, colour of wine and the price. The intangible product features include taste, smell and grape type. Spawton (1991) discusses consumer expectations and risk-reduction strategies in the purchase of wines. Spawton (1991) refers to a four-segment model of the market. These segments include Connoisseurs, Aspirational Drinkers, Beverage Wine Consumers and New Wine Drinkers. Spawton’s (1991) four segments were empirically tested in this study and validated.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Segementation

Market segmentation is the process of grouping consumers into discrete clusters or segments. This marketing tool is used to identify categories of consumers or groups of firms that are likely to use or buy a product or service (Chilingerian, 1992). In general segmentation places customers into groups on the basis of their similarities over a chosen set of variables. These variables form the segmentation scheme, which can vary according to how the customers are selected, the dimensions upon which the customers are measured, the degree of complexity of the resulting output, and how changes over time are treated. The variables used for segmentation are typically drawn from the following list either individually or as a combination (Wyner 1995):

1. Demographics,

2. Behaviour,

3. Attitudes,

4. Needs,

5. Benefits,

6. Psychographics.

Historically, market segmentation represents an important development in marketing thought and has proved to be fundamental in the process of target marketing. Target marketing allows companies to tailor products and provide value more cost effectively to buyers of its outputs. It involves segmenting markets into groups of buyers with similar buying patterns. Its contribution to strategic marketing thinking is demonstrated by many publications on this management topic. For example Aaker and Day (1992) suggests that initial and key stage in developing a strategic marketing plan is to conduct external analysis on customer segments, motivations and un-met needs.The principles and concept of market segmentation are not new. Historically various products have been designed for particular social classes or for particular regional or local markets. During the last thirty years we have witnessed increased awareness of the differences between consumers and the marketing of product variants or special products to subsections of markets has become the norm.

McDonald and Dunbar (1995) outline comprehensive objectives of segmentation as a management and marketing tool. They explain it in a primarily strategic manner as it is their contention that segmentation can be used to gain competitive advantage. To fit this objective the key elements in the process are the construction of the market map and identifying the 'what, where, when, and why’ of buyer behaviour that is crucial to designing market segment implementation plans.

Our particular interest in the segmentation process is in the delineation of the benefits of the product in an understanding of why the product is bought. McDonald and Dunbar (1995) highlight the essential point that what people buy is critically bound to why they buy. Both McDonald and Dunbar (1995) and Weinstein (1987) suggest that this is one of the most important areas but also the most difficult to understand correctly. The researcher must discover what the customer wants or needs and why these are desired.

Product Attributes and their Relationship to Wine Consumption

Several authors discuss the unique product qualities of wine (Judica & Perkins, 1992; Koewn & Casey, 1995; Shaw, Keeghan & Hall, 1999). The purchasing of wine involves many tangible or hard product features. The consumer can see the colour, price, description of grape type and bottle shape to name but a few. The purchasing of wine also involves many subjective or intangible features, which include ability to acknowledge underlying tastes and impression on others. Koewn and Casey (1995) illustrate one of the most important intangible features of wine: its ability to be "a thirst quencher, a deal clincher, an aphrodisiac or an anaesthetic" (p17). Wine takes on user-defined produt features, which appear to be dependent on the occasion on which the wine is consumed.

These intangible features of wine revolve around the experiences of the purchaser. In many cases, the purchasers value their knowledge and the status attached to this knowledge (Edwards and Mort, 1991). There has been a suggestion that heavy drinkers (those who consume more than one bottle per week) purchase for snob values (probably including oenophillic product features), light users (those consuming less than one bottle per week) go for like-ability of the product (Judica & Perkins, 1992). Snob values they may be, as Mitchell and Greatorex (1989) comment that there are very few wine buyers who can distinguish the quality of a bottle of wine over the ,6 mark.

Many wine purchases involve risk-aversion (eg. Spawton, 1991; Mitchell & Greatorex, 1989; Gluckman, 1990). Mitchell and Greatorex (1989) suggest the major concern in purchasing wines revolve around functional risks. These risks include those such as the taste of the wine; social risks by perhaps being embarrassed in front of family and friends; financial risk in the cost of the wine and physical risk in terms of risking a pending hangover the following morning.

Mitchell and Greatorex (1989) describe six ways in which consumers can reduce risks. They involve seeking information, remaining loyal to a known brand, using the image of the retailer to judge product worth, using top of mind brands in unfamiliar product segments, paying more than a reasonable price, or getting reassurance through trials such as tastings and samples. The label has been identified as an under-utilised area for information provision. Shaw, Keeghan and Hall’s (1999) findings suggest that not enough attention is made to the underlying tastes and manufacturing process on the labels of wines.

Spawton (1991) discusses consumer expectations and risk-reduction strategies in the purchase of wines. He suggests that with the exception of a few connoisseurs at the high end of the market, most wine purchasers are highly risk-sensitive and their subsequent purchases are governed by risk-reduction strategies. According to Spawton (1991), consumers’ govern their wine purchase behaviour by the following expectation and risk-reduction strategies (p.16):

Spawton (1991) describes six risk reduction strategies that consumers employ in order to reduce post purchase cognitive dissonance (p. 16):

1. Select a known brand

2. Recommendation

3. Retail Assistants

4. Wine appreciation education

5. Pricing

6. Packaging and labelling

FIGURE 1

SEGMENTATION DIAGRAM (MCDONALD & DUNBAR, 1995)

Gluckman (1990) contends that the "act of purchasing wines is clouded with insecurity" (p.45). What Gluckman (1990) recognises over other authors, while understanding the purchaser is avoiding risk, the purchaser is very unlikely to reveal their ignorance by openly asking for help from others. He indicates that only a small percentage of the population would be willing to consult the wine merchant’s staff. Using Spawton’s (1991) Risk Aversion model above (Table 1), it is more likely then, that few purchasers will request the assistance of retail staff. They will rely on brands (which may include packaging and labelling), recommendation and pricing.

What many of the studies fail to consider, with the exception of Spawton (1991), who is referred to below, is that while many consumers feel insecure in purchasing wines, open risk aversion behaviour may only be relevant for one segment of the wine consuming market. In the next section a review is conducted of segmentation studies in the market.

TABLE 1

SPAWTON'S (1991) EXPECTATION AND RISK FACTORS

Segmentation of the wine market

The viticulture industry has been criticised for taking a mass-market approach and only segmenting on the basis of quality (Spawton, 1991; Gluckman, 1990). Taking into account that a mass-marketing approach appears not to be working in the eyes of these authors, the marketer`s other option is to further segment the market. Segmenting the market enables tailored products and a tailored marketing mix to be developed for different groups of people (Kotler, Bowen & Makens, 1996).

There are few authors who have empirically studied possible market segments in the wine industry. Some authors segment the market by consumption (eg. Judica & Perkins, 1992; Gluckman, 1990), by geographical region [Which it could be argued also implies cultural differences leading to different segments.] (eg. Sßnchez and Gil, 1997), or consumers’ behaviour (Johnson, Ringham & Jurd, 1991; Dodd, Pinkleton & Gustafson, 1996). Johnson, Ringham and Jurd (1991) have offered little empirical background to the segmentation due to commercial restraints. They assumed that red and white wine drinkers were mutually exclusive groups but have explained little in light of their segmentation.

Spawton (1998) indicates that the wine industry has been subject to all types of segmentation. In Spawton’s (1991) article, he refers to a model by McKinna (1987). Spawton (1991) suggests that the fore-mentioned expectations and risk-reduction strategies can form the basis for segmentation. These segments are as follows:

1. AConnoisseurs: This is the wine knowledgeable segment, the primary purchasers of fine wines. These people consume wine on a regular (daily) basis. They have a broad spectrum of tastes and like to experiment, although adoption of new tastes may be slow. They are brand loyal, have strong preferences and make their decisions in advance of purchase. They prefer to purchase from specialist wine merchants, auctions, or directly from the wineries. These consumers see wine education as a hobby, read wine journals avidly, and are not price sensitive.

2. Aspirational drinkers: Members of this segment are concerned with the social aspects of wine drinking. They purchase fashionable wine styles and are attracted to the more fashionable brands and labels. Brands act as symbols of status and for reassurance. These buyers are highly risk-averse and will spend considerable time in the search process. They will often need the confidence of the retail assistant and will therefore choose outlets dependent on convenience and their confidence in the retail stall. Aspirational drinkers are strongly influenced by wine writers, journalists, and opinion leaders. They are likely to attend wine appreciation courses.

3. Beverage Wine Consumers: These are avid wine consumers with little desire to appreciate wine. They are loyal to a wine style and are not prepared to experiment. They buy wines in an impersonal supermarket environment. They are brand-loyal to a range of "safe brands", where choice is dependent on a consistent taste, price and price-related promotions.

4. New Wine Drinkers: These are the young who are attracted to wine based on the behaviour of their parents or peer group. Preferences are not yet established but sparkling wine and coolers may feature strongly in the choice of product consumed. Wine is purchased at social occasions and often "on premises" at pubs, discos, parties and restaurants. They are strongly influenced by the occasion where wine may be consumed. They are unsophisticated and have limited parameters for choice, but often use price as a determinant for purchase". (Spawton, 1991, p.17).

The above segmentation suggests that there are a range of product attributes in wines that meet certain psychological and social needs in consumers. While this segmentation appears to have no empirical data to support it, other authors acknowledge the possibility:

"For wine, the consumer is not buying simply an alcoholic beverage, with a certain bouquet, colourand taste, offering sensuous enjoyment. Many benefits relate to intellectual prestige through learning and being knowledgeable about wines combined with the beliefs associated with the enjoyment of a quality product. Others confirm social situations, for example champagne for celebrations or the status associated with the consumption of wine and food." (Jennings & Wood, 1994, p.49).

In the case of a product like wine, so many of the benefits of the product are intangible. Therefore, it seems likely that for different groups in the market, such as Spawton’s (1991) segments outlined above, the product is meeting psychological need as well as a consumption needs and benefits.

FIGURE 2

PICTORIAL VIEW OF MODEL

AIM AND HYPOTHESIS

From the literature reviewed there are suggestions that different product attributes are desired by different segments of the population. We have also seen that the different psychological profile of consumers that drives their need for different product features and benefits.

The set of hypotheses attempt to validate the segmentation by Spawton (1991) already discussed. The segments include Connoisseurs, Aspirational Drinkers, Beverage Wine Consumers and New Wine Drinkers.

H1: That the 'Connoisseur’ segment suggested by Spawton (1991) will be confirmed

H2: That the 'Aspirational Drinker’ segment suggested by Spawton (1991) will be confirmed

H3: That the 'Beverage Wine Consumer’ segment suggested by Spawton (1991) will be confirmed

H4: That the 'New Wine Drinker’ segment suggested by Spawton (1991) will be confirmed

METHODOLOGY

A theoretical model for the nature-based tourism market in the United States by Silverberg, Backman and Backman (1996) segmented tourists by understanding product/service needs.

Although in this study, the segmentation will be conducted on product preferences rather than psychological profiles, the general model is similar. The theoretical framework being used in this study can be best illustrated in figure 2.

Figure 2 illustrates a modified model identified in Silverberg, Backman and Backman (1996). In their study, a large number of product attributes or purchase criteria (PA1-PAn), were used as a basis to develop a smaller number of product attribute factors in the nature-based tourism market. Once factors were defined, the results were placed into a cluster analysis to segment the sample (Cluster '1’ to Cluster 'n’).

The questionnaire used in this study, was developed with the assistance of a means end qualitative approach. Specific results of the means end study are not be reported here, but have been reported in Hall, Lockshin and Winchester (1998). A section of the questionnaire was designed to elicit responses relating to beliefs, attitudes and values when purchasing wine that were determined from the means end analysis.

The questionnaire was piloted to ensure that it was comprehended by respondents. The instrument was then administered over the telephone.

A random sample of respondents was obtained from the local White Pages telephone book in Mebourne, Australia. One hundred and ninety-one valid responses were obtained, by fulfilling the pre-requisite of having purchased wine within the previous three months.

Results

Prior to the data reduction procedure, a correlation matrix was produced to eliminate variables that correlated at less than the r=0.4 level. It was believed that these variables would have added little to the data reduction procedure.

Initial Principal Components Analysis

The type of factor analysis selected was Principal Components Analysis. It was run on the remaining variables that were not excluded after the correlation matrix was produced. An a-priori reduction was conducted by conducting a Principal Components Analysis and removing variables that did not add unique variance to the model.

The results of the tests for Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy and Bartlett’s test of Sphericity are outlined below in Table 2.

Malhotra, Hall, Shaw and Crisp (1996) expect to see a significance level of p<0.05 in the Bartlett’s test of sphericity. In this study, the test was significant to the p<0.01 level. In this study a value of 0.897 was achieved in the KMO measure of sampling adequacy, which is sufficient.

TABLE 2

KMO & BARTLETT'S TEST OF SPHERICITY

TABLE 3

FACTOR EIGENVALUES

From previous research, there was an understanding that the number of factors was between four and seven (Spawton, 1991; Johnson, Ringham and Jurd, 1991). Given that the analysis conducted indicated the best solution contained four factors, a decision was made to utilise the four extracted.

Rotation of axis within Principal Components Analysis

To enhance the factor loadings in this study, a Varimax rotation was conducted as a further step to the initial result of the Principal Components Analysis.

The variables were reviewed to remove those not making a large contribution to any factors. Any variable that did not contribute more than r=0.4 to any factor was removed. In addition to non-contribution to factors, those variables that were loading onto more than one factor were reviewed. Those variables contributing to more than one factor at a greater than r=0.3 level were removed from further analysis. The most fitting model for this criterion appeared to come from a four-factor solution which explained 63.9% of the variance in the model and offered Eigenvalues above 1.0 (see Table 3).

The Varimax rotation was conducted on the factor solution. The results are displayed in Table 4.

When the solution is examined in Table 4, the four factors have been named according to the variables loading onto the factor in question. The following four factors have been developed:

$A factor relating to product attributes that centre around the image given to the consumer;

$A factor that centres around specific connoisseur-type attributes;

$A factor that enables the wine consumer to reduce risk; and

$A factor that appears to relate to product attributes centred around enjoyment of the product.

Given the analysis of the factors produced in the Principal Components Analysis, the factors in respective order have been named 'Image Conscious’, 'Connoisseur’, 'Risk Averse’ and 'Enjoyment’.

The solution found produced four clean factors with little collinearity betwen factors. To test the internal reliability of the factors, a reliability test was employed. This test is described in the next section.

Testing the reliability of factors

Cronbach’s Alpha was conducted on the factors extracted by testing the individual variables that made them. Table 5, displays the Cronbach’s Alpha for each scale derived from the factors produced.

The final Alpha statistic was above Hair et al’s (1999) suggested 0.7. Given that reliability measures were sufficient, the Connoisseur scale was considered reliable for the purposes of further analysis in this study.

Segmenting the sample

A cluster analysis was conducted to segment the sample based on their product attribute preferences. Given that there were four factors extracted from the Principal Components Analysis, it was appropriate to use the results of the factor analysis as four independent variables in a cluster analysis. This would enable grouping of the respondents into four segments.

Four clusters were forced into the model. A non-hierarchical method of cluster analysis was used. The means of each cluster for were examined for each set of factor regression scores. The highest mean factor regression score was taken as the factor most influencing the particular cluster. The following understanding of the different clusters produced was identified:

$Cluster 1 were ’Image Conscious’

$Cluster 2 were out for a 'Enjoyment’

$Cluster 3 were 'Connoisseurs’

$Cluster 4 were 'Risk Averse’

TABLE 4

ROTATED COMPONENT MATRIX

TABLE 5

CRONBACH'S ALPHA FOR SCALES

TABLE 6

COMPARISON OF SEGMENTS IDENTIFIED

DISCUSSION

Spawton’s (1991) four segments identified appear not to have been tested previously. In this study, we have identified three of Spawton’s four segments. Table 6, outlines the comparison of Spawton’s segments to those found in this study.

Hypothesis 1: Confirmation of Spawton’s 'Connoisseur’ Segment

In this study, a segment similar to Spawton’s (1991) 'Connoisseurs’ has been identified. Our results indicate that this segment is concerned with the age of the wine, the brand, grape type, type of food and their previous experience. If we re-visit Spawton’s (1991) first segment, we find that Connoisseurs are described as:

1. Connoisseurs: This is the wine knowledgeable segment, the primary purchasers of fine wines. These people consume wine on a regular (daily) basis. They have a broad spectrum of tastes and like to experiment, although adoption of new tastes may be slow. They are brand loyal, have strong preferences and make their decisions in advance of purchase. They prefer to purchase from specialist wine merchants, auctions, or directly from the wineries. These consumers see wine education as a hobby, read wine journals avidly, and are not price sensitive. (p17, Spawton, 1991).

Spawton’s description fits very well with the understanding of this segment resulting from this study. Both segmentation methods consider this segment as brand conscious, drinkers of fine wines and utilise previous experiences in purchasing wines.

Hypothesis 2: Confirmation of Spawton’s 'Aspirational Drinkers’ Segment

Spawton’s (1991) second segment also has been supported in this study. Although they have been called 'Image Concerned’ in this study’s segmentation, the segment identified reflects that of Spawton’s 'Aspirational Drinkers’ very closely. In the 'Image Concerned’ segment, attributes such as 'enhancing reputation’, 'reflects your lifestyle’ and 'get social approval’ indicate that this segment is out to please. If we re-consider Spawton’s second segment, 'Aspirational Drinkers’, we find distinct similarities with the 'Image Concerned’ segment:

2. Aspirational drinkers: Members of this segment are concerned with the social aspects of wine drinking. They purchase fashionable wine styles and are attracted to the more fashionable brands and labels. Brands act as symbols of status and for reassurance. These buyers are highly risk-averse and will spend considerable time in the search process. They will often need the confidence of the retail assistant and will therefore choose outlets dependent on convenience and their confidence in the retail stall. Aspirational drinkers are strongly influenced by wine writers, journalists, and opinion leaders. They are likely to attend wine appreciation courses. (p.17, Spawton, 1991).

'Aspirational Drinkers’ (in this study called 'Image Concerned’) are focussed on the impression they make on significant others with the wine they have purchased. They are concerned about appearing as knowledgeable about wines and are most interested in portraying images of status, class and lifestyle to the others (assuming that these 'others’ are those sharing in the bottle of wine).

Hypothesis 3: Confirmation of Spawton’s 'Beverage Wine Consumers’ Segment

The third segment that Spawton (1991) identified, is known as 'Beverage Wine Consumers’. Spawton (1991) suggests this segment have little desire to appreciate wine. They are concerned with price and taste and price-related promotions:

3. Beverage Wine Consumers: These are avid wine consumers with little desire to appreciate wine. They are loyal to a wine style and are not prepared to experiment. They buy wines in an impersonal supermarket environment. They are brand-loyal to a range of "safe brands", where choice is dependent on a consistent taste, price and price-related promotions.

The 'Risk Averse’ segment identified in this study appears to cover most of what Spawton (1991) outlines in the 'Beverage Wine Consumer’ segment. The 'Risk Averse’ segment addresses other attributes that Spawton (1991) outlines around remaining loyal to safe brands, looking for a consistent taste and reacting to promotions.

Hypothesis 4: Confirmation of Spawton’s 'New Wine Drinkers’ Segment

The segment not clearly identified in this study is Spawton’s (1991) 'New Wine Drinkers’ segment. The 'Enjoyment’ Segment appears to be the closest to his segment. The 'Enjoyment’ segment is concerned about having a beverage that is easy to drink, relaxing, special to share and one that helps to unwind. Spawton’s (1991) segment consists of the younger wine drinkers that are more attracted to wine coolers and the like:

4. New Wine Drinkers: These are the young who are attracted to wine based on the behaviour of their parents or peer group. Preferences are not yet established but sparkling wine and coolers may feature strongly in the choice of product consumed. Wine is purchased at social occasions and often "on prmises" at pubs, discos, parties and restaurants. They are strongly influenced by the occasion where wine may be consumed. They are unsophisticated and have limited parameters for choice, but often use price as a determinant for purchase. (p17, Spawton, 1991).

Although a similarity between the 'Enjoyment’ segment found in this study and Spawton’s (1991) 'New Wine Drinkers’ segment is evident, there is no evidence in this study that price is an issue with this group. Other attributes that would have made the segments more similar may have not been placed into the instrument. The instrument used in this study was designed with wine in mind, rather than wine derivatives such as coolers and sparkling wine (eg. Spumante) that Spawton (1991) refers to. With this in mind, it is not possible to deny that Spawton’s 'New Wine Drinkers exists. It can be confirmed that at least where wine is concerned (not inclusive of wine coolers), there is a segment simply out to have a good time that also could be young and new to wine. It is possible to assume that for most wine marketers, such a segment could be in a completely different beverage consumption market, along with other 'young’ drinks.

Conclusion

Using the model devised by Silverberg, Backman and Backman (1996) to segment the eco-tourism market in the United States, this study has confirmed four identifiable segments in the Australian wine market based on product benefits. With the exception of one segment, Spawton’s (1991) segments were confirmed.

The one segment that was not confirmed as Spawton (1991) defined it was his segment of 'New Wine Drinkers’. This study found this segment was as likely to be experienced wine drinkers as new wine drinkers as opposed to Spawton’s (1991) suggestion that they were inexperienced wine drinkers.

Knowing that the market can be segmented into four segments enables different targeting activities to be put into place to meet the needs of each group.

The results of this study are only generalisable to the Australian market, although it would be worth replicating the study to confirm the results with a larger sample.

The segmentation initially defined by Spawton (1991) and the segmentation discovered in this study will require validation in markets outside Australia. To generalise further across borders, the study needs to be conducted in other countries with similar cultures in wine drinking, such as the United States and New Zealand. Great Britain and Canada may not have the same consumption groups, as a large proportion of wine in these two countries is imported, and it is possible that the importation may affect consumers’ perceptions of wine.

Given that some articles reviewed discussed wine consumption along with other alcoholic beverages, it would be worth testing the segmentation developed here in other alcoholic beverage markets. The market for boutique beers would be one such market.

Further Research

From this study, a clear and confirmed segmentation of the wine consuming market has been established. It would be useful with this knowledge in hand to further refine the variables that define each segment’s product needs better, so that a permanent segmentation instrument could be developed.

Due to the small sample in some of the segments, it was not feasible to conduct a demographic segmentation of each segment. A study involving a larger sample size is required so that demographic profiles of each segment can be understood to enable effective communication to each of the segments.

For the long-term viability of Profitability of the segments discovered, wine marketers need to understand the profitability of each segment. This could be achieved by understanding in better detail the consumption patterns of each segment while taking into accountproduction and distribution costs associated with each wine type.

There appears to be evidence that the occasion for which the wine is being purchased makes a difference to the type of wine and the price of the wine that a consumer is willing to pay. By having a specific understanding of which occasions encourage wine consumers to purchase high-profit wines, wine marketers can aim there products at meeting the needs of consumers for the most profitable of occasions.

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Authors

John Hall, Victoria University, Australia
Maxwell Winchester, University of South Australia, Australia



Volume

AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 4 | 2001



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