Special Session Summary Predicting Wine Consumption Behaviour in Australia: a Multi-Method Approach and Perspectives on Wine and Beverage Consumption in Chinese Cultures


Lawrence Lockshin (1998) ,"Special Session Summary Predicting Wine Consumption Behaviour in Australia: a Multi-Method Approach and Perspectives on Wine and Beverage Consumption in Chinese Cultures", in AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3, eds. Kineta Hung and Kent B. Monroe, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 34-37.

Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3, 1998      Pages 34-37





Lawrence Lockshin, University of Adelaide, Australia

These two sessions are linked through their focus on wine consumption behaviour. Food and beverage drinking customs are some of the most culturally linked behaviours and at the same time constitute a major economic factor in developed countries. Australia is developing from a beverage wine producing country into a fine wine consuming and exporting country. Australia’s key export markets are predicted to move from an English/American focus to a Pacific Rim focus over the next 25 years. Hence, this session considers both a deeper understanding of wine consumption behaviour within Australia and the development of wine as a beverage within the Chinese culture societies of Singapore, Hong Kong and southern China.


Previous studies of wine consumption behaviour have mainly considered demographics such as age and income in trying to understand motivations for the general increase in wine consumption in Australia. Several recent studies (Spawton 1988, Lockshin et al. 1997) have expanded this research into risk reduction and product involvement as key predictors of how people purchase wine. However, these studies have been limited in their scope and have only general predictive power, allowing some insight into purchase behaviour and segmentation, but did not lay claim to specific predictions.

The poblem in understanding complex behaviour such as wine consumption lies with the situational context and the nature of the product. Wine, like many foods and beverages, can be used differently depending on the situation. Wine also has many attributes that may influence choice: price, brand, region, vintage year, winemaker, variety of grape, and style. Consumers are faced with an array that may exceed 1000 choices in a typical wine shop and 50B100 choices in a typical restaurant. Contrast this with the 4B5 major brands in most supermarket categories.

This session compares and contrasts three different methodologies for understanding and predicting wine purchase behaviour. From a theory point of view, this is an unique opportunity to look at three different viewpoints in understanding a very complex set of behaviours. It is literally a triangulation approach to wine consumption behaviour in a market that has recently embraced wine and is developing some aspects of a wine culture, where wine is seen as a natural accompaniment to eating and celebrating.

The first approach uses logistic regression to develop the odds that a person with a particular set of characteristics will choose a wine with a set of characteristics in a specific situation. The data is developed from a conjoint-type framework where the subjects sort and rank cards with different situations and wine. This mathematical approach is contrasted with a structured interview approach using means-end analysis to uncover linkages between product attributes, consequences, and personal values. However, instead of focusing on brands, this research uses situations as the context for building the #ladders.’ Both approaches focus on understanding the consumption situation, a relatively under researched area in consumer behaviour. The third paper uses involvement, both product and brand decision, to look at purchase behaviour in a retail setting. Segments are constructed using involvement profiles and linked to potential marketing strategies employed by retailers to serve the segments. All three papers use some form of demographics as part of their framework, but each make different assumptions regarding the best way to predict how consumers choose wines.



Richard C. Morey, Griffith University

Beverley A. Sparks, Griffith University

Hugh C. Wilkins, Griffith University

Australian domestic wine consumption has grown significantly over the last three decades and in parallel with this growth consumers have matured in their wine sophistication. Many domestic consumers are now highly discerning about differing wine varieties, their characteristics and aptness for differing occasions. The purchase of complex products involves a bundle of attributes that weigh in the purchase decision. For the selection of wine, such attributes include its price, type, awards, region, brand, etc. as well as the context of the situation (eg. special occasion, dining at an Italian restaurant and ordering a chicken dish). Finally the individual’s profile (income, age, education, gender, etc.) may also play an important role.

To help ascertain the relative value of the attributes and their interactions, we created a series of fictitious wine profiles that contained different combinations of these features, presented in different contexts. We then asked a sample of consumers to sort the wine profiles into an acceptable pile or an exclusion pile. The responses were then fitted by the econometric logit model which yielded the weightings on the various attributes and their interactions, as well as on the characteristics of the purchasers. The model developed yields the odds that a person with a given set of characteristics, in a given situation, would purchase a wine with a specified profile. Additionally, the model can be used to gauge the increase in the likelihood of selecton of a given profile to changes in one of its attributes, to changes in the contexts, or changes in the characteristics of the purchaser.



John Hall, Victoria University

Lawrence Lockshin, University of Adelaide

Maxwell Winchester, Victoria University

This paper investigates the consumer decision making process in the consumption of wine. In particular the research investigates what factors influence the choice of wine and how these vary from occasion to occasion. Over two hundred in-depth interviews have been undertaken. The qualitative approach utilised in this research is a laddering approach termed means-end chain analysis. The paper will highlight the attributes, consequences and values that were obtained and will also elaborate on the usefulness of the qualitative software used in the analysis of the data.

The means-end chain is a conceptual cognitive model that relates salient values of the consumer with evaluative criteria (attributes) of the product (Gutman 1984). The model offers a procedural guide that establishes linkages connecting values important to the consumer to specific attributes of products. The "means" are identified as products or services and the #ends’ as values important to the consumer. Gutman’s (1984) means-end framework provides a research paradigm to examine the linkages between personal values, consequences, situations and their relationship to product characteristics.

In order to investigate the effectiveness of occasion based segmentation, wine would represent an appropriate product. This product was selected because the particular choice is heavily influenced not only by the situation but also by the person’s individual characteristics. In other words, individual characteristics influence the subjective interpretation of the consumption situation determining the appropriateness of products consumed. Consumers obviously encounter many potential product use situations. Consumers have desired consequences they are trying to achieve. Consumption situations provide them with an opportunity to achieve these consequences. Each consumer learns over time which choices in a given situation produce these desirable consequences and which do not. Consumers evaluate product-use situations in terms of their potential impact over time. The length of the time horizon the consumer adopts with respect to the situation can modify the importance of the consequences. The means-end chain permits focus on the basic aims consumers have in life while not losing sight of how these aims influence choices in specific situations.

The NUD$IST programme was used to further complement and triangulate the Laddermap produced from the qualitative data. Using a programme such as NUD$IST enables text searches and coding of the data for each of the concepts identified and allows the findings of the Laddermap to be triangulated with quotes from interviewees.

As a result of the research process, a summary of consumption occasions has been developed. As well attributes, consequences, and values are used to categorise these situations. This has allowed for the development of an understanding of the perceived quality factors and how they vary according to occasion. The results also explore the important role that qualitative software programmes can have in this form of analyses.


Gutman, J. (1982). #A Means-End Chain Model Based on Consumer Categorisation Processes," Joural of Marketing, 46 (Spring), 60-72.



Lawrence Lockshin, University of Adelaide

Anthony Spawton, University of South Australia

The concept of product involvement has been linked to product choice behaviour in previous research (Flynn and Goldsmith 1993; Kapferer and Laurent 1993; Laurent and Kapferer 1985; Mittal and Lee 1989; Ohanian and Tashchian 1992; Slama and Tashchian 1985; Steenkamp and Wedel 1991). Highly product involved consumers spend more time and cognitive effort considering their product choices. Although no study reviewed has used product involvement specifically to estimate retail buyer behaviour, it has been predicted that involved consumers will spend more time considering store choice or conversely, low involvement consumers might limit the number of stores patronised or the time spent in searching for alternatives (Clarke and Belk 1979; Lastovicka and Gardner 1979).

Recent research by Flynn and Goldsmith (1993) showed that product involvement levels were related to various managerially relevant behaviours for two different products. The authors found little prior research using involvement to give direction to marketing strategy even though the construct has been widely used in marketing research. We feel that product involvement provides one strong dimension to segmenting retail consumers due to likely differences in the acceptance of product information, the likelihood of relying on retail salespeople, and the possible demand for specialised services. However, these issues have not been tested previously.

The involvement literature has developed and measured other types of involvement besides product involvement (see Andrews, Durvasula, and Akhter 1990 for a recent review). Two of these are relevant for defining shopping types: brand decision involvement (Mittal and Lee 1989) and purchasing involvement (Slama and Tashchian 1983). Lockshin et al. (1997) showed how using the three types of involvement could constitute a viable segmentation scheme.

This paper uses the three involvement types segmentation scheme to develop and test specific retail strategies for wine stores. A range of retail marketing techniques were developed from in-depth interviews and these were reduced to 19 different scenarios which provide a range of contact procedures (in-store, by post, by phone) and a range of general to very personally designed marketing tactics. The scenarios were rated by a range of wine store shoppers and the ratings compared across segments developed from the involvement profiles. Wide differences occurred in the acceptability of the various marketing tactics that could be used in the Australian wine market and implications for consumer behaviour are discussed.


Andrews, J. Craig, Srinivas Durvasula, and Syed H. Akhter, (1990), "A Framework for Conceptualising and Measuring the Involvement Construct in Advertising Research," Journal of Advertising Research, 19 (4), 27-40.

Clarke, Keith and Russell W. Belk., (1979), "The Effects of Product Involvement and Task Definitions on Anticipated Consumer Effort," in Advances in Consumer Research: Volume 10, Richard P. Bagozzi and Alice M. Tybout (eds.), Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Consumer Research, 325-328.

Flynn, Leisa Reinecke an Ronald E. Goldsmith, (1993), "Application of the Personal Involvement Inventory in Marketing, Psychology and Marketing, 10 (4), 357-366.

Kapferer, Jean-Noel and Gilles Laurent, (1993), "Further Evidence on the Consumer Involvement Profile: Five Antecedents of Involvement," Psychology and Marketing, 10 (4), 347-355.

Lastovicka, John and David Gardner, (1979), "Low Involvement versus High Involvement Cognitive Structures, in Advances in Consumer Research: Volume 10, Richard P. Bagozzi and Alice M. Tybout (eds.), Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Consumer Research, 87-91.

Laurent, Gilles and Jean-Noel Kapferer, (1985), "Measuring Consumer Involvement Profiles," Journal of Marketing research, 12 (February), 41-53.

Mittal, Banwari and Myung-Soo Lee, (1989), "A Causal Model of Consumer Involvement," Journal of Economic Psychology, 10, 363-389.

Ohanian, Roobina and Armen Tashchian, (1992), "Consumers’ Shopping Effort and Evaluation of Store Image Attributes: The Roles of Purchasing Involvement and Recreational Shopping Interest," Journal of Applied Business Research, 8 (6), 40-49.

Slama, Mark E. and Armen Tashchian, (1983), "The Effects of Product Involvement and Task Definition on Anticipated Consumer Effort: An Extension," in Proceedings, American Institute of Decision Sciences, J.P. Dickson (ed.), Reno, NV: The Institute for Decision Sciences, 12, 317-319.

Steenkamp, Jan-Benedict E.M. and Michel Wedel, (1991), "Segmenting Retail Markets on Store Image Using a Consumer-Based Methodology," Journal of Retailing, 67 (3), 300-320.


Food and beverage consumption are very culturally motivated behaviours. Anecdotal evidence collected at industry conferences shows that Australian wine companies are approaching the Pacific Rim markets as offshoots of the domestic Australian ones. Product design, promotion, pricing, and channel management are similar to the Australian market. In the short term these strategies seem to be successful with year over year increases in sales in double digits. However, an examination of total beverage sales in these markets shows wine to be a very tiny percentage of overall beverage sales and strong competition from other alcoholic and non-alcoholic multinational companies.

This session takes a step backwards into investigating beverage consumption behaviour at a personal level. The aim is to understand the cultural milieu surrounding the beverage consumption decision. The first paper is the result of over 70 personal interviews with individual Chinese wine consumers in Singapore. Contrary to the popular literature which extols the tremendous increase in wine consumption there, these interviews point to a very conservative approach to a beverage that has no history within the local culture. Who drinks and more importantly during which situations and why wine was the chosen beverage is discussed in detail. A similar study only expanded to luxury beverage consumption in general was conducted in Hong Kong this year. The two studies provide a very in-depth look into the culture and its effect on beverage consumption. Especially key is the Chinese conception of #face,’ as a motivating factor in public beverage consumption, which differs in its motivations from the more western concept of individual gain. An interesting comparison can be made between the western individual approach and the more group oriented approaches to consumption behaviour in Singapore and Hong Kong. However, Singapore has developed its own concept of #getting ahead," asan amalgam of eastern and western value systems. Whether this behaviour will appear in Hong Kong and other Chinese cultures is yet to be seen.

Finally, the third paper looks at the differences in channel design which may be relevant in distributing products to the Pacific Rim. This paper takes a cultural perspective based on the existence of family networks of Chinese involved in various forms of trade. Comparisons of relevant channel features, such as trust and commitment which are explicit in western channels but implicit in Chinese networks, are made between Australian wine companies operating in the UK and the Pacific Rim. The focus of this paper is again the cultural value systems that drive behaviour, in this instance the formation and control of distribution channels. This session provides a forum to explore emerging knowledge of Chinese behaviour related to wine and beverage consumption.



Ian Handley, University of Adelaide

Lawrence Lockshin, University of Adelaide

Singapore through its entrepot location has historically been influenced by Oriental and Western cultural values. The consumerisation of this community is of interest for the penetration of products associated with Western values as a potential indicator for other Chinese culture markets. A further question is, as new products are adopted is consumer behaviour consistent with that in traditional markets, and what are the implications for marketers as a result?

This paper is an investigation of Singaporean wine buying behaviour. Undertaken during the first half of 1997, 70 consumers and trade sources were interviewed to better understand overall attitudes towards wine. The research was conducted in parts: expert interviews were used initially to establish the environment for the later consumer interviews. These addressed three broad areas: consumption situations, purchasing criteria and the impact of cultural values on new product adoption.

It was found that within the sample group wine was increasingly being tried through specific, culturally oriented, consumption situations. Purchasing behaviour and attitudinal motivations were different from those in traditional markets. Few people drank wine with any regularity. It was still seen as a #western’ product to be consumed with western food, eg, pizza. The two major influences on behaviour were group orientation and the local cultural characteristic "kiasu" or to get ahead. These issues will be expanded along with recommendations for further research in other Chinese cultures and some managerial implications for successful wine marketing in Singapore.



Ronald Groves, Edith Cowan University

Russell W. Belk, University of Utah

The intent of the present qualitative study was to examine the meanings of various beverages in Hong Kong, with the intent of seeing how the increasing interest in imported wines might be understood. Our methods involved focus groups, projective measures, and a wine tastings with 60 middle class men and women in Hong Kong. These data are supplemented by depth interviews comparing Asian and Anglo consumers in Australia.

While consumption of fine wines from France, Australia, and elsewhere is growing rapidly in Asia (eg., The Economist 1997; Yang 1997), it is still quite uncommon to find wine on the dinner table at home. Part of the reason derives from the notion of the public self in Asia. The occasions that involve luxury beverages tend to be public and visible. To be able to drink strong and expensive alcohol in the company of others is quite important in East Asia (Belloni 1997). Choosing the right brand and consuming it in business entertaining involving mutual toasting in bars, is part of doing business in Asia and contributes to face (Balfour 1992). Liquor s also prominent at public festivals, marriages, reunions, and Chinese New Year. And luxury beverages are also important as business gifts that instantly convey the right message of respect. These practices help account for the traditional popularity of "reserve" whisky and cognac in Asia. To be able to drink these strong beverages without becoming incapacitated is also seen as heroic and cognac in particular is seen as contributing to a man’s sexual potency (Belloni 1997; Yang 1997). No matter that they are consumed in a "bottoms up" ritual following a toast or that the cognac is otherwise served, like whisky, in a tall glass with ice and water. Like the Potlatch of some North American Indian tribes, wealthy Chinese have reportedly bought bottles of cognac priced at several hundred American dollars, only to smash them on the floor in a show of wealth (The Economist 1997). Others are reported to mix their clarets and chardonnays with Sprite. While this may horrify the French, it is all part of cultural differences.

Wine is a somewhat different matter from liquor in Hong Kong. Fine imported wines are apt to have the same cachet as reserve cognac and whisky, but they contain less alcohol and are also differ from the strong rice wines and sweet fruit wines traditional to Asia. Nevertheless wine consumption is growing rapidly in Hong Kong and is spilling over to the rest of China (Elegant 1995; Jackson 1997). The uniqueness of wines may actually be may be a part of their appeal. Young Asians increasingly associate cognac and whisky with older successful men. To identify themselves more with a world cosmopolitan elite (Schein 1994) means that the relative unfamiliarity of fine wine in Asia offers the advantage of differentiation. There is also some report that red wines are becoming associated with health and virility (The Economist 1997). A part of our remaining analysis involves an assessment of how wine consumption is being accommodated culturally and how it accords with the interdependent and public aspects of Asian self. Given the trend in wine sales, we surmise that ways are emerging to fit wines within the Chinese culture of Hong Kong. Assessing just how this is being done and how successful these efforts are will have important implications for the future of fine wines in Asia.


Balfour, Freddie (1992), "High Spirits: Western Liquor Firms Pour into Asia," Far Eastern Economic Review, 155 (September 3), 53-54.

Belloni, Andrea (1997), "Consumption of Cognac in East-Asia: The Anomaly is Hidden Behind `The Rocks,’" http://www.hhs.se/eijs/anomaly/ACognac.htm.

The Economist (1997), "China’s New Tipple," The Economist, 343 (April 5), 37.

Elegant, Simon (1996), "Bottled Up: The Market in China is Promising and Perilous," Far Eastern Economic Review, 159 (May 16), 79.

Jackson, Annabel (1997), "China Red and White: Chinese Joint-Venture Wines," Far Eastern Economic Review, 160 (December 26, 1996 & January 2, 1997), 109-110.

Schein, Louisa (1994), "The Consumption of Color and the Politics of White Skin in Post-Mao China," Social Text, 41, 141-164.

Yang, Tsungling (1997), "Wine Mania in Taiwan and Its Future," http://www.hhs.se/eijs/anomaly/TWine.htm.



Rupert Dean, University of Adelaide

Lawrence Lockshin, University of Adelaide

Anthony Spawton, University of South Australia

Anthony Low, University of South Australia

Distribution channels and the relationships that evolve from those channels are an important component of a company’s strategy when exporting a product. These can lead to a sustainable competitive advantage when effectively managed (Dickson 1994).

Many researchers have looked at channels of distribution, the role of trust and commitment (Morgan & Hunt 1994) and the role of relationship marketing (Buttle 1996) in this field. However, little research has focused on the role of culture in of distribution and whether there are competitive advantages to be secured by firms whose global export strategies take these cultural variations into account.

Furthermore, little is known about the way the personnel in these channels perceive of a product with the inherent complexities of wine and whether this lack of knowledge can lead to quality problems, positioning problems and poor brand equity. Understanding the value systems and motivations of Chinese business will help better accommodate their needs.

Recent acknowledgment of the unique character of the business networks of the overseas Chinese business communities in South East Asia (Redding 1993, Kao 1993, Wang Gungwu 1995, Hodder 1996) has raised some interesting issues for companies wanting to trade in this region.

Strategies that Western companies have adopted when exporting to other Western nations can encounter unique problems in Chinese societies such as "commodity trading, parallel exporting, counterfeiting and smuggling," Combe (1997), which are not considered to be illegal or problematic in Chinese culture. However some companies are reluctant to allow a Chinese distributor and their networks to use their channels for an historically Western product such as wine.

Interviews with 17 members of the wine trade in Shanghai were conducted to gain preliminary insights into the topic. Several different channels of distribution were identified; one similar to that found in Australia and other western countries; and two others that seemed to develop because of the unique structure and culture of the Chinese market. Special attention will be given to the structure of the Chinese family business, the role of relationship development or guangxi (Simmons & Munch 1996) and the implications of these concepts for understanding Chinese business behaviour.


Buttle, F (1996) Relationship Marketing: Theory And Practice. Paul Chapman Publishing, London.

Combe, D (1997) "AsiaBPitfalls And Prospects," An Address By David Combe, Senior Vice President International Of Southcorp Wines, at the Wine Industry Outlook Conference, Melbourne, 10.09.97

Dickson, P R (1994) Marketing Management. Dryden Press, USA.

Kao, J (1993) "The World Wide Web Of Chinese Business." Harvard Business Review, March-April pp. 24-36.

Hodder, R (1996) Merchant Princes Of The East: Cultural Delusions, Economic Success And The Overseas Chinese In South East Asia. John Wiley And Sons, Singapore.

Morgan, R.M. & Hunt, S.D. (1994) "The Commitment -Trust Theory Of Relationship Marketing." Journal Of Marketing, 58 (July) 20-38.

Simmons, L.C. & Munch, J.M. (1996) "Is Relationship Marketing Culturally Bound? A look At Guanxi In China." Advances In Consumer Research 1996, Vol 23 pp. 92-96.

Redding G.S. (1993) The Spirit Of Chinese Capitlism. Walter De Gruyter, New York, USA.

Wang Gungwu (1995) "The South East Asian Chinese And The Development Of China." From South East Asian Chinese And China; The Political And Economic Dimension. Ed Suryadinata L. pp 12-33. Times Academic Press, Singapore.



Lawrence Lockshin, University of Adelaide, Australia


AP - Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 3 | 1998

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