Examining the measurement and dimensionality of the construct of consumer awareness in a developing and transition economy
Orientation: Literature suggests that major political and socio-economic transformations may influence the measurement and dimensionality of consumer awareness. Research purpose: The study examined the measurement and dimensionality of the construct of consumer awareness after transformation in the political and socio-economic environments in Zimbabwe. Motivation for the study: There is a dearth of research to validate whether or not the measurement and dimensionality of the construct of consumer awareness changes as the environment changes. Research design, approach and method: Data were collected from a cross-section of 305 consumers using interviewer-administered questionnaires. Consumers were intercepted at shopping malls. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse data. Main findings: The study confirmed that consumer awareness comprises five dimensions, namely product knowledge, bargain hunting, general consumer knowledge, price consciousness and information search. However, the study found that only 16 items, instead of the proposed 25, were relevant in measuring consumer awareness. Product knowledge, bargain hunting and information search were each measured by four items, whilst general consumer knowledge and price consciousness were each measured by two items. The other nine items were shown to be of no value. Practical/managerial implications: The study recommends that marketers and policymakers in developing and transition economies, such as Zimbabwe, consider these five dimensions when conducting consumer awareness research or when planning consumer awareness programmes. Contribution/value-add: The study provided evidence that the dimensionality of the construct of consumer awareness does not change as the socio-economic and political environments change. However, items used to measure the dimensions need to be updated from time to time.