The study seeks to quantify the ability of consumer knowledge (both objective and subjective) and personal self-confidence to moderate consumer reliance on price and country of origin (COO) when evaluating wine quality, when all intrinsic cues are experienced through sensory perceptions. Taste testing experiments were conducted (N = 263) using unwooded chardonnay wine as stimulus, in a three (COO) × three (price) by three (acid level) conjoint analysis fractional factorial design. Specific measures were employed to quantify consumer objective knowledge, subjective knowledge and personal self-confidence as clearly delineated constructs, in order to investigate the ability of each to moderate extrinsic cue usage. Analysis revealed price and COO were both stronger contributors to perceptions of wine quality than taste, irrespective of knowledge (objective or subjective) or self-confidence levels. Reliance was found to remain extremely consistent although objective product quality was manipulated to three differing levels in a controlled laboratory environment. The research clearly demonstrates that consumer belief in the price/value schema dominates quality assessment for consumers, with COO also found to be a strong influence. This is in spite of varying knowledge and self-confidence levels. Results show that marketers cannot assume that intrinsic product attributes, even when experienced, will be weighted and interpreted accurately by consumers — even those considered “knowledgeable”. The research significantly advances our understanding of consumer knowledge (type and level) and their use of extrinsic cues (price and COO specifically), in relation to their respective influence in their determination of both expected and experienced quality.
- Consumer behaviour
- Country of origin