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Dissertation Proposal

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Dissertation Proposal


How Has Consumer Spending Fluctuated In The Recent Economic Downturn?

The purpose of this present research is to explore and evaluate the impacts and challenges of the current economic crisis on consumer buying behaviour. It is clear to see that the unprecedented gathering of  3 major economic factors – deterioration of house value, a significant rise in oil prices and a credit crunch – has affected the overall economy and is significantly changing our consumer behaviour. The backlash of the financial crisis on consumer buying behaviour is an area of importance for a wide range of commercial and academic companies, as it is the aim of every business to continuously generate profit and the knowledge of consumer buying behaviour can be considered an advantage and would anticipate profit as it reveals the changes of buying behaviour over a period of time and also the new marketing and sales strategies to which these changes are likely to predispose.
The primary research question is : ‘Which industry has been most affected by the fluctuations of consumer spending
( and plans to regenerate the losses????)
The main research objective is to investigate the ways consumer spending has changed over the past 5 years through the financial crisis and to address the research question. This can be done by dividing the explored area into 4 sub-topics.

  • How and why the financial crisis took place
  • Analysis of consumer buying behaviour characteristics
  • Identifying the impacts of the credit crunch on consumers and businesses
  • Identifying market revenue fluctuations

My initial approach is to determine how and why the financial crisis took place, investigating the root cause of the problem and would it be likely to happen again ; secondly, to analysis the characteristics of consumer buying behaviour which is figuring out why consumers re-purchase and how they become loyal to a certain company , also investigating impulse buying and how advertisements could sway their decision; thirdly, to identify the repercussion of the  recent financial crisis on consumers which would reveal certain challenges that face the consumers decision to purchase a product i.e. a lower disposable income or unemployment; finally , to pinpoint certain market revenue fluctuations which should provide information on any particular category or industry that have decreased significantly since the financial slowdown i.e category goods can be partnered with a certain type of behaviour , and therefore a decrease in the purchase of one product may reveal a decrease in particular buying patterns.

Literature Review
Due to the nature of the research objective and the fast past of change in the current financial world, there is limited information available in core academic textbooks regarding the recent economic downturn. However there is an abundance of secondary data and information readily available on scholarly electronic databases  and in several newspapers and internet journals. The literature review would  be constructed mainly of secondary data , which would contain some academic and commercial sources.

  • Academic Topics 
    -Factors affecting consumer buying behaviour.
    -Patterns and characteristics of consumer buying behaviour
    -Factors affecting impulse buying
  • Commercial Topics
    -Cause of the credit crisis
    -Financial impact on consumers and everyday life
    -Company  and industry profiles during the financial downturn ( i.e market segment performance)
    - Data, charts, timelines and other graphs

The crucial segment of the chosen academic topic is ‘Marketing’, this domain will provide the most relevant information and data of buying behaviour and patterns. The ‘Marketing’ segment can be divided into several other sub-segments including ‘ Impulse Buying ‘ which would consists of important topics which are essential to identify the impacts and backlash of the financial crisis on consumer behaviour and buying patterns.
The topics of the commercial literature of the research are chosen based on the contemporary and present information that they provide. The topics would reveal how the crisis affects consumers disposable income, employment, brand loyalty and impulse buys, it will also reveal the products consumers would deem necessary during a financial crisis.

  • Academic Sources
    -Electronic databases ( NORA )
    -Electronic books
    -Online Journals
    -Core academic textbooks

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