AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

The Role of Awards on Consumer Decision-Making: A Study of Wine Awards.

by Rosemarie Neuninger

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Wine awards; Extrinsic cues; Decision-making; Product/purchase involvement; Mixed-methods; Wine marketing; Blind vs. informed experiment; Generalised linear model; Sensory perceptions; Wine purchase behaviour; Retail managers; Trust/distrust
Record ID: 1308743
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5053


This thesis investigates the role of wine awards in influencing consumer decision-making, combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. Firstly, four focus groups and an online questionnaire were conducted, to explore consumers’ level of involvement with wine, and their perceptions of wine awards. Following this, in-depth interviews with wine retailers explored their perceptions of wine awards; whether they had any perceptions and if so how they communicated these perceptions to consumers. Finally, a blind-versus-informed experiment was conducted to measure the influence of wine awards on consumers’ sensory perceptions. Participants were segmented by their qualitative focus group responses into five groups. This segmentation was compared with a quantitative segmentation based on the questionnaire responses. The qualitative method revealed five wine involvement groups: Expert consumers (ECs), High-involvement consumers (HICs), Medium-involvement consumers (MICs), Low-involvement consumers (LICs), and New wine drinkers (NWDs). The five involvement groups differed in their attitudes towards, and use of awards, with the lowest involvement groups being most influenced by generic gold awards, and the highest by awards with prestigious reputation. Three main themes were identified in the analysis: 1) scepticism towards the large number of awards, 2) criticism of how awards are confusing and misleading, and 3) criticism of the transparency of the awards process. While all groups were critical about awards although in different ways, they still used awards in their decision-making. The Cuisine award (from a consumer magazine) was found to be the most trusted award. In fact, focus group participants stated that they were most likely to be attracted towards a bottle of wine having a gold medal. Conversely, silver, bronze, and multiple awards put off most participants. In-depth interviews with wine retailers indicated that not all retail managers interviewed are experts and therefore wine retailers were subsequently classified as either “expert influencers” or “pseudo-expert influencers”. Expert influencers have more experience and are more knowledgeable about the wines they sell, while pseudo-expert influencers do not behave like expert influencers although consumers still trust their advice. Consumers do trust expert influencers more than pseudo-expert influencers and ask for more detailed advice, but pseudo-expert influencers tend to work in supermarkets, where more wine is sold. The results of the sensory experiment showed that a well-trusted award significantly influenced consumers’ perceptions of wine quality. Consumers who trusted awards were negatively influenced by multiple-awards. Multiple wine awards also negatively influenced consumers who had a higher involvement level. This research has shown that wine awards are important extrinsic cues influencing consumers’ purchase behaviour and perceptions during the decision-making process, and that consumer trust in awards is necessary for the award to be…