The low-income market is a viable and highly untapped market. There is increasing interest in the poor as a market in South Africa. Yet, little is known about their shopping behaviour in retail settings. The purpose of the study on which this article reports, was to gain an understanding of the effect of pricing, brand and packaging on choice preferences of pasteurised milk by consumers sharing a living standard measure (LSM) classification of one to four. This research utilised a mixed method methodology design approach. Opinions of 103 respondents, exposed to an in-store simulation, were obtained to gain a better understanding of consumer behaviour towards brand and packaging design and how these elements affected purchasing decisions. Results revealed that price sensitivity plays a prerequisite role in the consumer purchase decision and that, while most respondents were willing to pay a price premium for brand and packaging design elements, limited income is a clear inhibitor. Brand awareness and trust also play an important role in quality perceptions, followed by image (created through visual stimuli) in choice preferences. The challenge for marketers is to find a balance between price and brand to suit consumer expectations and aspirations.
Key words: Low-involvement products, milk, brand awareness, packaging, choice preferences, visual stimuli.
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