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Chapter 1: Background

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Introduction

At present it is necessary to have a competitive advantage that is motivated towards technological innovations in the business sector. Large numbers of companies have to develop their products in order to be one of the leaders in the marketplace. In this case, Apple Inc. which is a subsidiary of an American Multinational Corporation called Silicon Valley can be counted as one of the most remarkable technology firms in the world (Jobber 2010).

Apple was co-found by Steven Jobs and Steven Wozniak who began to create the first Apple computer in a small garage in 1976. Afterwards they produced Apple II which was the most successful desktop computer of its time and earned the most revenue and profit in 1980 (successmagazine 2010). In 1996, Apple purchased ‘Next Company’ which was an American computer firm for producing an Apple operating system (the Mac OS) called Rhapsody. Then, Apple lost lots of income. After that, Steve Jobs, as temporary CEO, rearranged focus on the company’s efficiency and regain losses from their failure business by divesting from Newton Company which is a product line of personal digital assistant (Data monitor 2010). Apple Inc. introduced the iPod and the iPhone in 2001 and 2007 respectively. These products play a significant role for the success of Apple’s history.

The previous name of Apple Inc. is ‘Apple Company Inc.’. The company has changed its name to illustrate its expanding products and enlargement concentrating on consumer electronics in January, 2007 (Data monitor 2010). To present a new experience revolution of personal computers for serving customer’s expectations worldwide throughout its introduction software, hardware and Internet is Apple Inc.’s objective (Fundinguniverse 2010). The 20 th

century was an era of huge growth for Apple which launched the manufacture of the personal computer. Moreover, Apple continues to develop new efficient product according to its slogan ‘Think different’ or ‘think outside the box’ (Referenceforbusiness 2010). The company has participated in uniquely designed computers, development and marketing, communication equipments, computer servers, MP3 players, network solutions and related other computer accessories, services and software (Data monitor 2010).

1.1) Business Reasons

Apple Inc. has sold its products worldwide both in online stores and retail stores with fluctuated income. However, the company has made a great success in revenue recently. During 2008, the Apple Inc.’s income were £22,735 million or approximately $32,479 million which increased 35.3% from 2007 (Data monitor 2010). For the last three months to 26 June of 2010, Apple’s net income increases to £22.8 billion from the quarter last year (BBC 2010).

Apple revenues can segment by geography and can divide into four regions including The United State, Asia Pacific, EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) and worldwide, as demonstrated in Figure 1:

(Selected Currencies – US ($), Japanese Yen and Euro) 2008-2010 Figure 1.1: Apple Revenue Growth

(Selected Currencies – US ($), Japanese Yen and Euro) 2008-2010

Figure 1.1: Apple Revenue Growth by Region (Hingley 2010)!

In terms of Asia Pacific, Apple’s expansion increases continuously because high – tech products are booming in the past 12 months. Although, there is the economic recession in Asia in 2009, Apple had still grown slowly without decreasing sales revenue and profit. In addition, Apple has reached 70% in Asia’s revenue growth as a massive accomplishment in 2010 (Hingley 2010). In fact, Apple Inc. is not a big market share company in Asia but its global reputation is rising sharply.

The important turning point of Apple is ‘iPhone’ which is greatly popular throughout Asia Pacific. The emergence of the iPhone by Apple Inc. has promoted sales volumes and profits especially in the Japanese market which is the world’s fourth biggest number of iPhone users, as illustrated in table1:

Table 1.1: iPhone Usage and Ownership across Asia (Russel 2010)

Global Rank

Country

Unique iPhones

Population

Ownership %

Identified

Population

4

Japan

1,378,903

127,704,000

1.8

5

Australia

1,207,428

21,431,800

5.63

8

China

725,538

1,324,655,000

0.55

10

Korea, Republic of

530,235

48,607,000

1.09

11

Singapore

402,922

4,839,400

8.33

15

Hong Kong

299,720

6,977,700

4.3

20

Taiwan

174,266

23,046,177

0.76

24

Thailand

153,155

67,386,383

0.23

26

Malaysia

132,288

27,014,377

0.49

31

India

90,314

1,139,964,932

0.008

33

Vietnam

78,611

86,210,781

0.09

37

Philippines

58,041

90,348,437

0.06

39

Indonesia

50,657

227,345,082

0.02

56

Pakistan

22,025

166,111,487

0.013

62

Macao

13,205

542,200

2.44

!

According to table 1, Apple’s sale revenue in past six months, rose to $1.3 billion including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The revenue has reached 200% when compared over a year (Bangkok Post 2010). The record data will show you Apple revenue in the Asian market. Thailand is a part of Apple’s Asia market segment which is in 24 th global rank of iPhone usage and ownership; even though, there are no Apple stores, only retail stores in Thailand such as iStudio, and ibeat which are premium authorised reseller and authorised reseller orderly (Macsiam 2010). These retail stores are the main channels for Thai customers because they are not familiar with buying online (Boonruang 2007). Thailand is known as one of the essential iPhone high market penetration growth rates because several Thai people still use the smart phone. For this reason, Apple has many

chances to create its new market (iPhone) for Thai mobile ownership (Russel

2010).

The rapid changes of the Thailand market have stimulated many businesses especially Apple Inc. to manage their strategy for suitability to consumers in the present and future.

According to Vertygoteam (2010), to achieve Apple’s strategy in these preceding years, making advanced innovation, great design and style, being user-friendly with service on the mind of their business and competence strategy conducts Apple’s share value to rise 25 times. Apple provides ‘New Demand Creation’ that doesn’t focus on competitiveness or gain advantage over competitors. On the contrary, Apple emphasises its business to make competitors out-of-date through technology and innovation. Apple also doesn’t highlight on preceding market customer demand (Innodesign 2007).

From many Apple’s marketing strategies as above, I would like to know what the major Apple strategy for Thailand technology market is and how popular Apple is in Thailand?

1.2) Personal Reasons

Personally, I am very interested in Apple Inc. in Thailand. Many companies try to produce the best product such as smart phone in the market share. One successful product that is outstanding in Thailand is the Apple iPhone. There are several products selling in Thailand including the desktop and laptop, Macintosh software and operating system, LifeStyle Gatgets, iPod, iPhone and other accessories. In addition, the influence of competitive manufacture has changed the consumer’s trend in Thailand. The important tool for every business to be the leader is strategy. In conclusion, I have chosen this topic for two reasons. Firstly, I am strongly interested in Apple Inc. and have used several of Apple’s products. The second is that I pay attention in the strategy and marketing management of

Apple Inc. which has been created efficiently and with competency to be the

winner in Thai business.

1.3) Research Questions

This section will evaluate the significant subjects and hypothesis in research. The

questionnaires will be conducted in an easy way to answer and meet research

objectives numbers (2) and (3). Therefore research questions will examine the

following questions;

1.4) Questionnaires

1. What do you think about the Apple products in Thailand? Are they competitive?

2. What about the trend of Apple’s consumer behavior in Thailand?

3. Do you think market strategy can help Apple increase market share and profit?

4. How Apple continue be competitive advantage over its rival?

5. Do you think branding is vital to Apple strategy?

6. Do you have any recommendation for Apple to operate business in Thailand?

1.5) Research Objectives

1. To evaluate the business of Apple Inc. in the Thailand market.

2. To analyse the key marketing strategies and consumer behaviour of Apple

Inc. in Thailand.

3. To appraise the competitive advantage of Apple’s operation in Thailand.

Chapter 2: Review of the Literature

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At the heart of the research, the literature review is a crucial section because it contains the key concepts as a whole. Moreover, the objectives of the research is also discussed as well as planned to approach by gathering important information that is relevant to the research (Jewell and Hardie, 2010:24a).

There are four main parts in review of the literature as following:

Significance of Information and Technology business and Apple concept.

Consumer behavior and attitude.

Apple strategy marketing management.

Apple reseller

2.1) Significance of Information and Technology (IT) business and Apple concept

The growth of an information technology (IT) business leads to severe competition among the companies who deliver these kinds of products. In order to survive in this tough business environment, they are required to diversify products with higher technological innovation. Currently, the success of an IT business depends on how strong its capability is to apply and utilise their strategy on time over their competitor (Eisenbach, et al.,1999). Furthermore, IT marketing has a high level of competition due to technology and innovation being in constant development.

According to Craven (2008) the Apple main idea as:

Apple operated the main concept company marketing under the principle of thinking values scope from design and technology. The essential principle will become valuable that gives Apple a unique high quality product (Craven 2008).

Apple classifies marketing concepts into three categories; customer oriented, organisation objectives and coordinated market activities. These concepts define the customer’s needs and give a competitive advantage over competitors (Bernstein, 2007). The meaning of success is the measurement of a company’s evolution from share leader to true brand leader. The co-value which shares an advantage into a leadership position holds real gain benefit (Onpaper 2008). This part will become clearer to the whole prescience concept of Apple in terms of importance and define the main marketing concept that Apple applied in business.

2.2) Consumer behaviour and attitude

Businesses are able to improve their strategy by understanding the consumer behaviours and attitudes.

“Consumer behaviour” can be defined as the examination of persons, divisions or organisations and operations that utilise to choose, keep safe, use and sell the process of products and service, experience or human ideas to find a solution that meets consumer satisfaction. The influence from this method will give feedback to generate the consumer trend for the market in each area. (Consumerpsychologist, n.d.).

Consumer behaviour theory to the Asian consumer is important for any business that would like to achieve their market target with Asian consumers (Schutte and Clarlante, 1998a: 4). Thailand is part of South East Asia which has a high growth in the computer and electronics industry in recent years especially premium

products. For instance, hard disc drives, circuits and part combination electrics, and vehicles that Thailand export, place a high value in the businesses of elements of computers and electronics. In 2010, Thailand is launching more products to climb up in export market of computers and electronics (Bureau of

East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2010).

According to Arnould, Price, and Zinkhan (2004), attitude stands for all areas of business operation such as brand, service, objective and the person that evaluates positive, negative or neutral. The right attitude can occur consistently over time that why businesses should be understanding.

Understanding consumer behaviours in all aspects, both positive and negative in Asia will bring feedback to adopt and improve the quality of products and services. These also provide consumer motivations and consumer responses (Schutte and Clarlante, 1998b: 71).

In this part, the leader will understand what represents present consumer behaviour and attitude in Thailand marketing. This information will benefit businesses that want to invest in other countries or open a new branch. To understand the nature of consumers will protect the business from risk.

2.3) Apple strategy marketing management

Anderson and Vincze (2000:4) define marketing management as a business operation that occurs continuously across business functions in all levels of processes from devising to implementing strategy marketing.

Furthermore, marketing management can be considered when the planning cycle is deficient compared with the rapid rate change which can happen in external environment business (Aaker, 1995).

Figure 2.1: Business Unit St rategic - Planning Process (Kolter and Keller 2006:51) It is

Figure 2.1: Business Unit Strategic - Planning Process

(Kolter and Keller 2006:51)

It is essential to create the Business Unit-Planning Process as Anne and Rhonda (1987) define the most appropriate way to organise business strategy in an organisation at business unit strategic level. Business level strategy will demonstrate how to control a portfolio of business.

2.3.1) Business Mission

David (1989) identified the understanding of business mission as the broader company mission. Thus, it is the business’ fundamental function in terms of the company aims to target major products and services for customers.

Organisation is able to compete in the market, market segmentation and the targeting of goods and services. According to the strategy that Apple used in their business, there are several types of strategy that can be applied and adapted to Apple. The important strategies that are useful within the Apple business are the following: (Data Monitor, 2010).

2.3.2) SWOT

Baker (2000) defined SWOT as a major, effective tool for prognosis, which depends on accurate diagnosis where is it comprised from strengths (S), weakness (W), opportunities (O) and threats (T).

APPLE SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis will give an idea of how Apple becomes a loyalty brand through its strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threat as shown by the following table. Apple offers ranges of products such as iPod, iMac, iPhone and iPad and also related software. Apple has shown that the company has a strong brand image, which allows the company to control the price of its product. Nevertheless, the company gains a good market share but the high level of competition in the industry is still remaining (Data Monitor 2010).

Table 2.1: APPLE SWOT ANALYSUS

Internal Challenges

 

External Challenges

Strength (S)

Weakness (W)

Opportunity (O)

Threat (T)

-Strong Brand

-Product recalls

-Fine growth in smart phone market section

-High competition in technology market

image

-Changing

Chips

supplier

2.3.2.1) Internal Challenges

Susan, Aparna and Niclas (2003) define internal Challenges as widely appraisement of internal environment possible factors for each business to evaluate across strength and weakness.

Strength (S)

Apple has a strong brand image which is widely well known and recognised amongst customers. Recently, it has been shown that the rank of the brand image of the Apple Company has decreased from 20 th to 24 th over the period 2008 to 2009 (Data Monitor 2010). The value of the company has increased from $11,037 million to $13,724 million in 2008 (Bloomberg 2010).

Apple has been producing exceptional products such as iPod, iMac, iPhone, and iPad which enhances Apple’s brand image due to varieties of products. As a result of this, the sale and retailing of Apple are also boosted. Moreover, though most of Apple products are likely to be at a premium price, the demands of the consumer are significantly increased. For example, on the first day of launching iPads, the company sold 1,500,000 units @ $499 per unit in the US in June 2010 (Independent Business News 2010). After a few weeks, iPhone4 was sold out of stock for a while due to massive demand (Bloomberg 2010).

Weakness (W)

It has been announced by Apple that iPod Nano may possibly have faulty screen. This is because a product’s set has screens which can be broken under impact However; Apple is willing to replace all damaged items to customers. The problem is likely to reappear with early iPods where batteries are out of order. The battery has been recalled and battery cases have been offered to customers who have faulty items (CNET News 2005).

In 2005, the company stopped an extensive relationship with IBM who were the biggest chip supplier with Apple. Many specialists have disagreed with this switching as the change could possibly confuse Apple’s consumers (CNET News

2009).

2.3.2.2) External Challenges

David and Sheila (1998) mentioned external challenge and examined the opportunity and threat in the environment. Opportunity is a probability method to present product and service that can create a superior return. However, a lot of chances can be perceived as threats to the business market of existing products then may require a change in a particular product or development of new products and service for the business to stay competitive.

Opportunity (O)

Apple has been showing opportunity in the Smartphone market section and is forecasted from the worldwide market as having strong growth in the upcoming year. Since 2007, apple began to launch the first multi-function mobile phone (iPhone) which allows the customer to browse the Internet and use applications, maps on a mobile phone. Apple has since become the third largest player in the Smartphone market section in 2009. The iPhones have been shipped and delivered to 80 countries distributors through different channels (Marketingteacher 2010). The company realises the impact of strong growth of the iPhone business; therefore they keep adding additional features to the iPhone to make it even more edgy. By launching iPhones, the revenues of the company is doubled at the rate of 93.3% ($13,033) 2009 being greater than 2008. Due to the innovative products; iPhone, iPod, iPad and etc which Apple has been producing, it is predicted that the company will gain more market shares in the Smartphone market section.

Threat (T)

The biggest threat to Apple’s company is mainly from competitions in technology markets. To compete with other IT companies and maintain in a competitive position, Apple has to work hard on market research and development. Customer

demands can be subjected to economic down turn as most of Apple products are relatively expensive. Market opportunities are the main market that Apple is looking forward to focusing on e.g. iPhone. Even though, Apple realises that the mobile industry has huge competition between experienced competitors but the company believe they can gain a good percent of market share in the mobile industry (Marketingteacher 2010).

Apple Business in the Thailand market can be a success by using correct strategies. The methods to avoid failure and adjust strategy are helping Apple to stand as a global business. According to Jobber (2010) most achievements schemes are integrated of three pros, which include being better, being faster and being closer, the significant key to understanding the target customers for a business requirement is to receive an explicit performance differential over rivalries.

2.3.3) Goal Formulation

Philip and Kevin (2006:54) identified goal formulation as a process that the manager provides to describe objectives which are definitely elemental to magnitude and time.

2.3.4) Strategy Formulation

According to Philip and Kelvin (2006:56) Michael Porter recommended after the companies have achieved a comprehensible picture of their firms and environments, the specific strategic alternatives could be progressed to another level. It is clear that different companies have different alternative strategies and situations. However, there are generic strategies, which can be used across the ranges of the companies. The three main generic strategies that have been given by Michael Porter are cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. These keys can be applied when the company is looking for strategic alternatives, yet one of

these should be followed at a time. For example, differentiation is the strategic strategy that Apple has been pursuing.

McDaniel and Gates (2007) justify Marketing Mix as a market strategy that lunches and mixes in all area of business such as product and service, promotion, price and channel distribution. The essential key of this strategy is for operation and response to meet the consumer needs in the specific market.

2.3.4.1) Promotion Mix - 4P

The marketing term known as a marketing mix is the fundamental and basic strategy factor of marketing design. There are four elements of marketing mix, which are argued by Waterschoot and Bulte (1992);

Product

Price

Place

Promotion

These days, the marketing mix has integrated into many organisations and applied with wider a category of product goods and markets in order to obtain the competitive advantages and sustainability of their organisation.

In addition, some author has combined other ‘P’s to marketing mix such as people, process and packaging but the marketing today depends on 4’P’s as discussed above. According to Gronroos (1991) the marketing mix known as the 4’P’s are as follows:

Firstly, product is the one part of the marketing mix, which considers about the tangible, physical products including services. There are many factors that can be determined in product elements such as brand name, quality, safety, packaging, warranty and styling. As physical products, it represents various conveniences and services. Moreover, the important thing that should be

considered into product decision is the attributes of product goods that match with the customers’ needs.

Secondly, price is another factor that should be taken into consideration in the marketing plan because it is the one strategy that might be decided by several elements such as cultures. For instance, some products have great value in one culture but on the other hand it might not be good in another culture. Additionally, the high quality of a product is obviously perceived as having a high price for various product types. There are many elements of price decision, which are volume discount, early payment discounts, seasonal pricing and price flexibility. Furthermore, the distribution channels can determine the price. For example, the product design should be suitable to package, transport and shelf.

Place considers getting product goods to the customer. It should be thought of over the distribution channel, which is the connection between the consumable goods and productions of business involved with market converge. In other words, it provides product goods and services between consumers and merchants. Increasingly, inventory management, warehousing, distribution centres (DC), order processing, transportation and logistics are the factors that have importance role in place decision.

Finally, promotion must combine with the other ‘P’s in the marketing mix. Promotion is another strategy that seems like the communication channel of marketing. It acts for the communication of information about the products that expect to get positive feedback from customers. More importantly, the promotion is the most obvious thing that can attract customers who have not purchased and may not be interested in that product for whatever reason. Moreover, there are three elements that take place in promotion decision, which are advertising, sale promotion and publicity.

2.3.4.2) Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy is a worldwide popular business strategy. The objective is not concentrated on competition in the existing market but to make a new market area (Cotrugli Business School 2008). Blue Ocean Strategy is to create a bound value for both industry and its customers (Kim and Mauborgne 2005).

both industry and its cu stomers (Kim and Mauborgne 2005). Figure 2.2: Red versus Blue Ocean

Figure 2.2: Red versus Blue Ocean Strategy (Blueocean 2010)

Source: http://www.blueoceanstrategy.com/downloads/bos_web.pdf

Kim and Mauborgne (2005) described Red Oceans as all the existing business and business boundaries are identified and accepted. The rules for competition are perceived. Businesses attempt to outperform their competitors to gain more market share in existing demand. In terms of Red Ocean, the market space becomes crowded, reducing probability of profits and growth. The product becomes a commodity with cut throat rivalry.

On the other hand, Blue oceans stands for the unknown market space which does not exist in present businesses. Blue Ocean is used to create customer demands than to fight over existing ones. In addition, there are abundant chances for both benefit and rapid in economic growth (Blueoceanstrategy

2010). The competition is unrelated because the rules of strategy are waiting to be established. Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) can be described as having both wider and deeper potential of market space that is not yet discovered. (Aluebasedmanagement, 2010).

Apple implemented Blue Ocean Strategy to gain a digital music market share. Apple noticed from the results of illegal digital music downloads totaling more than two billion music files for each month in 2003. Apple then created a new technology called “iTunes” which is an online music store where consumers can download an individual song or an album of new or old music (Blueoceanstrategy 2010). iTunes has changed the music business globally from CD and cassette and has been offering downloads at a cheap price of only 99 cents per song. The competitive advantage innovation of iTunes and launching a new product “iPod” has increased Apple’s business value in the global music industry (Economic Journal Resource 2010).

This section will consist of inclusive acknowledgement in regards of marketing management with Apple’s strategy in key marketing strategies to become successful over competitive companies in several countries especially the Thailand market. Several key marketing strategies and major competitiveness that leads Apple to be a success are perceived.

2.3.4.3) Positioning Strategy

Segmentation decision is the way to introduce the business product position strategy. The company has chosen the target segment; administration requires developing a positioning strategy to contain the selected segment. Environment is the most important factor that is an effect with consumer preferences that imposes the company to rethink its positioning strategy. (Masaki and Kristiaan 2011:233) By positioning strategy, Apple changed its name from Apple computers to Apple. Due to the company focus on consumer electronics rather than a computer industry business (Forbes 2007).

2.3.4.4 Global Banding

Global branding is an essential strategic issue to represent the global market. Brand has the capability to automatically elicit shift in consumer behaviour that can influence fashion automatically (Graninne, Tanya and Gavan 2008).

Nevertheless Philip H. Kotler (2000) defines a brand as

A name, term, sign, symbol, or combination of them which is intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those competitors (Kotler 2000).

Programme Formulation

When the fundamental strategies are accomplished, the detailed support programme should be started. To be able to gain the technical leadership in the market, the programme must be planned in order to strengthen the R&D department.

R&D Strategy is used to explain the forwarding technology in both products and production process (Greenley, 1989).

Implementation

Generally, most strategies are well stated at the high level of conceptual terms. For better implementation of organisation, it requires to be explained at the functional level, where more detailed policies will be provided. The following functional areas are the specific policies that the strategies should be translated to (Netmba 2010)

- Marketing

- Research and Development

- Procurement

- Production

- Human resources

- Information systems

Feedback and control

Business has to track the outcome and monitor the new development strategy. The company cannot control the environment, it is stable from year to year. In contrast, environments change rapidly in an unpredictable way. Before it does, the company requires to examine and evaluate all its process such as goals, or even strategies (Philip and Kevin 2006:59).

2.4) Apple Reseller and in Thailand

In Thailand, there are no Apple stores open in this area. Apple authorised service providers where retailers are allowed to sell Apple products in the Thailand market. iStudio is Apple’s premium reseller store the smaller stores being called iBeat.(Wisont 2009). The reason why different stores have different names is due to the policy of Apple. For example, Apple allows the reseller to open as iStudio when they open in the premium area is a decision made by Apple Thailand management team (iStudio 2010).

The main Apple products and services are personal computers, portable electronics and mobile phones. Apple also sells related software, operation system and other accessories (Data Monitor).

This section will demonstrate how Apple’s gain a competitive advantage over arrival companies. This is because Apple provides more choices of products and services to consumers, online purchasing, high quality products and good

support term services. Macsiam (2010), although Thailand has no Apple store for consumers to buy the product, but there are 28 premium reseller stores excluding ordinary reseller store to support consumer needs.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology and Research Plan

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3.1) Research Perspective

Jewell and Hardie (2010:56) state that in order to answer the research question reasonably, there are major perspectives that include the following:

The first perspectives are (Jewell and Hardie 2010:56):

 

First Perspectives

Characteristics

1.

The positivist approach

Can be measured by experiment which is adapted discover the truth and fact.

2.

The

interpretivist

Establishing analysis and interpretive valuing is developed by method of data analysis

approach

3.

The realist approach

Mentions culture, perception, and belief. To apply for decision making in business area (Zhu 2006).

The second perspective is data collection which includes anthropologist observation, experiment and geographic field trip. (Jewell and Hardie 2010: 57).

Last but not least, deductive approach, also as known as theory testing will create a hypothesis or theory. Subsequently, it is necessary to try out theory in order to find a map for the theory. In contrast, theory forming so-called inductive approach will be initiated by gathering the data and consistently developing until it begins with the theory. Furthermore, while the positivism is correlated by deductive approach yet interpretivism is related by inductive approach (Jewell and Hardie 2010: 57).

The researcher has decided to select inductive and deductive approach to apply in the research plan. This research perspective will plan to utilise information both from quantitative and qualitative data collection. Jewell and Hardie (2010:57b) state that the positivism is related to deductive approach whereas the interpretivism is correlated with inductive approach.

3.2) Research Design

A methodology of research is gathering and analysing important data to perform the solution in the research design (Sekaran and Bougie, 2010). In terms of research design, there are five different types including cross-sectional, experimental, longitudinal, comparative and case study (Bryman and Bell 2003:

44-69, Jewell 2010:71).

This research will be conducted through comparative design to assemble data and also applied to compare each strategy that has been used for Apple’s operation. According to Bryman and Bell (2007) the researcher chose to use cross-sectional design because it is schemed to conduce towards over one case at a time. This case study also gains advantages from previous work’s analysis and theory to express data collection.

3.3) Data Collection Methods

This research consists of both secondary and primary data as major methodology data collection methods that meet all of the research objectives.

3.3.1) Secondary Data Collection

Secondary data is very often exploratory and/or descriptive and it will be able to use in explanatory or causal study (McGivern 2009a). The first objective will be completing by employing the up-to-date data collection from journals, articles, newspaper and Internet in both English and Thai sources that relevant to this topic. To collect the secondary data would gain clearer in objectives by researcher entering e-library from Coventry University website to access some of online database. For example, the online resources that the researcher uses to find data and information which includes Emerald Global Market Research Information Database (GMID), EBSCO, and Mintel.

Nevertheless, there are limited sources of secondary data so the researcher decided to collect primary data for further information that generates objective numbers (2) and (3)

3.3.2) Primary Data Collection

The researcher chose the two methods questionnaires and interviews to achieve the objective numbers (2) and (3)

Questionnaires

One of the most popular data collection methods in survey strategy is the questionnaire (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill 2007:355). That was the main reason why researchers would ensure all questions in a questionnaire collect the correct data. In addition, the respondents could be comprehended and answer the question as to succeed the research objectives.

However, the researcher provided 200 questionnaires to the Thai consumer who used Apple’s product via monkey survey (www.monkeysurvey.com). There will be separated in 200 questionnaires via Internet with Facebook and email. This

research established 19 close questions and one open question. After they were all approved from the researcher’s supervisor, the online questionnaires will be sent via email, and web-ling on FaceBook. The target respondents have to be controlled and accomplish with friends in Thailand, family, senior students, friends of friends and researcher network connection to gain the feedback by sharing a web-link on FaceBook and sending e-mail invitations. This research questionnaires are set out clearly and easy to answer. The question expects to get at least 50% of response rate and wait to get feedback within seven days that will be adequate for this research.

Money and time saving are the benefits of using a questionnaire via the online method. The researcher can launch a questionnaire by using the Internet to broadcast the questionnaire. Jewell (2010:76) stated that however, the weakness of a questionnaire was the complexity gathers the right people to take part on this research and also judging how much time is to be taken by the people doing the survey.

The researcher has known many people who are Apple’s consumers and perceived Apple’s concepts and its competitive advantages. The researcher strongly assures that they are fully capable to be representative.

Semi-Structured in-depth interview

According to Jewell (2010) in master dissertation, the semi-structured interview is the most widely used for gathering data. While Marshall (1998:61) stated that the choosing of people who can provide the researcher with the most data and information is a strategy called informant sampling. Besides, according to Bell (2005:158) mentioned that questionnaires and interviews are the same procedures. The researcher conducts the preparation of interview questions the same as questionnaires. Selecting the topic, design questions, concept of analysis consideration and preparation of schedule and pilot.

The researcher conducted interviews of six Apple staff who work at the Apple retailer in Thailand. The researcher has a cousin who is employed as a manager reseller store in Apple Thailand and he confirmed that the researcher possesses the required abilities to interview him. So the researcher will have the information from the interview of one Apple manager and at least six Apple staff who are not difficult to approach because the researcher graduated in a Bachelor’s degree in terms of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and the researcher has a friend who works for Apple and has connection with Apple retailer in Thailand. The interview was conducted face-to-face and used the Internet by skype program. Each interview lasted at least 30 minutes. The researcher designed to interview on the skype program or the telephone instead. For the interview questions,

For the first part of interview, this section is to require finding out more about their personal background such as full name, company-name, position and total work experience within the Apple retailer in Thailand. The researcher wants to know important factors in order to understand the relevance given to these personal answers in case there are opposing ideas.

The second type of questions in this research mentioned to the interviewee of its competitiveness and the idea about Apple products in Thailand such as “What do you think about the Apple products in Thailand? Is it competitive?” Next, the questions refer to the trend of the Thailand market and study consumer behaviour also in their way to make a decision to buy Apple products are also in this part of questions asked. One question aiming at this know-how is “What about the trend of Apple’s consumer behavior in Thailand?”

The third question is relevant to the subject of market strategy (Do you think the market strategy can help Apple increase the market share and profit? How can Apple continue to have a competitive advantage over its rival? And do you think branding is vital to Apple strategy)

The last subject is about recommendation of Apple strategy in Thailand’s market. (Question: Do you have any recommendation for Apple to operate a business in Thailand?)

The researcher will conduct from the general Apple concept to a specific concept. Then start to interview with basic marketing strategies and a competitive advantage from the other company. The result will meet the research objective numbers (2) and (3). This interview method will help the researcher to understand about strategy marketing and management in the Thai market. The source directly from the interview is very reasonable. Therefore the researcher will receive the effective information to generate the right objective of research.

3.4) Limitations of research

Despite the many disadvantages of secondary data, they also post some dangers. Using secondary data should always assess the accuracy of the data. The researcher is afraid that they will not allow the researcher to interview six people in Apple Thailand through face to face. Some branches of Apple resellers are reluctant to provide company information. If it will be happen while The researcher is collecting the research data, The researcher will interview in the branch that the cousin is a manager.

Validity

According to Jewell (2010: 110) defined validity is disputably the most significant standard which the question to research can be addressed. Validity is a key concept in assessing the quality of research information to measure and give the research an accurate result. The accuracy of research can be measured by finding the relevant information. To review the research on effective interventions to meet the participants through the questions as appropriate adjustments. Also

for the accurate analysis of why the researcher had to study existing methods and found the flavour to suit the research set out.

Reliability

The researcher realised that all of this research data would be matched in good objectives. According to Jewell (2010:110) the reliable of research if it managed in the way that supports other researchers to duplicate the result and the most simplest method of understanding reliability is examine it in the in dept context of questions in the survey. Furthermore, Bell (2005:117) defined the concept of reliability as a scope to test or a method to generate a similar outcome under constant conditions on all opportunities.

Generalisability

The research is an extent to find and summarise what research discovers and utilises it to another context. The good quality of research is design for the capability to generalise is maximised. Jewell (2010:110) defined external validity or generalisability was referred to validity as above. A scope for the researcher can be finding and applying another scope. The secret of the best researches is to plan and design it in order for the capability to generalize. On the other hand, car must be taken to resist the temptation too much.

3.5) Ethical Considerations

!

3.5.1) Research Ethics

The researcher understood clearly the requirement of Coventry University that need researchers to submit all reports within their acknowledgments and ideas. The researcher can be confidence do follow the Business Environment and

Society (BES) ethics student handbook under BES ethics procedure at Coventry University rules.

The questionnaires and interviews were discussed and approved by a supervisor before launching. The researcher will not allow children, disorderly people or elderly to do the questionnaire and not interview in an uncomfortable place. Although the researcher make certain by doing a checklist before answering questions and sign the Business Environment and Society (BES) compliance form. For the BES form had to be approved by a supervisor and is attached with this dissertation as an appendix.

The researcher will try to do the low risk ethical approval form with honestly created and analysed research.

3.5.2) Plagiarism

The researcher has already read guidelines and understood the regulations and rules of plagiarism in Coventry University. This research strictly follows the plagiarism rules. According Coventry University Harvard Reference Style, the researcher uses the citation and quotation. Not copy from other sources because the researcher always summarised and paraphrased the author’s words into their own words and then did the reference. Finally, the researcher will upload the draft research document to check the anti-plagiarism program before submitting the final research document.

Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Presentation

n

Introduction

The data analysis and presentation of this research comprises of two sections. The first section is quantitative analysis where the study findings came from 200 online questionnaires responses. The second is qualitative analysis, to deliver study findings in regards from five Apple staff and one Apple manager interviewers.

4.1) Quantitative Analysis

The data of each questionnaire will be implemented to information through an online survey called surveymonkey (www.surveymonkey.com) then presented in the form of a table, bar charts where suitable. The data collection was selected from 200 questionnaires of Thailand customers who have used Apple products via email and FaceBook.

The researcher has separated the questionnaires into three parts; Part A:

Demographic information, Part B: General behaviour regarding Apple products, And Part C is about customer perception of Apple products.

Study Finding

Part A: Demographic information

The report from this survey mentions gender, age, level of education, current occupation and income range of Apple consumers in the Thailand market.

From the 200 Thai respondents who have bought Apple products in the Thailand market 124 respondents are female (62.3%) while Apple customers who are male total 76 respondents (34.7%). The majority of respondents are aged between 18-25 years old (111 respondents and 55.5%) but the minority category age of respondent are more than 45 years old which covers 4 respondents or 2%. Most of the respondents, about 58.5% (117 respondents) have an education level at Post graduate/Master degree level, followed by undergraduate which shows 73 respondents (36.5%), Diploma 7 respondents (35%), high school or below 2 respondents (1%) and Doctor/PhD 1 respondent (0.5%) respectively. There are current occupations including: Unemployed person, Employee, Student, Business owner and the other occupations. The majority of respondents are Employees which covers 43.5% or 87 people of the total. Furthermore, it is followed by Students, which shows 40% or 80 respondents from Apple Thailand customers. Then Unemployed represent 7% or 14 respondents out of all. The other two occupations of respondents are business owner and other occupations covered 7% or 14 respondents and 3.5% or 7 respondents respectively. As income level is concerned, they are divided into five ranges. The majority of respondents covered the range of income £200 to £500 which represents 46.7% or 92 respondents of the total. Next, there are 26.9% or 53 respondents with the level of income £500 to £1000. Then there are 13.2% or 26 respondents covered in the income in the period that is less than £200. Finally, the level of income more than £1000 is at 3% or 9 respondents.

All the details and information of demographics are represented in the table below.

Table 4.1: Demographic Characteristics

Key finding

No. of Respondent

Percentage (100%)

Gender

   

Male

76

37.7

Female

124

62.3

Age 18-25 26-30 31-35 36-40 41-45 Older than 45

111

55.5

50

25.0

25

12.5

7

3.5

3

1.5

4

2.0

Level of Education High school or below Diploma Undergraduate Post graduate/ Master Doctor/ PhD.

2

1.0

7

3.5

73

36.5

117

58.5

1

0.5

Current Occupation Unemployed Employee Student Business Owner Other

14

7,0

87

43.5

80

40.0

12

6,0

7

3.5

Income Range Less than £200 £200-£500 £501-£1000 More than £1000

26

13.2

92

46.7

53

26.9

20

10.2

 

9

3.0

Part B General behaviour regarding Apple products

Figure 4.1: The sources that allow cu stomers to know Apple products in Thailand market.

Figure 4.1: The sources that allow customers to know Apple products in Thailand market.

The pie graph above represents the sources that allow people to know Apple products based in the Thailand market. It can be seen that the majority is 76.2% or 141 respondents of the total had identified Internet with the minority being 22.7% or 42 respondents having selected newspaper as illustrated in figure 4.1.

Figure 4.2: How people know Apple products categories. This table demonstrates how people know Apple

Figure 4.2: How people know Apple products categories.

This table demonstrates how people know Apple products and if a customer has more chance to know in more than one way, respondents can select more than one choice. As a result, there are 141 respondents or 76.2% who know from the Internet, 100 respondents or 54.1% who know from word of mouth, 82 respondents or 44.5% who know from magazines, 68 respondents or 36.8% who know from family and relatives, 49 respondents or 26.5% who know from Apple retailers and 42 respondents or 22.7% who know from newspapers.

Figure 4.3: Type of Apple product that customers have The bar graph above illustra tes

Figure 4.3: Type of Apple product that customers have

The bar graph above illustrates Apple product categories that people bought in the Thailand market with some of them selecting multiple Apple products that they own. The product categories are iPhone, iPod, Apple’s other music related products and services, Apple’s Internet software, Portable, Apple’s software, Desktop, and iPad respectively. Most of the participants, about 70.3% or 120 respondents came from iPhone followed by iPod with 52.7% or 96 respondents. Moreover, Portable and Apple’s other music related products and services covered the same result from the survey, being 23.1% or 42 respondents.

Figure 4.4: The criteria that make people buy Apple's products. The bar graph provides information

Figure 4.4: The criteria that make people buy Apple's products.

The bar graph provides information about significant criteria that make people buy Apple products with 14 respondents answering N/A in this question and the respondent capability of selecting more than one answer. The most significant factor to encourage peoples interest in Apple products, is design which is covers 144 respondents followed by Innovative Technology (126 respondents), Product Performance (122 respondents), brand (122 respondents), Material (41 respondent), Service (27 respondents) and Price (23 respondents) consecutively.

The satisfaction of respondents following purchase of Apple’s products:

On the topic of respondents’ satisfaction, the following scales were applied as:

1 = Extremely dissatisfied

2 = Dissatisfied

3 = Neutral

4 = Satisfied

5 = Extremely satisfied

Table 4.2: Evaluation respondents’ satisfaction by using seven attributes

 

Attributes

Brand

Design

Material

Innovative

Product

Price

Service

Technology

Performance

According from the table above, there are seven attributes that respondents evaluated. They are Brand, Design, Material, Innovative Technology, Product Performance, Price and Service.

Figure 4.5: Response choices of satisf action criteria after people bought an Apple product. As

Figure 4.5: Response choices of satisfaction criteria after people bought an Apple product.

As figure 4.5 represents the outputs from 184 respondents (16 respondents skipped this question) which established that most respondents selected neutral or satisfaction level 3 followed by dissatisfied or satisfaction level 2 and satisfied or satisfaction level 4 respectively.

In regards to the result from figure 4.5, the majority respondents answered Neutral (Satisfaction level 3) including the following attributes:

Brand: 44.8% or 82 respondents Design: 48.9% or 90 respondents Material: 53% or 92 respondents Product Performance: 45.3% or 82 respondents

As the questionnaires result shows the major question of respondents answered Dissatisfied (Satisfaction level 2) which includes the follow attributes:

Service: 51.9% or 95 respondents Price: 50.5% or 93 respondents

In addition, the results show that the most respondents selected Satisfied (satisfaction level 4). It represents the attribute as the following:

Innovative Technology: 52.7% or 92 respondents

following: Innovative Technology: 52.7% or 92 respondents Figure 4.6: The level of Apple product satisfaction Figure

Figure 4.6: The level of Apple product satisfaction

Figure 4.6 represents the bar graph that demonstrates the result of ranking attributes of this research which are brand, design, material, innovative technology, product performance, price and service. As a result, the first rank of these attributes is innovative technology followed by design, product performance, brand, material, service and price respectively. In terms of

satisfaction level, the key findings show the generally level of Apple product satisfaction fulfillment at the goal level 4 or Satisfied after buying an Apple product. Consider the criteria of innovative technology with the largest group of respondents 52.7% or 97 respondent as illustrate by the figure 4.6.

52.7% or 97 respondent as illustrate by the figure 4.6. Figure 4.7: The barriers that prevents

Figure 4.7: The barriers that prevents people from buying Apple products.

From figure 4.7 it can be seen that 78.7% of 183 respondents (17 respondents skipped this questions) had selected Apple’s product price, 21.3% covered by limited availability in stores, 14.8% had chosen limited product capability, 14.2% stated that Apple products are difficult to use and 11.5% had selected limited.

Part C: Customer perception of Apple product

In terms of consumer satisfaction, there are five scales applied which are the following:

1 = Extremely Dissatisfied

2 = Dissatisfied

3 = Neutral

4 = Satisfied

5 = Extremely satisfied

Table 4.3: Evaluation of consumers’ satisfaction by using nine attributes.

 

Attribute

Background of Apple’s Activities

Believe market strategy is a key to success

Consider the brand rather than the price

Buy only at Apple store

Software and Application suitable for life style

Compare Apple’s product feature with other companies

Preference to buy Apple products

Brand loyalty

Consider after sale service

As the table 4.3, the researcher provided nine attributes that were evaluated by consumers’ who responded to this questionnaire.

Figure 4.8: The factors which customer s consider when buying an Apple product. As in

Figure 4.8: The factors which customers consider when buying an Apple product.

As in figure 4.8 it can be seen that results from 179 respondents (21 respondents skipped this questions) that generate the most respondents selected Satisfied or satisfaction level 4 followed by Neutral or satisfaction level 3.

In terms of Satisfied or satisfaction level 4, the results that most respondents selected include the following topics:

Believe market strategy is a key success: 87 respondents Consider the brand rather than the price: 61 respondents Buy only at Apple store: 57 respondents Software and application suitable for life style: 66 respondents Compare Apple’s product features with other companies: 66 respondents

Preference to buy Apple product: 75 respondents Brand loyalty: 69 respondents

In addition, the most respondents who selected in terms of Neutral or satisfaction level 3 include the following topics:

Know background of Apple’s activities: 93 respondents Consider after sale service: 71 respondents

respondents Consider after sale service: 71 respondents Figure 4.9: The level of A pple consumer satisfaction

Figure 4.9: The level of Apple consumer satisfaction

Furthermore, all the results generated consumers’ satisfaction level on nine attributes as demonstrated in figure 4.9

Questionnaires Data Analysis and discussions

1. To investigate the overall Apple consumers’ satisfaction and characteristics of demographics.

satisfaction and characteristics of demographics. Figure 4.10: The relation between female and age rage of

Figure 4.10: The relation between female and age rage of Apple consumer.

From table 4.1 characteristic demographics that represent the most respondents of gender are female which covered 124 respondents (62.3%) who are Apple consumers in the Thailand market from the total 200 respondents’ survey. According to the cross relation finding of female and age, it can be seen that the important relationship between them and consumer satisfaction illustrated as figure 4.10. The majority group was female in the range of 18-25 years old that

had been bought an Apple product. Thai teenagers (age 18-25) always bought mobile with high technology such as iPhone that has more application and is user friendly for daily-life. According to Apple’s profile report (2008) Apple has operated an interest and service in a unique market segment. Apple has broad- respect and has high value in the market brand which is attractive to teenagers with long experienced users. These teenagers, especially females believe that Apple products such as iPhone and iPod are likely jewelry accessories.

According to the level of education background from this research, Post graduate/Master level majority group of respondents which is covered by 117 respondents out of 200 respondents followed by Undergraduate which covers 73 respondents. Due to the growth rate of telecommunications and Information technology in the Thailand market growth is expected to rise by 20% in the year 2010 (All Business 2010). These results represent Apple product demand and will increase in with both Post graduate/Master and Undergraduate level of education, who require the products which have a trendy and fashionable image.

In addition, in terms of occupation and income, Thailand has a lower middle income (NationMaster 2010). Income variability is the most relevant to respondents in the range of £201 to £500 and £501 to £1000 consecutively while most respondents current occupation are employee and student respectively; 87 respondents or 45.1% ; 80 respondents or 41.5%.

2. To investigate the overall Apple consumers’ satisfaction in terms of consumer behaviour characteristics.

According to the survey, 76.2% or 141 respondents overall know Apple products from Internet. Online communication can be used to increase company profile in order to raise awareness of that market segment. This is because through the promotion mix, concepts can be changed or competition over competitors where the market exists. For instance, Apple represents products via the Apple website.

Moreover there is an advertising project from Youtube called the “Get a Mac”, the most watched advertisement that has generated a lot of success (Ashcroft and Hoey 2001)

Furthermore, there are 53.1% of respondents who perceive Apple products by word of mouth. Mangold and Faulds (2009) suggested that product and service should be conducted to encourage social media based conversation as word-of- mouth.

3. To investigate the overall essential key success drivers

Based on the literature review in chapter 2, the key success of Apple in the Thailand market involves Apple’s promotion mix.

Research results from questionnaires online represent respondents who took part in this survey stated which Apple products have been the most popular with Thai consumers. The iPhone covered 128 respondents followed by iPod which is covered by 96 respondents from the total. iPhone was launched in June 2007, in the USA with consumers queuing up for a chance to buy the iPhone which sold over 500,000 units within a week. iPhone is the most successful Apple product and has currently sold 42 million (IEEE Xplore 2010)

Kingsley-Hughes (2009) indicated the key successes of Apple as the following:

Products always improving innovation

There is an attraction with both new and existing consumers to a company that always updates and offers high product value to the end-user.

Advertising and Promotion

Apple has a huge funds and it provides a budget spread to international Apple branches in terms of promotion mix strategy. This is because Apple Mac gains competitively over the general PC.

Consumer satisfaction

The good response from consumers can be noticed not only by consumers re- buying Apple products. However consumers can spread by word of mouth how they are satisfied then bring in further sales in order to become brand loyalty.

Lack of Window

Window is the most popular operating system which was extensively used by many consumers to be a lack of success, although many consumers shifted from windows operating system to Macintosh operating system.

On the other hand, the most significant criteria when consumers buy Apple products can be interpreted from the results of 144 respondents selecting Design followed by innovative technology (126 respondents) then product performance (122 respondents) respectively. Apple senior engineering manager ‘Michael Lapp’ cited in Walters, 2008 said the organisation process proceeds throughout the advancement of any applications while other competitors try unsuccessfully to get a good design and be highly technologically innovative ( Walters, 2008).

4. Apple products should raise consumers satisfaction

4. Apple products should raise consumers satisfaction Figure 4.11: Apple sale revenue and Prof its in

Figure 4.11: Apple sale revenue and Profits in Billions from 2001 to 2010

(£1 = $1.5548, at 9 Jan 2011)

http://lowendmac.com/ed/fox/11ff/apple-decade.html

Based on figure 4.11 it can be assumed that revenue and profit continue to increase every year from 2001 to 2010. The objective of Apple is to be a leading technology provider globally and develop state-of-the art products for consumers.

There is a probable trend that is the fast development distribution channel called the “internet” which is a mass market for Apple in which iTunes was conducted. ITunes represents the successful market strategy “Blue Ocean”. However Thai consumers like to download illegal digital music and applications rather than buy from iTunes. Apple lost market shares in this area so Apple attempts to offer tons of music for consumer at a low price. (gotomanager 2010)

4.2) Qualitative analysis

Qualitative data is a descriptive valuable data which is unable to measure numerically. The researcher conducted interviews about the Apple market strategy. These interview questions are designed to ask the person who works in an Apple store in Thailand. These interviews allow interviewees to answer from their own opinions, experiences and cognitions (Bogdan and Bilken 1982). Furthermore, the researcher can find the final summary from collecting documentary and semi-structured specific interviews. Then collecting and improving until reaching the conclusion.

Interview Result Table 4.4: The result from six interviewees

 

Question

 

Interviewvee1

 

Interviewvee2

 

Interviewvee3

 

Interviewvee4

 

Interviewvee5

Interviewvee6

 

(Apple manager)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

1.

Could you please tell

Not specify 32 years old

- Thipsucha S.

- Teerapat P.

-Sararin M.

-Prach S.

- Vorapot S.

your name and your age please?

- 25 years old

- 27 years old

- 23 years old

-24 years old

- 28 years old

2.

How long have you

6 years

2 years

Two and a half years

- 3 years

-one year 4 months

- 1 year

been working here?

3.

What do you think about

-

Teenagers and

-

The Apple’s products

-

Apple Thailand may

- Apple is like a

-

Apple products and

- Apple not only sells

the Apple products in Thailand? Are they competitive?

workers, have fashionable.

are quite popular in Thailand. People can

lost some opportunity to sell the products to some of the Thai people that is eager to use a new product

fashion.

its brand are unique.

on computers but also introduces a new

-

Apple products are

It is different from

-

The marketing mix is

notice that most of Thai people use iPhone 4 or Mac. -Consideration to measure the success on how many branches that launches in Thailand.

very popular

other competitors.

generation of digital products.

very significant in Thai market.

especially iPhone

 

-

Thai people are

Apple products are well known about their performance and style.

-

   

strongly Apple addict.

- Yes

- Yes

- Yes

-

Yes

-Yes

-Yes

4.

What about the trend of

- Thai consumers love

- Apple is a company

- People in Thailand

-The trend of Apple’s consumer behavior in Thailand tends to addict Apple product like Apple products’ family.

-

Most of Apple’s

-Most of consumers in Thailand have more than one Apple product.

Apple’s consumer behavior in Thailand?

to know and learn new technology and innovative products.

with a great marketing and an elegant design of Apple’s products

tend to use more of the Apple products. The reason may from the appearance of the products themselves, the quality of the

consumers in Thailand try to move themselves to a

Whatever in trend, they are tending to buy.

with multi-tasking that always stunning people.

convergent or bundle product.

 

Thai consumers think Apple is a Fashion brand.

-

products, and also about the belief that you will be cool to use Apple products

 
 

Question

 

Interviewvee1

 

Interviewvee2

 

Interviewvee3

 

Interviewvee4

 

Interviewvee5

 

Interviewvee6

 

(Apple manager)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

5.

Do you think market

- Yes, sure.

- Yes

- Absolutely yes.

-

Yes

-Yes

- Yes

strategy can help Apple increase market share and profit

- The Advance Design

- Marketing strategy

- The strategy should

-The strategy is really help to convince customer to really want their products.

-

It would help if

- The market

System (ADS) often

show the high technology with incredible features that allure consumers to buy their products.

of Apple has a great impact on consumer behavior. in Apple and that will increase market share.

be carefully planned since the consumer behavior of Thais is quite different from the western people.

Apple try to push their product with different market strategy.

strategy can help Apple to develop the package that can get the customer’s

satisfaction and get maximize of its performance.

 

-

People buy more

 

product of Apple, it will increase the profit which will make a stakeholder who sees the opportunity invests

The market strategy can obtain maximum profit.

-

6.

How Apple continue be

- Apple has very strong positioning itself.

-

Apple has to

-

They have a great

-

Apple keeps the

-

Apple products

-Keep and maintain Apple’s high standard.

competitive advantage over its rival?

continue produce the products that best

quality and innovation in their products along

identical of the design of their products.

should be unique, reasonable price,

-

The trend of

suite consumers’

with the frequent improvement to their products.

-

Apple should create

cover all market sectors

 

customers is also growing to the same

satisfaction

more products and more applications for

-

To provide more

way of strategies.

 

the new markets.

customer service center in Thailand

-

Even it is very

competitive market in Thailand, Apple still can maintain sells, market share, also the profit, and Apple is still being the leader of the innovative brands in Thai market.

 

7.

Do you think branding is

- Yes

- Yes

- Yes

- Yes

-Yes

-

Yes

vital to Apple strategy?

 

- Branding is needed

- Branding is a very

-

It is quite important.

- Brand royalty can

-The consumers satisfaction and brand loyalty are very important to its strategy

-Strong brand can create market share and profit in short time.

for Apple strategy.

important strategy, it will keep consumer with Apple. They will think whatever they buy it has to be Apple.

The brand always within customers’ minds. Making people recognize Apple with a product is important to the strategy.

make Apple gain very strong result in sale revenue and profit.

-Brand name is often most valuable asset.

 

Question

Interviewvee1

Interviewvee2

Interviewvee3

Interviewvee4

Interviewvee5

Interviewvee6

(Apple manager)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

(Apple Staff)

8. Do you have any recommendation for Apple to operate business in Thailand?

- Apple should consider expanding Apple stores with fully services in order to serve highly demand of the customers during the next year.

- The old generations still believe that Mac is for a person who uses for graphic design. Thus, Apple should change the perspective of that generation

- Apple Thailand should understand more to the customer behavior and adapt a strategy to Thais.

-Apple product should have move advertising and give more information about Apple products. - To provide service for customer who has interesting its products.

- Apple should expand Apple retailer and open Apple store in Thailand.

-Apple should research and apply technology and strategy to fit for local customer.

!

Interview Data analysis and discussion

1. The competitiveness of Apple products

From the results from table 4.4 it can be assumed that all interviewees agree that Apple products are competitive. According to interviewee 1, Thai general manager of Apple retailer Digital Gateway, indicated that Apple products are very competitive, as they are innovative products. The majority of Thai customers, especially teenagers and workers all have a fashionable lifestyle. They like to buy hi-technology products and are always up to date with the new version if it is launched into the market.

As a result, the marketing mix is very significant in the Thai market if consumers want to be the leader. Even Apple have to differentiate product features, specific lifestyle of our customers, and so on. Apple still needs to spend on advertising and promotion (Peattie 1997). Apple also needs to co-operate with their telecommunication partner or the third party for the iPhone that people can see from the launching of iPhone4 for example. Moreover, Apple is now developing the application on iPhone with the retailer for customers

Regarding table 4.4, it can be seen that almost all interviewees answered Apple products are unique which is differing from other companies and its brand is also very popular. In terms of Apple product, it can be seen that the Apple brand is fashionable. Some Apple products usually launch late in Thailand as the Apple US thought that it is a third-world country and categorised it in the third wave of their products launch. For example, iPad already launched in US about 6 months ago, but it is going to release in Thailand about now (Apple 2011).

2.

The trend of Thai consumer behaviour

From the interview results, interviewee 1, said most of the customers among teenagers until middle age of workers who love to perceive new technology and innovative products. For example, Mac laptop and desktop computers, Apple has unique features. In terms of the existing customers, they will continue to buy it. For the new customers, it is not that hard to get them to buy this product.

In addition, Apple can maintain its sales as they have new versions to establish into the market all the time. The important thing is the design of the iPod is not dated and everyone wants to own at least one iPod.

Besides, iPhone, customers change their handset more often than other categories. Honestly, some of Apple existing customers have changed to buy other brands (BlackBerry Smartphone) in the same segment. Some of them stop using their iPhone. Whenever Apple launches a new version, they always come back to an Apple product while most of them have two handsets in their hand instead.

Moreover, interviewee 2 answered that Thai consumer trend changes rapidly all the time. The Apple product is a symbol of a modern digital gadget while the other interviewees said Apple is a famous trend which is attractive to consumers to buy Apple products and its family such as if consumers buy an iPhone, they may buy iPod, iTouch, iPad or other products as well.

3. Apple market strategy in Thailand market

Most of the interviewees thought market strategy can help Apple to increase market share and profit. From interview results, it can be seen that interviewees 2, 3 and 6 mentioned market strategy which has influenced Thai consumer behaviour. However, Apple should recognise that Thai consumers have different satisfaction from the West.

Furthermore, interviewee 1 mentioned Technology and features are also an important key market strategy for success that will make consumers buy more products, resulting in Apple raising their sale revenue and profit. In terms of market share, Apple had lost their market share to BlackBerry once when it was coming. But when the iPhone4 was launched, everybody seemed to be bored of the QWERTY keyboard and went back to the Apple multi-touch screen again (Hopping 2010).

Apple moves forward on product and design, integration, lifestyle and comfort to use. Apple market strategy consists of internal actions and cultures which were constructed to fit the consumers’ needs for a strategy called “need-based positioning”. Therefore Apple has produced a set of actions and culture to differentiate from competitors to meet consumers’ requirement and market target (switchtoamac 2009).

4. Apple competitive advantage and branding strategy

To reduce the risk of introducing a new product to enter a new market segmentation by generating consumer experience and knowledge about recognised the Apple brand (Aaker and Keller 1990). As the interview results, all of interviewees showed that “Brand strategy” is very significant, leading Apple to gain a competitive advantage from other competitors. Some Thai consumers are Apple brand loyalty who exclusively purchase Apple products. In order for Apple to be recognised as a premium brand which will be sold at a premium price.

Chapter 5: Conclusions

n

!

The conclusion is brief from chapter 2, literature review together with analysis of study finding from survey and interview in previous chapter in order to determine how did Apple become so successful in Thailand market, consumers’ satisfaction on Apple products and Apple competitive advantage over other competitors included consumers’ behavior. Therefore, 200 questionnaires from the survey in Thailand and 6 interviewees from Apple retailers’ stores in Thailand were examined and provided to answer the researcher’s objectives as already discussed in first chapter.

Firstly, the first objective is to evaluate Apple business in Thailand market. As the literature review has shown the significant of Information and Technology. Business and its environment can effect on marketing strategy especially Thailand market where is high demand of IT products and high competition.

Secondly, regarding to second objective is to analyse the significant key market strategies and Apple consumers’ behaviour in Thailand. From these results, Apple’s constantly represent premium products and service to bring the best digital life-style product to satisfy requirements of major target market.

Furthermore, Branding is one of the most remarkable strategies to lead more Apple product make an impression the consumer in prospect. Most of Thai consumers are brand loyalty of Apple products and service that the researcher can identify from questionnaires and interview. Moreover Apple is trendy among Thai consumers. Because of Thai always followed social mainstream and fashion. Not only Apple builds self-extreme but also reflects high status in Thai society. Thai people are accepted from other people.

Finally, according to third objective is to appraise Apple competitive advantage. Apple and its products are uniquely that offer different multiple target with

different features to vary consumers. Apple continues to be the master in design and innovative technology products. This is represents how Apple so success so far from competitors owing to differentiate of their products.

Chapter 6: Recommendations

n

The recommendation has drawn from the results of this research. The researcher would like to suggest some recommendations on how did Apple so success in Thailand market in order to complete three objectives.

The researcher would suggest Apple should comprehensive more to the consumer behaviour and accommodate strategy proper to Thais. Apple Thailand should try to release the products in the second-wave and at least focus more to the demand and supply of each product by observing the consumers.

Moreover, Apple Thailand should consider extending Apple store and Apple retailer store in order to service highly consumers’ demand during the next year. In term of popular product such as iPhone4 is not enough for Thais now. Some of consumers decided to buy from other countries or small private shop that also bought Apple's products from other countries. This is effect Apple loss market share in Thailand market.

Further more, the cost fix Apple accessories are very high. The researcher would like to recommend decreasing that or having more discounts for Apple fan who buy many products. The researcher thinks Apple is easy to break and the cost to fix is very high. If Apple would improve this, more people will use Apple product.

Finally, Apple should make more advertising about brand and product is quickly more than this. In Thailand market, there is no Apple Advertising. Most of people know Apple update from Internet and word of mouth. It is sure if Apple creates Advertising on TV, they will get more consumers over competitors.