The Millennials’ purchase intention to smartphones.



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The purpose of this study is to discuss the Millennials’ purchase intention to smartphones.


Research Method:

A qualitative research method was selected in this research paper. The purposive sampling method was used to obtain the primary data for the study. Five interviewees were invited to this research. Face to face in-depth interviews were conducted with the interviewer.

Research findings were formed in accordance with the data collected by thematic analysis.





Conclusions and Recommendations:






Chapter One: Introduction


1.1 Introduction

The growing demand and increasing trend in using Smartphones rapidly.

Milliennes were born between 1981 and 1996, and are aged 24 to 39. This age group is willing to express their thoughts, ideas, and opinions freely and frequently (Myer & Sadaghiani, 2010) that gave a starting point to develop an idea in the topic research.


This research is to find out Milliennes’ purchase behavior of Smartphones in the Hong Kong Market.

Nowadays, there are so many other smartphone brands that sell at lower prices in the market. But how come people are still looking to buy expensive smartphones? This research also finds out how the brand image affects the buying decision, and the product features affect the customer buying decision. According to the research findings, to provide recommendations to mobile phone marketers in order to help them to make a business plan and adjust their marketing strategy.



1.2 Background Information


Smartphones have changed everyone’s life significantly in the past decade. Nowadays, a smartphone not only makes and receives calls but also serves different purposes. According to Kao (2013), 96% of smartphone users use the internet through their smartphones every day. There were about 23.32 million mobile service subscribers in Hong Kong and projected that 80% of Hong Kong population will use a smartphone at the end of 2021. 59.6% of smartphone users were aged 24 to 39 (Census and Statistics Department HKSAR, 2018). Moreover, Kotler et al. (2008) stated that social, personal, cultural, and psychological are 5 common factors that influence consumers’ buying behavior. This research aims to investigate how the brand name, price, and product features influence the young generation’s purchase intention.


1.3 Research Problem

Smartphone technology has changed peoples’ behaviors significantly, especially in young generation groups (Osman et al., 2012). Many researches have been carried out studies about the consumer purchase intention towards smartphones in other countries. However, there is still insufficient understanding of Millennials’ purchase intention and preferences towards smartphones in Hong Kong.

In response to this problem, the researcher plans to carry out an exploratory study to examine how price, brand image, and product features that affect the purchase intention and will provide recommendations to mobile phone marketers improve the business plan and marketing strategy.


1.4 Research Aim and Objective

The aim of the research is to learn more about Millennial’s purchase intentions towards smartphones. The following objectives are


  1. i) to understand how the brand image affects purchase intention of Millennials
  2. ii) to examine how prices affect purchase intention towards smartphone

iii) to examine how product features influence the purchase intention of smartphone

  1. iv) to provide recommendations to mobile phone marketers.


1.5 Significance of the Project

The purposes of this study are to discuss the Millennials’ purchase intention and investigate the influence factors. It is expected that the findings of this research would provide more understanding on customers’ purchase intention of smartphones’ brand image, pricing and product features nowadays as well as offer some guidelines for marketers to set the marketing strategy and business plan to meet the market needs in order to increase their product sales.



Chapter Two: Literature Review


2.1 Introduction

This chapter includes literature reviews on the relevant search regarding Millennials’ purchase intention of Smartphones in the Hong Kong Market. The area included the purchase intention, price, brand image, and product features. In addition, a conceptual framework is formed based on the reviews and followed by defining the research questions for this study.


2.2 Purchase intention

According to Richard, Loury & David (2013), purchase intention defined as the desire of consumers to buy a particular good or service in the future.

Laroche et al. (1996) define purchase intention is their own desire to buy a particular brand they have decided to choose after evaluation.


According to Dodds (1991) and Schiffman & Kanuk (2000), when buyers are more willing to buy a product, they will have a greater intention to purchase. Furthermore, it also refers to the buyer’s desire to purchase and repurchase a product (Wand & Tadisina, 2008; Philip et al., 2002).

The purchase intention is possible and potential to purchase particular products or services in the future. However, it depends on the willingness and ability of the customer to perform (Qun et al., 2012, cited in Rahim et al., 2016).


Researchers studied consumers buying intention through personal preference, product experience, and external environment to obtain information and evaluate alternatives to make buying decisions (Dodds et al., 1991). Moreover, Dodds, Monroe, and Grewal (1991) claimed that when the desire to purchase is higher, there is a high possibility of buying specific products.

Furthermore, purchase intention is a benchmark for marketers to project their sales of goods and services (Armstrong, Morwitz & Kumer, 2000). Marketers are interested in understanding the purchase intention of consumers as a source of their decision making so that they are able to properly plan and set targets in order to meet customer needs.





2.3 Brand Image

Brand image means the image of any particular product that is the objective and feedback of consumers or anything that is linked in the memory to a brand (Aaker, 1991). According to Kotler (2001), brand image is also defined as a person’s beliefs, ideas, and impressions regarding an object. According to Keller (1993) and Biel (1993), they both defined consumer’s perceptions about a brand are reflected by the brand associations in their memory, and they often connect the brand name with a variety of attributes and associations. These associations can be characterized by strength, favorability, and uniqueness of the brand. These brand associations help consumers to process information and create positive feelings of consumers towards the brand. It also differentiates the brand from its competitor, generates demand, and provides a basis for brand extensions (Aaker, 1991).



2.4 Pricing

Pricing is an important factor that a product or services’ relative price. Price is the amount of money charged for a product or service. Broadly, price is the total amount being exchanged by the customer to obtain a benefit of the product or service owning (Philip Kotler, 2011).


According to Kotler and Armstrong (2008), prices are all values given by consumers to benefit from using products or services. Consumers can evaluate whether the product price is high, cheap, or reasonable, depending on the individual’s perception.

Consumers usually compare the price of a product with competitors or benefits received after purchase. Researchers studied that many consumers make their purchase decision based on price (Zeinab & Seyedeh, 2012).

The main two types of pricing are low pricing and high or premium pricing. Higher pricing positively affects the purchase decisions of consumers (Erickson and Johansson, 1985). The research concludes that when the product is high priced, it directly influences and stimulates a purchase intention.

(Tellis and Gaeth, 1990) and (Bloch & Black, 1988) journal article further enhances this statement. Based on this researches, when the product is high priced, it has a positive effect on the product purchase.



2.5 Product Features

Nowadays, the advancement in technology and features in

In the market, smartphone users will use different features that meet their satisfaction using smartphones. The smartphone applications often matched with people’s lifestyle and their personalities and preference (Lane & Manner, 2012). Another researcher indicates that most university students prefer physical appearance, size, and menu organization. Azira et al. (2015) indicate consumers will consider software more than hardware when buying a smartphone.


2.6 Conceptual Framework


A conceptual framework is created according to the research questions and objectives, which consist of two main variables in an experiment, the dependent variable, and independent variables. Based on the above literature, here are the elements for the conceptual framework.





2.7 Research Questions


This study is designed to answer the following questions.


  1. How does brand image affect Millennials’ buying behavior towards Smartphones?
  2. How does pricing influence customer purchasing decisions among Millennials?
  3. What are the product features that influence the intention of the purchase of smartphones among Millennials?






Chapter 3: Research Methodology


3.1 Introduction

This chapter aims to focus on the research design, target population, sampling criteria and method, data collection, and analysis used to reach the objectives of this study. Furthermore, reliability, validity, and generalization, and ethical issues are discussed.


3.2 Research Design

This research used a qualitative research method. This kind of approach can gain deeper insights from a phenomenon. Also, it can provide a better understanding of customers’ characteristics impact on purchase intention of smartphones. Minichiello et al., (1990) described qualitative research helps to understand the feelings, experience, and behavior from the participant’s perspective. An in-depth interview was adopted in this research. Cross-sectional data were collected as primary data for analysis.


3.3 Target Population and Sampling Criteria

Based on the research objectives and questions, five interviewees were selected who have had experiences using Smartphones for more than five years in Hong Kong. They were aged between 24 to 39 years old with different genders and qualifications.

The sampling criteria were set based on information richness.


3.4 Sampling Method

Purposive sampling was used for the research in which individuals were purposely selected by the researcher from the population based on the researcher’s knowledge and judgment (Robison, O.C., 2013).


Research participants were selected to provide and share detailed descriptions of their experiences and information, which would be able to challenge and enrich the researcher’s understanding (Crabtree & Miller, 1992; Hutchinson & Wilson, 1991). Participants were informed by the extent to which research questions have been dealt with. (Marshall, 1996; McLeod, 2002). Once data reaches a point of saturation, the researcher can stop for any more interviews (Hutchinson & Wilson, 1991; Marshall, 1996; Orbele, 2002)


3.5 Data Collection

Face to face In-depth interviews were used in this qualitative for data collection. Through in-depth interviews to collect information by asking research questions and also use the systematic way to record responses with probing questions in order to get a deeper understanding of the responses. Moreover, face to face in-depth interview methods often need an interviewer to repeat the interview sessions with the identified interviewees. (Boyce, C. & Neale, P., 2006: Guion, 2009). Each interview lasted for 25 minutes and was conducted in a quiet area.

An interview guide was created, and pre-set research questions were conducted through free conversation and questions. The interview questions were semi-structured to ensure consistency of themes across interviewees but also allowed elaboration for personal comments. Audio recordings were used during the interview.





3.6 Pilot Study

The researcher conducted a pilot test of interview questions before implementing the study. The preliminary interview was conducted with one classmate who aged 32 with more than five years using smartphone experience. A pilot study allowed the researcher to check and evaluate the appropriateness of interview questions and whether data can be collected smoothly. Also, feedback from the pilot test was used for adjustment. Turner (2010) stated that the pilot test could help researchers to determine if there are any imperfection or other weaknesses within interview design.


According to the outcome of the pilot study, the interview guide was modified accordingly. “Where do you get the product features information from ? & ‘Do you intend to change a new phone within 6 months?” was deleted because the researcher discovered it was not related to the research objective.

Besides, one interview question has been revised as below in order to get more information from the interviewee’s viewpoint.


The revised interview question

Before: What product features affect your buying decision?


After: How do the product features affect your buying decision?



3.7 Data Analysis

The researcher used a thematic analysis to obtain data, code, and analysis in the transcription process. The researcher transcribed data after the interview, together with any observational notes.

Microsoft Word was used for transcriptions. So that any omissions of recurrent themes could be avoided, data analysis was applied continuously throughout the research process. Thematic analysis was used to code and analyze data, as well as to identify patterns and themes. Boyatzis, R.E. (1998) stated that this technique is a categorizing strategy that helps researchers move their analysis from a large amount of data to discover patterns and developing themes. To achieve these, the researcher reviewed the data carefully, wrote notes, and then classified it into categories.


3.8 Reliability and Validity

Patton (2001) states that validity and reliability can directly influence the design of the study and results of the analysis, which researchers must pay attention to. Internal validity was achieved through the use of the semi-structured interview questions, which were based on the understanding of the theory from the literature. A pilot testing was adopted in a quiet place to make sure interview questions are understood as intended. Participants used their native language to provide quality data during the interview.

In order to collect good quality data, an interview guide was used to conduct the interviews to make sure the consistency of the interviews and the reliability of the study. A clear explanation of the interview purpose and procedure to ensure all interviewees understand the research purpose and process. The researcher used audio recording and transcripts for the interviews to assure validity.


3.9 Ethical Consideration

To ensure the research was conducted in an appropriate manner, the ethical considerations were taken into account (Babbie & Mouton, 2001). All participants were provided with a verbal consent to be interviewed and participated in the research. The interview remained anonymous to ensure the confidentiality of individual respondents and explained to participants of their right to end the interviews at any time. Moreover, the purpose and intended outcomes of the research were explained to the participants. The interviewer obtained permission to record the interview from the participants, and the audio record and note taken will be deleted after completion of the study.









4.1 Introduction

This chapter is about the demographics of respondents and outlines the main findings from the in-depth interviews. Discussions will be conducted based on each finding associated with references.



4.2 Demographics of Respondents

Five in-depth interviews were conducted with two males and three females aged between 26 and 38 years old, and they have 5 to 9 years using Smartphone experiences. Here is the background of interviewees is shown in Table 1 below:


Table 1: Summary of Interviewees’ backgrounds






















High School

Bachelor’s degree



Bachelor’s degree

Years of using Smartphones






Duration of Interview

20 mins

24 mins

26 mins

19 mins

23 mins

Place of Interview

Starbucks Coffee Shop in HKU space

HKU space lobby at Admiralty

Starbucks Coffee Shop in HKU space

Starbucks Coffee Shop in HKU space

HKU space lobby at Admiralty


4.3 Method of Analysis

Data analysis has been used after the in-depth interviews (see Appendix for transcripts). The researcher used a thematic analysis to obtain data, code, and analysis in the transcription process.


(Table 2) : summarizes the three themes being identified after analysis, and with their related research questions defied in Chapter Two.

Table 2: The Three Identified Themes


Research Questions

Theme 1: Brand Image


Theme 2: Pricing


Theme 3: Product Features



4.4 Key Findings and Analysis

Each theme is recorded respectively below with evidence from the transcripts and followed by discussions supported with references.




4.4.1 Theme 1 – Brand Image

All five interviewees indicated that they would consider a strong brand image such as Apple or Samsung when they buy a new smartphone. They all agreed that they could provide


Afroz, N. (2017). Students’ brand preferences towards the smartphone. Journal of Business and Management (IOSR-JBM) Mawlana Bhashani Science and Technology University

Azira, R, Siti, Z, Law, K K, Nurli, A. & Sitii, M A. (2015). Factors Influencing Purchasing Intention of Smartphone among University Students. Faculty of Business Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA Kedah,

Bernard, R. (2002). Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. 3rd ed., Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira Press.

Census and Statistics Department, HKSAR (2019). Persons aged ten and over who had a mobile phone (including a smartphone) by age and sex. Retrieved from

Cornelis, P.

(2010). Effect of

co-branding in the theme park industry: a preliminary study. International Journal and Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(6), 775-796

Dodds, W. B., Monroe, K. B., & Grewal, D. (1991). Effect of price, brand, and store information on buyers’ product evaluations. Journal of Marketing Research, 28(3), 307-319.

Griffee, D. (2005). Research Tips: Interview Data Collection. Journal of Developmental Education

Kao, E. (2013). 96% of Hongkongers use their smartphone to go online every day. South China Morning Post Hong Kong, Retrieved from (Accessed date: 22/8/2013)

Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Wong, V., & Saunders, J. (2008). Principles of Marketing. 5th ed., England: Pearson Education Limited.

Lane, W, &. Manner, C. (2012). The Influence of Personality Traits on Mobile Phone Application Preferences. Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, 4(5), 252- 260.

Minichiello, V, Aroni, R, Timewell, E, & Alexander, L. (1990). In-Depth Interviewing: Researching People. Hong Kong: Longman Cheshire.

Osman, M A, Talib, A Z, Samusi, Z A, Tan, S Y, & Alwi, A S. (2012). A study of the trend of smartphone and its usage behavior in Malaysia. International Journal on New Computer Architectures and Their Application (UNCAA), 2(1), 274-285.

Muhammad, S & Tariq, S (2013). Impact of Smartphones’ on Society. European Journal of Scientific Research. Vl 98

Norazah M S, (2013). Students’ demand for smartphones Structural relationships of product features, brand name, product price, and social influence. 30(4), 236-248.

Office of the Communications Authority (2019). Using key Communication Statistics in Hong Kong. Retrieved from

Patton, Q. (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, Inc.

Qun, C, Howe, J, Thai, C & Kheng, W. (2012). Exploring The Factors Affecting Purchase Intention of Smartphone: A Study of Young Adults in Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Zeinab, S S, & Seyedeh, M. S. S. (2012). The main factors influencing the purchase behavior of organic products in Malaysia. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 98-116.

Van Teijlingen, E & Hundley, V. (2001) The importance of pilot studies. Social Research Update, 35. University of Aberdeen

One Introduction:

Myers, K., & Sadaghiani, K. (2010). Millennials in the Workplace: A communication perspective on Millennials’ organizational relationships and performance. Journal of Business & Psychology, 25, 225-238. Ng, E., Schweitzer, L., & Lyons,

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