n The Retail and Marketing Review - Predictors of student beer brand choice at institutions of higher learning : a case study of the Witwatersrand University

Volume 11, Issue 2
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In a quest to ascertain why students prefer specific beer brands over other beverages and what perceived benefits are associated with their preferred brands, the current study was established to investigate the key factors that drive student beer brand choices at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits University). Irrespective of the rich body of literature on this subject, the problem of what brands really mean to students and what antecedents influence brand choice still remain unanswered. Consecutively, another important line of research reveals that in spite of a plethora of studies on this issue, available literature still remains inconclusive and is greatly confined to developed countries. In light of these two research outlines, the current study aims to ascertain, firstly, which beer brand is the most preferred amongst students and to quantitatively establish the main factors prompting Wits students to prefer a specific beer brand over another. Through these and other objectives, this study managed to fill the lacuna that exists in current literature, particularly with regards to South Africa. To realise the objectives of this study, a conceptual model was formulated and from this model, hypotheses were derived and later tested using Path Modeling. A structured survey questionnaire was distributed to a sample of 273 students registered within the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management (CLM), at Wits University. Thereafter, the data was coded and analysed using SPSS 22 (for descriptive statistics) and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) (for inferential statistics). AMOS 21 statistical software was used for SEM. The results suggested that Heineken was the most preferred beer brand in comparison with the fifteen listed brands and other brands that were specified by respondents. Brand advertising was found to be the key antecedent that influences student beer brand choices. The findings of the current research provided several theoretical and managerial implications and these will serve to boost and guide future research endevours within the student beer brand domain. The contributions of this study will undoubtedly improve managerial practices in terms of effective branding strategies, while simultaneously and positively shaping policies relating to the field under study.

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