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Faculty Mentors

James Wenthe

Abstract

The cell phone has experienced a change from a private luxury product into a public necessity product in the late 1990s China. According to consumer behavior theories, individuals would be significantly influenced by their reference groups when making a purchasing decision of a certain commodity such as the cell phone. The reference group influence encompasses three types: informational influence, utilitarian influence, and value-expressive influence. This paper utilizes the empirical research method to investigate the three types of reference group influence on Chinese youth's cell phone purchasing behavior. The research results indicate that reference groups have a significant influence on cell phone purchasing behavior among Chinese youth. This paper also investigates the different degree of influences between genders and between the working and non-working youth. Based on the research conclusions, this paper provides some suggestions for marketers competing in the Chinese cell phone market.

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