South Africa has undergone profound political and social transformations since 1990.
These changes influenced the perceptions of individuals in Generations X and Y. In South
Africa, the members of Generation X experienced their formative years during the
transitional years of South Africa’s young democracy during the 1990s, while the members
of Generation Y were born during the last decade of apartheid. For the purpose of this
study Generation X was classified as those consumers who were born in the period of
1961 to 1981, while Generation Y was born in the period of 1982 to 1994. Generation Y
would recall the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and the political transition in the
The study focused on generational cohorts instead of generations. Generational cohorts
are distinct from generations as they are defined according to their transition from
childhood to adulthood. A generation on the other hand is defined by its year of birth.
This study investigated possible differences in the brand equity perceptions of South
African consumers in Generations X and Y. It generated insights regarding generational
differences in consumers’ perceptions of four specific brand equity dimensions, namely brand awareness, brand associations, perceived quality and brand loyalty. Equally
important was a comprehensive understanding of how consumers in Generations X and Y
differed with regard to the aforementioned four consumer-based brand equity (CBBE)
dimensions when making a purchase decision regarding electronic consumer goods,
particularly a television set. Consequently, this study extended the existing knowledge of
consumer behaviour and CBBE by investigating pertinent perceptual differences between
Generations X and Y.
A mall intercept survey using a self-completion questionnaire was used to gather
quantitative data from 223 respondents in Generations X and Y who purchased or were
exposed to television sets.
A demographic profile of the respondents who participated in the study indicates that 67 of
the 114 respondents in Generation X (i.e., 53.2%) were males, compared to 59 of 108
respondents in Generation Y (i.e., 46.8%). The majority of respondents in both
Generations X and Y had a diploma as their highest qualification. The Generation X
sample contained a higher proportion of African respondents (i.e.,59.5%) compared to the
Generation Y sample (i.e., 40.5%). The income profile suggested that there were distinct
differences in terms of net monthly household income between respondents from the two
generations. Serveral exploratory factor analysis (EFA) were conducted in which the Likert scale
statements in question 3 to 6 (see Appendix A p.170-174) measuring different subdimensions
of consumer-based brand equity dimensions were subjected to a principal
components analysis (PCA) with varimax rotation. The results of the final EFA analysis
involved 17 Likert scale items. The PCA revealed four factors (components). These
components were brand associations in terms of product quality and value, brand
awareness, brand loyalty and brand associations in terms of product manufacturer.
Further statistical analysis was conducted based on the four components to test for
significant mean differences. The non-parametric test, Mann-Whitney U Test, was
conducted. The results confirmed the alternative hypothesis that, there are significant
differences between Generation X and Y with regard to their perceptions of brand loyalty.
The implications of the findings of the study, to marketing practitioners and brand managers is that they need to understand the type of association Generation X and Y
have regarding their brands for effective and strategic planning in order to remain
competitive. In addition to that, Generation X’s perception of quality does not differ
significantly to that of Generation Y, thus it will be beneficial for practitioners to develop
unique quality features. Consequently, they must intensify awareness around their brands.
Dissertation (MConsumer Science)--University of Pretoria, 2014.