The purpose of this paper is to understand the consumer behaviour when choosing an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) course in the Syrian market. Based on the student choice model, the study aims at exploring motivations, behaviour, decision‐taking factors and evaluation of purchasing process for the EFL service.
The study employs a case study for one of the biggest family business providers in the EFL market in the City of Damascus, in Syria. Semi‐structured styles of interviews were conducted with 30 currently registered students, in the studied centre, covering five main research questions.
Consistent with the previous literature of consumer behaviour, the findings show that EFL students may go through six steps of purchasing the EFL product. Accordingly, several detailed explanations for each step of the consumer behaviour of EFL, concluded from the study, were presented. Within the consumer behaviour model, the study highlights the importance of individual self study as a phase that should be given more consideration by researchers.
This study could provide bases for further research through a replication of the model of consumer behaviour and using the information offered by the survey. Further research could investigate the research questions in a wider student population employing a more quantitative approach.
People responsible for marketing in EFL institutes should pay more attention to understanding their customer behaviour, rather than engaging in reactive competition practices and focusing on marketing elements and promotion.
The importance of this study comes from the lack of research into understanding the private, fee‐paying EFL customer buyer behaviour in general and in the Syrian context in particular.
Al‐Fattal, A. and Ayoubi, R.M. (2012), "Understanding consumer buyer behaviour in the EFL market: A case study of a leading provider in Syria", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 237-253. https://doi.org/10.1108/17537981211284425
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