Drawing on infrequent purchase and university selection literature, the purpose of this study is to make theoretical contributions to the identification and comprehension of the ‘once-in-a-lifetime purchase’ (OILP) phenomenon.
Data derived from in-depth interviews with 34 Taiwanese and 11 Chinese students over two phases suggest that an OILP qualitatively differs from other purchases.
The principal traits of OILP are quadripartite in character: zero-repurchase intention; permanency of purchase; high social pressure and extensive information search. The results contribute to the theoretical understanding of the higher education (HE) sector as one type of OILP provider, and managerial implications are discussed specifically for the HE institutions.
Marketing managers of HE institutions should be cognisant of the range of information collected by prospective OILP customers from a variety of different sources. Prospective students who are OILP customers perceive non-marketing information as more reliable than marketing promotional materials and will better assist them during their decision making.
The paper makes explicit theoretical and instrumental contributions to our identification and comprehension of the OILP phenomenon, thus shedding new light on studies of consumer purchase decision literature. It also extends previous understanding of HE marketing by showing that choosing an HE degree is, in fact, an OILP and, as such, requires a new way of approaching prospective students as consumers.
Yang, H.-P., Yen, D. and Balmer, J.M.T. (2020), "Higher education: a once-in-a-lifetime purchase", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-12-2017-0169Download as .RIS
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