Introduction Brand equity and consumer loyalty play a role in continued purchasing behaviour; however, this research has largely focused on non-addictive products without counter-marketing tactics. We examined the impact of brand equity (price premium, market share) and consumer loyalty (switching rates) on smoking cessation (discontinued cigarette purchases for 1 year) among smokers in a consumer panel.
Methods In Spring 2015, we analysed 1077 cigarette-purchasing households in the Nielsen Homescan Panel. We analysed cessation in relation to brand equity, consumer loyalty, other purchasing behaviours (nicotine intake, frequency), sociodemographics and tobacco control activities (per state-specific data) over a 6-year period (2004–2009) using Cox proportional hazard modelling.
Results The sample was 13.28% African-American; the average income was $52 334 (SD=31 445). The average price premium and market share of smokers’ dominant brands were $1.31 (SD=0.49) and 15.41% (SD=19.15), respectively. The mean brand loyalty level was 0.90 (SD=0.17), indicating high loyalty. In our final model, a higher price premium and market share were associated with lower quit rates (p=0.039); however, an interaction effect suggested that greater market share was not associated with lower cessation rates for African-American smokers (p=0.006). Consumer loyalty was not associated with cessation. Other predictors of lower quit rates included a higher nicotine intake (p=0.006) and baseline purchase frequency (p<0.001). Tobacco control factors were not significantly associated.
Conclusions Smokers of high-equity cigarette brands are less likely to quit, perhaps due to strong brand–consumer relationships. Thus, continued efforts should aim to regulate tobacco marketing efforts in order to disrupt these relationships to promote cessation.
- PUBLIC HEALTH
- PREVENTIVE MEDICINE
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