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1.3 Research problem
With the advent and rapid growth of the technological era, the demand for mobile phones has increased (Petruzzellis 2010:610). Mobile phones are useful for communication, and are convenient, especially for university students. Mobile phones are now a necessity in the lives of people. Due to rapid developments in technology, modernisation and new innovations, there is a short mobile phone lifecycle, which has a tremendous impact on the manufacturers and retailers of such products (Henderson 2012:1). Manufacturers are forced to upgrade and design new models of mobile phones on an ongoing basis. However, the rapid introduction of cheaper versions of mobile phones in South Africa has increased the rate of competition between companies in the mobile industry.
It is worth noting that many studies have been conducted in the area of brand preference and mobile phones across the world. Nevertheless, previous studies conducted by Petruzzellis (2010), Bhukya and Singh (2013), Shahzad and Sobia (2013), Karjaluoto, Karvonen, Kesti, Koivumaki, Manninen, Pakola, Ristola and Salo (2005), and Dadzie and Boachie-Mensah (2011) do not provide a common answer
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regarding the factors that influence brand preferences. Given also that most studies were conducted in other countries, these findings do not exactly reflect the situation in the South African market, which therefore leaves a gap with regard to brand preference on mobile phones in this country.
The purpose of the study was to explore and gain a clear understanding of the factors that influenced brand preferences in a specified group in a specific geographical location within the South African market.

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