Role of Social Media in Houseware Industry: Breville Case Study

Market Background

The houseware retailing industry has experienced challenges in the recent past which has affected its performance. One of the key challenges is the decline in residential building construction. The industry depends on residential population as its major market since people need to homeware products to furnish their houses. It implies that decline in residential building construction reduces the market the industry can explore. The assumption here is all the residential buildings constructed are occupied. Another challenge is the increased level of competition in the industry as a result of a significant number of new entrants into the market (Har et al., 2022). The high level of competition has negatively affected the returns of individual retailers and possibly forced some of them out of the market. Lastly, like any other industry, the houseware industry was negatively affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The pandemic led to lockdowns and restricted movement which made it hard for traders to sell their products (del Rio-Chanona et al., 2020). Companies within the houseware retailing industry experienced lower sales. However, while the pandemic negatively affected the houseware retailing industry, it also acted as an opportunity. This is because the lockdown policies increased the work-from-home situation, with people spending more time at home. This increased the demand for home appliances accordingly, which contributed to the growth of the industry. Even with that, the market potential for the houseware industry is still significant. For example, it is projected that revenue in the industry for the financial year 2022-23 will grow by 3% to $2.4 billion in the Australian market.

One of the key players in the houseware industry is Breville. Breville is a world leader in kitchen appliance, which has established itself as an iconic brand that delivers thoughtful and innovative kitchen products to customers (Harvey Norman, 2022). However, it is challenged by a wide range of lower-priced products, particularly those imported from China. This has negatively affected the company’s sales in the company (Krisnadewi and Soewarno, 2019). Therefore, it requires the brand to improve the marketing efficiency to increase the market presence and market share in order to better expand the business scale. One marketing platform that the company uses is social media. However, there is no return on investment analysis that could provide insight into whether it is the company needs to continue using or invest more in social media marketing.

Business Problem

Breville is the leading home appliance company, with the aim to expand the business further. The problem is the high level of competition it faces in the market threatens its position in the market. It is looking to explore the social media marketing in order to maintain and improve its competitive position in the market.  It thereby seeking to understand the marketing opportunities social media provides in relation to it achieving its marketing objectives.

Research Questions

  1. What is the role of social media for home owners?
  2. How can the social media platforms assist Breville to achieve its marketing objectives?
  3. What are the essential success elements as brought by social media for Breville?

Research Objectives

  1. To identify the interests related to social media platform marketing for home owners.
  2. To understand the broad use of social media platforms for marketing as made by other wholesaler and retailing companies for home appliance and the challenges as faced.
  3. To document the key performance indicators for Breville to apply social media marketing platforms to determine the return on investments

Project methodology

The methodology used to collect data in this project is online desk research.  Desk research is basically a methodology that involves collection of data from existing sources. Desk research is thereby a type of secondary research. There are two types of desk research and these are internal and external desk research (Chu and Ke, 2017). The internal desk research involves collecting data from sources within an organization.  These sources include company reports and financial reports.  On the other hand, external desk research technique involves collecting data from sources that are outside an organization’s boundaries (Hammarberg et al., 2016). One of such sources is government published data. The government publishes data on many aspects of the population which include the health status of the population, labour statistics, and data on economic performance of the nation.

The Online desk research is one of the external desk research techniques. An online desk research involves collecting data from the internet. The reason why this methodology is used in this project is because there is an incredible amount of data online. It was thereby reasoned that all the desired data could be found online (Chu and Ke, 2017). Another reason is this technique is fast and cheap. One can obtain data on the research subject with just one click. On the other hand, with most of the sources found online been free, it means that one only needs the internet to get the data they need (Zhang,  2021). This makes this methodology significantly cheaper when compared to others such as using interviews and questionnaires.

The data collected using the online desk research methodology include the use of social media among home owners, the use of social media for marketing in the broad sense, the challenges faced by companies when they use social media for marketing, and lastly the performance indicators that can be used to evaluate social media marketing in order to determine return on investment (Chu and Ke, 2017). The data was collected from public database, company annual reports, past articles, and official websites.

Literature review and conceptual framework

The literature review in this project is focused on highlighting relevant theories that may explain the use of social media and predict the performance of social media marketing.

Relevant theories

The theories focused on in this project are the theory of reasoned action, the theory of planned behaviour, customer decision making model, Porter’s generic strategies model, and impulse buying theory.

Theory of reasoned action

The theory of reasoned action holds that an individual‘s behaviour is determined by their intention to engage in that behaviour and the intention to engage in the behaviour is, itself, a function of subjective norms. Subjective norm is basically the belief about whether people in a particular social group approve or disapprove of particular behaviour (Mishra et al., 2014). The theory of reasoned action implies that the intention of an individual to engage in a particular behaviour is determined by whether they believe most people in the social group they belong to approve of this behaviour or not. If the individual believes that the behaviour is approved, their intention to engage in it is likely to increase and if they feel that most members of the social group disapprove, the individual’s intention to engage in the behaviour is likely to reduce (Yousafzai et al., 2010). Generally, people are likely to have strong intention to engage in a particular behaviour if they evaluate it positively in relation to established subjective norms.

The theory of reasoned action explains the use of social media not only among consumers but also companies. It shows that the high level of use of social among consumers is because most people support this behaviour (Mishra et al., 2014). This theory may also explain the demographic differences in relation to social media use. For example, social media is more popular among the younger individuals when compared to the older individuals because it is fashionable for younger people to use social media.

Lastly, the theory of reasoned action may also explain the interaction between consumers and companies on social media. If a company is approved by majority of consumers, it becomes a norm to interact with the company’s content on social media (Yousafzai et al., 2010). On the other hand, if a company is not approved by majority of consumers, consumption of its content on social media is frowned at. This may discourage people from visiting the company’s social media page.

The theory of planned behaviour

The theory of planned behaviour indicates that behaviour is determined by behavioural intentions. On the other hand, behavioural intentions are influenced by three factors which are subjective norms, attitude towards the behaviour, and perceived behavioural control.  The theory of planned behaviour is an extension of the theory of reasoned action (Ajzen, 2011). This theory implies that a person may have the intention or not have the intention to engage in a particular behaviour based on the attitude they have towards the behaviour, the existing subjective norms in relation to the behaviour, and/or perceived behavioural control. Perceived behavioural control is the feeling about one’s ability to perform the behaviour (McEachan et al., 2011). It implies that while one might have a positive attitude towards a particular behaviour, they may fail to perform it if they feel that they are not able to.  Similarly, while one may have a positive attitude towards behaviour, the existing subjective norms may disapprove of the behaviour and this may discourage an individual from engaging in it (Sommer, 2011). The theory of planned behaviour thereby shows that the intention to engage in a particular behaviour is not a consequence of one factor but rather a number of factors and that one engaging or not engaging in the behaviour may be due to any of the three factors identified or even a combination of all three.

The theory of planned behaviour implies that the use of social media among consumers and organizations is determined by the attitude these parties have towards social media, the existing subjective norms in relation to use of social media, and the belief in the ability of these parties to effectively use social media(Ajzen, 2011).. For example, while a business may recognize the significance of social media as a marketing tool, it may not have the ability to effectively use it and this may discourage it from using the platform for marketing.  The theory may also explain how the level of interaction between consumers on social media and a firm’s content on the platform (McEachan et al., 2011). For example, if consumers have a negative attitude towards a company, they may intentionally avoid the company’s content on social media, which may limit the effectiveness of the firm’s social media marketing. It implies that for a company to effectively use social media marketing, it must ensure that they it has created a positive image among consumers since such an image may motivate social media users to consume its content, like, and share it.

Customer decision making model

The customer decision making model indicates that customers make the decision to purchase a product through five main stages which are problem recognition, information search, alternatives evaluation, purchase decision, and post-purchase evaluation. In the problem recognition stage, a customer recognizes the need for a product or service. Then they gather information about the product or service (Takhire and Joorshari, 2015). This includes searching for companies that sell the product or provide the service. The next step is assessing the alternatives available in order to make a choice as to which option to go with. The fourth step is making the actual purchase. This is after selecting the choice they feel is ideal in relation to their need. Lastly, the consumers evaluates the purchase decision they made in terms of whether the decision was the right or wrong (Wang and Yu, 2017). If, for example, the product or service met their need, they would conclude that the decision was right and are likely to make a repeat purchase in future. On the other hand, if the product or service failed to meet their needs, the consumer would conclude that they made a wrong purchase decision and go back to searching for other options.

The customer decision making model shows the possible role of social media in relation to purchase decisions made by consumers. Social media is a significant source of information. People use social media to search for information on products since many companies currently use social media to promote their products.  A search on social media thereby provides multiple options of the product or service being searched by a consumer (Takhire and Joorshari, 2015) .  The consumer will make a purchase decision based on the information they get on social media about the product. For example, on Facebook in the comment section, consumers provide information about the experiences they have had using a firm’s products or services and from this information, a consumer can decide on whether or not to purchase the product or service (Wang and Yu, 2017).  It implies that it is not enough for a company to use social media to market its products, it must follow it up with better customer service and provision of high quality products. This will earn it better reviews on social media and possibly new customers. The customer decision making model thereby implies that the success of a company with regard to social media marketing depends on experiences of existing customers (Lasut and Tumewu, 2015). As such, while a company may post attractive content, how it has interacted with existing customers may influence its ability to attract new customers, especially those who use social media as a source of information in their search for products or services.

Porter’s generic strategies

Porter’s generic strategies model highlights three strategies that companies use and these are cost leadership, differentiation, and focus. Cost leadership strategy involves a company lowering cost of operation in order to sell its products at a lower price. The differentiation strategy, on the other hand, is focused on a company being unique in the market. This may involve developing a product or service that is significantly different from those offered by competitors (Manteghi and Zohrabi, 2011). This allows a company to stand out from competitors which earn it competitive advantage. Lastly, the focus strategy is implemented by a company that wants to concentrate on a particular niche. In his model, Porter divides the focus strategy in two which are cost focus and differentiation focus.  A company that uses the cost focus looks to be a cost leader in a particular niche. On the other hand, a company that uses differentiation focus aims to be unique in a particular niche (Pulaj et al., 2015).  With regard to social media use and marketing, the Porter’s generic model implies that like any other form of marketing, while using social media as a marketing tool, a company should be keen to promote a particular image. For example, the firm should be clear whether it wants to portray itself as a cost leader or a unique brand in the market (Pulaj et al., 2015).  This way, consumers will choose to purchase from it depending on their needs. For example, a company will be the first choice for consumers if they are looking for cheaper products provided the company presents itself as a cost leader.

Impulse buying theory

The impulse buying theory indicates that impulse buying is driven largely by external stimuli and does not have a relationship to traditional decision making. The theory identifies four categories of impulse buying and these are pure impulse purchases, reminded impulse buying, suggested impulse buying, and planned impulse buying (Salva, 2022). Pure impulse buying is the true form of impulse buying. For example, when one sees a candy bar in a grocery store for the first time, they are likely to purchase a candy bar. This is purely an impulsive purchase.  The reminded impulse buying occurs when a buyer has prior knowledge of the product but has no intention of purchasing it (Salva, 2022). When the buyer interacts with the product in any situation, they are likely to purchase it. This is especially the case if the prior experience with the product is good. Suggested impulse buying occurs through the efforts of a salesperson. This is when the salesperson suggests the product to the buyer. Lastly, planned impulse buying occurs when a buyer needs a product but is not sure about the specific product (Musadik,  2021).  This means that when they get the product, they are likely to purchase it. In relation to social media, impulse buying theory suggests that with the right information and making itself visible on social media, a company is likely to elicit purchases among consumers. For example, one may see the product on social media and like it. This may drive them to purchase it instantly despite not having planned to purchase it.

Project results and analysis

Project results

Social media users

As indicated, a search was carried out online to determine the level of use of social media in Australia, how social media is used by companies, and the key performance indicators in relation to social media. There is no empirical data which is limited to use of social media among home owners in Australia.  However, there is general data on use of social media in Australia. For example, from data collected from statista, in 2021, there were 17.57 million Facebook users (Statista, 2022). On the other hand, there were 11.45 million Instagram users in Australia.  Demographically, especially age, Genroe indicates that 820,000 Facebook users are aged between 13 and 17 years, 4 million are aged between 18 and 24 years, and 5.10 million are aged between 25 and 34 years. 3.9 million Facebook users are aged between 35 and 44 years while 2.9 million users are aged between 45 and 54 years.  According to Genroe, another source, 30.3% of Australians use social media when looking for information on a brand (Ramshaw, 2022). The following table shows use of Facebook users by age in Australia.

Age                      Number of Users
13-17 years old                                      820,000
18-24 years old                                   4,000,000
25-34 years old                                   5,100,000
35-44 years old                                   3,900,000
45-54 years old                                   2,900,000
55-64 years old                                   2,100,000
65+ years old                                   1,900,000


Use of social media among companies in Australia

There is significant use of social media as a marketing tool in Australia. This is reflected in the social media advertising audience by company size.  For example, the LinkedIn advertising audience by micro-companies, that is, companies with up to 10 employees is 600,000 individuals. SMEs have an advertising audience of 1.3 million while corporate organizations have an audience of 770,000 (Ramshaw, 2022). Enterprises in Australia have a LinkedIn advertising audience of 2.3 million individuals.

Key performance indicators

The key performance indicators of social media marketing, according to Kipfolio, include likes, engagement, number of followers, traffic conversions, social sentiment, and shares (Klipfolio, 2022).


The analysis focused on in this project is thematic analysis. This analysis focuses on major themes that emerge from the results. One of these is significant use of social media among Australia. As of 2021, the Australian population was 25.422 million people. As established, the number of social media users in 2021 was 17.57 million. This is 69.11% use of social media in the country. While there is no data on the use of social media among home owners, this can be deduced from the number age of social media users (Ramshaw, 2022).  Assuming that the youngest home owner is 35 years, and all Facebook users aged above 35 are home owners, it would mean that 10.8 Facebook users are potential home owners in Australia (Ramshaw, 2022). This is 52.50% of the total number of Facebook users according to Genroe (Ramshaw, 2022). Even in a situation where home owners are not on social media, those who use social media can still rely on those on social media for information on kitchen appliances. For example, those aged between 13 and 17 social media users which are a significant number, can see a good product on social media and recommend it for their parents who are home owners. As such, by extension, there are potentially more than 20 million home owners that have access to social media information in Australia.

The use of social media among companies is also significant. For example, LinkedIn alone has 4.9 million in audience. This is only one social platform. Facebook is the most popular platform in Australia (Bailey et al., 2022). This means that the audience level on marketing carried out on Facebook is likely to have a higher number of viewers. This means that social media is an important platform that can be used for marketing.

Lastly, it can be deduced that all performance indicators in relation to social media marketing are all focused on consumption of social media content.  For example, the number of likes is an indication of the number of people who have read or watched the content posted by a firm on social media (Peters, et al., 2013).   Similarly, the level of engagement is an indication of the level of consumption of content.  The level of engagement involves comments and replies on comments. The higher the number of comments and replies the higher the engagement. It shows that users are not only interested in the content but also what others have to say about the content (Peters, et al., 2013). The number of comments and replies to comments are an indicator of how interesting the content posted by a company on social media.

The number of followers is an indication of how attractive a company’s content is. If the number of followers grows over time, it implies that a company’s content is attractive and it has attracted more viewers. It is also highly that the content has been shared by the existing followers, which has increased the number of people who have viewed it. Each individual has social media friends and followers (Ashley and Tuten, 2015). If they share content on their social media wall, these friends and followers are likely to view it. If they like it, they would most probably visit the company’s social media page and like, comment, and follow the page in order to enjoy any other content that will be posted by the company.

Traffic conversion involves the number of people who actually decided the purchase the product. This is the most significant indicator of social media marketing because it reflects a return on investment (Hoffman and Fodor, 2010). While people may like, comment and follow a company on social media, this can only be meaningful if they actually purchase the product being advertised by the company.

Social sentiment is emotions expressed by users on content. The sentiments expressed on content are a reflection of what people feel about the brand and its product. For example, positive sentiments are an indication of the positive attitude and feelings people have towards the brand. Such positive sentiments are likely to increase the purchase intention (Peters, et al., 2013). On the other hand, negative sentiments are an indication of the negative attitude consumers have towards the brand. Negative sentiments reduce the likelihood of social media users being converted into customers.

Research limitation

The main limitation of this study is reliance on secondary sources of data. In some cases, it was not possible to get the desired results. For example, the number of homeowners who use social media could not be determined.  This number could only be deduced from the number of social media users which is unlikely to be accurate.  As such, the use of secondary sources could not provide adequate data.

Conclusions and recommendations

Basically, one of the key findings in this project is significant use of social media among people in Australia. A significant proportion of the population in Australia uses social media. Another key finding is social media is considerably used by companies as a marketing tool. Lastly, it was established that the key performance indictors in relation to social media marketing include likes, engagement, number of followers, traffic conversions, social sentiment, and shares. These indicators are a reflection of how much the content posted by a company on social media has been consumed by users.

With results showing that social media is used by a significant proportion of the population, with the potential of a significant number of these users being home owners, one of the recommendations for Breville is for it to increase the level of its activities on social media. For example, the company should post more content on its social media pages in order to increase its level of visibility. This will increase the likelihood of the firm converting some of the users to customers.

Another recommendation is for the company to post attractive and interesting content. For example, the company can develop funny marketing videos. Such content is likely to attract more likes, comments, and shares. It may also contribute to conversion of these users to customers.  Lastly, the company should improve the level of engagement with users on social media. For example, it should have representatives who reply to comments made by users on posts made. It can also create posts that require consumers to give their views on its products and services and appreciate every view made as well as promise to handle concerns raised. This is likely to increase the number of followers and traffic conversion rate.