Effect of Brand Image on Consumer Purchasing Behaviour on Clothing: Comparison between China and the UK’s Consumers By Kwok Keung Tam 200 7 A Dissertation presented in part consideration for the degree of “MSc International Business”

Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i

Acknowledgements

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Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing 1.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets 1.2.1 China clothing market 1.2.1.1 Chinese spending habits 1.2.1.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 1.2.2.1 British spending habits 1.2.2.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market 1.3 Theoretical framework 1.4 Objectives of the dissertation 1.5 Outline of the dissertation

1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8

Chapter 2: Literature review 2.1 Introduction 2.2 The important roles of brand 2.2.1 The characteristics of successful brands 2.3 Brand equity 2.3.1 Brand awareness 2.3.2 Perceived quality 2.3.3 Brand loyalty 2.3.4 Brand association 2.4 Consumer buying behaviour

10 10 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 19

4 Sampling 3.2.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis 3.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 3.1 Review of different research traditions 3.2.2.2 Backgrounds of respondents 4.1 Within-case analysis 3.7.7 Analysis strategy 3.2.5 Summary 20 23 Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction 3.5.1 Models of consumer behaviour 2.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 4.1 Stage one 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds 3.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis 3.7.1 Introduction 4.3 Justification of research method 3.7.7.5.6 Administration 3.3 Stage three 3.4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.5.3.2 Cross-case analysis 3.2 Stage two 3.2.8 Summary 24 24 24 24 25 26 27 29 31 31 32 34 34 34 34 35 36 37 37 Chapter 4: Research findings and discussion 4.3 Reliability and validity of data 3.3.2 Brand awareness 38 38 38 40 40 43 .5 Interview schedule 3.2.

6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.2.2 Conclusions 5.4 Results 4.5 Recommendations for further research 58 58 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64 References 66 Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79 Appendix 2: Interview questions 80 Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81 .5 Brand association 5.4 Brand loyalty 4.4.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.2.3 Perceived quality 5.2.3 Limitations 5.3.3 Perceived quality 4.1 Introduction 5.5 Brand association 4.4 Brand loyalty 5.2 Brand awareness 5.3.3.2.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.2.2.4 Implications 5.

namely brand awareness. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. In the UK. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. however. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. perceived quality. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. i . brand loyalty and brand association. more emphasis should be placed on the marketing strategies such as rewarding customer loyalty with a view to enhance the sustainable development of the clothing brands. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry.

Vicky Story. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. Dr. In addition. i i .Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. support contributes to the Last but not least. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted success of this dissertation. She has given me support as well as valuable comments throughout the consultation period so that I can manage to handle one of the hardest subjects in my university life. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead.

the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. which can tell how significant an individual is. Nowadays. in addition to the basic functions. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. choose the buying modes. decide which and where to buy. different genders and cultural backgrounds.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. as a matter of fact. clothes can also serve as fashion items. namely pre-purchase. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). purchase and post-purchase. have become popular not only in their country of origin. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. clothing can help represent our personal identity. but also in other markets with high potential. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. read product information. 1 . Several brands. Thus. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. 2000). 1996).

In accordance with Delong et al.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. managing brand image is of utmost importance. Keller. In order to differentiate one brand from another. 1991. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. 1998.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. contributing to 74. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. 1. 2003).2. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. (2004). 1996. On the other hand. 1993. 1993). 1. Corstjens and Lal.widen the profit margins. 2001. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. 2005). Under this concept. In this paper. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. Ailawadi. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. In this way. Being an advanced developing country. 2000). The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . 2000. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman.

However.. As stated by Cui (1997). 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. 1. people spend 7. However. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. China plays a role as a producer. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. 2006).1. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern.2. Chinese spending 1 habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China.2005 (WTO. quality and finally trendiness. 3 . the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. followed by cutting. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. however. The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. On average. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. Nowadays. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. pricing. 2004).

2. Lim and O’Cass (2001) explain that people in the west tend to have negative perception towards brands from emerging economies and hence the number of famous clothing brands in China is limited.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. 1. Besides. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. however. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. 2004). According to a report published by Business Week (2007).1. Also. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China. The originally advantageous factors. however. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. Impediments to China’s clothing brand 2 development China has competitive advantages in terms of production factors such as low labour costs and growing technology. When it comes to the case 4 . However. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. the lack of globally influential brands is one of the main reasons why China lags behind in the clothing industry with respect to brand development (Delong et al..

it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. The key motivation for doing so is to build up a global image so as to enhance the company’s international reputation and it is suggested that quality is the major determinant for the overseas customers to make their buying decisions. 2007). March 25). Among the respondents. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. 2007). According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004).2. females are more likely 5 . it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. regardless of their quality. British spending 1 habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million.com. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense. 1. The manufacturing sector.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. including the clothing industry. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. Regarding its GDP growth. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes.2. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. In addition.2. 1. According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. 2004). because of its mature economic structure.com. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades.

Characteristics of the UK clothing market 2 Like most of the developed economy. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. and occasionally. 2004. short-life-cycle products. Moore. However. However. 1994). a polarized marketplace. This could be explained by the fact that store cards sometimes have much higher interest rates than that of the credit cards and personal loans (Mintel. strong competitive activities. as cited in Carruthers. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. 1. 2004).. fashion retailers tend to create product differentiation in which they can distinguish themselves from their potential competitors in terms of product features like design and price. 2002). as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. 1999). Siddiqui et al. 1999. there is a trend for own brand development. with nearly half of female respondents saying that they have at least one store card and nearly two-thirds of them own one or two loyalty cards. South and Spitze. 2004). This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. As mentioned by Moore (1995). 2003). this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy.to spend on clothes than males. concentrated markets. In 6 . women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia.2. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. 2003). the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. 1995). the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. 1998.2.

1998). clothing is a kind of public 7 .3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. the retailing sector is fragmented. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing.. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. 2004. The theoretical framework adopted in this dissertation would be based on the concept of brand equity and the details of each element are to be discussed and analyzed later in chapter four. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. 2003). marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce. 1.addition. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. Mintel. composing of independent. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. 2001. 1995). brand loyalty. According to Aaker (1991). 1. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey. perceived brand equity and brand associations. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. 2004). Compared with other retailed sector. namely brand awareness. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. Marciniak and Bruce. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers.

In addition. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. 2007. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. First. Famous clothing brands like H&M and ZARA have already obtained their footholds in these two markets that underlie their significant contribution to these companies (H&M.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. Chinese and British consumers are going to be compared in this research since China and the UK have been targeted by many clothing retailers due to their enormous customer base. 2007).5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. 1. ZARA. It is believed that this chapter could provide readers with general information like theories and issues in relation to consumer buying behaviour for clothes so as to make them more 8 . China. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. is on the lookout for extensions. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. In this way.

Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. 9 . Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology.understandable in the forthcoming sections. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. Whether brand image would affect the consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities and differences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated. Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed.

advertising. 1998). From the consumers’ perspective. 1998). However. 1991. In this chapter.. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for understanding the fast-changing consumer habits.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. In addition to a specific brand name. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. 1991. the literatures concerning the roles of brand and brand equity are to be reviewed so as to provide a theoretical framework for aforementioned analysis. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. Murphy. 2001). as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. a brand is also composed of products. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. 1998). promotion. most of them concentrate on a single country study. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. Keller. This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image. packaging. 2003). Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 . 2.Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. the Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker.

2. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . 2006). Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. 1999). Murphy. As mentioned by Levitt (1983). effective after-sales services and the like. Nowadays. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. 1998). It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. 2005). basic brand. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. Successful branding could make consumers aware of the presence of the brand and hence could increase the chance of buying the company’s products and services (Doyle. When deciding which products to purchase. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. augmented brand and potential brand. Finally and most importantly. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand.. Fennis and Pruyn. 2. Added to this. namely tangible product. on the other hand. there are four elements for building a successful brand. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. 1999. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. 2000). consumers would have their preferences. they share something in common. 1998). for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy.1 The characteristics of successful brands A brand can be an everlasting and lucrative asset as long as it is maintained in a good manner that can continue satisfying consumers’ needs (Batchelor.in consumer products (Roman et al. 1998. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. Basic brand.

not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. it happens when consumers are willing to pay more for the same level of quality just because of the attractiveness of the name attached to the product (Bello and Holbrook. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. patents. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. By doing so. 2002).3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. including its name and symbol. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. 2. Brands like HSBC. 1998). It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. In countries with well-established legal system. In order to combat piracy. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. 1998). However. 1991. One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. designs as well as copyright. 12 . 2007). brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. 1996). In addition. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker.. 1995). Yasin et al. For instance. Concerning the positive side of brand equity.preference and loyalty. poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image. Vodafone. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. Added to this. Marks and Spencer. 2007).

Keller. 1991). There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. Besides.3. For the consumers. the merger between adidas and Reebok in 2005 not only increased their market share so as to compete with Nike in the US sports apparel market. 2. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. name awareness. 2005). These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. For instance. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. 1991. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. 1991). As for the firm. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. 1998). consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. namely brand loyalty. brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . 1991). Owning to the positive image. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week.

According to research conducted by Delong et al. In case of China. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. Moreover. 2005). 1990). celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness.set (Blackwell et al. In addition. has once been a colony of the UK.. Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. In order to achieve brand awareness. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones.. due to their political separations. 1990. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. As for 14 . As mentioned by Keller (1998). brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. 2007). Tsai et al. being a special administrative region since 1997. 2000). In recent decades. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. celebrities can consumers and disseminate messages to particular source hence increase the brand awareness. 1986. namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. For source credibility. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. (2004). two tasks are to be accomplished. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). 2007). For long time. In this way.. owing to geographical differences. Macdonald and Sharp..

charging premium price. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. 1991). Similar to brand awareness. 1992). Service quality. 2007). 1989). it is becoming more difficult to obtain satisfactory level of perceived quality owing to the fact that fast and continuous product advancement has already strengthened consumers’ expectations on product quality (Sherman. Since it is a kind of intangible. serviceability as well as fit and finish. features. overall feeling towards a brand. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. To be more specific. 1991). perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. competence. reliability. Yasin. Nevertheless. In addition.. 2. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. 1991. Keller. 1998. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. reliability. conformance with specifications. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 . Regarding product quality. 2004).3. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. namely performance. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. differentiating the position of a brand. on the other hand. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken.attractiveness. durability.

This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. Under the influence of brand loyalty.. 1991). the less vulnerable the customer base would be. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. For many companies. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. 2005). loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. regardless of the superior features. consumers continue to buy the brand. In this case. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another Moreover. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker.3. Keller (1998).purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. Third. 1991). This is due to the fact that some consumers make habitual purchase towards a particular brand just because of its prominence in stock and effective promotions. price is one of the important cues to (Papadopoulos et al. evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. It is found that price is more relevant in judging the perceived quality of a product given that a person lacks the ability to evaluate the quality of a product. Second. 1993). Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. 2.. 1991). Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 . 1991). Hence. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). First.3 Brand loyalty Brand loyalty is one of the core components of brand equity and also positively and directly affected brand equity (Atilgan et al. however.

KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits.. 1991). for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. Silverman. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. 17 . Consumers usually depend on informal. Bansal and Voyer. Moreover. 1998. Hence. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. According to Aaker (1991). episodes. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer.recommend the same model of product. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. 2000).3. In addition to the tangible products. which contribute to a specific brand image. 1995. 2000). 1997. the intangible qualities. 2. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. For instance. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. consisting of multiple ideas. 2000). This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. Finally. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. examples. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. Marney. several airlines like Cathay Pacific.

Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. on the other hand. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. This can make the brand 18 . Second. 1991). price information. Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. Symbolic benefits. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. experimental and symbolic. 1998). brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences.Keller (1993. Benefits are another category in brand associations. They can be classified into functional. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. making the customers remember the brand by heart. namely attributes. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. As for non-product related attributes. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. Finally. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. First of all. For experimental benefits. For product-related attributes. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. packaging. 1998). benefits and attitudes. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run.

Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. buy.. 2. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. money and effort. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. Forth.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. contributing to its higher premium price. use or dispose the products. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. Third. 2006). however. services. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. First of all. ideas or experiences. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. some associations can engender positive feelings. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . a vivid brand image is established. For examples. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000).

consumption. Therefore. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. Based on this loophole. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. 2. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. Rayport and Jaworski. Blackwell et al. need recognition. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. 2003). Arnoud et al. 2006). (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. Second. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. search consumption. comprising acquisition of goods and services. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. which companies to succeed.. pre-purchase. 20 for information. For instance. and also which products to excel. evaluation and purchase.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. 1998).. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. However. These seven steps include evaluation. Moreover. present consumer behaviour studies regard consumers as important determinants of organizational success and it is found that the most successful organizations are customer-centric (Blackwell et al. 2001. as well as disposal of used goods. The notion ‘the consumer is king’ should be deep-rooted in every business people’s mind that they should try to please these kings using their innovative methods. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition.4. Although they vary in form of presentation. 2006). post-consumption . consumption and disposal of products or services.

Attributes like quantity. 1997). 2006). 2005). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. Stage two is the search of information. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. size. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. In this stage. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz.. As mentioned by Solomon et al. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers.. consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. Functional needs are related to the performance of the product whereas psychological needs are intrinsically obtained when customers feel contented with shopping or owning a product which they long for. 2006).. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. Blackwell et al. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. income. on the other hand. namely functional needs and psychological needs. 1992). past experiences. (2006). as well as customer satisfaction.divestment (Blackwell et al. Any changes in 21 . size of purchase. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand.. Stage one is need recognition which occurs when an individual is aware of a difference between their perception and the actual satisfaction level (Solomon et al. Ongoing search. social class. There are two kinds of needs.

. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes. In stage five. 22 . The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. Last but not least. 2006). firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. (2006). This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). This stage is crucial since customers could be possible to make repeat purchases provided that they are satisfied with the aforementioned stages (Rayport and Jaworski. As stated by Blackwell et al. Stage five. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. customers evaluate the consumption process. this new kind of non-shop retailing format has begun replacing the fairly established catalogue and TV shopping and its development is rapid albeit it is more recently found in comparison with the existing non-shop retailing modes. including retailer and in-store selection. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. In addition to in-store purchase. 2003). stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. Retailer selection is made by judging which retailers to buy after investigating the attributes from the previous stage whereas in-store selection is affected by the selling skills of salesperson. stage seven comes to divestment. According to Porter (2004).. 2006). visual displays inside the shops.

whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. Nowadays. perceived quality.5 Summar y This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. perceived quality. In this dissertation. products are developed in an unprecedented way. including brand awareness. brand loyalty and brand associations. 23 . Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. and at the same time. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm.2. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm.

interpretive research and critical postmodernism. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. The details of the sampling would also be discussed.Chapter 3 Methodology 3.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. there are three research traditions. During the course of consumer behaviour research. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. and also the validity and reliability of data are discussed in order to provide a general view about how the research is carried out and which factors influence the justification of research method.. data are gathered. research is required. think and behave (Arnould et al.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. epistemology is about the science of knowing. 3. namely positivism. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. 2004). Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches. the research traditions. 3.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. namely qualitative and quantitative research. 2004).2. 24 . there are two types of research methods. research theories can be classified into different types. theories. In general. In accordance with Gephart (2004). In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition.

Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. examining the attitudes. Dey. official statistics. In the field of research. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. events and mechanisms. 2002). Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables.2. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. Fisher (2004) notes that the linkage between interpretations are dialogic and hence interpretive research aims at soliciting people’s accounts of how they find the world. While positivism stresses on objectivity. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. In accordance to Fisher (2004).. 3. including experiences. 1993). random sampling 25 . 2004. Added to this. Finally. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. together with the structures and processes within it. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. As for critical postmodernism.

Silverman. 2000). In this way. 2000). Nevertheless. Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. for example. 1956. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. 1989). As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. 1964. (2002). As for qualitative research. numeric data. 1975). it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings.2. attitude (Kirk and Miller. That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. 3. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . however. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale. Qualitative analysis. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. 2000). the reliability of tape-recorded and transcribed data is argued by some to be weakened owing to the possibility of missing some trivial but crucial pauses and overlaps (Silverman. suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. 2000). Besides. 1986). Cicourel. 2000). Unlike quantitative research. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research.

3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. namely language-orientated approach. (2003). there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. Besides. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). As mentioned by Saunders et al. Hence. However. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated.useful findings or not. it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. 27 . one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. As mentioned by Tesch (1990). 1992). These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. 3. 2000). Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. 2006). While reliability is correlated to consistency. This may affect the reliability of the research findings. to justify reliability. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. 2000). validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. 1992).

For instance. Thus. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. However. 2004). Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. Added to this. Finally. 28 . 2004). focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. as well as theory-building approach.descriptive/ interpretative approach. Qualitative interviews refer to the interaction between an interviewer and interviewee on a topic which needs not to follow particular order and words in questioning and answering (Babbie. the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. 2000). interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. 1992). interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. In case of interviews. researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. 2006). The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. During the course of interviews. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. say 12-15 people.

Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. When it comes to the process of data collection. 2000). interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. 2006). Moreover. semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. 2000).Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. it is suggested that interviewers be trained for a specific study if necessary since their manner in questioning could impose an effect on how reliable and valid the data will be (Proctor. Among different structures of interviews. non-probability sampling is used 29 . like other self-report methods. 3. 2006). with the use of a semi-structured format. In accordance with Breakwell (2006). As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. Unlike structured interviews. It is suggested that interviews could be complemented with other types of data such as observation and diary techniques so that the data obtained can be more valid. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. interesting responses emerged during the interviews. In addition. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry.4 Samplin g As far as the sampling method is concerned. researchers can follow up some unexpected.

researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. in quota sampling method. The criteria for judging whether they are Chinese or British customers are based on the passports they are holding together with the number of years they have lived in their home country. Moreover. Among the 10 samples. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. In this research. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. Hence. 2004). Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. They should have lived in China or the UK for long enough time than in other places that they are regarded as Chinese or British. The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). 2002. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. 30 . 2003). As mentioned by Proctor (2000). Malhotra and King. 1982). All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. 2005). though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity.as the tool for this research. Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population.

1 Stage one In this stage.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. Questions 1 31 . namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. After the introduction. 2006). with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). so they were not covered here. which are discussed in the following sections. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006).Table 1: Distribution of samples in terms of gender and nationality Nationality Sample particulars Gender Number of respondents Chinese Male 2 Female 3 British Male Female 3 2 3. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. was mentioned. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell. Also. The approximate length of the interview. say 30 minutes. the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. 3.5. There are two types of questions.

brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness.5. How often do you buy clothes? 2. probing questions were asked if needed. 4. Moreover. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. including brand and brand equity.to 3 attempt to serve as ice-breaking as the interviewees may not be prepared to answer in-depth questions at the very beginning of the interview. 1998). It also intends to investigate whether brand is an important criterion for consumers to choose particular products to purchase as mentioned in the literature (Doyle. 1999. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. were discussed. 32 . Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. The questions in this stage are as follows.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. Mooij. these can help understand their spending styles. As mentioned in the literatures. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3.

In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. 1993). Why do you like this brand? Question 11 asks for the interviewees’ opinions about the new emerging online shopping mode whereas question 12 is about their post-purchase actions they took towards the clothes they had purchased. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. 1991. Rayport and Jaworski. including pre-purchase. 2003). 11.. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. Keller. Do you recommend brands? 9. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . 2006. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. 5. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8.perceived quality. these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. there are three stages for purchasing products or services.

repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. and common categories from observational data (Babbie.6 Administratio n The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. 2004).3.5. This serves as a summary of how interviewees perceive brands by providing their own definitions which may be similar or different from what is said in the literature. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. themes. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 3. 1984). it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. 3. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). 3.7 Analysis strategy This section introduces the concept of grounded theory and the use of within-case and cross-case analysis as the strategies for analyzing the research data. It focuses on 34 . The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis. The interviews were then transcribed.7.

different ways to code data (Dey, 1993). In addition, based on grounded theory, methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured, qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. Hence, these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon, 2006). As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990),

researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory, provided that they follow three rules. They include periodically stepping back and asking, maintaining an attitude of skepticism, as well as following the research procedures.

Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data, leading to further analysis of themes, patterns and categories. Besides, it demonstrates some main strategies of qualitative inquiry that contain creative interplay of theories and methods during the integrated process of social research (Henwood and Pidgeon, 2006).

The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory, especially the use of systemic coding, which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie, 2004). There are seven stages for grounded analysis in cataloguing total, including concepts, familiarization, reflection, conceptualization, linking and finally re-evaluation

re-coding,

(Easterby-Smith et al., 2002). These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted.

3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994), interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways, namely within-case and cross-case
35

analysis. In this dissertation, the interviews conducted were investigated based on these two approaches. The summary of these two approaches is shown in Figure 1. Within-case analysis

Listening to tape and producing a transcript

Coding the transcript

Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes

Looking for patterns from similar and different responses

Creating tables based on responses from interviewees

Cross-case analysis

Figure 1: Overview of analysis

3.7.2. Within-case 1 analysis During the interviews, notes were first jotted down and then the summary of each individual interview was made after listening to the MP3 recorder for the sake of keeping the fresh memory of the interview content. A full transcription of each interview (see Appendix 3) was made after the completion of the whole interview process. After finishing the transcription, the main ideas of the interviews were summarized and presented in form of tables with codes like ‘+’ standing for interviewee who has mentioned this idea, whilst ‘-‘ connoting to a negative response to the question. Some quotes from the answers would be
36

illustrated for explanation if necessary.

3.7.2. Cross-case 2 analysis Cross-case analysis aims at looking for convergences and divergences in the data, recognizing ways to account for the similarities and differences of the respondents (Smith and Eatough, 2006; Smith and Osborn, 2003). Each interview was analyzed in the same way as mentioned in the within-case analysis. Then the patterns emerged were analyzed based the several tables in different themes.

3.8 Summar y In this chapter, the methodology used in this dissertation has been justified and explained. Qualitative semi-structured interviews have been chosen as a mean to collect data since they are found to be more appropriate for soliciting responses in relation to attitudes, opinions and feelings. Besides, the sampling method was covered. In the course of data collection, the combination of convenience and quota sampling was being used. In addition, the schedule of interview was discussed with a view to providing some general ideas about the underlying reasons for asking such questions. The data collected would be analyzed using the methods of within-case and cross-case analysis. The research findings will be presented and discussed in the next chapter.

37

which reveal the viewpoints from the British and Chinese respondents respectively. 4. it will be based on the most pertinent quotes. the effect of brand image on them and also their opinions of brand are presented and compared. including 5 British and 5 Chinese were interviewed. qualitative researchers need to communicate the findings in an honest and systematic manner. As far as the analysis is concerned. Each interview was recorded and transcribed for the purpose of analysis in this chapter.1 Introduction This chapter aims at presenting and discussing findings obtained from the interviews concerning the effect of clothing brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. 10 people. the analysis should be open to verification as far as possible so that the others are free to repeat what has been done and check the conclusions (Breakwell.Chapter 4 Research Findings and Discussion 4. asking about their shopping frequency. money spent 38 . The first three questions try to solicit the interviewees’ response about their clothing spending habits. (2002). The chapter consists of three sections in which the respondents’ backgrounds. According to Easterby-Smith et al.2 Backgrounds of respondents All respondents are students from the University of Nottingham. disseminating the richness of the findings and hence the experience of the researchers. 2006). In addition. with nine of them being master students and one of them being a PhD student. As mentioned in chapter 3. Their ages range from 22 to 27 and the male to female ratio is 1 to 1.

Male “In China. But before that. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. buy every 4 to 5 months.” Narinder. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. This could probably be explained by the findings mentioned in chapter 2 that consumers’ emotion is one of the determining factors for buying clothes (Berry. Generally. 24. One of them was slightly different in that she indicated that she is an impulsive buyer and hence she would buy clothes based on her moods and feelings at the time of purchase. let’s go’. 23. 2002). maybe 3 times a year. 23. Male 39 . I will buy clothes if there are discounts.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. Female Besides.” Mark.” Kevin. In England. maybe one item every couple of month. British. 2000). British. One of the respondents revealed that he preferred buying clothes at special occasions like seasonal discounts so that the prices can be much more affordable. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). 27. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. These are in line with the literature that students spend less than the other groups like working class as far as clothes purchasing is concerned (HKTDC. ranging from every week to three or four times a year.” Hannah. Because I have been poor. British. quite rare. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). Chinese.

Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. 1999. In the coming section. South and Spitze. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. 2007). Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. 1993). 4. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated.. retailers. Sometimes. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 . I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. 24.When asking about the price range of clothes. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. There could be two identical clothes in the world. 1994). however. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. 1991. British. “Probably. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. it does not really mean that males have less spending power.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. the reasons why people buy them vary. As mentioned in chapter 2. with more emphasis being placed on the comparisons between British and Chinese consumers so as to provide new insights for further development of brands in the clothing sector. It really gets a large variation.3. as well as consumers (Aaker. Keller.

or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 . in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes. +/. Non-label Non-advert Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + - - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + need Functional use (Sports) Personal Table 3: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (Chinese respondents) Reason Name Bran d Country of origin Advert Qualit y Style Price Others Comfortable.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + ++ + + + + Pleasant. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Bran d Country of origin Advert Qualit y Style Price Others Comfortable. Intuition +/. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly.examined in question 4.

Female . I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. They are probably the shops I like. In this regard.” Mark. I probably buy again. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. “Yes. Well. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. ” 42 Hannah. but I do not particularly look for brand names. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. 24. all respondents from both nations regard quality.” Neil. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. If I have good experiences with something. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. British. British. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. 23. Male “Well.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. British. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. 1991). Moreover. Actually. Male “Never. 24. However. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given.

so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes. So. like medium.” Jovi.” Vanessa. Chinese. 26. 1991). if I buy cheap ones. including 43 .. Fennis and Pruyn.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality.to high-priced brands. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. Female “Yes. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. and buy more clothes to change. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. 2005). 24. 4. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. But recently. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. if I buy too many big brands. Female Based on the above findings. 1999. Chinese.3. as well as quality (Roman et al. it costs me too much. I bought some big brands like designer labels. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. In addition. I can use less money. 2006). This issue was examined through asking the question ‘In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?’ There are mainly four ways for the respondents to learn about the brands. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. “I do think most of the brands. For some T-shirts.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. do have better quality than cheaper brands. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability.

advertisement. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. 1986. two of them 44 . The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. +/. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British.or words in blue: Response with prompt Advert Peers Others Internet + + + + + + + Internet Internet From shops Advertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al. Tsai et al.or words in black: Initial response without prompt... Among these respondents. 2007). internet and shops. Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents) Nam e Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinda Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Advert Peers Others + - + + + From shops From shops. peers. Internet From shops From shops Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents) Nam e Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key +/.

e y memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. so they associate themselves with brands. 23.” Neil. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. Marketing people may affect me someway. Female “TV. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). e d . Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire. Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. During the game break. you know. Chinese. they are familiar faces. Like Coby Bryrant. advertisements in the shopping mall. Davi Beckham Zidan (is ver . 1989). 45 .” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken.” Kevin. 24. and it’s easy to make connections. British.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. 23.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan Lanc Armstrong. they (basketball players) will show up. Chinese.

Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. and from my mind. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6. ” Neil. that’s cool. 4. Chinese. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. they are nice to put them on. 23. I will consider them.” Kevin. 24.3. 46 . So. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. when I go shopping next time. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. in which interviewees were asked. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. “How do you judge the quality of the clothes?” Their attitudes towards country-of-origins of clothes were also solicited from the follow-up questions. British.

Table 6: Criteria for judging clothes quality (British respondents) Criteria Name Material s Style Colour Durabilit y Country of origin Others Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + + + + + Performance Price + - Table 7: Criteria for judging clothes quality (Chinese respondents) Criteria Name Material s Style Colour Durabilit y Country of origin Others Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker. There are no significance differences between British 47 . 1991). colour. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality. followed by style. Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. price and performance.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7. +/. durability.

22. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. Male When further question was asked about the issue ‘Which country’s clothes do you think they’re of highest/ lowest quality?’ British and Chinese respondents showed divergent views. Chinese. so the countries don’t really affect it. France Italy. For buying Puma shoes. “In some of the countries like Japan. Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents) Countries Nam e Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Countries with highest Italy. I expect Puma quality basically. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. British. France or Italy. Contradictory to the literature. 24. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. they represent better quality. Regarding country of origin.and Chinese respondents.” Jovi.” Michael. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment quality 48 .

These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al.” Neil. France.. If Puma gets its stuff from China. including China. Male “They suppose to all be the same. Malaysia. However. Italy No comment Korea. “I don’t have some preconception about it. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. 24. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. produce poor quality clothes. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. 2004). 22. from Thailand.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Nam e Chong Jovi Vivian Li Countries with highest Japan. British. some South American countries quality UK. Denmark China. Because I know from every country. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. Italy France. they should meet the required quality.” Michael. you can buy good or bad clothes. 49 . Thailand. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. India. US. South Africa Less developed countries No comment China Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang As shown in Table 8. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. British.

China don’t have very famous brands. If it’s about big brands. Actually. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. 26. This is in line with what has mentioned in the literature that China is proficient in production and hence many foreign investors would like to produce their already-designed products there (Cui. or some of the developing countries. Chinese.3. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7.“I think the UK and US have top brands. Italy as well. Female 4. Female Nevertheless. 1997). Lowest (quality) maybe China. Chinese. 23. I will prefer France or Italy ones. 50 .” Vanessa. 8 and 12 in which the respondents were asked whether they buy the same brands regularly and also if they recommend brands to the others. if I consider some basic ones. I think those made-in-China are something good.” Vivian. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. maybe it’s the reason.

they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased.Table 10: Clothes purchasing habit (British respondents) Nam e Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Regular buyer Recommen d brand s Club card owner + + - + - - Table 11: Clothes purchasing habit (Chinese respondents) Nam e Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + + + + + + - + + + + As observed from Tables 10 and 11. more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. whereas the others think they need to take other factors like price and style into consideration and hence they do not buy the same brands regularly. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. recommend brands to friends or relatives. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 .

none of the UK respondents have any clothing club cards even though the shops take this chance to reward their loyalty in terms of discounts 52 . 23.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. The Diesel jeans fit me well. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned. British. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me.” Jovi. I will tell my friends. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good.. British. Chinese. In the UK.’” Vanessa. In Hong Kong. 23. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good.” Neil. Chinese. for examples. 26. 27. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. British. 24. 24. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. Chinese.” Mark.” Vivian.. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. Topshop and All Saints. there are quite many. I will tell them.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. CEU and Vertical Club. Female “I just like it. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. so I will buy them more often. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints ” Narinder. Male Surprisingly. I like Fred Perry.

26.as cited in the literature (Aaker. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. Chinese. The price is acceptable. we need not apply for the loyalty cards. Chinese. 1991).5 Brand association Regarding brand association. 23. 24. That’s why I don’t apply for it. British. Sometimes. not so complicated design” Jovi. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. 27. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. It’s not stylish but it is well made.” Vanessa. Store cards are dangerous. It fits my age and my occupation as students. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands.” Narinder.3. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. Vivian. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. Chinese. it takes time to apply for it and maybe I will not spend much money on the same shops…I tried to apply House of Fraser and M&S (loyalty cards). they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. Female 53 . Female 4. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. 2007). The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No.

Female “’Simply Me’.” Alick. Male 4. 54 .6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. like grid shirts. Chinese. they work well. I prefer some simple image. British. khaki style…quality is good. ” Narinder. usually cotton…” Hannah. 26. Female “Basically alternativ . British. I prefer blue jeans. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. and they look good. 2002). 22. cricket s but skiing an d Michael. In order to investigate this issue. 24.” Neil. Male “Simple. Male “60s hippie. For jeans. Male “For Topshop. For T-shirt. All Saints is a bit more innovative. 24. 23. I prefer very colourful image. Chinese.3.” Mark. 27. Chinese.” Kevin. British. fits my age.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. Male “They are practical. e snowboarding and surfing…” sports . 27. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. For shirts.” Vanessa. 23. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. British. not like football. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. British.

If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. lower prices and informative websites.” Michael. just like the clothes from the markets. but I don’t buy online. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. right size as well” Vivian. 22. Chinese. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. “For clothes. 23. you can buy it online. Male “I don’t buy online.Surprisingly. Male 55 . not right colour. but I know many people do. To be honest. no. 27. Chinese. The clothes online are cheap. Female “I like fitting. try on to see if it is fit probably.” Narinder. Female “Not really. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. 23. British. “No. Chinese. 24. These signify the fact that online shopping for clothes is not impossible but something need to be done to improve it as far as the problems of fitting before purchasing and online security are concerned. I’ll have a look and compare prices. British. including the varieties of choices.” Kevin.

and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. These are what internet offers. 23. 26.” Vivian. Chinese. Chinese.“(Shop online) Sometimes. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. Chinese. Female 56 . 26. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. It may not be the spirit of clothes. Chinese. Chinese.” Alick.4 Results In the last question. 24. Chinese. but it represents the taste and quality of them. British. almost everything is quite good. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind.” Kevin.” Vanessa. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. maybe one or twice a month.) Vanessa. 23. Female 4. 27. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. good quality and good prices. 24. Male “Brand is just like the name of people. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. It is good.

“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. rather than the designer. 57 .” Narinda. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. 24. 23. 27. British.” Neil. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development. manufacturer. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. British. 22.5 Summar y This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. Male 4. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. British. At the beginning of the chapter. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with.” Michael. however. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. British. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. I realized.” Mark. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service.

more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy. brand is one of their considerations. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity. However. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below.2. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. they cited that what they liked is more important.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. 5. 58 . The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. In addition.

In terms of advertisements. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. none of the UK respondents thought it would affect their perception of clothes quality whereas some Chinese respondents had cited that some countries connoted to better quality. followed by style. for example. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. In general. durability. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. peers. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. 5. price and performance. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. consumers think of the other criteria as well. Nevertheless. 5.2.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. internet and shops.2. However. In addition. some respondents from both nations cited that they had been affected by celebrity advertising in which they could associate the brand image with the celebrities’ images. colour. From the findings.As revealed from the above findings. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. That is to say.

none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. 1997).5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated.. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. 5. however. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. while most of the Chinese respondents had. This brings out an important issue that Chinese brands should get rid of their poor image on perceived quality at least to the Chinese themselves.2. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. However. functions etc. styles. prices. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. 60 . by working on the brand development. 5. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. Also. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. 2004). From the findings.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. However.2. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. 1991). including the product features. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from.

6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. 5. Added to this. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. For online securities. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. time and also interpreting skills. As far as sampling method is concerned. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 . and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. 5. various choices and cheaper prices. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. online security is also a matter of concern. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties.3 Limitation s During the course of research. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. However. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. One of the obstacles for online clothes purchasing is that the consumers can not try on the clothes to see if they are fit or not.2. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents. In terms of fitting.The establishment of such positive images can help enhance the brand values and there are no significant differences between the British and Chinese respondents in this regard. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet.

minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. In terms of time. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. As long as more time is allowed. 2000). for instances accent. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. 2000). 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. the characteristics of the interviewers. During the interviews. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. In selecting the students. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. the number of samples interviewed is limited. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. however. 62 . There are numerous brands around the world. gender and age. 2000). having a propensity of getting deviated results. In addition.. This is the author’s second time to do the dissertation and the aspects like nervousness and lack of experiences can also be regarded as some of the limitations for this dissertation. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. 1991). Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. 5.4 Implication s This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. Finally.

From the findings. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. price and performance. brand loyalty and brand association. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. perceived quality and brand loyalty. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. some Chinese respondents have negative perceptions towards clothes quality produced from China and other developing countries whereas their British counterparts do not have such strong feelings. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. In terms of brand awareness. colour. perceived quality. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. As for brand association. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. four different areas were investigated. durability. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts.Therefore. style. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . As far as perceived quality is concerned. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. marketers can think of relevant strategies. namely brand awareness. To reward loyal customers. In addition. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased.

It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. for instance working class. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. other kinds of research methods such as focus group and even some quantitative research methods could be used so as to provide findings from different perspectives. For the UK. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. have done. For instances. This could provide much more conclusive results. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. like supermarkets. 2002). 5. Other sampling groups.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. could 64 . in addition to semi-structured interviews. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. Further research could also be done on comparisons between some other countries’ consumers in which they are found to have significant impact on consumer behaviour. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. Besides.

researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives. exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. 65 .also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples. By taking the above recommendations.

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U. France U. Japan Britain S.S. U. U. U.S. France U.S. U. Germany U.S. Britain U. Netherlands France France U. U.S. Germany France U. Germany Japan U.S.S. U.S.S.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. U. France U.S.S.S.S. Britain Japan U.S.S. U. U.S. U.S. U. U. Finland Japan U. Italy U.S. 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Nintendo Gap L’Oreal Heinz Yahoo ! Volkswagen Xerox Colgate Wrigley KFC Chanel Avon Nestle Kleenex Amazon.S.S.S.Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 CocaCola Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyot a Disney Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands Name Country Rank Name 2006 U.S. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Country Japan U. U. U. U. McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 .S.S. France U. U.S. U.S.S.S.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S.S.S.S. U. Germany U.S. Japan S.S. France U.S. U.S.S. Germany U. U.S.S.co m Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorol a Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co.S.S.S. Switzerland U.S.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.S.S.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U. U. U.S.Korea U.S.S. Netherlands Bermuda U. U. U.S. U.S. Switzerland U. Japan U.

Do you shop online for clothes? 12. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. Do you recommend brands? 9. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: 1. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. Can you comment on what brand is to you? (Note: Further probing questions would be asked after each of the above question if necessary) Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 80 . In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. How often do you buy clothes? 2. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. Why do you like this brand? 11.

Appendix 3: Interview Transcription
Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese

Chris: Hi, Kevin. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. It would talk about 30 minutes. How often do you buy clothes?

Kevin: In China, normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). In England, maybe 3 times a year, I will buy clothes if there are discounts.

Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK.

Kevin: Yes.

Chris: Why?

Kevin: Because in China, I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. I was the company.

Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK?

Kevin: In China, around 20 to 30 pounds each time. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes, so in winter, it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. In England, since clothes are more expensive than those in China, so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping.

Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced,
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medium-priced or low-priced?

Kevin: Medium-priced. I don’t buy very cheap clothes. I prefer higher quality, good taste, so these clothes are more expensive.

Chris: What about the kinds of clothes you buy? Sports apparel, casual wear, formal wear or others?

Kevin: The first two. I buy casual wear more frequently than sports apparels. Sports apparels are just for doing some exercises, and I won’t wear sports apparels on streets. But I buy trainers.

Chris: You really seldom buy formal wear.

Kevin: There are not many chances for me to wear. I have one, just one.

Chris: What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?

Kevin: I prefer quality as I said, and good taste…I prefer some grand clothes…I like Jack and Jones, and Levi’s. For shoes, I like adidas and Reeboks.

Chris: You have mentioned something about price before, so do you think price is one of your considerations?

Kevin: Yes of course. My girlfriend likes to go to some markets where she can find many cheap clothes. Some of them are on discount and some of them are out of season, she is pursuing that kind of clothes.

Chris: What about you?

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Kevin: I like buying shoes in a very good ground. I don’t like bargain with the prices. Some clothes have the absolute prices.

Chris: So when you went to the market with your girlfriend, did you buy them? Because normally we need to bargain in the market.

Kevin: If you go to some small shops, these clothes do not have ground, you can bargain with the shop assistants. But in some shopping malls, some clothes have ground, you cannot bargain with them. Because they are of fixed prices and the quality is good.

Chris: Which one do you prefer? Shops or Market?

Kevin: Shops.

Chris: What about brand?

Kevin: Yea, Jack and Jones.

Chris: What about country of origin?

Kevin: Um…I’m not sure which countries these clothes come from because some are made in China, maybe the designers are from other countries. Most of them I think they are from Europe.

Chris: So you have no special preferences?

Kevin: No.

Chris: If I divide the question into 2, maybe do you have any preference for the country of manufacture?
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Chris: You mentioned some people appearing in this advertisement.Kevin: As I said. but in China. Are these people celebrities? Kevin: No. we can’t find the clothes made in Europe. Sometimes. Chris: What about advertising? Kevin: Advertising is important. Chris: What is the advertisement about? For Levi’s. Chris: Do you have special preferences for the clothes made in Europe? Kevin: Actually. 84 . why can it make you so memorable? Kevin: Because people who wear the clothes look very nice. I go shopping for clothes just up to the advertising…and maybe there are reputations. Chris: Do you have any advertisement series come to your mind? Kevin: Levi’s…their advertisement for jeans is very impressive…so are the one from Jack and Jones. most of them are made in China. Chris: What about the country of design? Kevin: Europe. just models. Some of them are Chinese and some of them are foreigners. look very handsome with the clothes.

it will. from my perspective. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. advertisements in the shopping mall. Chris: But you maybe affected by them. I only wear them for one to two year. they are nice to put them on. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. on the streets. they put posters in the public areas. 85 . would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. so maybe next time I go shopping.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. not frequently. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. and from my mind. For winter clothes. Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. For summer clothes. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. I can’t afford it. of course. it may be longer. I will consider them.

I think their quality is good. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. then it’s of high quality. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. and Demank (Jack and Jones). you know. Kevin: As long as it can. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. I never compare which clothes come from which countries. by the colour. keep the quality until out-of-date. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China.Chris: So if it’s durable. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability. Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. 86 .

it just likes Jack and Jones. of course. we prefer clothes from other countries. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. not many. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category.Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 . Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people. famous among young people. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. Kevin: No. I will go to those places…not E-land. but for casual wear. maybe cheaper than from other countries. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. the appearance is more important…the quality.

advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. I can see how it looks like. I never buy clothes online. maybe they will ignore it. I will buy it. you can buy it online. I don’t know. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. maybe they will keep in mind. For shirts. For T-shirt. like the clothes from the markets. but I know many people do. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. I know many girls do that. The clothes online are cheap. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. So. I prefer some simple image. For jeans. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. After I put it on. To be honest. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. 88 .Kevin: No. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. I prefer blue jeans. like grid shirts. I prefer very colorful image. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. if it is fit to me. if I recommend my preference to him or her. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image.

Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. 89 . maybe after one or two month. just after finish shopping. at least once a week. they will give me a VIP card. But if I’m not satisfied with it. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. I will wear it very regularly. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. Normally. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. As long as l finish shopping. Kevin: Yea. Chris: If you are satisfied. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. maybe take it as my pajamas.Chris: So. but less frequently. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. that’s the main advantage. Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. the size may not fit and the quality as well… Chris: What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchased? Kevin: If I am satisfied with the clothes I bought. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. of course I will wear it. maybe they are there. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes.

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