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By Kwok Keung Tam
A Dissertation presented in part consideration for the degree of “MSc International Business”
Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i
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 188.8.131.52 Chinese spending habits 184.108.40.206 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 220.127.116.11 British spending habits 18.104.22.168 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
2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviour 2.5 Summary
Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds 3.2.1 Review of different research traditions 3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 3.2.3 Reliability and validity of data 3.3 Justification of research method 3.4 Sampling 3.5 Interview schedule 3.5.1 Stage one 3.5.2 Stage two 3.5.3 Stage three 3.6 Administration 3.7 Analysis strategy 3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis 3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis 22.214.171.124 Within-case analysis 126.96.36.199 Cross-case analysis 3.8 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 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Backgrounds of respondents 4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 4.3.2 Brand awareness
38 38 38 40 40
3.4 Brand loyalty 4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.2.3 Perceived quality 4.2.2 Conclusions 188.8.131.52.4.2.2 Brand awareness 184.108.40.206 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.3 Perceived quality 5.2.3 Limitations 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.4 Results 4.4 Implications 5.5 Brand association 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 .1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.5 Brand association 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.1 Introduction 5.
The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. i . Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. In the UK. perceived quality. brand loyalty and brand association. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. namely brand awareness. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. 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.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. however. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry.
He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. In addition. 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. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. Vicky Story. Dr. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything.Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. Last but not least. ii .
As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. read product information. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. Nowadays. Several brands. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. 1 . in addition to the basic functions. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. as a matter of fact. clothing can help represent our personal identity. which can tell how significant an individual is. namely pre-purchase. decide which and where to buy. but also in other markets with high potential. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. have become popular not only in their country of origin. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. 2000). purchase and post-purchase. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. 1996). Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. Thus. choose the buying modes. clothes can also serve as fashion items. different genders and cultural backgrounds.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising.
2000). contributing to 74. In order to differentiate one brand from another. Under this concept. managing brand image is of utmost importance. 2000. 2003). 1. Ailawadi.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. 1996. In this paper. In accordance with Delong et al. Keller. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner.widen the profit margins. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. Being an advanced developing country. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. 1.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. 2005). which would be illustrated in the following chapters. On the other hand. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. (2004).2. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. 1998. Corstjens and Lal. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. 1993). In this way. 1993.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. 2001. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. 1991.
On average. however. pricing. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. However. 2006). China plays a role as a producer.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount. 3 . This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. followed by cutting. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. people spend 7.1. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. 2004). It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. As stated by Cui (1997). the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. 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.. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. 1. However. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern.2. Nowadays. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China.
However. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. 1. According to a report published by Business Week (2007). 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. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. Besides. however. When it comes to the case 4 . 2004). however. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China.2.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development China has competitive advantages in terms of production factors such as low labour costs and growing technology. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets.1. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. Also.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. 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. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation.. The originally advantageous factors.
because of its mature economic structure. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. 220.127.116.11 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. including the clothing industry. 1. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades. 2007).com. Among the respondents. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. The manufacturing sector. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. 2007). 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. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). March 25). In addition. regardless of their quality. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense.2.com. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. Regarding its GDP growth. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. 2004). females are more likely 5 .
1998. 1994). leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers.2.2. Siddiqui et al.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. a polarized marketplace. 2003). Moore. South and Spitze. 1995). This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. strong competitive activities. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. 2003). As mentioned by Moore (1995). 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. the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. and occasionally. concentrated markets. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. short-life-cycle products. there is a trend for own brand development. 1999. As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. 1999). the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. However. However.. In 6 .to spend on clothes than males. 2004. 2002). as cited in Carruthers. 2004). 1. 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. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. 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.
consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. 2003). consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. perceived brand equity and brand associations. According to Aaker (1991). Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. 2001. Compared with other retailed sector.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. 2004). with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. 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. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey. composing of independent. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. brand loyalty. 1. 1. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. Marciniak and Bruce. the retailing sector is fragmented. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. namely brand awareness. 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.. 1995). Mintel. 2004. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research.addition. clothing is a kind of public 7 . 1998).
being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. 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 . mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. In addition. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. First. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. 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. ZARA. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. 2007. In this way. 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. is on the lookout for extensions. 1. 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. China. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. 2007).
Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. 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.understandable in the forthcoming sections. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. 9 . Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters.
The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. From the consumers’ perspective. 1991. In this chapter. 2001). consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. In addition to a specific brand name. This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image. 1991. 1998). advertising. 2. However. promotion. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades.Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. packaging. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. 1998).2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. Keller. 1998).. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. 2003). most of them concentrate on a single country study. Murphy. a brand is also composed of products. the literatures concerning the roles of brand and brand equity are to be reviewed so as to provide a theoretical framework for the aforementioned analysis. Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 .1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire.
in consumer products (Roman et al. augmented brand and potential brand. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker.2. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. Added to this. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. 2005). It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. 1998). for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. basic brand. consumers would have their preferences. 1998. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. Murphy.. 2. Nowadays. When deciding which products to purchase. 1998). on the other hand. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. there are four elements for building a successful brand. Finally and most importantly. 2000). they share something in common. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. 1999). 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. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. 2006). As mentioned by Levitt (1983). The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. effective after-sales services and the like.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. Basic brand. namely tangible product. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . Fennis and Pruyn. 1999.
giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. Yasin et al. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. However. In addition.3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. including its name and symbol. Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. patents. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. 1998). 1991. poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image. 2007). 12 . 1996). which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. Brands like HSBC. Vodafone. 2007). For instance. Marks and Spencer. 1998). It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. In order to combat piracy. 2. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. Added to this. 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. 1995). 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. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. By doing so. not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell.preference and loyalty.. 2002). designs as well as copyright.
For instance. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker. Owning to the positive image. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . Keller. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. Besides. 2005). For the consumers. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. 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.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas.3. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. 1998). There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. 1991). As for the firm. 1991). brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. 1991). perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. namely brand loyalty. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. name awareness. brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. 1991.
2007). two tasks are to be accomplished. 2007). (2004).. In this way. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. Macdonald and Sharp.. According to research conducted by Delong et al. 2005). 1986.. For long time. In addition. owing to geographical differences. being a special administrative region since 1997. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. As for source 14 . Tsai et al. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. due to their political separations. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. For source credibility. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). 1990. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. In recent decades. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. As mentioned by Keller (1998). In order to achieve brand awareness. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. Moreover. In case of China. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer.. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. has once been a colony of the UK. 2000). 1990).set (Blackwell et al.
durability. namely performance. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. overall feeling towards a brand. In addition. 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. 1991).attractiveness. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. reliability. charging premium price. features. reliability. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 . Since it is a kind of intangible. To be more specific. 1989).. 1991. 1992). Regarding product quality. 2007). competence.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. Nevertheless. conformance with specifications. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. Similar to brand awareness. Yasin. differentiating the position of a brand. serviceability as well as fit and finish. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. Service quality. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. 1998. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. 1991). there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception.3. 2. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. on the other hand. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. Keller. 2004).
having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. Hence. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. For many companies. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. the less vulnerable the customer base would be.. 2005). it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 . challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. 1993). Third. Moreover. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. 1991). First. consumers continue to buy the brand. 1991). As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. Keller (1998). Under the influence of brand loyalty. 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.purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. however. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries.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.. 1991). Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. In this case.3. Second. regardless of the superior features. 2. 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. 1991).
the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. 1998. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. 1991). Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. 2000).. several airlines like Cathay Pacific. 2000). According to Aaker (1991). 2. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. 2000). 17 . This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. Bansal and Voyer. which contribute to a specific brand image. Moreover. For instance. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. Marney. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. Finally. examples.3. 1995. 1997. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. the intangible qualities. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. Silverman. consisting of multiple ideas. In addition to the tangible products. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits.recommend the same model of product. Hence. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. episodes.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. Consumers usually depend on informal. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer.
As for non-product related attributes. 1998). It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. They can be classified into functional. For experimental benefits. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. 1991). Benefits are another category in brand associations. For product-related attributes. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. namely attributes. price information. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. Finally. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. 1998).Keller (1993. First of all. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. on the other hand. experimental and symbolic. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. packaging. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. benefits and attitudes. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. Second. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. making the customers remember the brand by heart. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. Symbolic benefits. This can make the brand 18 . Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. the overall features of the product or service are concerned.
For examples. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. a vivid brand image is established. 2006). contributing to its higher premium price. use or dispose the products.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. ideas or experiences. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). buy. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. Third. First of all. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. 2.. services. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. however. Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. Forth. money and effort. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. some associations can engender positive feelings.
are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. Second. 2. Moreover. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. 20 post-consumption evaluation and . the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. These seven steps include need recognition. Blackwell et al. However. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. 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. which companies to succeed. 2006). tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. pre-purchase. evaluation. 2001. consumption.4. comprising acquisition of goods and services. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. Based on this loophole. 1998). For instance. 2003). purchase. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. Although they vary in form of presentation. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. 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. consumption and disposal of products or services. as well as disposal of used goods. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. Arnoud et al. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. 2006).. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. search for information.. consumption.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. Rayport and Jaworski. Therefore. and also which products to excel.
Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. Attributes like quantity. income. size. Blackwell et al. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. 2005). As mentioned by Solomon et al. namely functional needs and psychological needs. 1992). The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. as well as customer satisfaction. Stage two is the search of information.. 2006)..divestment (Blackwell et al. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. 2006). social class. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. Any changes in 21 . Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. Ongoing search. 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. There are two kinds of needs. on the other hand.. 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. 1997). consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. In this stage. past experiences. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. (2006). size of purchase. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al..
2003). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. stage seven comes to divestment. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). 22 . including retailer and in-store selection. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. 2006). customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. visual displays inside the shops. In addition to in-store purchase.. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. 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. As stated by Blackwell et al. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others. 2006). This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. 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. Stage five. According to Porter (2004).. Last but not least. In stage five. 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. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. (2006).
products are developed in an unprecedented way. In this dissertation. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. 23 .2. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. perceived quality. and at the same time. perceived quality. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. brand loyalty and brand associations. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. Nowadays. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. including brand awareness.
The details of the sampling would also be discussed. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. 3. 3.. data are gathered. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches. research is required. research theories can be classified into different types. namely qualitative and quantitative research. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. In general. interpretive research and critical postmodernism.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. think and behave (Arnould et al.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. 24 . there are two types of research methods.2. theories.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. During the course of consumer behaviour research. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. epistemology is about the science of knowing. 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. there are three research traditions. 2004). 2004). namely positivism. In accordance with Gephart (2004). the research traditions.
While positivism stresses on objectivity. Added to this. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. Dey.2. 2002). As for critical postmodernism.. events and mechanisms. official statistics.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. 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. 1993). 3. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. Finally. 2004. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. examining the attitudes. random sampling 25 . qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. together with the structures and processes within it. In accordance to Fisher (2004). the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. In the field of research. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. including experiences. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research.
attitude (Kirk and Miller. 1956. (2002). 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. 2000). which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. Besides.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. 1964. In this way. it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. As for qualitative research. 2000). Nevertheless. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. numeric data. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . 2000). suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. Unlike quantitative research. however. 2000). Cicourel. 1986).and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. 3. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale. 1975). 1989). for example. 2000). That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. Qualitative analysis. Silverman. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al.2. 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. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods.
giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. to justify reliability. 1992). it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. This may affect the reliability of the research findings. As mentioned by Saunders et al. namely language-orientated approach. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. Besides. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. However. 1992). the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. 2000). While reliability is correlated to consistency. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley.useful findings or not. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. 2000). 2006). As mentioned by Tesch (1990). Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. 27 .3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. 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. Hence. 3. (2003). As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006).
Finally. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. However. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard.descriptive/ interpretative approach. 1992). In case of interviews. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. say 12-15 people. 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. 2000). researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. During the course of interviews. Thus. interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. Added to this. 2004). Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. 2004). Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. 2006). ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. 28 . Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. as well as theory-building approach. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. For instance. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus.
2000). This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. non-probability sampling is used 29 . Among different structures of interviews. 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. interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. 2006). In accordance with Breakwell (2006). unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. like other self-report methods.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. Unlike structured interviews. interesting responses emerged during the interviews. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. Moreover. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. 2006). 2000). As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. with the use of a semi-structured format. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. In addition. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. When it comes to the process of data collection. 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. researchers can follow up some unexpected.Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. 3.
in quota sampling method. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. 2004). 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. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. 2003). 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. 2002. 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. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. 1982). Among the 10 samples. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. As mentioned by Proctor (2000). 2005). Hence. Malhotra and King. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. 30 . Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. In this research. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated.as the tool for this research. Moreover. The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details).
the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). After the introduction. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). Also.1 Stage one In this stage. The approximate length of the interview. was mentioned. say 30 minutes.Table 1: Distribution of samples in terms of gender and nationality Nationality Sample particulars Gender Number of respondents Chinese Male 2 Female 3 Male 3 British Female 2 3. 2006).5. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. There are two types of questions. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). so they were not covered here. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. 3. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. Questions 1 31 . which are discussed in the following sections.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly.
As mentioned in the literatures. probing questions were asked if needed. 1998). 1999. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. How often do you buy clothes? 2. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. Mooij. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. 32 . In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. 4.5.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. including brand and brand equity. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. were discussed. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. The questions in this stage are as follows.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. 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. these can help understand their spending styles. Moreover. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2.
These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. 5. 2003). How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. including pre-purchase. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. 1991. 1993).perceived quality. Do you recommend brands? 9. Rayport and Jaworski. Keller. 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. 11. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10.. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. 2006. 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. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 .
and common categories from observational data (Babbie. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. themes.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. 2004). 3. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence.5. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’.6 Administration 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.7. The interviews were then transcribed. 3. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. 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. 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. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview.3. 1984). repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. It focuses on 34 .3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview.
In addition. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. cataloguing concepts. reflection. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. patterns and categories. 2006). especially the use of systemic coding. Besides. Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . 2006). researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory.. based on grounded theory. which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). (2002). 2002). 1993). re-coding. 3. as well as following the research procedures. conceptualization. linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al. According to Easterby-Smith et al. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. provided that they follow three rules.different ways to code data (Dey. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total. including familiarization.7. They include periodically stepping back and asking. 2004). maintaining an attitude of skepticism. interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. leading to further analysis of themes.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). Hence. 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.
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.
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
Figure 1: Overview of analysis
18.104.22.168 Within-case 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
illustrated for explanation if necessary.
22.214.171.124 Cross-case 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 Summary 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.
Chapter 4 Research Findings and Discussion
4.1 Introduction This chapter aims at presenting and discussing findings obtained from the interviews concerning the effect of clothing brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. As mentioned in chapter 3, 10 people, including 5 British and 5 Chinese were interviewed. Each interview was recorded and transcribed for the purpose of analysis in this chapter.
As far as the analysis is concerned, it will be based on the most pertinent quotes, which reveal the viewpoints from the British and Chinese respondents respectively. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), qualitative researchers need to communicate the findings in an honest and systematic manner, disseminating the richness of the findings and hence the experience of the researchers. In addition, 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, 2006).
The chapter consists of three sections in which the respondents’ backgrounds, the effect of brand image on them and also their opinions of brand are presented and compared.
4.2 Backgrounds of respondents All respondents are students from the University of Nottingham, with nine of them being master students and one of them being a PhD student. Their ages range from 22 to 27 and the male to female ratio is 1 to 1.
The first three questions try to solicit the interviewees’ response about their clothing spending habits, asking about their shopping frequency, money spent
so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. 24. But before that. 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. Female Besides. 23.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. let’s go’. 2000). 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.” Hannah. British. Chinese. I will buy clothes if there are discounts.” Mark. 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. 23. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). ranging from every week to three or four times a year.” Kevin. maybe 3 times a year. buy every 4 to 5 months.” Narinder. 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). maybe one item every couple of month. Male “In China. 27. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. Because I have been poor. British. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. In England. British. 2002). Male 39 . quite rare.
There could be two identical clothes in the world. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 . 4. In the coming section. 1991. British.When asking about the price range of clothes.. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. Sometimes. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. It really gets a large variation. 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. as well as consumers (Aaker.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. South and Spitze. 1993). 24. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia.3. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. Keller. however. “Probably. 1999. retailers. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. 1994). As mentioned in chapter 2. 2007). the reasons why people buy them vary. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds.
or words in black: Initial response without prompt. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections.or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 . +/. Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Pleasant. Non-label Non-advert Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + - - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Functional use (Sports) Personal need Table 3: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (Chinese respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. Intuition +/. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable.examined in question 4. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes.
They are probably the shops I like. British. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well.” Hannah. Female 42 . Moreover. all respondents from both nations regard quality. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. but I do not particularly look for brand names. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. British. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. In this regard. If I have good experiences with something. 23. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. “Yes. However. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. 24. Male “Well. Actually.” Mark. I probably buy again. Male “Never. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC.” Neil. British.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. Well. 1991). 24.
if I buy cheap ones. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. 24. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. including 43 . it costs me too much. “I do think most of the brands.. 1991). Female “Yes. and buy more clothes to change. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. But recently. So. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees.3. Fennis and Pruyn. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. if I buy too many big brands.” Vanessa.to high-priced brands. like medium. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. 26. I can use less money. 1999. Female Based on the above findings. do have better quality than cheaper brands. 4.” Jovi. Chinese. as well as quality (Roman et al. In addition. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. 2006). For some T-shirts. 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. I bought some big brands like designer labels. Chinese. 2005). so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes.
Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinda Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Advert Peers Others + - + + + From shops From shops. 1986.advertisement. Tsai et al..or words in black: Initial response without prompt. internet and shops. Internet From shops From shops Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key +/.. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. 2007).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. +/. two of them 44 . Among these respondents. peers. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands.
24. 1989). on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. Marketing people may affect me someway. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions.” Kevin. so they associate themselves with brands. David Beckham. 23. During the game break. they are familiar faces. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. 45 . “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). advertisements in the shopping mall. you know. they (basketball players) will show up. Female “TV.” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games.” Neil.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. 23. Zidane (is very memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. Chinese. Like Coby Bryrant. and it’s easy to make connections. Chinese. Lance Armstrong. British. Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned.
46 . while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing.” Kevin. 4. they are nice to put them on. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. that’s cool. when I go shopping next time.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. So. British.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6.” Neil. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. in which interviewees were asked. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. 23. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. 24. Chinese. “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.3. I will consider them. and from my mind.
+/. There are no significance differences between British 47 . nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality.Table 6: Criteria for judging clothes quality (British respondents) Criteria Name Materials Style Colour Durability 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 Materials Style Colour Durability Country of origin Others Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7. price and performance. colour.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. followed by style. 1991). durability. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker.
France or Italy.and Chinese respondents. 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. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. For buying Puma shoes. “In some of the countries like Japan. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. France Italy. Regarding country of origin. I expect Puma quality basically. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. British. 24. Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents) Countries Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Countries with highest quality Italy. they represent better quality. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 .” Jovi. Contradictory to the literature.” Michael. 22. Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. so the countries don’t really affect it.
they should meet the required quality. including China. 22. Male “They suppose to all be the same. you can buy good or bad clothes. US. Italy No comment Korea. If Puma gets its stuff from China. Thailand. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. produce poor quality clothes. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. Malaysia. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality.. 49 . India.” Michael. However. 2004).” Neil. Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. from Thailand. France. some South American countries Vivian Li UK. British. 24. Italy China. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. British. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. Because I know from every country. “I don’t have some preconception about it. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France.
maybe it’s the reason. Lowest (quality) maybe China. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design.” Vanessa. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. China don’t have very famous brands. 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.“I think the UK and US have top brands.3. Female 4. Chinese. I will prefer France or Italy ones. 26. If it’s about big brands. Female Nevertheless. Actually. 50 . or some of the developing countries. 23. 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. if I consider some basic ones.” Vivian. Italy as well.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. 1997). Chinese. I think those made-in-China are something good.
more Chinese respondents tend to buy 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. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. For those who buy regularly from the same brands.Table 10: Clothes purchasing habit (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + - + - - Table 11: Clothes purchasing habit (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + + + + + + - + + + + As observed from Tables 10 and 11. recommend brands to friends or relatives. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 .
there are quite many. British. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. 24. I will tell them. so I will buy them more often. Female “I just like it. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for.” Neil. The Diesel jeans fit me well. 23.. 24. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me.” Mark. for examples.” Vivian.” Jovi. Topshop and All Saints. Male Surprisingly. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. In Hong Kong. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. Chinese. I will tell my friends. Chinese. 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 . four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good.. 23. Chinese. British.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. 26.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. CEU and Vertical Club. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. 27. In the UK.’” Vanessa. British. I like Fred Perry.
store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. It’s not stylish but it is well made. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. 2007). Chinese. Chinese. That’s why I don’t apply for it.” Narinder. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No.” Vanessa.as cited in the literature (Aaker. The price is acceptable. 26. Store cards are dangerous. Chinese. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. 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). not so complicated design” Jovi. 27. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. Vivian.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. 23. British. 24. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. we need not apply for the loyalty cards.3. Female 53 . Sometimes. Female 4. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. 1991). It fits my age and my occupation as students.
Male “They are practical. I prefer very colourful image. British. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael.” Mark. and they look good.” Neil.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer.” Narinder. 24. British.3. Male “For Topshop.” Kevin. British. I prefer blue jeans. For jeans.” Vanessa. Chinese. Male “Simple. In order to investigate this issue. not like football. like grid shirts. alternative sports. they work well. I prefer some simple image. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. 23.” Alick. 27. Female “Basically. Chinese. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. For T-shirt. 23. fits my age. 54 . Female “’Simply Me’. Male “60s hippie. 26. khaki style…quality is good. 2002). 27. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. 22. 24. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. Male 4. Chinese. British. All Saints is a bit more innovative. British. For shirts. usually cotton…” Hannah.
you can buy it online. Chinese. no. 22. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it.” Narinder. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. Chinese.” Michael. Male “I don’t buy online. To be honest. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. The clothes online are cheap. right size as well” Vivian. lower prices and informative websites. 23. British. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. including the varieties of choices. but I don’t buy online. 24. I’ll have a look and compare prices. just like the clothes from the markets. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. 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. Female “Not really. try on to see if it is fit probably. Chinese. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. “No.” Kevin.Surprisingly. Female “I like fitting. 27. not right colour. Male 55 . 23. British. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. but I know many people do. “For clothes.
but it represents the taste and quality of them. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. Chinese. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. 27. 24. Chinese.” Alick. These are what internet offers. 24. Female 56 . Chinese. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. Female 4. It is good. almost everything is quite good. 23.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. 23. Male “Brand is just like the name of people.” Kevin. maybe one or twice a month. Chinese. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. 26.4 Results In the last question. good quality and good prices. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. Chinese. British. 26.” Vivian.) Vanessa. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. Chinese. It may not be the spirit of clothes. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi.“(Shop online) Sometimes. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah.” Vanessa.
mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. manufacturer. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name.” Neil.” Narinda. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service. British. British. rather than the designer. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. British.” Michael. I realized. 23. however. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. 24. 22. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. 27. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. 57 . Male 4. British.” Mark. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. At the beginning of the chapter.
style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. 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. brand is one of their considerations.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. 58 .2. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. they cited that what they liked is more important. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. In addition. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. 5. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. 5.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy.
5.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. In addition. Nevertheless.As revealed from the above findings. consumers think of the other criteria as well. However.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. 5. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. 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. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. In general. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. price and performance. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . From the findings.2. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. 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. followed by style. peers. for example. In terms of advertisements. durability.2. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. internet and shops. colour. That is to say. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes.
other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. however. 60 . it is good at manufacturing (Cui. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. 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. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality.2. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. 5.. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. by working on the brand development.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. However. 1997). 1991). Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. Also. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. while most of the Chinese respondents had. 5. prices. From the findings. styles. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. 2004).2. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. functions etc.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. including the product features. However.
5. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. However. various choices and cheaper prices. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. For online securities. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. In terms of fitting. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. online security is also a matter of concern.3 Limitations During the course of research.2. 5. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. 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. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents.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. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. time and also interpreting skills. Added to this.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 . As far as sampling method is concerned.
2000). There are numerous brands around the world. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. 5.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. 62 . Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. the characteristics of the interviewers. however. 1991). the number of samples interviewed is limited. During the interviews. As long as more time is allowed. Finally.. having a propensity of getting deviated results. 2000). especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. 2000). will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. In addition. In terms of time. for instances accent. 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. In selecting the students. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. gender and age. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews.
namely brand awareness. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. 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. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. As far as perceived quality is concerned. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. marketers can think of relevant strategies. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. style. colour. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. From the findings. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. As for brand association. brand loyalty and brand association. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. four different areas were investigated. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . price and performance.Therefore. durability. In addition. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. perceived quality and brand loyalty. To reward loyal customers. perceived quality. In terms of brand awareness.
This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. have done. could 64 . For instances.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. 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. like supermarkets. This could provide much more conclusive results. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. in addition to semi-structured interviews. Other sampling groups. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. 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 instance working class. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. 2002). For the UK. More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. Besides. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. 5.
exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. By taking the above recommendations. 65 . researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives.also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples.
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France U. U. U. U.S.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. U.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. Switzerland U. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. U.S. Rank 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 Gap L’Oreal Heinz Yahoo! Volkswagen Xerox Colgate Wrigley KFC Chanel Avon Nestle Kleenex Amazon.S.S.S. Britain Japan U.S.S.S.S.S.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.S.S.S. U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U. U.S.S. Italy U. U. U. France U.S. U.S.S. U. France U.S.S.S. U. U. Finland Japan U.S. Germany France U. U. France U. Germany U.S. U. U.S.S.Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 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 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney 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 Name Coca-Cola Country U. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 . U.S.S.S. U.S.S.S. Germany U.S. France U. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Name Nintendo Country Japan U.S.S. U.S. Netherlands France France U. U.S.S.S.S.S. U.S. U. Japan Britain S.S. U. Japan S.S. Switzerland U. U. Japan U. Germany U.S.S.S.Korea U.S.S. U. Netherlands Bermuda U.S. Germany Japan U. Britain U. U.S.
Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. 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) 80 . How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Do you recommend brands? 9. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. How often do you buy clothes? 2. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. Why do you like this brand? 11.
maybe 3 times a year. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. 81 . I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. Kevin: Yes. so in winter. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). I had a girlfriend who likes shopping.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. Kevin. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. I was the company. It would talk about 30 minutes. How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. In England. In England. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds.
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?
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?
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?
Chris: If I divide the question into 2, maybe do you have any preference for the country of manufacture?
Kevin: As I said, most of them are made in China.
Chris: What about the country of design?
Chris: Do you have special preferences for the clothes made in Europe?
Kevin: Actually, we can’t find the clothes made in Europe, but in China.
Chris: What about advertising?
Kevin: Advertising is important. Sometimes, 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.
Chris: What is the advertisement about? For Levi’s, why can it make you so memorable?
Kevin: Because people who wear the clothes look very nice, look very handsome with the clothes.
Chris: You mentioned some people appearing in this advertisement. Are these people celebrities?
Kevin: No, just models. Some of them are Chinese and some of them are foreigners.
from my perspective. so maybe next time I go shopping. they are nice to put them on. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. not frequently. Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. I will consider them. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. they put posters in the public areas. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. For winter clothes. For summer clothes. and from my mind. 85 . How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. Chris: But you maybe affected by them.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. on the streets. I only wear them for one to two year. advertisements in the shopping mall. I can’t afford it. of course. it will. it may be longer.
Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. and Demank (Jack and Jones). Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. you know. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. I never compare which clothes come from which countries. by the colour. keep the quality until out-of-date. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability. 86 .Chris: So if it’s durable. Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. then it’s of high quality. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. Kevin: As long as it can. I think their quality is good. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe.
Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. it just likes Jack and Jones. the appearance is more important…the quality. I will go to those places…not E-land. of course. 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. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. not many. but for casual wear. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. famous among young people. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. Kevin: No. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. maybe cheaper than from other countries. we prefer clothes from other countries. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. I think quality is not a problem for these brands.
you can buy it online. maybe they will keep in mind. I never buy clothes online. After I put it on. I can see how it looks like. but I know many people do. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. I prefer some simple image. I prefer blue jeans. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. if I recommend my preference to him or her. To be honest. For shirts. like grid shirts. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. For jeans. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. I know many girls do that. maybe they will ignore it. 88 . if it is fit to me. I don’t know. So. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I prefer very colorful image. I will buy it.Kevin: No. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. like the clothes from the markets. The clothes online are cheap. For T-shirt. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image.
89 . 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. maybe take it as my pajamas. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. Kevin: Yea. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. But if I’m not satisfied with it. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. that’s the main advantage. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. just after finish shopping.Chris: So. Normally. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. maybe after one or two month. of course I will wear it. they will give me a VIP card. but less frequently. maybe they are there. As long as l finish shopping. at least once a week. Chris: If you are satisfied. I will wear it very regularly. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval.
sunglasses. something like that. Thanks very much. glasses. Chris: That’s all for the interview. 90 . wallet. but it represents the taste and quality of them. It may not the spirit of the clothes. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’.like some accessories. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. belts.