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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 220.127.116.11 Chinese spending habits 18.104.22.168 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 22.214.171.124 British spending habits 126.96.36.199 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 188.8.131.52 Within-case analysis 184.108.40.206 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
4 Implications 5.2 Brand awareness 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.3 Limitations 220.127.116.11 Brand association 18.104.22.168 Brand association 4.2.1 Introduction 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.2.4 Brand loyalty 22.214.171.124 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 .4 Results 4.2 Conclusions 5.3 Perceived quality 5.4 Brand loyalty 126.96.36.199 Perceived quality 4.4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.
comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. i . perceived quality. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. namely brand awareness. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. 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. brand loyalty and brand association. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. however. In the UK.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products.
In addition. Last but not least. Dr. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead.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. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. ii . I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. Vicky Story. 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. in assisting me to finish the dissertation.
Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. choose the buying modes. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. 1 . which can tell how significant an individual is. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. Several brands. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. purchase and post-purchase. Thus. namely pre-purchase. different genders and cultural backgrounds. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. read product information. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. have become popular not only in their country of origin. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. clothing can help represent our personal identity. 1996).Chapter 1 Introduction 1. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. 2000). Nowadays.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. as a matter of fact. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. clothes can also serve as fashion items. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. decide which and where to buy. in addition to the basic functions. but also in other markets with high potential.
brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. 1993. On the other hand. 2000). managing brand image is of utmost importance. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. In accordance with Delong et al. 1998. contributing to 74.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures.2.widen the profit margins. Under this concept. Corstjens and Lal. 2005). the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. 2001. Keller.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. 2000. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. (2004). In this way. 1996. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. 1991. 1993). consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. 1. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. 1. Ailawadi. 2003). Being an advanced developing country. In this paper. In order to differentiate one brand from another.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . which would be illustrated in the following chapters.
It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China.2005 (WTO. However. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. However. 2004). pricing. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). 1.1. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. Nowadays. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. On average. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. 3 . China plays a role as a producer. followed by cutting. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al.. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates.2. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. people spend 7. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. however. 2006). The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. 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). Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. quality and finally trendiness.
Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. 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.1. Besides. however. Also.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. however. 1.2.. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. According to a report published by Business Week (2007). become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. However. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. The originally advantageous factors.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. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. When it comes to the case 4 . They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. 2004). 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.
2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. females are more likely 5 . nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. In addition. Regarding its GDP growth. 1. 2007). contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes.com. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist.2. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. regardless of their quality. including the clothing industry.com. Among the respondents. 1.2. According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. because of its mature economic structure. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. March 25). 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. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense. 2004). pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades.2. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. 2007). The manufacturing sector.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people.
Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. concentrated markets. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia.2. there is a trend for own brand development. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. 1999. However. 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. 1994). 2004). 2003). a polarized marketplace. Siddiqui et al. 2003). Moore. 1999). the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. as cited in Carruthers. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. 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. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy.to spend on clothes than males. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. 1998. 1. 2004). 1995). the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. 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.. short-life-cycle products. 2002). and occasionally. 2004. In 6 . South and Spitze. strong competitive activities. However.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. As mentioned by Moore (1995).2.
perceived brand equity and brand associations. 2001. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. Marciniak and Bruce.. 2004. brand loyalty. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. 1995). family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned. 2003). the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce. clothing is a kind of public 7 . 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. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. composing of independent. 1. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. 2004). the retailing sector is fragmented. Compared with other retailed sector. 1998). 1. According to Aaker (1991).addition. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. namely brand awareness. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. Mintel.
5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. China. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. 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. In this way. 1. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. 2007). Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. 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 . ZARA. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. In addition. is on the lookout for extensions. 2007. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. 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. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. First. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands.
Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. 9 . Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. 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. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology.understandable in the forthcoming sections.
2001). there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. From the consumers’ perspective. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 .. packaging. 2003). consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. In addition to a specific brand name. However.Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. 2. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. 1991. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. 1991. 1998). Murphy. 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. 1998). a brand is also composed of products.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. Keller. This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image. advertising.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. 1998). 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. most of them concentrate on a single country study. Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. In this chapter.
namely tangible product. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. there are four elements for building a successful brand. consumers would have their preferences. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. Basic brand.in consumer products (Roman et al. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. they share something in common. 1998). augmented brand and potential brand. Fennis and Pruyn.2. Nowadays. When deciding which products to purchase. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. 1999. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. basic brand.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. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. 1998. Murphy. Added to this. 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. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . 1998). Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. 2006). 2. As mentioned by Levitt (1983). 2005).. effective after-sales services and the like. 2000). which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. 1999). According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. Finally and most importantly. on the other hand.
including its name and symbol. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. 2007). 1996). not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. 1998). In order to combat piracy. However. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. Vodafone. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. 1998). which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. 1995). Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. it happens when consumers are willing to pay more for the same level of quality just because of the attractiveness of the name attached to the product (Bello and Holbrook. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. In countries with well-established legal system. 12 .3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. 2. poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image. patents. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker.preference and loyalty. By doing so. 2007). 2002). designs as well as copyright. Yasin et al.. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. Marks and Spencer. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. Brands like HSBC. For instance. 1991. Added to this. In addition.
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. name awareness.3. 2. 1991). It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. Owning to the positive image. 1991). 1998). 2005). with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. Besides. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . For the consumers. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. namely brand loyalty. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. For instance. There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. 1991. Keller. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. 1991). As for the firm. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process.
1990. 2007). As for source 14 . 1986. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. As mentioned by Keller (1998). (2004). 1990). Moreover. Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. For long time.. 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. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. due to their political separations. In addition.. In this way. Tsai et al. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. Macdonald and Sharp. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. 2000). brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. For source credibility. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones.. owing to geographical differences. two tasks are to be accomplished. In order to achieve brand awareness. has once been a colony of the UK. 2005)..set (Blackwell et al. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. In recent decades. 2007). being a special administrative region since 1997. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. According to research conducted by Delong et al. In case of China. as pointed out by McGuire (1978).
on the other hand. competence. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. durability. Regarding product quality. namely performance. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. 1991).3. reliability.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality.. 1992). Nevertheless. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. features. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 . To be more specific. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. Since it is a kind of intangible. 2007). Similar to brand awareness. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. Keller. overall feeling towards a brand. 1998. 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.attractiveness. 2004). 2. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. Service quality. charging premium price. conformance with specifications. Yasin. 1991. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. differentiating the position of a brand. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. 1991). serviceability as well as fit and finish. reliability. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. 1989).
1991). First. In this case. Keller (1998). As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). 2. This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. 1991).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. Moreover. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty.. 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. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. Hence. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. regardless of the superior features. For many companies.3. 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. 1991).. the less vulnerable the customer base would be. consumers continue to buy the brand. 2005). Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. 1991). however. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 .purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. Under the influence of brand loyalty. 1993). Third. Second. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker.
Bansal and Voyer. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. which contribute to a specific brand image. Consumers usually depend on informal. several airlines like Cathay Pacific. According to Aaker (1991). 1991).4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. Silverman. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. 1995. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker.3. consisting of multiple ideas. Moreover. Marney. 2. Hence. examples. 1997. This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. Finally. 2000).recommend the same model of product. 2000). 2000).. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. 17 . brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. In addition to the tangible products. episodes. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. For instance. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. the intangible qualities. 1998.
Keller (1993. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. making the customers remember the brand by heart. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. benefits and attitudes. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. on the other hand. Benefits are another category in brand associations. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. For product-related attributes. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. 1991). packaging. For experimental benefits. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. They can be classified into functional. 1998). Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. Second. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. namely attributes. This can make the brand 18 . 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. experimental and symbolic. As for non-product related attributes. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. Finally. First of all. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. price information. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. Symbolic benefits. 1998).
The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. Forth. use or dispose the products. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. services. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. contributing to its higher premium price. Third. ideas or experiences. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . buy. money and effort. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. 2. First of all. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. 2006).4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day.. For examples. some associations can engender positive feelings. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. a vivid brand image is established. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. however. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand.
2001. consumption and disposal of products or services. 20 post-consumption evaluation and . 1998). Therefore. Moreover. as well as disposal of used goods. Second. Based on this loophole. comprising acquisition of goods and services. 2003). However.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. 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. which companies to succeed. Blackwell et al. Although they vary in form of presentation. Arnoud et al. 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.. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. 2. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. pre-purchase.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. For instance. and also which products to excel. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. evaluation. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned.. search for information. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop.4. consumption. 2006). consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. These seven steps include need recognition. Rayport and Jaworski. consumption. 2006). purchase. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits.
Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. 1997). income. Ongoing search. 2006). 2005). on the other hand. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. There are two kinds of needs. Attributes like quantity. 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. As mentioned by Solomon et al. size of purchase. In this stage.divestment (Blackwell et al.. Any changes in 21 . is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. namely functional needs and psychological needs. Stage two is the search of information. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search.. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. 1992). size. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand.. Stage one is need recognition which occurs when an individual is aware of a difference between their perception and the actual satisfaction level (Solomon et al. 2006). as well as customer satisfaction. Blackwell et al.. past experiences. (2006). social class.
customers evaluate the consumption process. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. 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). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. 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. This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al.. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. 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. 2003). as well as point-of-purchase advertising. In stage five. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. stage seven comes to divestment. (2006). 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. Stage five. 22 . In addition to in-store purchase. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. visual displays inside the shops. As stated by Blackwell et al. Last but not least. including retailer and in-store selection. According to Porter (2004). there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes.. 2006).
2. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. perceived quality. brand loyalty and brand associations. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. In this dissertation. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. products are developed in an unprecedented way. including brand awareness. 23 .5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. and at the same time. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. perceived quality. Nowadays. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated.
In accordance with Gephart (2004). there are three research traditions. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. 24 . 2004). think and behave (Arnould et al.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. data are gathered. epistemology is about the science of knowing.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. interpretive research and critical postmodernism. research is required. research theories can be classified into different types. 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. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches.2. theories. During the course of consumer behaviour research.. 3. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. namely positivism. there are two types of research methods. In general.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. 2004). 3. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. the research traditions. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. The details of the sampling would also be discussed.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. namely qualitative and quantitative research. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic.
2004. including experiences. 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. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. together with the structures and processes within it.2.. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. In the field of research. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. events and mechanisms. 1993). feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. random sampling 25 . Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. Dey. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. Finally. 2002). As for critical postmodernism. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. In accordance to Fisher (2004). official statistics. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. 3. While positivism stresses on objectivity. examining the attitudes.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. Added to this. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data.
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. attitude (Kirk and Miller. 3. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . for example. Unlike quantitative research. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. 1956. 1964. 2000). 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. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. In this way.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. (2002). it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. Besides. Silverman. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. 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. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer.2. Nevertheless. Qualitative analysis. numeric data. however. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale. 1989).3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. 2000). As for qualitative research. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. Cicourel. 1986). 2000). 1975). suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. 2000).
1992). giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. As mentioned by Tesch (1990). the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. However. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. (2003). it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. 2000). 1992). As mentioned by Saunders et al. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. 2000). the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. This may affect the reliability of the research findings. namely language-orientated approach. 3. While reliability is correlated to consistency. 27 . As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). Hence. 2006). Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. to justify reliability. Besides.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research.useful findings or not.
the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. 2004).descriptive/ interpretative approach. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. 2006). focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. 28 . interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. Finally. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. say 12-15 people. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. For instance. researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. 1992). 2000). The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. Added to this. In case of interviews. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. 2004). 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. as well as theory-building approach. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. During the course of interviews. However. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. Thus.
unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. Unlike structured interviews. 2006). non-probability sampling is used 29 . it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. 2000). with the use of a semi-structured format. Among different structures of interviews. interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses.Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. researchers can follow up some unexpected. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. 2000). leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. like other self-report methods. In accordance with Breakwell (2006).4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. interesting responses emerged during the interviews. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. 3. In addition. 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. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. Moreover. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. 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. researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. When it comes to the process of data collection. semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. 2006). This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data.
researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. In this research. findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. Moreover. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. As mentioned by Proctor (2000). Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. in quota sampling method.as the tool for this research. Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. 2004). Hence. Among the 10 samples. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). 2002. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. 30 . 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. 1982). equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. 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. Malhotra and King. 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. 2003). 2005).
Also.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. was mentioned. so they were not covered here.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. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. say 30 minutes. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. The approximate length of the interview. 3. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. There are two types of questions. Questions 1 31 . the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). which are discussed in the following sections.5. 2006). As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell.1 Stage one In this stage. After the introduction. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly.
How often do you buy clothes? 2. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. including brand and brand equity.to 3 attempt to serve as ice-breaking as the interviewees may not be prepared to answer in-depth questions at the very beginning of the interview. 32 . brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. As mentioned in the literatures. 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. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. 1998). further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. Mooij. The questions in this stage are as follows. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. these can help understand their spending styles. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses.5. Moreover. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. were discussed. probing questions were asked if needed. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. 4. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. 1999.
these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. 11. 2006. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. Do you recommend brands? 9. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. 5. including pre-purchase. Keller. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al.. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. Rayport and Jaworski. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . 1993). 2003). 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. 1991. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10.perceived quality.
depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. 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. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis. The interviews were then transcribed. 1984).3. 3. themes.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. 2004). possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage.5. It focuses on 34 .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. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. and common categories from observational data (Babbie. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. 3. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. 3. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features.
patterns and categories. leading to further analysis of themes. maintaining an attitude of skepticism. re-coding. 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. 3. They include periodically stepping back and asking. as well as following the research procedures. provided that they follow three rules.7. (2002). 2002). As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990).. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. based on grounded theory. Besides. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total. In addition. interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. reflection. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. According to Easterby-Smith et al. cataloguing concepts. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. 2006). linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al. Hence. conceptualization. 2006). methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. 1993). including familiarization.different ways to code data (Dey. especially the use of systemic coding. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. 2004).
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
188.8.131.52 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.
184.108.40.206 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
British. maybe one item every couple of month. maybe 3 times a year. buy every 4 to 5 months. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. Because I have been poor. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. let’s go’. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). 2002). In England. 27. British. 2000). Male “In China. Female Besides. 23.” Mark. Generally. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably.” Narinder. 23.” Kevin. 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. Male 39 . quite rare. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. But before that. These are in line with the literature that students spend less than the other groups like working class as far as clothes purchasing is concerned (HKTDC. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. 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. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). 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. British.” Hannah. Chinese. 24.
I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. “Probably. the reasons why people buy them vary.When asking about the price range of clothes. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. It really gets a large variation. South and Spitze. Keller. however. retailers. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. 1994). Sometimes. 24. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. 1993).. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.3. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. as well as consumers (Aaker. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. with more emphasis being placed on the comparisons between British and Chinese consumers so as to provide new insights for further development of brands in the clothing sector. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 . As mentioned in chapter 2. 1991. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. 1999. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. In the coming section. 4. 2007). British. There could be two identical clothes in the world.
The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. Intuition +/. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes. Non-label Non-advert Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + - - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + 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.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Pleasant. 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. +/. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections.or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 .
Actually. 1991). the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT.” Neil. In this regard. Male “Never. 23. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. British. Female 42 .” Mark. British. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. Moreover. British. If I have good experiences with something. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. However. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. 24.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. They are probably the shops I like. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. 24. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. “Yes. all respondents from both nations regard quality. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. Well. I probably buy again. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes.” Hannah. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. Male “Well. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. but I do not particularly look for brand names.
This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. Female Based on the above findings. In addition.to high-priced brands. Chinese.3. So. do have better quality than cheaper brands. 24. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. like medium.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. Chinese. For some T-shirts. if I buy cheap ones. 1999.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. 26. But recently. I can use less money. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. 2006). It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. I bought some big brands like designer labels. Fennis and Pruyn.” Jovi. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. “I do think most of the brands. it costs me too much. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes. 2005). one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. if I buy too many big brands.” Vanessa. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. and buy more clothes to change. including 43 . as well as quality (Roman et al. 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.. 4. 1991). Female “Yes. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting.
The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. Among these respondents.advertisement. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British.. internet and shops.or words in blue: Response with prompt Advert Peers Others Internet + + + + + + + Internet Internet From shops Advertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al. Tsai et al. 2007). Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. +/. peers. two of them 44 . 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 +/. 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.or words in black: Initial response without prompt.
24. 23. they (basketball players) will show up. 1989). Chinese. British. Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. and it’s easy to make connections. “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). 45 . 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. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. David Beckham.” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. During the game break. Female “TV.” Kevin. so they associate themselves with brands. advertisements in the shopping mall.” Neil. Marketing people may affect me someway.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. you know. 23. Chinese. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. Lance Armstrong. Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. Like Coby Bryrant. they are familiar faces.
Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. 4. and from my mind.3. 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.” Neil. in which interviewees were asked. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6. I will consider them. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. 23. they are nice to put them on. 24. So. when I go shopping next time. British.” Kevin. that’s cool. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. 46 .
There are no significance differences between British 47 .or words in black: Initial response without prompt. durability. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker.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 + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality. colour. price and performance. +/. 1991). Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7. followed by style.
The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 . British. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. I expect Puma quality basically.” Jovi. 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. Regarding country of origin. Contradictory to the literature. 24. For buying Puma shoes. 22.and Chinese respondents. France or Italy. so the countries don’t really affect it. they represent better quality. Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. “In some of the countries like Japan. Chinese. France Italy. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. 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.” Michael.
Italy No comment Korea. Malaysia. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. If Puma gets its stuff from China. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. from Thailand. Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8. US. “I don’t have some preconception about it. they should meet the required quality. produce poor quality clothes. Italy China. Because I know from every country.” Michael. 22. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. 49 . British. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. 2004). France. some South American countries Vivian Li UK. 24. including China. However. Male “They suppose to all be the same. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. Thailand. India. you can buy good or bad clothes. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries..” Neil. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. British.
1997).“I think the UK and US have top brands. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. Italy as well. 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. Actually.” Vanessa. Lowest (quality) maybe China.” Vivian. I think those made-in-China are something good. or some of the developing countries. 23.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. Female Nevertheless. 26. Chinese. If it’s about big brands. Chinese.3. Female 4. 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. maybe it’s the reason. China don’t have very famous brands. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. 50 . I will prefer France or Italy ones. if I consider some basic ones.
For those who buy regularly from the same brands. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 . and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. 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. more Chinese respondents tend to buy 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. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. recommend brands to friends or relatives.
British.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. 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 . In the UK.. Female “I just like it.” Vivian. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. I will tell them. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. I will tell my friends.” Mark. Topshop and All Saints. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. Male Surprisingly. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. 24. I like Fred Perry. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. Chinese. In Hong Kong.” Neil. for examples. British. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. so I will buy them more often. The Diesel jeans fit me well.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good. there are quite many. 24. 23. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. Chinese.. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. CEU and Vertical Club.’” Vanessa. 26.” Jovi. Chinese. British. 27. 23.
23. Sometimes. Chinese. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. 2007). not so complicated design” Jovi. 26. Vivian. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. Store cards are dangerous. That’s why I don’t apply for it. Female 4. The price is acceptable. Chinese. it takes time to apply for it and maybe I will not spend much money on the same shops…I tried to apply House of Fraser and M&S (loyalty cards). Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No.” Vanessa. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear.3. It fits my age and my occupation as students. we need not apply for the loyalty cards.” Narinder.as cited in the literature (Aaker. 24. British. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. Chinese. 1991).5 Brand association Regarding brand association. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. Female 53 . 27. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. It’s not stylish but it is well made.
6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. British. Female “Basically. 2002). 22. 23. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. not like football. Chinese. All Saints is a bit more innovative.” Mark. 26. Chinese. and they look good. Male “For Topshop. khaki style…quality is good. Chinese. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. 27. In order to investigate this issue. British. Female “’Simply Me’. they work well.3. 24. 27. like grid shirts. British. usually cotton…” Hannah. Male “They are practical. 24.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. For shirts. I prefer blue jeans.” Kevin. alternative sports.” Neil. Male “60s hippie. I prefer very colourful image. fits my age. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. I prefer some simple image. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. 23. Male 4. Male “Simple. British. For T-shirt.” Narinder.” Alick.” Vanessa. For jeans. British. 54 .
Male 55 . I’ll have a look and compare prices. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. Chinese. Male “I don’t buy online. you can buy it online. 23. try on to see if it is fit probably.” Kevin. 27. lower prices and informative websites. right size as well” Vivian. just like the clothes from the markets. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. but I know many people do. Chinese. “For clothes. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. not right colour.Surprisingly. including the varieties of choices. but I don’t buy online. “No. To be honest.” Narinder. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons. Female “Not really. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. The clothes online are cheap. 23. 24. 22.” Michael. British. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. no. Female “I like fitting. These signify the fact that online shopping for clothes is not impossible but something need to be done to improve it as far as the problems of fitting before purchasing and online security are concerned. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. British. Chinese.
4 Results In the last question. Chinese.” Vanessa. Male “Brand is just like the name of people. almost everything is quite good. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. 24. but it represents the taste and quality of them. Female 4. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand.” Vivian. These are what internet offers. Chinese.” Alick. 23. 24. Chinese. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. Chinese. British. good quality and good prices. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah.) Vanessa. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. maybe one or twice a month. 26. Female 56 . 23. Chinese. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. Chinese. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. 26. It may not be the spirit of clothes. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand.” Kevin. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money.“(Shop online) Sometimes. 27.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. It is good.
British. British. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. 27.” Michael. 57 . I realized. 22.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. British.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with. however. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes.” Mark. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development. manufacturer. 23.” Neil. At the beginning of the chapter. Male 4. 24. British.” Narinda. rather than the designer.
For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below.2. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. they cited that what they liked is more important. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity. 5.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. In addition. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. 58 . more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy. 5. brand is one of their considerations. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. However.
2. 5. 5. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. In addition.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. Nevertheless. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. consumers think of the other criteria as well. peers. durability. for example. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. internet and shops. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. followed by style. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 .2. In terms of advertisements. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. price and performance. colour. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. From the findings. That is to say. However. 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. 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.As revealed from the above findings. In general.
However. while most of the Chinese respondents had. however.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. functions etc. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. by working on the brand development. including the product features.2. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. 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. 5. Also. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives.2. styles. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. However. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. 5. 60 .. 2004). As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. 1991). 1997). prices. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. From the findings.
the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. various choices and cheaper prices. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. 5. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 . Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo.2. However. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. 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. Added to this. In terms of fitting. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. 5.3 Limitations During the course of research. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels.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. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. As far as sampling method is concerned. For online securities. online security is also a matter of concern. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. time and also interpreting skills.
Finally. 2000). the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. In selecting the students. gender and age.. In terms of time. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. having a propensity of getting deviated results. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. During the interviews. 2000). As long as more time is allowed. 2000). however. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. 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. 1991). more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. 62 . including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. the characteristics of the interviewers. In addition. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. the number of samples interviewed is limited. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. 5. There are numerous brands around the world. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. for instances accent. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour.
having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. brand loyalty and brand association. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. From the findings. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. price and performance. four different areas were investigated. 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. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. colour. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. marketers can think of relevant strategies. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. In addition.Therefore. As for brand association. durability. perceived quality. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. namely brand awareness. style. As far as perceived quality is concerned. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. In terms of brand awareness. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. To reward loyal customers. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. perceived quality and brand loyalty.
it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. This could provide much more conclusive results. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. could 64 . Besides. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. For instances. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. 2002). 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. have done. 5.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. 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. in addition to semi-structured interviews. 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. for instance working class. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. Other sampling groups. like supermarkets.
exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. 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. By taking the above recommendations.
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S. U.S. Switzerland U. U.S.S. U. U.S.S. U. Britain Japan U. Netherlands France France U. U.S.S. Germany U. U.S.S. U.S.S. Finland Japan U.S. Japan S. U.S.S.S. Germany U. France U.Korea U. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 .S. U.S. U. Germany Japan U. U.S.S.S.S. U.S. France U. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S.S.S. U.S. 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. Germany France U.S.S. U. Italy U.S.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.S. U. U. France U.S. Japan U.S.S.S. U. U.S. U. Germany U. U.S.S.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.S. France U. Switzerland U.S.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.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co.S. Britain U. U. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U.S.S.S. France U.S. Japan Britain S.S. Netherlands Bermuda U. 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. U. U.S. U.S. U.
Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. 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 . In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. Why do you like this brand? 11. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. How often do you buy clothes? 2. Do you recommend brands? 9. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5.
normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). I was the company. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. maybe 3 times a year. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. so in winter. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. 81 . Kevin: Yes.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. In England. It would talk about 30 minutes. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. In England. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. Kevin.
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.
I will consider them. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. advertisements in the shopping mall. it will. so maybe next time I go shopping. For winter clothes. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. they put posters in the public areas. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. For summer clothes. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. from my perspective. not frequently. I only wear them for one to two year. 85 . Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. on the streets. of course.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. and from my mind. I can’t afford it. Chris: But you maybe affected by them. they are nice to put them on. it may be longer.
Chris: So if it’s durable. you know. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. Kevin: As long as it can. Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability. keep the quality until out-of-date. 86 . these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. I never compare which clothes come from which countries. Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). I think their quality is good. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. then it’s of high quality. by the colour. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. and Demank (Jack and Jones).
we prefer clothes from other countries. famous among young people. you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. but for casual wear. not many.Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. it just likes Jack and Jones. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 . we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. maybe cheaper than from other countries. of course. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. Kevin: No. I will go to those places…not E-land. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people. the appearance is more important…the quality.
but I know many people do. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. The clothes online are cheap. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. For shirts.Kevin: No. like grid shirts. like the clothes from the markets. 88 . I prefer blue jeans. I can see how it looks like. I prefer very colorful image. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. I know many girls do that. I will buy it. I never buy clothes online. maybe they will keep in mind. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image. maybe they will ignore it. I prefer some simple image. After I put it on. I don’t know. if it is fit to me. For jeans. So. you can buy it online. For T-shirt. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. To be honest. if I recommend my preference to him or her.
maybe after one or two month. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. at least once a week. maybe take it as my pajamas. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. but less frequently. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. Chris: If you are satisfied. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. they will give me a VIP card. But if I’m not satisfied with it. of course I will wear it. I will wear it very regularly. 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. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. just after finish shopping. Normally. As long as l finish shopping. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. Kevin: Yea. that’s the main advantage. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. 89 . Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes.Chris: So. maybe they are there. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once.
like some accessories. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. It may not the spirit of the clothes. but it represents the taste and quality of them. wallet. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. something like that. Chris: That’s all for the interview. glasses. Thanks very much. belts. 90 . sunglasses.
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