Effect of Brand Image on Consumer Purchasing Behaviour on Clothing: Comparison between China and the UK’s Consumers

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 Chinese spending habits Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market British spending habits 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

20 23

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 Within-case analysis Cross-case analysis 3.8 Summary

24 24 24 24 25 26 27 29 31 31 32 34 34 34 34

35 36 37 37

Chapter 4: Research findings and discussion 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Backgrounds of respondents 4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 4.3.2 Brand awareness

38 38 38 40 40


3.4 Implications 5.2.1 Introduction 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.2.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.4.5 Brand association 4.4 Results 4.3 Limitations 5.3.3 Perceived quality 5.3.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.2 Brand awareness 5.5 Recommendations for further research 58 58 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64 References 66 Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79 Appendix 2: Interview questions 80 Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81 .4 Brand loyalty Perceived quality Conclusions 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.5 Brand association 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.

The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. 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. 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. perceived quality. brand loyalty and brand association. In the UK. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry. i . however. namely brand awareness. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world.

He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. Last but not least. 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. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. ii . I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. 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 addition.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. Dr. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. Vicky Story.

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

1. In this paper. (2004). 2005). Ailawadi. Under this concept. On the other hand. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China.2. In order to differentiate one brand from another. In accordance with Delong et al. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. 1991. 1. 1993. 2000. Being an advanced developing country.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. 2000). 1993). 2001. managing brand image is of utmost importance.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . Corstjens and Lal. 1996. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. In this way. 2003). The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. contributing to 74. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues.widen the profit margins. 1998. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. Keller. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades.

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

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

it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic.2.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people.2. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). Regarding its GDP growth. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes.2. Among the respondents. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. 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. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades.com. 2007). females are more likely 5 .about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. regardless of their quality. 1. According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. The manufacturing sector. because of its mature economic structure. In addition. 2004). The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense.com. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. March 25). including the clothing industry. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. 2007). 1. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist.

Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. there is a trend for own brand development. 1. As mentioned by Moore (1995). In 6 . as cited in Carruthers.. a polarized marketplace. 1994). the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. concentrated markets. As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. However. South and Spitze. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. and occasionally. 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. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. 1999. 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. 2004. 1998. 2002). as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. 1995). Siddiqui et al. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy.to spend on clothes than males.2. However. 2004). 1999). 2003). Moore. 2004). 2003). 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. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. strong competitive activities. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes.2. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. short-life-cycle products.

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

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

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. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. Whether brand image would affect the consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities and differences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated. 9 . Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included.

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

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

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

1991. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. namely brand loyalty. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. 1991). perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. 2. 1991). Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections.3. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. name awareness. Keller. 1991).The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. For instance.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker. 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. There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. Besides. As for the firm. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. 1998). Owning to the positive image. For the consumers. 2005).

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

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

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

(2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. 1997. 1995. In addition to the tangible products. which contribute to a specific brand image. 2000). For instance. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. Silverman.. Finally. Marney. several airlines like Cathay Pacific. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another.recommend the same model of product. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. 2.3. 1998. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. Hence. Moreover. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. episodes. 2000). Bansal and Voyer. examples. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. 17 . Consumers usually depend on informal. This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. consisting of multiple ideas. 2000). 1991). According to Aaker (1991). It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. the intangible qualities.

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

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

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

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

including retailer and in-store selection. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). stage seven comes to divestment. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. According to Porter (2004). 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. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision.. Stage five. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. In stage five. In addition to in-store purchase. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. 2006). The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. 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. (2006). Last but not least.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. As stated by Blackwell et al. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others. 2003). in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. 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. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six.. 22 . This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al. 2006). visual displays inside the shops. customers evaluate the consumption process. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes.

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

data are gathered. The details of the sampling would also be discussed. namely qualitative and quantitative research.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. 24 . whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. research is required.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. interpretive research and critical postmodernism.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. In general. 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.. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. namely positivism. 3. research theories can be classified into different types. epistemology is about the science of knowing.2. 2004). 2004). there are two types of research methods. there are three research traditions. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. During the course of consumer behaviour research. 3. theories. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. In accordance with Gephart (2004). recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. think and behave (Arnould et al. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. the research traditions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The questions in this stage are as follows. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. probing questions were asked if needed.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. 4. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. were discussed. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. As mentioned in the literatures. Moreover.5. 32 . In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. 1998). What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. these can help understand their spending styles. Mooij. 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. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. including brand and brand equity. How often do you buy clothes? 2. 1999.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.

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

It focuses on 34 . 3. repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features.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.5. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). 2004). they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview.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. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses.7. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. This serves as a summary of how interviewees perceive brands by providing their own definitions which may be similar or different from what is said in the literature. 3. The interviews were then transcribed.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. and common categories from observational data (Babbie. 1984).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. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. 3. themes.3. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns.

which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. leading to further analysis of themes. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. In addition. especially the use of systemic coding. conceptualization. cataloguing concepts. reflection. Hence. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). 2006). interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al.7. 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.different ways to code data (Dey. provided that they follow three rules. According to Easterby-Smith et al. 2004). maintaining an attitude of skepticism. 3. including familiarization. Besides. re-coding. methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured.. They include periodically stepping back and asking. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . 1993).2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. as well as following the research procedures. 2006). There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total. based on grounded theory. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. patterns and categories. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. 2002). (2002).

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

Within-case analysis

Listening to tape and producing a transcript

Coding the transcript

Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes

Looking for patterns from similar and different responses

Creating tables based on responses from interviewees

Cross-case analysis

Figure 1: Overview of analysis 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. 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

maybe 3 times a year. 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. 23. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. Chinese.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. Female Besides. 2002).” Hannah. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. In England.” Kevin. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). British. quite rare. Male 39 . But before that. buy every 4 to 5 months. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. 24. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. Because I have been poor. 2000). some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. British. 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.” Mark. 23.” Narinder. Male “In China. 27. let’s go’. maybe one item every couple of month. Generally. 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. 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. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes).

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

The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. 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.examined in question 4.or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 . The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Pleasant.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Intuition +/. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes. +/.

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

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

Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. 1986. 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. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5..or words in black: Initial response without prompt. 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 +/. Among these respondents.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. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. Tsai et al. peers. 2007).advertisement. internet and shops. +/.

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

while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. and from my mind. I will consider them. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6. “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. 46 . in which interviewees were asked.” Kevin. Chinese. British. 4.3. they are nice to put them on. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. that’s cool. when I go shopping next time. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. So. 24.” Neil. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. 23. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents.

colour. 1991). 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 + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7. price and performance.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. There are no significance differences between British 47 . nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality. followed by style. durability. Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. +/.

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

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

” Vanessa. 8 and 12 in which the respondents were asked whether they buy the same brands regularly and also if they recommend brands to the others. I will prefer France or Italy ones. 50 . I think those made-in-China are something good. Lowest (quality) maybe China. Chinese. This is in line with what has mentioned in the literature that China is proficient in production and hence many foreign investors would like to produce their already-designed products there (Cui. if I consider some basic ones. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. 23. China don’t have very famous brands. Italy as well. 1997). If it’s about big brands. maybe it’s the reason.” Vivian. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. or some of the developing countries. Chinese. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. Actually. Female 4.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7.“I think the UK and US have top brands.3. 26. Female Nevertheless.

recommend brands to friends or relatives.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. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 . and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. 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. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands.

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

26. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands.” Vanessa. Female 53 . British. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. Chinese. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. 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). “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear.” Narinder. we need not apply for the loyalty cards.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. Chinese. It fits my age and my occupation as students. The price is acceptable. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. Sometimes. Chinese.as cited in the literature (Aaker. Female 4. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. 24. Vivian. 1991). Store cards are dangerous. It’s not stylish but it is well made. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. 2007). That’s why I don’t apply for it. 27. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. not so complicated design” Jovi. 23.3.

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

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

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

5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. British. I realized. 24. British.” Narinda.” Michael. 27. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. At the beginning of the chapter. rather than the designer. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. 22. Male 4. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. British. British. manufacturer. however. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service. 57 . 23. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes.” Mark. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents.” Neil.

with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. 58 . The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. However. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. In addition. brand is one of their considerations. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. they cited that what they liked is more important. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. 5. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. 5.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image.2.

In general. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes.As revealed from the above findings. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . followed by style. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. peers. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. durability. Nevertheless. 5. consumers think of the other criteria as well.2. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. colour. internet and shops. From the findings. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. 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.2. price and performance. However. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. In terms of advertisements. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. for example. 5. 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.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. That is to say. In addition.

1991).5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. functions etc. however. 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. 1997). However. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. while most of the Chinese respondents had. 5.2. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. prices.2. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. However. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. styles. 2004). whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. including the product features. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. by working on the brand development. 5. Also.. From the findings. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. 60 .

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

interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. however. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. Finally.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. having a propensity of getting deviated results. 62 . Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. 5. the characteristics of the interviewers. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. 2000). Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. 2000). gender and age. There are numerous brands around the world. In terms of time. As long as more time is allowed. In addition. for instances accent.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. 2000). 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. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. During the interviews. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. the number of samples interviewed is limited. 1991). In selecting the students. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views..

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

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

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

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U.S.S. U.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. Japan Britain S.S.S. France U.S.S. U. U.S.S. Japan S. U. U. Italy U.S. U. U. Britain U. Germany France U.S. Finland Japan U.S. U.S.S.S.S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 . U.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S.S. U. Netherlands Bermuda U.S.S. U. France U.S. U.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. U. U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U. U.S.S.S.S.S. U.S. France U.S.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. U. U. Britain Japan U. Japan U. Switzerland U. U. U.S.S. Germany U.S.S.S.S.S.S. Netherlands France France U.S.Korea U. U.S. Germany U.S.S. U.S.S.S.S.S.Korea Britain Japan Britain 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.S. Germany Japan U. U.S. Germany U. Switzerland U. France U. France U.

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

How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. 81 . Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. Kevin: Yes. In England. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). It would talk about 30 minutes. maybe 3 times a year. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. I was the company. Kevin. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. so in winter.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. In England. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping.

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?

Kevin: Shops.

Chris: What about brand?

Kevin: Yea, Jack and Jones.

Chris: What about country of origin?

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

Chris: So you have no special preferences?

Kevin: No.

Chris: If I divide the question into 2, maybe do you have any preference for the country of manufacture?

Kevin: As I said, most of them are made in China.

Chris: What about the country of design?

Kevin: Europe.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

glasses. something like that. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. It may not the spirit of the clothes. Chris: That’s all for the interview. Thanks very much. but it represents the taste and quality of them. wallet. 90 . I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. belts.like some accessories. sunglasses.

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