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

By Kwok Keung Tam

2007

A Dissertation presented in part consideration for the degree of “MSc International Business”

Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i

Acknowledgements

ii

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

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

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

10 10 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 19

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 3.7.2.1 Within-case analysis 3.7.2.2 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

43

4 Brand loyalty 4.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.3.3 Perceived quality 5.2.3.2.3 Perceived quality 4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.2 Conclusions 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.3.1 Introduction 5.4 Implications 5.2 Brand awareness 5.2.2.3.2.5 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 .4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.5 Brand association 5.5 Brand association 4.3 Limitations 5.2.4 Results 4.

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

but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation.Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. 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. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. Dr. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. Vicky Story. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. In addition. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. Last but not least. ii .

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

In accordance with Delong et al. 2003). 1. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. (2004). In order to differentiate one brand from another.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. 2000. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. 2001. Corstjens and Lal. 2005).widen the profit margins. On the other hand. 1993. Keller. contributing to 74. Under this concept. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. 1996.2. Being an advanced developing country.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. 1991. Ailawadi. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. In this paper. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. managing brand image is of utmost importance. 1993).16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . 2000). China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. 1998. In this way. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. 1.

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

followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. 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. 2004).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. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. According to a report published by Business Week (2007). Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands.1.2. 1. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. Also.. 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. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. The originally advantageous factors. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. However. Besides. however. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation. however. When it comes to the case 4 . become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level.

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

strong competitive activities. 1999. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. 1995). 2004).to spend on clothes than males. Siddiqui et al. 2003). the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. 1998.. there is a trend for own brand development.2. 1999). As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. As mentioned by Moore (1995). 2004. 1994). 1.2. Moore. 2003). and occasionally. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. 2004). Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. fashion retailers tend to create product differentiation in which they can distinguish themselves from their potential competitors in terms of product features like design and price. This 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. South and Spitze. In 6 . Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. short-life-cycle products. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. as cited in Carruthers. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. However. with nearly half of female respondents saying that they have at least one store card and nearly two-thirds of them own one or two loyalty cards. concentrated markets.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. However. a polarized marketplace. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. 2002).

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

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

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

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

. 1998). 1999). Basic brand. 2000). considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. consumers would have their preferences. 2. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. 1998. 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. Murphy. 1999. basic brand. Nowadays. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . there are four elements for building a successful brand. 2005). which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. effective after-sales services and the like. they share something in common. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. Finally and most importantly. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. When deciding which products to purchase. 1998). namely tangible product. Fennis and Pruyn. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker.2.1 The characteristics of successful brands A brand can be an everlasting and lucrative asset as long as it is maintained in a good manner that can continue satisfying consumers’ needs (Batchelor. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. 2006). As mentioned by Levitt (1983). Added to this. augmented brand and potential brand. on the other hand. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility.in consumer products (Roman et al.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In accordance with Gephart (2004).2. there are two types of research methods. In general. 2004). 24 . 2004). recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. During the course of consumer behaviour research. epistemology is about the science of knowing.Chapter 3 Methodology 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. The details of the sampling would also be discussed. namely positivism.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. 3. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. 3. theories. the research traditions.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used.. research theories can be classified into different types. data are gathered. 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. namely qualitative and quantitative research. there are three research traditions. interpretive research and critical postmodernism. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. research is required. think and behave (Arnould et al. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected.

3. 1993). As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. While positivism stresses on objectivity. together with the structures and processes within it. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. random sampling 25 . In the field of research. 2004. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. official statistics. Finally. the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. events and mechanisms. examining the attitudes. Added to this. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. including experiences.. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. 2002). As for critical postmodernism. Dey. In accordance to Fisher (2004). interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. 4. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. How often do you buy clothes? 2. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. The questions in this stage are as follows. these can help understand their spending styles. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. 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. were discussed. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. 1998). 1999. 32 . As mentioned in the literatures. probing questions were asked if needed. including brand and brand equity. Moreover. Mooij. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity.to 3 attempt to serve as ice-breaking as the interviewees may not be prepared to answer in-depth questions at the very beginning of the interview. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions.5.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1.

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

It focuses on 34 . 3. 3.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. 2004).3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview.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. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. 3. 1984). The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. and common categories from observational data (Babbie. This serves as a summary of how interviewees perceive brands by providing their own definitions which may be similar or different from what is said in the literature. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview.5. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses.3. repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis. The interviews were then transcribed.6 Administration The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions.7. themes.

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

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

Within-case analysis

Listening to tape and producing a transcript

Coding the transcript

Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes

Looking for patterns from similar and different responses

Creating tables based on responses from interviewees

Cross-case analysis

Figure 1: Overview of analysis

3.7.2.1 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

36

illustrated for explanation if necessary.

3.7.2.2 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.

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

it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. Keller. it does not really mean that males have less spending power.. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. It really gets a large variation. retailers.When asking about the price range of clothes. 4. Sometimes. As mentioned in chapter 2. British. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. 2007). I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. There could be two identical clothes in the world. In the coming section. the reasons why people buy them vary. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. however. 1993). “Probably. 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. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. 1999.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. 1991. South and Spitze. 1994). as well as consumers (Aaker. 24. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges.3.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 . 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al.

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

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

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

or words in black: Initial response without prompt. peers.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. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5.. internet and shops.advertisement. Among these respondents. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. 1986. 2007).. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. +/. 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. two of them 44 . Tsai et al. 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 +/.

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

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

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

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

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

” Vanessa. Italy as well. 23.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. 50 . Actually. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. if I consider some basic ones. Female 4. 26.3. Lowest (quality) maybe China. maybe it’s the reason.” Vivian.“I think the UK and US have top brands. If it’s about big brands. 1997). I will prefer France or Italy ones. Female Nevertheless. 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. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. or some of the developing countries. China don’t have very famous brands. Chinese. I think those made-in-China are something good. Chinese. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. 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.

and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees.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 . more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands. whereas the others think they need to take other factors like price and style into consideration and hence they do not buy the same brands regularly. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. recommend brands to friends or relatives.

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

23. we need not apply for the loyalty cards. Female 4. 27. Vivian. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. 1991). Store cards are dangerous. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. It’s not stylish but it is well made. The price is acceptable.” Vanessa. Chinese. 24. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. 26.3. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards.as cited in the literature (Aaker. 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). That’s why I don’t apply for it. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. Female 53 .” Narinder. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. Chinese. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. Sometimes. It fits my age and my occupation as students. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. British. not so complicated design” Jovi. Chinese. 2007).

crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. British. Chinese. like grid shirts. British. Chinese. 22.” Narinder. 27. 23. usually cotton…” Hannah. khaki style…quality is good. For jeans.” Kevin. 27. 23. Female “Basically. Male 4. For shirts. All Saints is a bit more innovative. and they look good. British. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. Male “60s hippie. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. 26. 2002). 24.3. alternative sports. 54 .“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. In order to investigate this issue. Male “They are practical. I prefer very colourful image.” Vanessa. I prefer blue jeans.” Mark. I prefer some simple image.” Neil.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. they work well. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. Female “’Simply Me’. fits my age. British. British. Male “For Topshop. Male “Simple. not like football. For T-shirt. 24. Chinese.” Alick.

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

26. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. These are what internet offers. Chinese. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. almost everything is quite good. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. It is good.) Vanessa. It may not be the spirit of clothes. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. 23. 24.“(Shop online) Sometimes. British. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. Female 56 . Chinese. Male “Brand is just like the name of people.” Kevin. Chinese. Chinese. 27.” Alick.” Vivian. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. Chinese. 24. 26.4 Results In the last question. maybe one or twice a month.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. 23. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. Chinese. Female 4. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind.” Vanessa. but it represents the taste and quality of them. good quality and good prices.

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

In addition. 58 .Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. they cited that what they liked is more important. 5. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. 5. brand is one of their considerations. However.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes.2.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes.

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

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

In terms of fitting. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. Added to this. 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. However. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents.2. 5. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 . In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings.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. online security is also a matter of concern. 5. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. For online securities. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet.3 Limitations During the course of research. time and also interpreting skills. various choices and cheaper prices.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. As far as sampling method is concerned. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined.

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

As far as perceived quality is concerned. durability. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . four different areas were investigated. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. 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. As for brand association. In terms of brand awareness. perceived quality and brand loyalty. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. namely brand awareness. brand loyalty and brand association. In addition. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. marketers can think of relevant strategies. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. colour. perceived quality. style. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. To reward loyal customers. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers.Therefore. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. price and performance. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. From the findings. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality.

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

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

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U.S. Switzerland U. U.S. Italy U. France U.S.S.S. France U. U.S.S.S. Germany U. Germany U. U. U.S. U. Germany U.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.S. U. U. U.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. U.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. France U. Netherlands Bermuda U. Japan S. Japan Britain S. U.S.S.S. U. Finland Japan U.S. U.S.S.S.S. Germany Japan U.Korea U. 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. Switzerland U.S. France U.S.S.S.Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV Name Coca-Cola Country U.S.S.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.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U.S.S. Britain U.S.S. Japan U.S. Britain Japan U. France U.S.S.S.S.S.S.S.S. U.S.S.S.S. U. Netherlands France France U.S.S.S. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 . U.S. U.S. U. U. U. Germany France U. U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U. U. U.S. U. U.

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

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

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?

82

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?
83

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

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

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

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

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

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

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