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

By Kwok Keung Tam


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

Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i



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

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

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

10 10 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 19

2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviour 2.5 Summary

20 23

Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds 3.2.1 Review of different research traditions 3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 3.2.3 Reliability and validity of data 3.3 Justification of research method 3.4 Sampling 3.5 Interview schedule 3.5.1 Stage one 3.5.2 Stage two 3.5.3 Stage three 3.6 Administration 3.7 Analysis strategy 3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis 3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis Within-case analysis Cross-case analysis 3.8 Summary

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

35 36 37 37

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

38 38 38 40 40


6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.2 Brand awareness 5.3 Perceived quality 5.3.1 Introduction 5.2.4 Brand loyalty 4.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.2.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.5 Brand association Perceived quality Conclusions 5.3 Limitations 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.2.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.5 Recommendations for further research 58 58 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64 References 66 Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79 Appendix 2: Interview questions 80 Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81 .4 Results 4.5 Brand association 5.4 Implications 5.2.4.

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

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

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

the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. 2000. 1996. Ailawadi. 1998.2. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. Under this concept. In this way. 1991. (2004). In this paper.widen the profit margins. In accordance with Delong et al. 2000). encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. 2005). 2003). consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. On the other hand.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. 1. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. Being an advanced developing country. 1. managing brand image is of utmost importance. 2001. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. 1993. Corstjens and Lal. contributing to 74.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. In order to differentiate one brand from another. 1993). The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. Keller.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

were discussed. 32 . There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. 1999. 1998). Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. these can help understand their spending styles. Moreover. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. probing questions were asked if needed. 4. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. The questions in this stage are as follows.5.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. including brand and brand equity. As mentioned in the literatures. Mooij. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. 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. How often do you buy clothes? 2.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.

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

3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. 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. The interviews were then transcribed. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. 1984). It focuses on 34 . repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research.3.7 Analysis strategy This section introduces the concept of grounded theory and the use of within-case and cross-case analysis as the strategies for analyzing the research data. 2004). they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses.6 Administration The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis.7. 3. 3. themes. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. and common categories from observational data (Babbie. 3. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.5. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close.

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

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

Within-case analysis

Listening to tape and producing a transcript

Coding the transcript

Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes

Looking for patterns from similar and different responses

Creating tables based on responses from interviewees

Cross-case analysis

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


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

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


Chapter 4 Research Findings and Discussion
4.1 Introduction This chapter aims at presenting and discussing findings obtained from the interviews concerning the effect of clothing brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. As mentioned in chapter 3, 10 people, including 5 British and 5 Chinese were interviewed. Each interview was recorded and transcribed for the purpose of analysis in this chapter.

As far as the analysis is concerned, it will be based on the most pertinent quotes, which reveal the viewpoints from the British and Chinese respondents respectively. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), qualitative researchers need to communicate the findings in an honest and systematic manner, disseminating the richness of the findings and hence the experience of the researchers. In addition, the analysis should be open to verification as far as possible so that the others are free to repeat what has been done and check the conclusions (Breakwell, 2006).

The chapter consists of three sections in which the respondents’ backgrounds, the effect of brand image on them and also their opinions of brand are presented and compared.

4.2 Backgrounds of respondents All respondents are students from the University of Nottingham, with nine of them being master students and one of them being a PhD student. Their ages range from 22 to 27 and the male to female ratio is 1 to 1.

The first three questions try to solicit the interviewees’ response about their clothing spending habits, asking about their shopping frequency, money spent

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

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

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

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

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

with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. two of them 44 . peers.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. 1986. internet and shops. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. Tsai et al.. 2007). Among these respondents.or words in blue: Response with prompt Advert Peers Others Internet + + + + + + + Internet Internet From shops Advertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al. 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 +/. +/.advertisement. 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.

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

Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something.” Neil. 23.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6.” Kevin. “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. they are nice to put them on. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. and from my mind. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. British.3. 24.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. Chinese. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. that’s cool. I will consider them. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. when I go shopping next time. So. 46 . in which interviewees were asked. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. 4.

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

Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. 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. they represent better quality. “In some of the countries like Japan. 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. 24.and Chinese respondents. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. France Italy. Contradictory to the literature. 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.” Jovi. 22. British. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. so the countries don’t really affect it. For buying Puma shoes.” Michael. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. Chinese. Regarding country of origin. France or Italy.

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

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

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

There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. 24. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans.. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. The Diesel jeans fit me well. British.” Mark. 23.’” Vanessa. British.” Neil. Female “I just like it. I will tell my friends.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. CEU and Vertical Club. Chinese. In Hong Kong. In the UK. 26. 24. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. 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 . Chinese. I like Fred Perry. so I will buy them more often.. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. for examples.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. there are quite many. British. 27. Chinese. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned. Male Surprisingly.” Vivian. Topshop and All Saints. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good. I will tell them. 23.” Jovi.

British. Chinese. 1991). Female 53 . 26. Store cards are dangerous. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands.” Narinder. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. It fits my age and my occupation as students. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. Chinese. The price is acceptable. 23. That’s why I don’t apply for it. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. not so complicated design” Jovi. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. Female 4. 2007). we need not apply for the loyalty cards. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. 27. Sometimes. Chinese. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards.as cited in the literature (Aaker. Vivian.3. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. It’s not stylish but it is well made. 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).” Vanessa. 24.5 Brand association Regarding brand association.

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

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

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

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

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

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

the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. 5.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. 1997). From the findings. 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. by working on the brand development.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. 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. functions etc.2. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. styles.2. 1991). including the product features. However. while most of the Chinese respondents had. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. However. however. Also. 5. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker.. 60 . This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. 2004).

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

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

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

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

By taking the above recommendations. 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. researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives.

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U. Germany U. U. U. Switzerland U. U. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Name Nintendo Country Japan U.S. U.S.S.S.S.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.S.S. U. Britain U.S.S.S.S.S. Japan S. Germany U.S.S.S. Germany U.S. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 . Germany France U.S.S. U. U.S.S. U. Japan U.S. U.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. U. Switzerland U.S. Netherlands France France U.S. Britain Japan U.S. U.S.S.S.S. U.S. U.S. Japan Britain S.S.S.S.Korea U.S. U. France U.S.S. U. U.S. U. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. U.S. France U.S. U.S.S.S.S. U. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany 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. France U.S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. U.S.S. U.S. U. France U.S. France U. U. U. Germany Japan U.S. Finland Japan U. Netherlands Bermuda U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.S. Italy U.

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

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

medium-priced or low-priced?

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

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

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

Chris: You really seldom buy formal wear.

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

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

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

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

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

Chris: What about you?


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

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

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

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

Kevin: Shops.

Chris: What about brand?

Kevin: Yea, Jack and Jones.

Chris: What about country of origin?

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

Chris: So you have no special preferences?

Kevin: No.

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

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

Chris: What about the country of design?

Kevin: Europe.

Chris: Do you have special preferences for the clothes made in Europe?

Kevin: Actually, we can’t find the clothes made in Europe, but in China.

Chris: What about advertising?

Kevin: Advertising is important. Sometimes, I go shopping for clothes just up to the advertising…and maybe there are reputations.

Chris: Do you have any advertisement series come to your mind?

Kevin: Levi’s…their advertisement for jeans is very impressive…so are the one from Jack and Jones.

Chris: What is the advertisement about? For Levi’s, why can it make you so memorable?

Kevin: Because people who wear the clothes look very nice, look very handsome with the clothes.

Chris: You mentioned some people appearing in this advertisement. Are these people celebrities?

Kevin: No, just models. Some of them are Chinese and some of them are foreigners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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