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

By Kwok Keung Tam

2007

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

Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i

Acknowledgements

ii

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

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

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

10 10 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 19

2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviour 2.5 Summary

20 23

Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds 3.2.1 Review of different research traditions 3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 3.2.3 Reliability and validity of data 3.3 Justification of research method 3.4 Sampling 3.5 Interview schedule 3.5.1 Stage one 3.5.2 Stage two 3.5.3 Stage three 3.6 Administration 3.7 Analysis strategy 3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis 3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis 3.7.2.1 Within-case analysis 3.7.2.2 Cross-case analysis 3.8 Summary

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

35 36 37 37

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

38 38 38 40 40

43

4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.3 Perceived quality 4.2 Conclusions 5.4 Implications 5.2.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.5 Brand association 4.2.2.4 Brand loyalty 4.3 Perceived quality 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.2.4 Results 4.5 Recommendations for further research 58 58 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64 References 66 Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79 Appendix 2: Interview questions 80 Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81 .6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.4 Brand loyalty 5.2 Brand awareness 5.2.3.3.3.1 Introduction 5.2.3.5 Brand association 5.3 Limitations 5.

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

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

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

2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. contributing to 74. 1998. Being an advanced developing country. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues.widen the profit margins. Keller. 1. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. In this way. 1993). 2001. Under this concept. 1. 1996. 2005). 1991. 1993.2. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. Corstjens and Lal. In accordance with Delong et al.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. managing brand image is of utmost importance. In order to differentiate one brand from another. (2004). China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. 2003). 2000). 2000. Ailawadi. In this paper. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. On the other hand.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 .

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

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

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

to spend on clothes than males. 1999). Moore. 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. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. 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. there is a trend for own brand development. as cited in Carruthers. and occasionally. 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.2. 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. Siddiqui et al.. concentrated markets. South and Spitze. 1. As mentioned by Moore (1995). 2004). 1999. 2002).2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. a polarized marketplace. However. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. 1998. In 6 . the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. 2003). 2003). Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. 2004).2. 1995). the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. strong competitive activities. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. However. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. 1994). 2004. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy.

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

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

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. Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters.understandable in the forthcoming sections. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology. 9 . focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2000). 1956. however. 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. Besides. 2000). Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. 2000).2. Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. Silverman. Unlike quantitative research. As for qualitative research. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. numeric data. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. 1964.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. Nevertheless. 1986). Qualitative analysis. attitude (Kirk and Miller. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . 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). for example. 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. 1975).and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. Cicourel. 2000). In this way. 3. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. 1989). (2002).

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

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

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

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

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

There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. these can help understand their spending styles. 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. The questions in this stage are as follows.to 3 attempt to serve as ice-breaking as the interviewees may not be prepared to answer in-depth questions at the very beginning of the interview. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. Moreover. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. 1998). were discussed. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. 1999.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. probing questions were asked if needed. Mooij.5. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. 32 . As mentioned in the literatures. How often do you buy clothes? 2. 4. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. including brand and brand equity.

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

repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. 1984). possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage.5.6 Administration The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.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.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. 3. themes. 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. It focuses on 34 .7. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). 2004). and common categories from observational data (Babbie. 3. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. 3.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses.

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

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

Within-case analysis

Listening to tape and producing a transcript

Coding the transcript

Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes

Looking for patterns from similar and different responses

Creating tables based on responses from interviewees

Cross-case analysis

Figure 1: Overview of analysis

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

36

illustrated for explanation if necessary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first three questions try to solicit the interviewees’ response about their clothing spending habits, asking about their shopping frequency, money spent
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Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. This could probably be explained by the findings mentioned in chapter 2 that consumers’ emotion is one of the determining factors for buying clothes (Berry. 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. 24. Chinese. 23. British. 27. Because I have been poor.” Narinder. In England. 2002).on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. But before that. maybe one item every couple of month. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). Male “In China. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now.” Kevin. 23.” Mark. buy every 4 to 5 months. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). maybe 3 times a year. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval.” Hannah. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. 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. British. Generally. British. 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. let’s go’. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. 2000). Female Besides. quite rare. Male 39 .

Sometimes. 1993). as well as consumers (Aaker. It really gets a large variation.When asking about the price range of clothes. with more emphasis being placed on the comparisons between British and Chinese consumers so as to provide new insights for further development of brands in the clothing sector. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. “Probably. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. retailers. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. As mentioned in chapter 2. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. South and Spitze. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. however. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. 2007). whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. 1994).3. 4. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. There could be two identical clothes in the world. 24. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. Keller.. 1999.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. British. In the coming section. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. 1991. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 .1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. the reasons why people buy them vary.

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

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

Chinese. including 43 .” Jovi. 1991). The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. 2006). For some T-shirts.” Vanessa. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. 1999. Female Based on the above findings. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. it costs me too much. 2005). 4. I can use less money. if I buy too many big brands. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. 24. Chinese.3. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. Female “Yes.. In addition. like medium. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. Fennis and Pruyn. I bought some big brands like designer labels. 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. 26.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature.to high-priced brands. as well as quality (Roman et al. But recently. “I do think most of the brands. and buy more clothes to change. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. if I buy cheap ones. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. So. do have better quality than cheaper brands. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Italy as well. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design.3.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. 26. If it’s about big brands. if I consider some basic ones. I will prefer France or Italy ones. maybe it’s the reason. 23. I think those made-in-China are something good. Lowest (quality) maybe China.” Vanessa.“I think the UK and US have top brands. 50 . Female 4. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design.” Vivian. Chinese. China don’t have very famous brands. Chinese. or some of the developing countries. Female Nevertheless. Actually. 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. 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. 1997).

and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. recommend brands to friends or relatives. whereas the others think they need to take other factors like price and style into consideration and hence they do not buy the same brands regularly. more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 .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.

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

British. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. 23.as cited in the literature (Aaker. Chinese. 26.” Vanessa. 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). Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. The price is acceptable. Chinese. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. 24. Vivian. It fits my age and my occupation as students. That’s why I don’t apply for it. Store cards are dangerous. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. not so complicated design” Jovi. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. we need not apply for the loyalty cards. Female 4. Sometimes. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. 1991).” Narinder.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin.3. 2007). Female 53 . they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. Chinese. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. It’s not stylish but it is well made. 27.

Chinese. not like football. British. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. 23. Female “’Simply Me’. and they look good. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. like grid shirts. 26. 23. 27. 24. Male “Simple. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. For T-shirt. Chinese. British.” Kevin. khaki style…quality is good.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer.” Alick. Chinese. British. Male “For Topshop. 24. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. fits my age. I prefer blue jeans.3. usually cotton…” Hannah. Male “60s hippie. 22. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. 2002). Male “They are practical. Male 4.” Narinder. All Saints is a bit more innovative. Female “Basically. For jeans. British.” Neil. they work well. For shirts. British. I prefer some simple image. 54 .” Mark. alternative sports. I prefer very colourful image.” Vanessa. In order to investigate this issue. 27.

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

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

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

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

price and performance. Nevertheless. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. That is to say. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for.2. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. consumers think of the other criteria as well. However. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. colour.As revealed from the above findings. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. for example.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials.2. peers. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . durability. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. From the findings. internet and shops. In addition. 5.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. In terms of advertisements. In general. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. followed by style. 5. some respondents from both nations cited that they had been affected by celebrity advertising in which they could associate the brand image with the celebrities’ images. none of the UK respondents thought it would affect their perception of clothes quality whereas some Chinese respondents had cited that some countries connoted to better quality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV Name Coca-Cola Country U. U.S. U. U.Korea U.S.S.S.S. Finland Japan U. Netherlands Bermuda U.S. U.S. Germany U. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 .S.S.S.S.S. U. France U.S.S.S. U. U.S. France U.S. U. Britain U. U.S. Switzerland U.S. Netherlands France France U. U.S.S.S.S. France U.S. U. U.S.S.S. U. U.S. Japan Britain S.S.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.S. Germany Japan U.S.S. France U. U.S. U.S.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. U. U. U.S. U.S.S.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S.S.S.S. Japan S.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.S. Germany U. U. U.S.S.S. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Name Nintendo Country Japan U. Switzerland U. U. France U.S. Rank 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Gap L’Oreal Heinz Yahoo! Volkswagen Xerox Colgate Wrigley KFC Chanel Avon Nestle Kleenex Amazon. U. U.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co.S.S. U. Germany France U. Italy U. Germany U. Britain Japan U.S. Japan U.S.

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

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

82

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

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

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

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

Kevin: Shops.

Chris: What about brand?

Kevin: Yea, Jack and Jones.

Chris: What about country of origin?

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

Chris: So you have no special preferences?

Kevin: No.

Chris: If I divide the question into 2, maybe do you have any preference for the country of manufacture?
83

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

Chris: What about the country of design?

Kevin: Europe.

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

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

Chris: What about advertising?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin: No, just models. Some of them are Chinese and some of them are foreigners.
84

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

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

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

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

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

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

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