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By Kwok Keung Tam
A Dissertation presented in part consideration for the degree of “MSc International Business”
Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i
Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing 1.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets 1.2.1 China clothing market 126.96.36.199 Chinese spending habits 188.8.131.52 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 184.108.40.206 British spending habits 220.127.116.11 Characteristics of the UK clothing market 1.3 Theoretical framework 1.4 Objectives of the dissertation 1.5 Outline of the dissertation
1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8
Chapter 2: Literature review 2.1 Introduction 2.2 The important roles of brand 2.2.1 The characteristics of successful brands 2.3 Brand equity 2.3.1 Brand awareness 2.3.2 Perceived quality 2.3.3 Brand loyalty 2.3.4 Brand association 2.4 Consumer buying behaviour
10 10 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 19
2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviour 2.5 Summary
Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds 3.2.1 Review of different research traditions 3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 3.2.3 Reliability and validity of data 3.3 Justification of research method 3.4 Sampling 3.5 Interview schedule 3.5.1 Stage one 3.5.2 Stage two 3.5.3 Stage three 3.6 Administration 3.7 Analysis strategy 3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis 3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis 18.104.22.168 Within-case analysis 22.214.171.124 Cross-case analysis 3.8 Summary
24 24 24 24 25 26 27 29 31 31 32 34 34 34 34
35 36 37 37
Chapter 4: Research findings and discussion 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Backgrounds of respondents 4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 4.3.2 Brand awareness
38 38 38 40 40
3.2 Brand awareness 5.4 Implications 5.3 Perceived quality 4.3.5 Brand association 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.5 Recommendations for further research 58 58 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64 References 66 Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79 Appendix 2: Interview questions 80 Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81 .4 Brand loyalty 4.5 Brand association 4.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.1 Introduction 126.96.36.199.3 Limitations 188.8.131.52.4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.2 Conclusions 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.2.4 Brand loyalty 5.3 Perceived quality 5.4 Results 4.2.
Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. perceived quality. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry. In the UK. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. however. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. i . 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. namely brand awareness. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. brand loyalty and brand association.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country.
I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. She has given me support as well as valuable comments throughout the consultation period so that I can manage to handle one of the hardest subjects in my university life. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members.Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. ii . This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. In addition. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. Vicky Story. Dr. Last but not least.
clothing can help represent our personal identity. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. have become popular not only in their country of origin. purchase and post-purchase. different genders and cultural backgrounds. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. Nowadays. in addition to the basic functions.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. read product information. decide which and where to buy. clothes can also serve as fashion items. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). as a matter of fact. but also in other markets with high potential. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. Thus. which can tell how significant an individual is. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. Several brands. namely pre-purchase. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. 1 . 2000). 1996). consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. choose the buying modes. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector.
2005).16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . 1993. contributing to 74. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. In this paper. 1993). In order to differentiate one brand from another.2. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. In this way. Under this concept. 1. 2003). 1991. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. 2000). 1998. (2004). managing brand image is of utmost importance. Being an advanced developing country. 1996. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. 2000. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. 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. Ailawadi. Keller.widen the profit margins. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. 1. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. 2001. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. On the other hand. In accordance with Delong et al. which would be illustrated in the following chapters.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. Corstjens and Lal.
respondents rank fitness as their prime concern. 3 . As stated by Cui (1997).. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. 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. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China. On average. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. China plays a role as a producer. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. However. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. however. 2004). It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. Nowadays.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. 2006). However.1. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. 1. pricing. The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China.2. followed by cutting. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. people spend 7.2005 (WTO.
none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. 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. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. Also. 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.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets.2. When it comes to the case 4 .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. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. 1. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation.. however. 2004). According to a report published by Business Week (2007).to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. Besides. however. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion.1. The originally advantageous factors.
The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. In addition. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades. The manufacturing sector. 2007). 1. 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. Among the respondents.2. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). females are more likely 5 . 2007). including the clothing industry. Regarding its GDP growth. March 25). it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. 2004). which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. regardless of their quality.com.com.2.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. 1. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future.2. because of its mature economic structure.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people.
2. 2004). Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. 1998.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. concentrated markets. 2004. the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. Moore. and occasionally. as cited in Carruthers. However. In 6 . South and Spitze. strong competitive activities. 1999. 2003).2. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. 2003). 1994).to spend on clothes than males. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. short-life-cycle products. fashion retailers tend to create product differentiation in which they can distinguish themselves from their potential competitors in terms of product features like design and price. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. there is a trend for own brand development. 1. As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. As mentioned by Moore (1995). a polarized marketplace. However. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. 2004). leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. Siddiqui et al. 1999). the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. 2002). with nearly half of female respondents saying that they have at least one store card and nearly two-thirds of them own one or two loyalty cards. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. 1995). 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..
2004). 2001. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. 1. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. 2004. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. 1998).. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. the retailing sector is fragmented. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. Mintel. namely brand awareness. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. clothing is a kind of public 7 . perceived brand equity and brand associations.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. Compared with other retailed sector. 1995). brand loyalty. 2003). the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. According to Aaker (1991). Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. composing of independent. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned.addition. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. 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. Marciniak and Bruce. 1.
results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. ZARA. is on the lookout for extensions.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. 2007). In addition. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. China. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. First. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. 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 . The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. 2007. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. 1. Chinese and British consumers are going to be compared in this research since China and the UK have been targeted by many clothing retailers due to their enormous customer base. In this way. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. 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.
Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology. 9 .understandable in the forthcoming sections. 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 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data.
regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. 2. a brand is also composed of products. Keller. advertising. 1991. However. 1991. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 . 1998). as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. most of them concentrate on a single country study. the literatures concerning the roles of brand and brand equity are to be reviewed so as to provide a theoretical framework for the aforementioned analysis.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. Murphy. In addition to a specific brand name.. From the consumers’ perspective. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. promotion. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. 2003). 1998).Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. In this chapter. packaging. 1998). 2001). The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour.
nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories.. Murphy. 2000). augmented brand and potential brand. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. Nowadays. Fennis and Pruyn. 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. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. namely tangible product. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. 2006). basic brand. 1999). 1999. 2. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . As mentioned by Levitt (1983).2. consumers would have their preferences. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. 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. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy.in consumer products (Roman et al. 2005).1 The characteristics of successful brands A brand can be an everlasting and lucrative asset as long as it is maintained in a good manner that can continue satisfying consumers’ needs (Batchelor. Basic brand. 1998. they share something in common. 1998). According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. 1998). on the other hand. Finally and most importantly. there are four elements for building a successful brand. Added to this. When deciding which products to purchase. effective after-sales services and the like.
including its name and symbol. Vodafone. 2002). giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. Marks and Spencer. 1996). Brands like HSBC. 2. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. For instance. 2007). 1995). 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. 2007).. 1998). In order to combat piracy. 12 . the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind.3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. Yasin et al. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. patents. 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. In addition. designs as well as copyright. Added to this. However.preference and loyalty. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. By doing so. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. 1991. 1998). In countries with well-established legal system. not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell.
1991. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. the merger between adidas and Reebok in 2005 not only increased their market share so as to compete with Nike in the US sports apparel market. 1991).1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. 2. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. 1991). Besides. 1998). Keller. namely brand loyalty. 1991). The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . 2005). As for the firm. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. 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.3. name awareness. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. For the consumers. Owning to the positive image. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. For instance. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker.
there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. According to research conducted by Delong et al. being a special administrative region since 1997. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. due to their political separations. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. For long time. In case of China.. Moreover. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. (2004).set (Blackwell et al. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness.. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. In addition. As for source 14 . namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. two tasks are to be accomplished. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. owing to geographical differences. As mentioned by Keller (1998). 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. Macdonald and Sharp. In this way. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. 1986. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. 1990). In recent decades.. 2000). brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. For source credibility. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. 2007). In order to achieve brand awareness.. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. 2007). Tsai et al. 1990. 2005). has once been a colony of the UK.
reliability. Since it is a kind of intangible. 2.3. durability. To be more specific.. 1989). successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. 1991). perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. differentiating the position of a brand. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. conformance with specifications. overall feeling towards a brand. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. serviceability as well as fit and finish. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. competence. Yasin. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. Regarding product quality. Keller. namely performance. Similar to brand awareness. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. In addition. Service quality. reliability. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. 1992). 1991). 1998.attractiveness. 2004). on the other hand. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. 1991. 2007). 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 . 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. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. features. charging premium price. Nevertheless.
First. price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker.. This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. Keller (1998). 1991). however. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries.3. Under the influence of brand loyalty. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 . regardless of the superior features. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand.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. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. consumers continue to buy the brand. 1991). 2005).purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. For many companies.. Third. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. the less vulnerable the customer base would be. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. 1991). challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. 1993). Second. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. 2. 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. 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. Moreover. 1991). In this case. Hence.
1997. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. the intangible qualities. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. 1998. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. 1991). Finally. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. Bansal and Voyer. 2000). Hence. several airlines like Cathay Pacific. 1995. Consumers usually depend on informal. Marney. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. Moreover. In addition to the tangible products. 2000). This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. 2000). and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. consisting of multiple ideas. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. Silverman.recommend the same model of product.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. 17 . examples. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. 2.. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. which contribute to a specific brand image. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. According to Aaker (1991). For instance. episodes.3.
It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. packaging. First of all. namely attributes. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. They can be classified into functional. Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. For experimental benefits. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. benefits and attitudes. Second. Benefits are another category in brand associations. For product-related attributes. price information. Finally. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. on the other hand. Symbolic benefits. experimental and symbolic. making the customers remember the brand by heart. As for non-product related attributes. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. 1991).Keller (1993. 1998). 1998). This can make the brand 18 .
Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. Third.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. some associations can engender positive feelings. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. services. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. money and effort. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. a vivid brand image is established. For examples. buy. 2006). As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. First of all. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. however. 2. use or dispose the products. ideas or experiences. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. contributing to its higher premium price.. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . Forth.
search for information. 2001. 2003). 20 post-consumption evaluation and . 2. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. 2006). For instance. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes.. Moreover. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. as well as disposal of used goods. pre-purchase. evaluation. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. However. Rayport and Jaworski. Although they vary in form of presentation. Arnoud et al. Therefore. purchase. 2006). Based on this loophole.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’.. These seven steps include need recognition. consumption and disposal of products or services. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. present consumer behaviour studies regard consumers as important determinants of organizational success and it is found that the most successful organizations are customer-centric (Blackwell et al. which companies to succeed. Second. 1998). Blackwell et al. and also which products to excel. consumption.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours.4. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. 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. comprising acquisition of goods and services. consumption.
Attributes like quantity. as well as customer satisfaction. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. 2005). Ongoing search. 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. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. 2006). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz..divestment (Blackwell 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. In this stage. 1992). size of purchase. income. (2006). regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. There are two kinds of needs. 2006). consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. on the other hand.. Any changes in 21 . past experiences. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. size.. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers.. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. Blackwell et al. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. namely functional needs and psychological needs. Stage two is the search of information. social class. As mentioned by Solomon et al. 1997).
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. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. 2006). As stated by Blackwell et al. Last but not least. stage seven comes to divestment. In stage five. visual displays inside the shops. According to Porter (2004). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. 2006). 22 . As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). 2003).. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes.. (2006). this new kind of non-shop retailing format has begun replacing the fairly established catalogue and TV shopping and its development is rapid albeit it is more recently found in comparison with the existing non-shop retailing modes. This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. customers evaluate the consumption process. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others. including retailer and in-store selection. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. Stage five. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. In addition to in-store purchase. 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.
Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. perceived quality. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. Nowadays. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. and at the same time. brand loyalty and brand associations.2. including brand awareness. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. In this dissertation. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. products are developed in an unprecedented way. 23 .5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. perceived quality.
recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. namely qualitative and quantitative research. 24 . interpretive research and critical postmodernism. epistemology is about the science of knowing. 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. In general. data are gathered. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie.2.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. there are three research traditions. research is required. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. the research traditions. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. there are two types of research methods. In accordance with Gephart (2004).. The details of the sampling would also be discussed.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. 2004).2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. namely positivism. 3. 3. During the course of consumer behaviour research. theories. think and behave (Arnould et al. research theories can be classified into different types. 2004).
research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. 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. events and mechanisms. examining the attitudes. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al.2. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. 2004. Dey. official statistics. the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. In accordance to Fisher (2004). 2002). Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world.. together with the structures and processes within it. Finally. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. Added to this. random sampling 25 . 3. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. In the field of research. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. While positivism stresses on objectivity. including experiences. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. 1993).2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally.
which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. Qualitative analysis. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale. 1989). 1956. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. 2000). Cicourel.2. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. As for qualitative research. attitude (Kirk and Miller. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. 1986). it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. Unlike quantitative research. for example. Besides. That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. (2002). suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. In this way. 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. however. 3. 2000). 2000). 2000).and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. 1964. numeric data. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. Nevertheless. Silverman. 1975). 2000).3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research.
validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. As mentioned by Saunders et al. 2000). 27 . Hence. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. This may affect the reliability of the research findings. Besides. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection.useful findings or not. 2000). Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. While reliability is correlated to consistency.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. As mentioned by Tesch (1990). it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. to justify reliability. (2003). This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. However. namely language-orientated approach. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. 2006). This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. 3. 1992). 1992).
Thus. However. Finally. The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. 28 . 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. 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. the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. 2000).descriptive/ interpretative approach. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. 2004). in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. 2006). One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. For instance. 2004). researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. In case of interviews. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. Added to this. say 12-15 people. 1992). researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. as well as theory-building approach. During the course of interviews. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research.
interesting responses emerged during the interviews. 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. semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. researchers can follow up some unexpected. with the use of a semi-structured format. In addition. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. 2000). Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. 3. 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. Among different structures of interviews. interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. Moreover. researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation.Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. In accordance with Breakwell (2006). 2006). Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. When it comes to the process of data collection.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. Unlike structured interviews. like other self-report methods. 2006). These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). 2000). non-probability sampling is used 29 . This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data.
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. Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. Hence. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. Moreover. 2002. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. 1982). All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. Among the 10 samples. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. Malhotra and King. 2003). 30 . equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. in quota sampling method. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst.as the tool for this research. 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. 2005). 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. In this research. 2004). The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). As mentioned by Proctor (2000).
As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). Questions 1 31 . the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews.5. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). say 30 minutes. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. Also. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell.1 Stage one In this stage. The approximate length of the interview. which are discussed in the following sections. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. 2006). namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. There are two types of questions.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. was mentioned. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. After the introduction. 3. so they were not covered here.Table 1: Distribution of samples in terms of gender and nationality Nationality Sample particulars Gender Number of respondents Chinese Male 2 Female 3 Male 3 British Female 2 3.
these can help understand their spending styles. including brand and brand equity. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. 1999. 1998). brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. were discussed.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. Moreover. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. 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. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. As mentioned in the literatures.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. Mooij. How often do you buy clothes? 2. probing questions were asked if needed.5. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. 32 . Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. 4.
brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. 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. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8.. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. Do you recommend brands? 9. these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. 11. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures.perceived quality. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . Do you shop online for clothes? 12. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. Keller. 2003). After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. 2006. 5. 1993). Rayport and Jaworski. including pre-purchase. 1991.
the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. 1984). they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview.7. It focuses on 34 .3. 3. and common categories from observational data (Babbie. 3.6 Administration The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions.7 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. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. 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. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. The interviews were then transcribed.5. 2004). repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). 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 production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. 3. themes. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses.
Hence. Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research.different ways to code data (Dey.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). leading to further analysis of themes. as well as following the research procedures. including familiarization. patterns and categories. conceptualization. According to Easterby-Smith et al. based on grounded theory. 2006). (2002). linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . 1993). There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total. 2006). which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. 2004). 2002). reflection. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. 3. provided that they follow three rules.. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. 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. especially the use of systemic coding. In addition. maintaining an attitude of skepticism.7. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. re-coding. methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. Besides. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). They include periodically stepping back and asking. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. cataloguing concepts.
analysis. In this dissertation, the interviews conducted were investigated based on these two approaches. The summary of these two approaches is shown in Figure 1.
Listening to tape and producing a transcript
Coding the transcript
Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes
Looking for patterns from similar and different responses
Creating tables based on responses from interviewees
Figure 1: Overview of analysis
184.108.40.206 Within-case analysis During the interviews, notes were first jotted down and then the summary of each individual interview was made after listening to the MP3 recorder for the sake of keeping the fresh memory of the interview content. A full transcription of each interview (see Appendix 3) was made after the completion of the whole interview process. After finishing the transcription, the main ideas of the interviews were summarized and presented in form of tables with codes like ‘+’ standing for interviewee who has mentioned this idea, whilst ‘-‘ connoting to a negative response to the question. Some quotes from the answers would be
illustrated for explanation if necessary.
220.127.116.11 Cross-case analysis Cross-case analysis aims at looking for convergences and divergences in the data, recognizing ways to account for the similarities and differences of the respondents (Smith and Eatough, 2006; Smith and Osborn, 2003). Each interview was analyzed in the same way as mentioned in the within-case analysis. Then the patterns emerged were analyzed based the several tables in different themes.
3.8 Summary In this chapter, the methodology used in this dissertation has been justified and explained. Qualitative semi-structured interviews have been chosen as a mean to collect data since they are found to be more appropriate for soliciting responses in relation to attitudes, opinions and feelings. Besides, the sampling method was covered. In the course of data collection, the combination of convenience and quota sampling was being used. In addition, the schedule of interview was discussed with a view to providing some general ideas about the underlying reasons for asking such questions. The data collected would be analyzed using the methods of within-case and cross-case analysis. The research findings will be presented and discussed in the next chapter.
Chapter 4 Research Findings and Discussion
4.1 Introduction This chapter aims at presenting and discussing findings obtained from the interviews concerning the effect of clothing brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. As mentioned in chapter 3, 10 people, including 5 British and 5 Chinese were interviewed. Each interview was recorded and transcribed for the purpose of analysis in this chapter.
As far as the analysis is concerned, it will be based on the most pertinent quotes, which reveal the viewpoints from the British and Chinese respondents respectively. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), qualitative researchers need to communicate the findings in an honest and systematic manner, disseminating the richness of the findings and hence the experience of the researchers. In addition, the analysis should be open to verification as far as possible so that the others are free to repeat what has been done and check the conclusions (Breakwell, 2006).
The chapter consists of three sections in which the respondents’ backgrounds, the effect of brand image on them and also their opinions of brand are presented and compared.
4.2 Backgrounds of respondents All respondents are students from the University of Nottingham, with nine of them being master students and one of them being a PhD student. Their ages range from 22 to 27 and the male to female ratio is 1 to 1.
The first three questions try to solicit the interviewees’ response about their clothing spending habits, asking about their shopping frequency, money spent
In England. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes.” Kevin. But before that. Female Besides. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). ranging from every week to three or four times a year. 23. maybe 3 times a year. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. 2000). 2002).” Mark.” Hannah. British. 24. 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. buy every 4 to 5 months. Male 39 .” Narinder. Generally. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. Male “In China. let’s go’. Because I have been poor. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. quite rare. Chinese. maybe one item every couple of month. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). British. One of them was slightly different in that she indicated that she is an impulsive buyer and hence she would buy clothes based on her moods and feelings at the time of purchase. 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. 27. 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. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. 23. British.
retailers. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. Keller. 1994). 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. 1993).3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. As mentioned in chapter 2. There could be two identical clothes in the world.3. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 .. “Probably. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. as well as consumers (Aaker. British.When asking about the price range of clothes. however. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. 4. 24. In the coming section. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. 1999. 2007). whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. Sometimes. with more emphasis being placed on the comparisons between British and Chinese consumers so as to provide new insights for further development of brands in the clothing sector. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. 1991. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. 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. South and Spitze. the reasons why people buy them vary. It really gets a large variation.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2.
or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 . 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. Intuition +/. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections.examined in question 4. +/. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Pleasant. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes.
the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. 24. British. I probably buy again.” Neil. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. all respondents from both nations regard quality. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. In this regard. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. Female 42 .” Hannah. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. “Yes.” Mark. Male “Never. Moreover. but I do not particularly look for brand names. British. If I have good experiences with something. However. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. They are probably the shops I like. 24. British. Male “Well. Actually. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. 1991). 23. Well.
I can use less money. 4.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. 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.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. So. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. Female Based on the above findings. 1991). For some T-shirts. 1999. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. Fennis and Pruyn. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. like medium. In addition. I bought some big brands like designer labels. Chinese. if I buy too many big brands. if I buy cheap ones.” Vanessa. Female “Yes. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability.to high-priced brands. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. 2006). it costs me too much.. 2005). 24. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. do have better quality than cheaper brands. “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. Chinese.3. including 43 . so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes.” Jovi. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. as well as quality (Roman et al. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. 26. But recently. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting.
or words in black: Initial response without prompt..advertisement.or words in blue: Response with prompt Advert Peers Others Internet + + + + + + + Internet Internet From shops Advertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al. internet and shops. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. 2007). Internet From shops From shops Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key +/. Among these respondents. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. Tsai et al. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. 1986. Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinda Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Advert Peers Others + - + + + From shops From shops. two of them 44 . peers.. +/.
British.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. Chinese. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian.” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. Like Coby Bryrant. “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire. Lance Armstrong. Zidane (is very memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. Female “TV.” Kevin. 1989). During the game break. David Beckham. so they associate themselves with brands.” Neil. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. 23. they (basketball players) will show up. 23. Chinese. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. 24. Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. advertisements in the shopping mall. they are familiar faces. and it’s easy to make connections. you know. 45 . Marketing people may affect me someway.
they are nice to put them on.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6.3. British.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. I will consider them. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. and from my mind. 24. in which interviewees were asked. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. Chinese.” Neil. when I go shopping next time. 46 . So. 23. that’s cool. “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.” Kevin. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. 4.
There are no significance differences between British 47 . price and performance. durability.Table 6: Criteria for judging clothes quality (British respondents) Criteria Name Materials Style Colour Durability Country of origin Others Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + + + + + Performance Price + - Table 7: Criteria for judging clothes quality (Chinese respondents) Criteria Name Materials Style Colour Durability Country of origin Others Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/. +/.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. colour.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7. followed by style. 1991). Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker.
Chinese. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. France Italy. I expect Puma quality basically. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. “In some of the countries like Japan. Regarding country of origin. British. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality.” 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. so the countries don’t really affect it. France or Italy. Male When further question was asked about the issue ‘Which country’s clothes do you think they’re of highest/ lowest quality?’ British and Chinese respondents showed divergent views. 24. For buying Puma shoes. they represent better quality. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 . Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality.” Jovi. Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents) Countries Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Countries with highest quality Italy.and Chinese respondents. 22. Contradictory to the literature.
Male “They suppose to all be the same. However. If Puma gets its stuff from China. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. 24. Because I know from every country. 22. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8. Italy No comment Korea. 49 . produce poor quality clothes. from Thailand.” Michael. Thailand.. including China. British. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. some South American countries Vivian Li UK. India.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. they should meet the required quality. “I don’t have some preconception about it.” Neil. you can buy good or bad clothes. 2004). British. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. Italy China. Malaysia. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France. France. US.
” Vanessa. maybe it’s the reason.” Vivian. Lowest (quality) maybe China.3. or some of the developing countries. I think those made-in-China are something good. 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. Actually. Female 4. 50 .4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. Chinese. 23. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. Italy as well. 8 and 12 in which the respondents were asked whether they buy the same brands regularly and also if they recommend brands to the others. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. China don’t have very famous brands. 1997).“I think the UK and US have top brands. if I consider some basic ones. Chinese. I will prefer France or Italy ones. 26. Female Nevertheless. If it’s about big brands.
The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 . they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands.Table 10: Clothes purchasing habit (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + - + - - Table 11: Clothes purchasing habit (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + + + + + + - + + + + As observed from Tables 10 and 11. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. 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.
Chinese.. 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 . The Diesel jeans fit me well.” Vivian. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for.. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned.” Mark. British. so I will buy them more often. I will tell my friends. for examples. 27. 23. British. I will tell them. In Hong Kong. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices.” Jovi. 24. 23. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. Female “I just like it. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. 26. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good. CEU and Vertical Club. Chinese. I like Fred Perry. Male Surprisingly. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. Chinese. there are quite many. Topshop and All Saints. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. In the UK. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. 24.’” Vanessa.” Neil.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon….“I do have a few brands that I prefer. British.
23. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card.as cited in the literature (Aaker. Chinese. 26. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. Chinese. That’s why I don’t apply for it. Vivian.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. not so complicated design” Jovi. It’s not stylish but it is well made. it takes time to apply for it and maybe I will not spend much money on the same shops…I tried to apply House of Fraser and M&S (loyalty cards).3. Female 4. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more.” Vanessa. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. Sometimes. 27. 2007). British. The price is acceptable. Store cards are dangerous. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No.” Narinder. Female 53 . Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. we need not apply for the loyalty cards. Chinese. 24. It fits my age and my occupation as students. 1991).
“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. Female “Basically. usually cotton…” Hannah.” Kevin. Chinese. 27. 24.” Narinder. For jeans. British. 54 . Male “60s hippie. British. Chinese.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. 2002). Chinese. they work well. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. British.” Vanessa. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. 23. Male “For Topshop.” Alick. Female “’Simply Me’.” Neil. I prefer very colourful image. 27. I prefer some simple image. All Saints is a bit more innovative. and they look good. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. 22. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. 23. British. For T-shirt. In order to investigate this issue. alternative sports. I prefer blue jeans. Male “They are practical. Male 4. British. khaki style…quality is good.” Mark. fits my age. 24. like grid shirts. For shirts. Male “Simple. not like football. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. 26.3.
but I know many people do. but I don’t buy online. you can buy it online. including the varieties of choices. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it.” Michael. lower prices and informative websites. British. To be honest.” Narinder. Female “Not really. right size as well” Vivian. Chinese. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. Chinese. “No. I’ll have a look and compare prices. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. The clothes online are cheap. 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. 27. 22. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. just like the clothes from the markets. not right colour. Male 55 . Female “I like fitting. 23. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons.Surprisingly. Male “I don’t buy online. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. “For clothes. Chinese. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. 23.” Kevin. no. British. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. try on to see if it is fit probably. 24.
almost everything is quite good. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. 26. Chinese. 23. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. 23. British. Chinese.” Alick.” Vanessa. 24. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. Chinese. maybe one or twice a month. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. Chinese.” Kevin. Chinese. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand.” Vivian. It is good. good quality and good prices. Male “Brand is just like the name of people.) Vanessa. 26. It may not be the spirit of clothes. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping.4 Results In the last question. Female 56 . Female “Brand is not a paper bag. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. 24. Female 4.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. These are what internet offers.“(Shop online) Sometimes. 27. Chinese. but it represents the taste and quality of them.
23. British. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development. British.” Narinda. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. 57 . Male 4.” Mark. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment.” Neil. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. 27. 24. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. At the beginning of the chapter.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name.” Michael.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. manufacturer. British. however. 22. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. British. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service. rather than the designer. I realized. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers.
1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. they cited that what they liked is more important.2. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. 5. 5.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. However. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. In addition. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. 58 . It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. brand is one of their considerations. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below.
many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . That is to say. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. internet and shops. From the findings. consumers think of the other criteria as well. price and performance. 5. In addition. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. durability. Nevertheless.2. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. peers. followed by style.As revealed from the above findings. for example. 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. In terms of advertisements. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for.2. 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. However. colour. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. In general. 5. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops.
other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. prices. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops.2. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. by working on the brand development. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. 2004). 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. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. styles. while most of the Chinese respondents had. 1997). such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. However. 5. 5.2. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. However. 60 . 1991). From the findings. functions etc. however. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. Also. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality.. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. including the product features.
There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 .2. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. 5. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. For online securities. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. various choices and cheaper prices. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. 5. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. online security is also a matter of concern.3 Limitations During the course of research. time and also interpreting skills. As far as sampling method is concerned. 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. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. However. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. In terms of fitting.The establishment of such positive images can help enhance the brand values and there are no significant differences between the British and Chinese respondents in this regard. Added to this. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites.
During the interviews. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. having a propensity of getting deviated results. 62 .. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. In terms of time. As long as more time is allowed. 5. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. the number of samples interviewed is limited. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. 1991). the characteristics of the interviewers. 2000). Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. In selecting the students. In addition. 2000).4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. however. There are numerous brands around the world. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. for instances accent. 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. gender and age. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. 2000). The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. Finally.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor.
the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. perceived quality. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. style. As for brand association. price and performance. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. 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. From the findings. colour. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. In addition.Therefore. durability. namely brand awareness. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. To reward loyal customers. perceived quality and brand loyalty. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. In terms of brand awareness. marketers can think of relevant strategies. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. As far as perceived quality is concerned. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. four different areas were investigated. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. brand loyalty and brand association. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality.
More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. For instances. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. like supermarkets. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. Other sampling groups. 5. This could provide much more conclusive results. for instance working class.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. in addition to semi-structured interviews. 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. have done.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. Further research could also be done on comparisons between some other countries’ consumers in which they are found to have significant impact on consumer behaviour. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. 2002). More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. For the UK. Besides. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. could 64 . it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity.
65 . By taking the above recommendations.also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples. exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives.
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U.S.S. U. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 .Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV Name Coca-Cola Country U.S.S. U.S. U.S. Switzerland U. Britain Japan U. U. Germany U.S.S. France U.S. U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Name Nintendo Country Japan U.S.S. U.S. France U.S. France U.S. Japan U. France U.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. Switzerland U. U.S. U. U.S. U. U.S.S. U. Germany France U. U. Netherlands France France U. Italy U. U.S.S.S. U. Netherlands Bermuda U. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. Germany U.S.S. Finland Japan U.S. France U.S. Germany U. U. Rank 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Gap L’Oreal Heinz Yahoo! Volkswagen Xerox Colgate Wrigley KFC Chanel Avon Nestle Kleenex Amazon.S. U. Japan S.S.S.S.S.S.S.S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. Britain U. U. U.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.S.S.S.S.S.S. U. Germany Japan U.S.S. Japan Britain S. U. U.S.S.S. U.S.S. U.Korea U. U.S.S.S.S.
How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Do you recommend brands? 9. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. How often do you buy clothes? 2. Why do you like this brand? 11. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. Can you comment on what brand is to you? (Note: Further probing questions would be asked after each of the above question if necessary) 80 . Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8.
so in winter. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. maybe 3 times a year. Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. I was the company. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. Kevin: Yes. It would talk about 30 minutes. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. Kevin. In England. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). 81 . so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. In England. How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK.
medium-priced or low-priced?
Kevin: Medium-priced. I don’t buy very cheap clothes. I prefer higher quality, good taste, so these clothes are more expensive.
Chris: What about the kinds of clothes you buy? Sports apparel, casual wear, formal wear or others?
Kevin: The first two. I buy casual wear more frequently than sports apparels. Sports apparels are just for doing some exercises, and I won’t wear sports apparels on streets. But I buy trainers.
Chris: You really seldom buy formal wear.
Kevin: There are not many chances for me to wear. I have one, just one.
Chris: What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?
Kevin: I prefer quality as I said, and good taste…I prefer some grand clothes…I like Jack and Jones, and Levi’s. For shoes, I like adidas and Reeboks.
Chris: You have mentioned something about price before, so do you think price is one of your considerations?
Kevin: Yes of course. My girlfriend likes to go to some markets where she can find many cheap clothes. Some of them are on discount and some of them are out of season, she is pursuing that kind of clothes.
Chris: What about you?
Kevin: I like buying shoes in a very good ground. I don’t like bargain with the prices. Some clothes have the absolute prices.
Chris: So when you went to the market with your girlfriend, did you buy them? Because normally we need to bargain in the market.
Kevin: If you go to some small shops, these clothes do not have ground, you can bargain with the shop assistants. But in some shopping malls, some clothes have ground, you cannot bargain with them. Because they are of fixed prices and the quality is good.
Chris: Which one do you prefer? Shops or Market?
Chris: What about brand?
Kevin: Yea, Jack and Jones.
Chris: What about country of origin?
Kevin: Um…I’m not sure which countries these clothes come from because some are made in China, maybe the designers are from other countries. Most of them I think they are from Europe.
Chris: So you have no special preferences?
Chris: If I divide the question into 2, maybe do you have any preference for the country of manufacture?
Kevin: As I said, most of them are made in China.
Chris: What about the country of design?
Chris: Do you have special preferences for the clothes made in Europe?
Kevin: Actually, we can’t find the clothes made in Europe, but in China.
Chris: What about advertising?
Kevin: Advertising is important. Sometimes, I go shopping for clothes just up to the advertising…and maybe there are reputations.
Chris: Do you have any advertisement series come to your mind?
Kevin: Levi’s…their advertisement for jeans is very impressive…so are the one from Jack and Jones.
Chris: What is the advertisement about? For Levi’s, why can it make you so memorable?
Kevin: Because people who wear the clothes look very nice, look very handsome with the clothes.
Chris: You mentioned some people appearing in this advertisement. Are these people celebrities?
Kevin: No, just models. Some of them are Chinese and some of them are foreigners.
they put posters in the public areas. Chris: But you maybe affected by them. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. For winter clothes. not frequently. of course. I can’t afford it. Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. advertisements in the shopping mall. I will consider them.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. For summer clothes. it may be longer. so maybe next time I go shopping. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. it will. and from my mind. from my perspective. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. 85 . How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. I only wear them for one to two year. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. they are nice to put them on. on the streets.
I never compare which clothes come from which countries. Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. 86 . and Demank (Jack and Jones). Kevin: As long as it can. I think their quality is good. then it’s of high quality. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. by the colour. you know. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China.Chris: So if it’s durable. keep the quality until out-of-date. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability.
not many. we prefer clothes from other countries. I will go to those places…not E-land. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 .Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. maybe cheaper than from other countries. of course. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. the appearance is more important…the quality. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. but for casual wear. it just likes Jack and Jones. famous among young people. Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people. Kevin: No. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing.
Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do.Kevin: No. I will buy it. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. like the clothes from the markets. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. I can see how it looks like. For T-shirt. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image. For jeans. if it is fit to me. maybe they will keep in mind. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. 88 . I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. maybe they will ignore it. To be honest. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. The clothes online are cheap. like grid shirts. So. I prefer some simple image. After I put it on. For shirts. but I know many people do. I prefer blue jeans. you can buy it online. if I recommend my preference to him or her. I never buy clothes online. I know many girls do that. I prefer very colorful image. I don’t know.
it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. the size may not fit and the quality as well… Chris: What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchased? Kevin: If I am satisfied with the clothes I bought. Chris: If you are satisfied. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. Kevin: Yea. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. they will give me a VIP card. of course I will wear it. 89 . Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. I will wear it very regularly. maybe they are there. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. maybe after one or two month.Chris: So. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. maybe take it as my pajamas. Normally. But if I’m not satisfied with it. that’s the main advantage. but less frequently. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. just after finish shopping. As long as l finish shopping. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. at least once a week.
glasses. sunglasses. Chris: That’s all for the interview. 90 . Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. something like that. Thanks very much. belts. but it represents the taste and quality of them.like some accessories. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. It may not the spirit of the clothes. wallet.