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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 188.8.131.52 Chinese spending habits 184.108.40.206 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 220.127.116.11 British spending habits 18.104.22.168 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 22.214.171.124 Within-case analysis 126.96.36.199 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 Limitations 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 188.8.131.52 Brand loyalty 4.2.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.2.5 Brand association 5.1 Introduction 5.3 Perceived quality 4.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.2 Conclusions 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 184.108.40.206 Implications 5.2.5 Brand association 4.2.3 Perceived quality 5.2.5 Recommendations for further research 58 58 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64 References 66 Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79 Appendix 2: Interview questions 80 Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81 .3.4.4 Results 4.2 Brand awareness 5.
Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. i . Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. however.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. brand loyalty and brand association. perceived quality. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. In the UK. 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. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry.
in assisting me to finish the dissertation. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. ii . This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. Vicky Story. 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.Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. Dr. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. Last but not least. In addition. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members.
1 . Thus. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. clothes can also serve as fashion items. Nowadays. have become popular not only in their country of origin. as a matter of fact.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. in addition to the basic functions. but also in other markets with high potential. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. purchase and post-purchase. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. namely pre-purchase. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. clothing can help represent our personal identity. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. Several brands. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. decide which and where to buy. which can tell how significant an individual is. different genders and cultural backgrounds. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. 1996). Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). 2000).Chapter 1 Introduction 1. read product information. choose the buying modes. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us.
Ailawadi. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. 2000. In this way. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. 1998. 1991. 1993. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. 1. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. In order to differentiate one brand from another.2.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. 1. contributing to 74. 1996. In accordance with Delong et al. 2000). In this paper. managing brand image is of utmost importance.widen the profit margins.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. 2005). China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. Keller. Being an advanced developing country. On the other hand. Corstjens and Lal. 2003). which would be illustrated in the following chapters. 2001. (2004). 1993). This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. Under this concept.
3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount.. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. however. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. As stated by Cui (1997). Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. 1. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. 2004).1. On average. Nowadays. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern. The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. 3 . China plays a role as a producer. pricing.2005 (WTO. followed by cutting. However.2. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. However. 2006). It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. quality and finally trendiness. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. people spend 7.
The originally advantageous factors. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation. 2004).. Also.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. however. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. however. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. Besides. However. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low.1. According to a report published by Business Week (2007).to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. 1. Lim and O’Cass (2001) explain that people in the west tend to have negative perception towards brands from emerging economies and hence the number of famous clothing brands in China is limited. 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. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. When it comes to the case 4 . followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China.2. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development China has competitive advantages in terms of production factors such as low labour costs and growing technology.
1. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense.2. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits.2.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades.com. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. females are more likely 5 .2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. March 25). 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. including the clothing industry. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. 2004). According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. Regarding its GDP growth. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people. regardless of their quality. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist.com. 2007). The manufacturing sector. because of its mature economic structure. 2007). the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. In addition.2. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. 1. Among the respondents.
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. However. the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. In 6 . strong competitive activities. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. 1994).2. South and Spitze. 2002). there is a trend for own brand development. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. 2003). Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. 1.to spend on clothes than males. 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. Moore..2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy.2. 1998. a polarized marketplace. Siddiqui et al. 1999). 2004. as cited in Carruthers. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. However. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. As mentioned by Moore (1995). fashion retailers tend to create product differentiation in which they can distinguish themselves from their potential competitors in terms of product features like design and price. 2004). the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. 1999. 1995). 2003). short-life-cycle products. and occasionally. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. 2004). This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. concentrated markets.
with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey. brand loyalty. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. namely brand awareness.. the retailing sector is fragmented. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. 1.addition. 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. Compared with other retailed sector.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. 2004. According to Aaker (1991). composing of independent. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. 1998). 2003). Mintel. 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. 1. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. 1995). Marciniak and Bruce. perceived brand equity and brand associations. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. 2001. 2004). consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. clothing is a kind of public 7 . marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al.
being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. 1. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. 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 . ZARA. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. 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. China. 2007. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. In addition. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. First. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. 2007). is on the lookout for extensions. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. Chinese and British consumers are going to be compared in this research since China and the UK have been targeted by many clothing retailers due to their enormous customer base.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. In this way.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section.
understandable in the forthcoming sections. Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology. Whether brand image would affect the consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities and differences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. 9 .
2003). However. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. From the consumers’ perspective. promotion.. 1998). 2. Keller. Murphy. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. 1991.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij.Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. 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. In this chapter. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. packaging. Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. 1998). In addition to a specific brand name. 1991. most of them concentrate on a single country study. a brand is also composed of products. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. 2001). 1998). advertising. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 . This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image.
effective after-sales services and the like. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. Added to this.2. 1999). basic brand. Murphy. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. As mentioned by Levitt (1983). Fennis and Pruyn. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. namely tangible product. there are four elements for building a successful brand. they share something in common. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. Successful branding could make consumers aware of the presence of the brand and hence could increase the chance of buying the company’s products and services (Doyle. 1998). Nowadays..in consumer products (Roman et al. 2000). 1998. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. Basic brand. consumers would have their preferences. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. Finally and most importantly. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. 2006). on the other hand. 1998). When deciding which products to purchase. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. 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. 1999. augmented brand and potential brand. 2.
1991. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. 12 . the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. Brands like HSBC. In order to combat piracy. Yasin et al. However. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. In countries with well-established legal system. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. Vodafone. Added to this. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image.preference and loyalty. 2002). patents. 1995). brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. 1998). Marks and Spencer. For instance. By doing so. 2. designs as well as copyright. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. 1998). many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. 1996). not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell.3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. In addition. 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. 2007).. including its name and symbol. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. 2007). One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy.
The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. For the consumers. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. 1991). perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. name awareness. brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. 2005). For instance. 1991). brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. 1998). Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. 2. namely brand loyalty. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. the merger between adidas and Reebok in 2005 not only increased their market share so as to compete with Nike in the US sports apparel market. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. As for the firm. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity.3. Owning to the positive image. Keller. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. Besides. 1991). 1991.
2005). For source credibility. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. 1986. namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. In case of China. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. 2007). brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. 1990). Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. due to their political separations. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. Macdonald and Sharp. 2000). being a special administrative region since 1997. In this way. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. has once been a colony of the UK. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. According to research conducted by Delong et al. Moreover.set (Blackwell et al.. In order to achieve brand awareness.. two tasks are to be accomplished.. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness.. In recent decades. Tsai et al. As for source 14 . 2007). Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. For long time. 1990. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. (2004). Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). As mentioned by Keller (1998). In addition. owing to geographical differences.
on the other hand. Similar to brand awareness. 1991. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. conformance with specifications. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. features. serviceability as well as fit and finish. reliability. 1991). 1989). It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. differentiating the position of a brand. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. 2004). 2007).3. To be more specific. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. Since it is a kind of intangible. 1998. Yasin. 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. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. 2. competence.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. 1992). Keller. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 ..attractiveness. Nevertheless. Regarding product quality. durability. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. In addition. charging premium price. 1991). responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. Service quality. namely performance. reliability. overall feeling towards a brand.
1991). Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. First. This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. 1993). Keller (1998). 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. Hence. 1991). As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). 1991). consumers continue to buy the brand. 2005). loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. however. 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.3. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 . Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. 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. In this case. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. regardless of the superior features. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. For many companies. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. Second.purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. Third. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. the less vulnerable the customer base would be. Under the influence of brand loyalty. Moreover.. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. 1991). 2. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker.
many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. episodes. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. 2000). Silverman. Finally. examples.. 1991). 1995.recommend the same model of product. several airlines like Cathay Pacific. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. the intangible qualities. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. According to Aaker (1991). it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. 1997. which contribute to a specific brand image.3. Consumers usually depend on informal. consisting of multiple ideas. 2000). Bansal and Voyer. For instance. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. In addition to the tangible products.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. 1998. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. 17 . Hence. 2000). Moreover. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. Marney. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. 2.
they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller.Keller (1993. Second. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. First of all. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. packaging. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. Finally. For experimental benefits. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. 1998). Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. on the other hand. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. experimental and symbolic. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. For product-related attributes. As for non-product related attributes. 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. Benefits are another category in brand associations. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. Symbolic benefits. This can make the brand 18 . price information. making the customers remember the brand by heart. 1991). benefits and attitudes. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. 1998). Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. They can be classified into functional. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. namely attributes.
consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al..4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. contributing to its higher premium price. services. Forth. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. however. 2006). buy. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. For examples. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. use or dispose the products. First of all. some associations can engender positive feelings. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. a vivid brand image is established.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. 2. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. Third. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. ideas or experiences. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. money and effort.
2003).. The notion ‘the consumer is king’ should be deep-rooted in every business people’s mind that they should try to please these kings using their innovative methods.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. purchase. Arnoud et al. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. Moreover. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. 2. pre-purchase. However. 2006). Although they vary in form of presentation. 2001. For instance. Based on this loophole. comprising acquisition of goods and services. Therefore. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions.4. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. consumption and disposal of products or services. 20 post-consumption evaluation and . consumption. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. and also which products to excel.. which companies to succeed.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. evaluation. 1998). search for information. Rayport and Jaworski. as well as disposal of used goods. consumption. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. present consumer behaviour studies regard consumers as important determinants of organizational success and it is found that the most successful organizations are customer-centric (Blackwell et al. Blackwell et al. 2006). the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. These seven steps include need recognition. Second.
divestment (Blackwell et al. social class. Stage two is the search of information.. In this stage. There are two kinds of needs. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. size. Ongoing search. past experiences. 2006). The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. size of purchase. income. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. Blackwell et al.. 1992). Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. on the other hand. as well as customer satisfaction.. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions.. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. As mentioned by Solomon et al. Attributes like quantity. 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. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. namely functional needs and psychological needs. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. Any changes in 21 . 1997). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. 2005). prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. (2006). 2006). 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.
As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002).these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. Last but not least. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. As stated by Blackwell et al. visual displays inside the shops. 2006). in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. Stage five. 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. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. 2003).. According to Porter (2004).. including retailer and in-store selection. (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. stage seven comes to divestment. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes. customers evaluate the consumption process. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. 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. 22 . In stage five. In addition to in-store purchase. 2006). firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others. This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al.
brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. Nowadays. 23 . products are developed in an unprecedented way. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. including brand awareness. brand loyalty and brand associations. perceived quality.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. In this dissertation. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy.2. and at the same time. perceived quality.
which are determined on the kinds of data being collected.2. 3.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. epistemology is about the science of knowing. namely qualitative and quantitative research. 2004). there are three research traditions. there are two types of research methods. research theories can be classified into different types.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon.. data are gathered. think and behave (Arnould et al.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. interpretive research and critical postmodernism. During the course of consumer behaviour research. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. 3. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. namely positivism. research is required. The details of the sampling would also be discussed. 24 . In accordance with Gephart (2004). 2004). Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches. 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. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. theories. In general. the research traditions.
While positivism stresses on objectivity. Finally. events and mechanisms. together with the structures and processes within it. In the field of research.2. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. 2002). Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. 1993).. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. 3. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. 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. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. In accordance to Fisher (2004). 2004. As for critical postmodernism. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. examining the attitudes.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. Dey. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. including experiences. the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. Added to this. random sampling 25 . official statistics.
1956. 1986). qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. 1964. 2000). Cicourel. 1975). Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. 2000). 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. attitude (Kirk and Miller.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. Nevertheless. (2002). research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. however. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. Qualitative analysis. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. 2000). suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. Unlike quantitative research. 2000). Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. for example. numeric data. As for qualitative research. 3. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . In this way. 2000). which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman.2. Besides. Silverman. 1989). That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman.
As mentioned by Tesch (1990). This may affect the reliability of the research findings. 2006). These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. 2000). However. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). to justify reliability.useful findings or not. Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. Hence. (2003). giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. As mentioned by Saunders et al. While reliability is correlated to consistency. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. 1992). opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. 2000). namely language-orientated approach. 3. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. Besides. 1992). 27 . which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman.
In case of interviews. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. say 12-15 people. One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. 2004). researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. as well as theory-building approach. Added to this. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. During the course of interviews. 2006). Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. Finally. Thus. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. 2000). 28 . in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. However. Qualitative interviews refer to the interaction between an interviewer and interviewee on a topic which needs not to follow particular order and words in questioning and answering (Babbie. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. 2004). 1992). interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. For instance. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see.descriptive/ interpretative approach.
In accordance with Breakwell (2006). 2000).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. with the use of a semi-structured format. 3. Among different structures of interviews. 2006). As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. like other self-report methods. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. 2000). researchers can follow up some unexpected. interesting responses emerged during the interviews. 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. non-probability sampling is used 29 . 2006). underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. Moreover. Unlike structured interviews. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. When it comes to the process of data collection.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. it is suggested that interviewers be trained for a specific study if necessary since their manner in questioning could impose an effect on how reliable and valid the data will be (Proctor. In addition.
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. As mentioned by Proctor (2000). as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. 2005). Hence. in quota sampling method. The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). 2002. 2003). All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. 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. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. In this research. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. 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. 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. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. Malhotra and King. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon.as the tool for this research. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. 1982). 30 . though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. 2004). Among the 10 samples. Moreover.
The approximate length of the interview. was mentioned. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made.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 3.1 Stage one In this stage. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. so they were not covered here. Also. say 30 minutes. After the introduction. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. Questions 1 31 . the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. 3.5. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). There are two types of questions. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell. 2006). As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). which are discussed in the following sections. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2).
were discussed. Mooij. these can help understand their spending styles. probing questions were asked if needed. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. How often do you buy clothes? 2. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. The questions in this stage are as follows. Moreover. 4. 1999. including brand and brand equity. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. 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. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. 1998). How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions.5.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. As mentioned in the literatures. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. 32 .
purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. 1991. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . 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. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. 5.perceived quality. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. Do you recommend brands? 9. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. Do you shop online for clothes? 12.. 11. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. 1993). 2003). Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. Keller. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. including pre-purchase. 2006. Rayport and Jaworski.
7. The interviews were then transcribed. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. It focuses on 34 . 3.7 Analysis strategy This section introduces the concept of grounded theory and the use of within-case and cross-case analysis as the strategies for analyzing the research data.3.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. This serves as a summary of how interviewees perceive brands by providing their own definitions which may be similar or different from what is said in the literature. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis. and common categories from observational data (Babbie.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. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. 3.5. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. 3. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. themes. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 2004). 1984). it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’.
Besides. provided that they follow three rules. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. reflection. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . especially the use of systemic coding. maintaining an attitude of skepticism. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. Hence. leading to further analysis of themes. based on grounded theory. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). 1993). In addition. 2006). 2002). including familiarization. According to Easterby-Smith et al. Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). as well as following the research procedures. linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al. 3. 2004).different ways to code data (Dey. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. 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. methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. cataloguing concepts. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total. (2002). 2006). which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. patterns and categories. re-coding. conceptualization.. 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. They include periodically stepping back and asking.7.
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
220.127.116.11 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.
18.104.22.168 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
British. 23. maybe 3 times a year. In England.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. This could probably be explained by the findings mentioned in chapter 2 that consumers’ emotion is one of the determining factors for buying clothes (Berry. One of 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. 2002). British.” Mark.” Narinder. let’s go’. Male 39 . But before that. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). Because I have been poor. 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. 27. Chinese. Generally. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. Male “In China. quite rare. 23. British. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. 2000). “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). buy every 4 to 5 months. maybe one item every couple of month. 24. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. One of the respondents revealed that he preferred buying clothes at special occasions like seasonal discounts so that the prices can be much more affordable.” Kevin. Female Besides. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes.” Hannah.
brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. South and Spitze. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. British. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. 1994).3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.When asking about the price range of clothes. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. as well as consumers (Aaker. 1993). Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. It really gets a large variation. Sometimes. however. brand names can add tremendous value to the products.3.. Keller. 1991. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. As mentioned in chapter 2. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 .1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. retailers. the reasons why people buy them vary. There could be two identical clothes in the world. 2007). whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. 24. 1999. 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. “Probably. 4. In the coming section.
The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. +/.or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 .examined in question 4. 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 +/. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes. Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Pleasant.
“Yes. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. Actually. 23. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. but I do not particularly look for brand names. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. Well. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. 24.” Mark. In this regard. British. If I have good experiences with something. 1991).” Neil. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. However. British. I probably buy again. 24.” Hannah.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. British. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. Male “Well. Male “Never. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. Moreover. They are probably the shops I like. all respondents from both nations regard quality. Female 42 .
For some T-shirts. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. In addition. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. 2005). and buy more clothes to change.” Vanessa. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. including 43 . I can use less money. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. it costs me too much. Female “Yes. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style.” Jovi.to high-priced brands. if I buy cheap ones. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. 24. 26.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. I bought some big brands like designer labels. 4. do have better quality than cheaper brands. But recently. 1999. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. Chinese. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes. as well as quality (Roman et al. 2006).. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. “I do think most of the brands. Fennis and Pruyn. like medium. if I buy too many big brands. Chinese.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature.3. Female Based on the above findings. So. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. 1991).
+/. Tsai et al. Among these respondents.advertisement. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands..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. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. two of them 44 . 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. peers.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. 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 +/. 1986. 2007).
Like Coby Bryrant. David Beckham. Lance Armstrong. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. 24. Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. they (basketball players) will show up. they are familiar faces. you know. “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). 1989). During the game break.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. advertisements in the shopping mall. Female “TV. and it’s easy to make connections. Chinese. Zidane (is very memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. 45 . 23. Chinese. British.” Neil. Marketing people may affect me someway. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions.” Kevin.” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. so they associate themselves with brands. 23.
British. “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. 23.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. 46 . I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. 24.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6.” Neil. that’s cool.3. when I go shopping next time. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. 4. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. I will consider them. Chinese. and from my mind. in which interviewees were asked. they are nice to put them on. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7.” Kevin. So.
or words in black: Initial response without prompt. followed by style. +/. price and performance. Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. 1991). There are no significance differences between British 47 .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 + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/. colour. durability. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7.
Chinese. I expect Puma quality basically.and Chinese respondents. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. they represent better quality.” Michael. British. 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. Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for.” Jovi. For buying Puma shoes. “In some of the countries like Japan. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. Contradictory to the literature. 24. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 . France or Italy. France Italy. 22. Regarding country of origin. so the countries don’t really affect it. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents) Countries Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Countries with highest quality Italy.
3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. If Puma gets its stuff from China.” Neil. France. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. produce poor quality clothes. 2004). “I don’t have some preconception about it. you can buy good or bad clothes.. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. they should meet the required quality. Male “They suppose to all be the same. Thailand. 24. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. Italy China. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. 49 . Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8. from Thailand. British. Italy No comment Korea. India. However. Malaysia. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. Because I know from every country.” Michael. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. 22. including China. US. British. some South American countries Vivian Li UK.
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. maybe it’s the reason. I think those made-in-China are something good. I will prefer France or Italy ones. 50 . Italy as well. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. or some of the developing countries. Actually.” Vivian. 26. If it’s about big brands. if I consider some basic ones. 1997). The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design.” Vanessa. Chinese.3. Female Nevertheless. Female 4. China don’t have very famous brands. Chinese. 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. 23.“I think the UK and US have top brands.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. Lowest (quality) maybe China.
The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 . whereas the others think they need to take other factors like price and style into consideration and hence they do not buy the same brands regularly. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees.Table 10: Clothes purchasing habit (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + - + - - Table 11: Clothes purchasing habit (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + + + + + + - + + + + As observed from Tables 10 and 11. recommend brands to friends or relatives. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands.
I will tell my friends. 23. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. 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 ..” Neil. Chinese. British.” Jovi. In the UK. CEU and Vertical Club. Topshop and All Saints. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. I like Fred Perry. In Hong Kong. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. I will tell them. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. 24. British. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. 26.“I do have a few brands that I prefer.. 27. Female “I just like it. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. 24. so I will buy them more often. The Diesel jeans fit me well.’” Vanessa.” Mark.” Vivian. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. Male Surprisingly. Chinese. Chinese. British. for examples. 23. there are quite many.
1991). not so complicated design” Jovi. Sometimes.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. Store cards are dangerous. Female 4. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. British. The price is acceptable. 27. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. 2007).as cited in the literature (Aaker. That’s why I don’t apply for it. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. Chinese. Chinese. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. It’s not stylish but it is well made. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. we need not apply for the loyalty cards.3. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. Chinese. 24. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. 26. It fits my age and my occupation as students. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No.” Vanessa.” Narinder. Vivian. 23. 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). Female 53 .
British. Male “They are practical. Male “For Topshop. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. I prefer very colourful image.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. 27. British. All Saints is a bit more innovative.” Narinder. khaki style…quality is good. British. Male “60s hippie. 24. they work well. like grid shirts. and they look good. 22. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. Chinese. Female “’Simply Me’.” Mark. 27. Male 4. 26.” Neil. I prefer some simple image. Male “Simple.” Alick. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. Chinese. usually cotton…” Hannah. For T-shirt. Female “Basically. 2002). British. Chinese. In order to investigate this issue. I prefer blue jeans. 23. not like football.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. 54 . alternative sports. British. For shirts.” Kevin. fits my age. 24.” Vanessa. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael.3. For jeans. 23.
” Michael.Surprisingly. 27. Chinese. lower prices and informative websites. 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.” Kevin. but I don’t buy online. 23. 22. Female “I like fitting. 23. Male 55 . right size as well” Vivian. no. Chinese. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. To be honest. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it.” Narinder. Female “Not really. not right colour. The clothes online are cheap. but I know many people do. try on to see if it is fit probably. you can buy it online. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. British. I’ll have a look and compare prices. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons. including the varieties of choices. “No. just like the clothes from the markets. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. British. “For clothes. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. Chinese. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. 24. Male “I don’t buy online. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online.
but it represents the taste and quality of them. good quality and good prices. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. 26. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. almost everything is quite good. maybe one or twice a month. British. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. It may not be the spirit of clothes. Female 56 .” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. Chinese.” Vivian. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi.4 Results In the last question. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. 24. Chinese. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. Chinese.” Alick.) Vanessa. 23. 23. 27. Chinese.” Vanessa. 24. Male “Brand is just like the name of people. These are what internet offers. Chinese. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. 26. It is good. Chinese. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap.“(Shop online) Sometimes. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. Female 4.” Kevin.
57 .” Neil. British. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment.” Michael. manufacturer. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. Male 4. British. 23. British. I realized. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. 22. At the beginning of the chapter. however. 24. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers.” Narinda. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. rather than the designer.” Mark. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. British. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service. 27.
5. they cited that what they liked is more important.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. 58 . They are presented under each sub-section as shown below. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. 5. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. In addition. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. However. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality.2. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. brand is one of their considerations. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers.
brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials.As revealed from the above findings. price and performance. 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. for example. durability. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. Nevertheless. In general. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . colour. followed by style. However. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. none of the UK respondents thought it would affect their perception of clothes quality whereas some Chinese respondents had cited that some countries connoted to better quality.2. From the findings. 5. 5. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. consumers think of the other criteria as well. In addition. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. peers. That is to say. internet and shops. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. In terms of advertisements.2.
none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. 1991).. However. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. including the product features. 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. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase.2. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. prices. 5. by working on the brand development. However. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. Also. while most of the Chinese respondents had. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives.2. 2004). styles. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. From the findings. 1997). functions etc. however.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. 5. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. 60 . 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.
not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. As far as sampling method is concerned. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. For online securities. time and also interpreting skills. 5. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. However. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. online security is also a matter of concern. Added to this. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method.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. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents.2. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. 5.3 Limitations During the course of research. In terms of fitting.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. various choices and cheaper prices. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 . 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.
the number of samples interviewed is limited. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers.. There are numerous brands around the world. the characteristics of the interviewers. 2000). In selecting the students. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. gender and age. 2000). Finally.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. In terms of time. however. having a propensity of getting deviated results. As long as more time is allowed. 62 . 5. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. 1991). especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. During the interviews. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. for instances accent. 2000). This is the author’s second time to do the dissertation and the aspects like nervousness and lack of experiences can also be regarded as some of the limitations for this dissertation. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. In addition. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al.
aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. perceived quality. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. To reward loyal customers.Therefore. colour. From the findings. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. marketers can think of relevant strategies. perceived quality and brand loyalty. As for brand association. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. four different areas were investigated. As far as perceived quality is concerned. In terms of brand awareness. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. In addition. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . price and performance. durability. namely brand awareness. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. brand loyalty and brand association. 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. style. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from.
for instance working class. other kinds of research methods such as focus group and even some quantitative research methods could be used so as to provide findings from different perspectives.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. 2002). For instances. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. in addition to semi-structured interviews. This could provide much more conclusive results. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. have done. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. like supermarkets. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. Other sampling groups. For the UK. could 64 . 5. 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. Besides. 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.
65 . 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. By taking the above recommendations.also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples.
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U.S. U.S. U.S.S.S.S.S.S.S.S.S.S. Switzerland U. France U. U. U.S.S. U.S. 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.Korea U. U.S. Germany Japan U.S.S. U. U. U. Japan Britain S. Japan S. U. Netherlands Bermuda U. U. Germany U. France U. France U.S.S.S. Britain U.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. Netherlands France France U.S.S.S. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Name Nintendo Country Japan U. U.Korea Britain Japan Britain U. Germany U. U.S. U. U.S.S.S. Finland Japan U. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 .S.S. U. U. U.S. Italy U. France U. Switzerland U. U. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. U.S. France U.S.S. Germany U.S.S.S.S. Germany France U.S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. Britain Japan U. U.S.Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV Name Coca-Cola Country U. U.S.S.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.S.S. U.S.S. Japan U.S.S. U.S.
How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. Do you recommend brands? 9. 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 . In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. Why do you like this brand? 11. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. How often do you buy clothes? 2.
How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. In England. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. so in winter.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). I will buy clothes if there are discounts. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. I was the company. Kevin. It would talk about 30 minutes. 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. 81 . Kevin: Yes. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. In England.
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.
Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. from my perspective. of course. so maybe next time I go shopping. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. and from my mind. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. I can’t afford it. advertisements in the shopping mall. For summer clothes. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. I will consider them. How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. I only wear them for one to two year. Chris: But you maybe affected by them. 85 . For winter clothes. on the streets. it may be longer.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. they put posters in the public areas. they are nice to put them on. not frequently. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. it will.
Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the 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). and Demank (Jack and Jones).Chris: So if it’s durable. 86 . I never compare which clothes come from which countries. by the colour. you know. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. Kevin: As long as it can. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. then it’s of high quality. keep the quality until out-of-date. I think their quality is good. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it.
Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. we prefer clothes from other countries. maybe cheaper than from other countries. of course. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 . it just likes Jack and Jones. I will go to those places…not E-land. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. famous among young people.Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. Kevin: No. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. but for casual wear. not many. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. the appearance is more important…the quality.
you can buy it online. I never buy clothes online. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. For T-shirt. I prefer blue jeans. For shirts. So. I will buy it. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. The clothes online are cheap. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. For jeans. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. if I recommend my preference to him or her. but I know many people do. like grid shirts. After I put it on. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I can see how it looks like. To be honest. like the clothes from the markets. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance.Kevin: No. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image. 88 . I don’t know. if it is fit to me. maybe they will keep in mind. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. maybe they will ignore it. I know many girls do that. I prefer very colorful image. I prefer some simple image.
89 . of course I will wear it. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. As long as l finish shopping. maybe they are there. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. maybe take it as my pajamas. at least once a week. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. I will wear it very regularly.Chris: So. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. but less frequently. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. just after finish shopping. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. 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. Normally. Chris: If you are satisfied. Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. Kevin: Yea. they will give me a VIP card. that’s the main advantage. maybe after one or two month. But if I’m not satisfied with it.
90 . Thanks very much. It may not the spirit of the clothes. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. but it represents the taste and quality of them. sunglasses. glasses. Chris: That’s all for the interview. wallet. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. belts.like some accessories. something like that.
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