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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 184.108.40.206 Chinese spending habits 220.127.116.11 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 18.104.22.168 British spending habits 22.214.171.124 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 126.96.36.199 Within-case analysis 188.8.131.52 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
1 Introduction 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.3.3 Perceived quality 4.2.5 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 .2 Brand awareness 184.108.40.206 Brand loyalty 220.127.116.11 Results 4.2.5 Brand association 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.5 Brand association 18.104.22.168 Implications 5.3.2 Conclusions 5.3 Limitations 5.3 Perceived quality 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.2.
clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. brand loyalty and brand association. In the UK. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. i . more emphasis should be placed on the marketing strategies such as rewarding customer loyalty with a view to enhance the sustainable development of the clothing brands. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. perceived quality. however. namely brand awareness. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world.
but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. Last but not least. She has given me support as well as valuable comments throughout the consultation period so that I can manage to handle one of the hardest subjects in my university life. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. In addition. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. Dr. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation.Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. ii . This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. Vicky Story. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century.
under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. clothing can help represent our personal identity. 1 . clothes can also serve as fashion items. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. Several brands. Nowadays.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. 2000). Thus. Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. read product information. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. namely pre-purchase. choose the buying modes. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. in addition to the basic functions. different genders and cultural backgrounds. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. decide which and where to buy.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. purchase and post-purchase. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. which can tell how significant an individual is. but also in other markets with high potential. have become popular not only in their country of origin. as a matter of fact. 1996). express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them.
widen the profit margins. 1998. 1996.2. (2004). which would be illustrated in the following chapters. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . Under this concept. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. On the other hand. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. 1993). 2005). 2003).2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. Being an advanced developing country. managing brand image is of utmost importance. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. 2000. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. In accordance with Delong et al. 1991. 2000). The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. contributing to 74. Ailawadi. In this paper. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. 1. 2001. In order to differentiate one brand from another. Corstjens and Lal. Keller. 1. 1993. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. In this way. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China.
the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. On average. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China. Nowadays. As stated by Cui (1997).. However. 3 . however. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. pricing. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. quality and finally trendiness. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. 1. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern. However. China plays a role as a producer.2005 (WTO.1. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. followed by cutting. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. 2004). This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range.2. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. 2006). people spend 7.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount.
1. Also.2. 2004). they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. Lim and O’Cass (2001) explain that people in the west tend to have negative perception towards brands from emerging economies and hence the number of famous clothing brands in China is limited. Besides.. however. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China.1. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. The originally advantageous factors. When it comes to the case 4 .people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. however. 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. According to a report published by Business Week (2007).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. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. However.
According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. including the clothing industry. females are more likely 5 .com.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). 2007).1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. In addition. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense. regardless of their quality. 2004). contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. 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. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits.2. Regarding its GDP growth. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate.2. The manufacturing sector. 1. March 25). Among the respondents.2. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members.com. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. 1. because of its mature economic structure. 2007).
the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy.2. 2003). 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. 1998. Moore. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. 1999. 2004. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. there is a trend for own brand development. 2002). 1995). Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. Siddiqui et al. as cited in Carruthers. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. This could be explained by the fact that store cards sometimes have much higher interest rates than that of the credit cards and personal loans (Mintel. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. In 6 . strong competitive activities. However. 1. 2004).. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. 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. and occasionally.to spend on clothes than males. South and Spitze. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. short-life-cycle products. 2003). a polarized marketplace. 1999).2. 1994). As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. concentrated markets. 2004). As mentioned by Moore (1995). However. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes.
the retailing sector is fragmented. 2001. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. brand loyalty. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. The theoretical framework adopted in this dissertation would be based on the concept of brand equity and the details of each element are to be discussed and analyzed later in chapter four. 1995). brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned.. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. perceived brand equity and brand associations. According to Aaker (1991). As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. Marciniak and Bruce. namely brand awareness. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. 1998). 1. 1. 2004). 2003). Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce. composing of independent. Compared with other retailed sector. Mintel. 2004. clothing is a kind of public 7 .addition. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market.
5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. China. is on the lookout for extensions. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. In this way. First. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. ZARA. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. 2007). 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. In addition.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. 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 . being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. 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. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. 1. 2007. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes.
focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. 9 . Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed.understandable in the forthcoming sections. Whether brand image would affect the consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities and differences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology.
2001).1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. a brand is also composed of products. However. 2003). This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image.Chapter 2 Literature Review 2.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. 2. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. most of them concentrate on a single country study. 1991. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. 1991. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. 1998). brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 . In this chapter. 1998). Keller.. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. 1998). packaging. In addition to a specific brand name. 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. advertising. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. promotion. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. From the consumers’ perspective. Murphy. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy.
. effective after-sales services and the like. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. on the other hand. basic brand. Nowadays. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. When deciding which products to purchase. Added to this. Fennis and Pruyn. 2006). Finally and most importantly. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits.in consumer products (Roman et al. 1999). there are four elements for building a successful brand. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand.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. 2005). Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . 2000). consumers would have their preferences. 1999. 1998). for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. namely tangible product. 2. augmented brand and potential brand. 1998). 1998. Basic brand. Murphy. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. they share something in common. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. 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. As mentioned by Levitt (1983).2.
1996). For instance.. In addition. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. In countries with well-established legal system. By doing so. 2007). brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. including its name and symbol. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. Yasin et al. Marks and Spencer. 2002). the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. Brands like HSBC. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. 1998). In order to combat piracy. 1995). 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. 1998). One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. However.3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. designs as well as copyright.preference and loyalty. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. 12 . not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. 2. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. Added to this. patents. 1991. Vodafone. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. 2007). poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image.
brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. Besides. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. Keller. There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas.3. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. For instance. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. namely brand loyalty. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. 1998). 1991). linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. 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. 2. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. Owning to the positive image. 1991. As for the firm. For the consumers. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . 1991). name awareness.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. 1991). 2005). consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole.
In recent decades. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. In case of China. In addition. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al.. As mentioned by Keller (1998). 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi.. owing to geographical differences. For source credibility.set (Blackwell et al. 2005).. In order to achieve brand awareness. Macdonald and Sharp. 1990). According to research conducted by Delong et al. namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. In this way.. 2007). For long time. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. (2004). Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. Moreover. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. As for source 14 . brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. due to their political separations. 1990. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. has once been a colony of the UK. 2000). as pointed out by McGuire (1978). Tsai et al. being a special administrative region since 1997. two tasks are to be accomplished. 1986. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. 2007). there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world.
successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. differentiating the position of a brand. features. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 . 2007). reliability.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. Since it is a kind of intangible. competence. reliability. 2004). there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. 1991). perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. Yasin. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. 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. Regarding product quality. 2. 1991. 1992). To be more specific. conformance with specifications. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. durability. Keller. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. overall feeling towards a brand.attractiveness. Service quality. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al.3. 1989). 1998. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. 1991).. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. Nevertheless. serviceability as well as fit and finish. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. charging premium price. In addition. Similar to brand awareness. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. namely performance. on the other hand.
Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones.purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. Moreover. Hence. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. 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. 1991). Third. 1991).. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries.. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. In this case. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). 1991). regardless of the superior features. First. Second. 2005). This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. Keller (1998).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. 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. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. 1991). 1993). Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. 2. 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. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 . consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. however. the less vulnerable the customer base would be. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. consumers continue to buy the brand. price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker.3. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. Under the influence of brand loyalty. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. For many companies.
Bansal and Voyer. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. episodes. examples. Moreover. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. Silverman. 2000). brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. According to Aaker (1991). For instance. 1995. which contribute to a specific brand image. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. the intangible qualities. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty.3.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. Finally. 1998.recommend the same model of product. In addition to the tangible products. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. consisting of multiple ideas. 1997. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand.. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. 17 . Consumers usually depend on informal. 2. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. Marney. 2000). Hence. several airlines like Cathay Pacific. 2000). 1991). This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker.
experimental and symbolic. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. They can be classified into functional. For experimental benefits. on the other hand. Symbolic benefits. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. Benefits are another category in brand associations. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. packaging. Second. 1998). Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. benefits and attitudes. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. 1998). 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. 1991). They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness.Keller (1993. First of all. This can make the brand 18 . lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. namely attributes. For product-related attributes. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. price information. Finally. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. As for non-product related attributes. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. making the customers remember the brand by heart.
Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. Third. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. a vivid brand image is established. however. services. Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. For examples.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. First of all. money and effort. contributing to its higher premium price. 2. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. 2006). consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. some associations can engender positive feelings.. buy. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. Forth. use or dispose the products. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. ideas or experiences.
tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. However. 1998). 20 post-consumption evaluation and . pre-purchase. These seven steps include need recognition.. Based on this loophole.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. comprising acquisition of goods and services. as well as disposal of used goods. 2. 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. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. 2006). As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. For instance. Second. search for information. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. Although they vary in form of presentation. 2003). The notion ‘the consumer is king’ should be deep-rooted in every business people’s mind that they should try to please these kings using their innovative methods. Rayport and Jaworski. Moreover. consumption and disposal of products or services. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. consumption. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours.4. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. 2006).. consumption. Therefore. and also which products to excel. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. Arnoud et al. 2001. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. purchase. evaluation. which companies to succeed. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. Blackwell et al.
Stage two is the search of information. There are two kinds of needs. as well as customer satisfaction. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision.. size of purchase. In this stage. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand.divestment (Blackwell et al. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. 1997). past experiences. social class.. income. Ongoing search. Attributes like quantity. Stage one is need recognition which occurs when an individual is aware of a difference between their perception and the actual satisfaction level (Solomon et al. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al.. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. on the other hand. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. Blackwell et al. 2006). quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. 1992). (2006). namely functional needs and psychological needs. The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. 2005). As mentioned by Solomon et al. 2006). Any changes in 21 . Functional needs are related to the performance of the product whereas psychological needs are intrinsically obtained when customers feel contented with shopping or owning a product which they long for.. size.
customers evaluate the consumption process. visual displays inside the shops. In addition to in-store purchase. 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. 22 . there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes.. As stated by Blackwell et al. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others.. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. including retailer and in-store selection. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. 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. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. (2006). 2006). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. 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. Stage five. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. Last but not least. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. 2003). stage seven comes to divestment. According to Porter (2004). In stage five. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al.
including brand awareness. and at the same time. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. 23 . brand loyalty and brand associations. perceived quality. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. In this dissertation. Nowadays. 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. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness.2.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. perceived quality. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. products are developed in an unprecedented way.
2004). there are two types of research methods. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. research is required.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. the research traditions. 3. epistemology is about the science of knowing. 2004). recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. there are three research traditions. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches. The details of the sampling would also be discussed. interpretive research and critical postmodernism. research theories can be classified into different types. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition..1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. 3.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. In general. 24 . theories.2. data are gathered. namely positivism.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. namely qualitative and quantitative research. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. think and behave (Arnould et al. During the course of consumer behaviour research. and also the validity and reliability of data are discussed in order to provide a general view about how the research is carried out and which factors influence the justification of research method. In accordance with Gephart (2004). which are determined on the kinds of data being collected.
2004. Added to this. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three.2.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time.. As for critical postmodernism. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. it underlines the assumption of symbolic 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. random sampling 25 . In accordance to Fisher (2004). Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. 2002). In the field of research. 3. the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. While positivism stresses on objectivity. Finally. 1993). including experiences. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. Dey. together with the structures and processes within it. official statistics. examining the attitudes. events and mechanisms.
In this way. attitude (Kirk and Miller. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. numeric data. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. Nevertheless. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al.2. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . 1989). 3. 2000). 1975). 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. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. however. Cicourel. 1964. Qualitative analysis. As for qualitative research. That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. 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. Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. 2000). having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. 2000). Silverman. 1956. 2000). Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. 2000). (2002). 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. for example. it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. 1986). Besides. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer.
3. As mentioned by Saunders et al. However. This may affect the reliability of the research findings. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. 1992). 27 . Hence. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. As mentioned by Tesch (1990). (2003). As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. 2000). to justify reliability. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. Besides. While reliability is correlated to consistency. Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results.useful findings or not. 2006). validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. 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. 1992). 2000). namely language-orientated approach.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process.
descriptive/ interpretative approach. During the course of interviews. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. In case of interviews. Thus. 2004). Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. 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. However. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. Added to this. One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. 1992). 2000). In descriptive/ interpretative approach. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. For instance. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. 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. interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. 2006). interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. 28 . Finally. say 12-15 people. as well as theory-building approach. 2004). interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor.
leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. 2000). interesting responses emerged during the interviews.Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. with the use of a semi-structured format. non-probability sampling is used 29 . researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. 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. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. Among different structures of 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. 2006). unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. In accordance with Breakwell (2006). As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. 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. When it comes to the process of data collection.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. 2006). In addition. interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. 3. like other self-report methods. Unlike structured interviews. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. Moreover.
this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. 2005). Moreover. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. 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. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. 30 . The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. Hence.as the tool for this research. 2003). This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. 2002. Malhotra and King. 2004). though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. in quota sampling method. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. As mentioned by Proctor (2000). 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. findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. Among the 10 samples. 1982). In this research.
which are discussed in the following sections.1 Stage one In this stage. so they were not covered here. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell. Questions 1 31 . a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. say 30 minutes. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2).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. Also.5. was mentioned. As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. The approximate length of the interview. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. There are two types of questions. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. 3. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. After the introduction. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006).5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. 2006).
2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. 4. How often do you buy clothes? 2. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. probing questions were asked if needed. As mentioned in the literatures. including brand and brand equity. Mooij. 32 . There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. were discussed.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.5. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. Moreover. 1998). 1999. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. these can help understand their spending styles. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. The questions in this stage are as follows. 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.
2006. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. including pre-purchase. Keller. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. 5. Rayport and Jaworski. 1993).perceived quality. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. 2003). purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. 11.. 1991. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. 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. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. Do you recommend brands? 9. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models.
Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). 1984).5.3. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. and common categories from observational data (Babbie.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 processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis. The interviews were then transcribed.7. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. It focuses on 34 .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. 3. 3. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close.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. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. 2004). repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. themes. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. 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.
patterns and categories. 2004). As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). maintaining an attitude of skepticism. Hence. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory.. especially the use of systemic coding. Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. based on grounded theory. In addition. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . cataloguing concepts. as well as following the research procedures. They include periodically stepping back and asking. 1993). including familiarization. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. conceptualization. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al. re-coding. reflection.7.different ways to code data (Dey. 3. methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. 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. provided that they follow three rules. interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. 2002). which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total. 2006). 2006). These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. Besides. leading to further analysis of themes. (2002). According to Easterby-Smith et al.
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
22.214.171.124 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.
126.96.36.199 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
Chinese. let’s go’. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. buy every 4 to 5 months.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. 2000). many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. In England. Because I have been poor.” Narinder. Female Besides. 24. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. Male 39 . “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). maybe 3 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. quite rare. maybe one item every couple of month. British. 27. 23. 2002). so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. One of them was slightly different in that she indicated that she is an impulsive buyer and hence she would buy clothes based on her moods and feelings at the time of purchase. 23.” Kevin.” Mark. British. Generally. Male “In China.” Hannah. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). I will buy clothes if there are discounts. But before that. British. These are in line with the literature that students spend less than the other groups like working class as far as clothes purchasing is concerned (HKTDC. 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.
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. 24. 1991. There could be two identical clothes in the world. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. South and Spitze. as well as consumers (Aaker. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. Sometimes. 4.. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.When asking about the price range of clothes. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. “Probably.3. British. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. It really gets a large variation. Keller. 2007). In the coming section. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. 1999. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. 1994). retailers. however. As mentioned in chapter 2. the reasons why people buy them vary. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 .1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. 1993).
examined in question 4. 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. Intuition +/. Non-label Non-advert Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + - - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Functional use (Sports) Personal need Table 3: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (Chinese respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. +/.or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 . The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly.
If I have good experiences with something. British. In this regard. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC.” Mark. Male “Never. Moreover. 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. 24. Female 42 . Well. but I do not particularly look for brand names. They are probably the shops I like. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. British. 24. However. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. British.” Neil. Male “Well. Actually. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well.” Hannah. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. all respondents from both nations regard quality. 1991). I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. I probably buy again. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. “Yes. 23.
including 43 . it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. For some T-shirts. 2006).3. and buy more clothes to change. 24. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. like medium. I can use less money. if I buy too many big brands. “I do think most of the brands. if I buy cheap ones. Female Based on the above findings. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. 4.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. Fennis and Pruyn. This issue was examined through asking the question ‘In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?’ There are mainly four ways for the respondents to learn about the brands. 26. as well as quality (Roman et al. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes. In addition. 1991). The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands.” Jovi.” Vanessa. 2005). brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. do have better quality than cheaper brands. it costs me too much. 1999. Chinese. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. I bought some big brands like designer labels. So. Female “Yes. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature.. But recently.to high-priced brands. Chinese.
+/. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. 1986. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. two of them 44 . Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. peers.advertisement.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 +/.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. Among these respondents. Tsai et al. 2007). Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinda Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Advert Peers Others + - + + + From shops From shops.. internet and shops..
he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. Female “TV. Like Coby Bryrant. British. and it’s easy to make connections. 23. Zidane (is very memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. Chinese. they are familiar faces. advertisements in the shopping mall.” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. they (basketball players) will show up. so they associate themselves with brands. David Beckham. 45 . During the game break.” Neil.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. Chinese.” Kevin. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. you know. Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. Marketing people may affect me someway. Lance Armstrong.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). 1989). Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. 24. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire. 23.
when I go shopping next time. 24. “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. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. 23. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing.3. in which interviewees were asked. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. and from my mind. So. British.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6. I will consider them. 46 . they are nice to put them on. 4. that’s cool.” Neil.” Kevin. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something. Chinese.
or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. 1991). followed by style. +/. price and performance. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker. colour.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 + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/. durability. There are no significance differences between British 47 . 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. France Italy. 22. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. For buying Puma shoes.and Chinese respondents.” Jovi. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents) Countries Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Countries with highest quality Italy. they represent better quality. British. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9.” Michael. 24. so the countries don’t really affect it. Regarding country of origin. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. “In some of the countries like Japan. Contradictory to the literature. Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. Male When further question was asked about the issue ‘Which country’s clothes do you think they’re of highest/ lowest quality?’ British and Chinese respondents showed divergent views. France or Italy. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 .
they should meet the required quality. “I don’t have some preconception about it. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. 49 . you can buy good or bad clothes. 2004). France. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. Male “They suppose to all be the same. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. Malaysia. including China. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. If Puma gets its stuff from China. 22.. However. US.” Michael. produce poor quality clothes. India. 24. Italy No comment Korea. Thailand.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. Italy China. Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. British. Because I know from every country. British.” Neil. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. some South American countries Vivian Li UK. from Thailand.
I think those made-in-China are something good.” Vivian. Chinese. Actually. 23. If it’s about big brands. 8 and 12 in which the respondents were asked whether they buy the same brands regularly and also if they recommend brands to the others. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. Female Nevertheless. or some of the developing countries.“I think the UK and US have top brands. 50 . The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. 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.3.” Vanessa. Lowest (quality) maybe China. 1997). Chinese. China don’t have very famous brands. maybe it’s the reason. Italy as well. if I consider some basic ones. I will prefer France or Italy ones. Female 4. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. 26.
more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. 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. recommend brands to friends or relatives. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased.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. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees.
. The Diesel jeans fit me well. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned.’” Vanessa. so I will buy them more often. Chinese. Chinese. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. Topshop and All Saints. I will tell my friends. I like Fred Perry. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. Male Surprisingly. British. 23. 24. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. British. Chinese. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. 24. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. In Hong Kong.. In the UK. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good.” Mark. 26. for examples. I will tell them. British. 27. 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 .” Jovi. 23. CEU and Vertical Club.” Neil.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. Female “I just like it. there are quite many.” Vivian.
2007). 26. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. 23. Female 53 .3. British. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. Chinese. Chinese. it takes time to apply for it and maybe I will not spend much money on the same shops…I tried to apply House of Fraser and M&S (loyalty cards). That’s why I don’t apply for it. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. not so complicated design” Jovi. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. 27. we need not apply for the loyalty cards. Female 4. Vivian. Chinese. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. 1991). 24. The price is acceptable. Store cards are dangerous. It fits my age and my occupation as students. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. It’s not stylish but it is well made. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality.5 Brand association Regarding brand association.” Vanessa. Sometimes.” Narinder. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards.as cited in the literature (Aaker.
” Alick.” Neil. Chinese. Chinese. In order to investigate this issue. British. British. Male 4. and they look good. British. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. British. 24. khaki style…quality is good. Female “’Simply Me’.” Narinder. Male “60s hippie. 24. Male “They are practical.” Kevin.” Vanessa. 54 . For T-shirt. I prefer some simple image. 26.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. they work well. 27. usually cotton…” Hannah. 2002). Female “Basically. like grid shirts. For shirts.” Mark. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. Chinese. 27.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. Male “For Topshop. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. fits my age. British. I prefer very colourful image. All Saints is a bit more innovative. 22. 23. alternative sports. I prefer blue jeans. For jeans. 23. not like football. Male “Simple. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual.3.
British. not right colour.Surprisingly. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. 23. no. but I don’t buy online. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. “For clothes. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. but I know many people do. lower prices and informative websites. 24.” Narinder. The clothes online are cheap. you can buy it online. To be honest. Chinese.” Kevin. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons.” Michael. Male “I don’t buy online. 27. including the varieties of choices. “No. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. 23. try on to see if it is fit probably. I’ll have a look and compare prices. Female “Not really. just like the clothes from the markets. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. Chinese. 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. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. 22. Male 55 . right size as well” Vivian. Chinese. Female “I like fitting. British.
and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. 24. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. 27. but it represents the taste and quality of them. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. British. 26. 26. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. Female 56 . Chinese.” Alick. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. Male “Brand is just like the name of people. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. maybe one or twice a month.) Vanessa. 23. Chinese. 23. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. These are what internet offers.“(Shop online) Sometimes. Chinese. Chinese. 24. Female 4. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind.” Kevin. Chinese. It is good. It may not be the spirit of clothes. Chinese.4 Results In the last question.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. almost everything is quite good.” Vivian. good quality and good prices. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand.” Vanessa.
British.” Neil. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with. Male 4. 23. 22. however. 24.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service.” Narinda. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development. 27. rather than the designer. I realized. British. British. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. manufacturer.” Michael. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes.” Mark. At the beginning of the chapter. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. 57 . Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. British.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents.
providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. However. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. 5. 5. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. they cited that what they liked is more important. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. 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. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. 58 . brand is one of their considerations. In addition.2. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter.
In addition. 5.2. for example.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. However. followed by style. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes.As revealed from the above findings. durability. internet and shops. 5. some respondents from both nations cited that they had been affected by celebrity advertising in which they could associate the brand image with the celebrities’ images. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. peers. Nevertheless. That is to say. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. In terms of advertisements. colour. 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. consumers think of the other criteria as well. In general. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . price and performance.2. From the findings. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for.
regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. prices. From the findings. 1991). the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. by working on the brand development. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. functions etc. Also. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. 5. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. However. 60 . However. 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. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes.. 2004). it is good at manufacturing (Cui. styles. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. including the product features. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. while most of the Chinese respondents had. 5.2.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. however. 1997).2. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops.
whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. Added to this.3 Limitations During the course of research. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. 5. However. 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 establishment of such positive images can help enhance the brand values and there are no significant differences between the British and Chinese respondents in this regard. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. As far as sampling method is concerned. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. online security is also a matter of concern. time and also interpreting skills. various choices and cheaper prices. 5.2. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents. For online securities. In terms of fitting. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 .
especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used.. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. There are numerous brands around the world. 1991). gender and age. 2000). whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. the number of samples interviewed is limited. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. In addition. 2000). for instances accent. however. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. In selecting the students. This is the author’s second time to do the dissertation and the aspects like nervousness and lack of experiences can also be regarded as some of the limitations for this dissertation. In terms of time. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. 5. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. Finally. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. 62 . 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. the characteristics of the interviewers. having a propensity of getting deviated results. During the interviews. As long as more time is allowed. 2000). Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy.
owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. namely brand awareness. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. durability. four different areas were investigated. As for brand association. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . 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. marketers can think of relevant strategies. perceived quality and brand loyalty. colour. brand loyalty and brand association. From the findings. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. As far as perceived quality is concerned. To reward loyal customers. perceived quality. In addition. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base.Therefore. In terms of brand awareness. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. price and performance. style. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials.
2002). it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. could 64 . For instances.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. like supermarkets. This could provide much more conclusive results. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. Besides. for instance working class. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. For the UK. 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. 5. Other sampling groups. in addition to semi-structured interviews. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. have done. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. 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. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so.
65 .also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples. exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives. By taking the above recommendations.
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S. U. France U. U. Japan Britain S.S. U.S.S.S.S.S. Italy U.S. U.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.S. U. U. U.S.S.S.S.S. Germany U.S.S. France U. Netherlands France France U. Japan S. U.S. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 . U. U. U.S.S.S.S. U. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. U. France U. Japan U.S. U. Finland Japan U. Switzerland U.S. U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. U.S. Rank 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Gap L’Oreal Heinz Yahoo! Volkswagen Xerox Colgate Wrigley KFC Chanel Avon Nestle Kleenex Amazon. U.S.S.S. U.Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV Name Coca-Cola Country U.Korea Britain Japan Britain U.Korea U.S. Britain U.S. U.S. France U. Britain Japan U.S.S.S.S. Germany U.S.S. U.S.S.S.S. Germany U. France U. U. Switzerland U. Netherlands Bermuda U. U.S.S.S. Germany France U.S. U. U.S.S.S.S.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. U.S. Germany Japan U.
How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Do you recommend brands? 9. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. 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 . Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. Why do you like this brand? 11. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. How often do you buy clothes? 2.
since clothes are more expensive than those in China. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. Kevin. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. 81 . Kevin: Yes. I was the company. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. In England.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. maybe 3 times a year. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. In England. It would talk about 30 minutes. so in winter.
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.
I can’t afford it. How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. it will. Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. on the streets. advertisements in the shopping mall. of course. not frequently. 85 . they are nice to put them on. For winter clothes. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. they put posters in the public areas. I will consider them. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. and from my mind. so maybe next time I go shopping. I only wear them for one to two year. Chris: But you maybe affected by them. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. For summer clothes.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. it may be longer. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. from my perspective.
Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). by the colour. Kevin: As long as it can.Chris: So if it’s durable. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. keep the quality until out-of-date. and Demank (Jack and Jones). some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. 86 . then it’s of high quality. I never compare which clothes come from which countries. I think their quality is good. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability. you know.
we prefer clothes from other countries. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. not many. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. it just likes Jack and Jones. maybe cheaper than from other countries. Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people. Kevin: No. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 . the appearance is more important…the quality. of course. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. 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. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping.Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. but for casual wear. famous among young people.
I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. I can see how it looks like. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. like grid shirts.Kevin: No. After I put it on. I prefer blue jeans. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. but I know many people do. I don’t know. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. I never buy clothes online. I prefer very colorful image. you can buy it online. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image. if it is fit to me. I will buy it. The clothes online are cheap. For T-shirt. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. if I recommend my preference to him or her. So. I know many girls do that. maybe they will ignore it. maybe they will keep in mind. To be honest. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. like the clothes from the markets. For jeans. I prefer some simple image. For shirts. 88 .
Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. maybe take it as my pajamas. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. at least once a week. But if I’m not satisfied with it.Chris: So. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. I will wear it very regularly. just after finish shopping. of course I will wear it. 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. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. they will give me a VIP card. As long as l finish shopping. maybe after one or two month. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. Kevin: Yea. but less frequently. Chris: If you are satisfied. 89 . that’s the main advantage. maybe they are there. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. Normally. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval.
glasses. but it represents the taste and quality of them. wallet. something like that. sunglasses. belts. 90 . It may not the spirit of the clothes. Thanks very much.like some accessories. Chris: That’s all for the interview. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people.
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