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By Kwok Keung Tam
A Dissertation presented in part consideration for the degree of “MSc International Business”
Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i
Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing 1.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets 1.2.1 China clothing market 126.96.36.199 Chinese spending habits 188.8.131.52 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 184.108.40.206 British spending habits 220.127.116.11 Characteristics of the UK clothing market 1.3 Theoretical framework 1.4 Objectives of the dissertation 1.5 Outline of the dissertation
1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8
Chapter 2: Literature review 2.1 Introduction 2.2 The important roles of brand 2.2.1 The characteristics of successful brands 2.3 Brand equity 2.3.1 Brand awareness 2.3.2 Perceived quality 2.3.3 Brand loyalty 2.3.4 Brand association 2.4 Consumer buying behaviour
10 10 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 19
2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviour 2.5 Summary
Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds 3.2.1 Review of different research traditions 3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 3.2.3 Reliability and validity of data 3.3 Justification of research method 3.4 Sampling 3.5 Interview schedule 3.5.1 Stage one 3.5.2 Stage two 3.5.3 Stage three 3.6 Administration 3.7 Analysis strategy 3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis 3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis 18.104.22.168 Within-case analysis 22.214.171.124 Cross-case analysis 3.8 Summary
24 24 24 24 25 26 27 29 31 31 32 34 34 34 34
35 36 37 37
Chapter 4: Research findings and discussion 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Backgrounds of respondents 4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 4.3.2 Brand awareness
38 38 38 40 40
3 Limitations 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.3 Perceived quality 5.4 Brand loyalty 4.2 Brand awareness 5.3.5 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 .5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.2.3 Perceived quality 4.2.4 Brand loyalty 126.96.36.199.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.5 Brand association 4.3.5 Brand association 5.3.1 Introduction 5.2 Conclusions 5.4 Results 188.8.131.52 Implications 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.2.
The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. namely brand awareness. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. perceived quality. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry. i . it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. 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.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. however. brand loyalty and brand association. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. In the UK.
I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century.Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. Vicky Story. In addition. 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 assisting me to finish the dissertation. Dr. ii . but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead.
Nowadays. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. decide which and where to buy. clothes can also serve as fashion items. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. Several brands. read product information. as a matter of fact. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. have become popular not only in their country of origin.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. 2000). but also in other markets with high potential. different genders and cultural backgrounds. Thus. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). purchase and post-purchase. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. 1 . Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. which can tell how significant an individual is. clothing can help represent our personal identity. namely pre-purchase. 1996). Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. in addition to the basic functions. choose the buying modes.
the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. 1993. Keller. contributing to 74. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. managing brand image is of utmost importance.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . 2001. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. 2000). In order to differentiate one brand from another. 1991.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. (2004). In this paper. Ailawadi. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. 1993).widen the profit margins. Under this concept.2. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. Being an advanced developing country. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. 1998. On the other hand. 1. In this way. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. 2000. 2003). China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. Corstjens and Lal. In accordance with Delong et al. 1996. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. 2005). 1.
2005 (WTO. However. people spend 7.2. The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. quality and finally trendiness. Nowadays. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern. however. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. 2006). wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. 3 . It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. As stated by Cui (1997). pricing. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. 2004). Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al.. On average. 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. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. China plays a role as a producer. 1. However. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range.1. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. followed by cutting.
Also. 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. 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. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades.2.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development China has competitive advantages in terms of production factors such as low labour costs and growing technology.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. 1. the lack of globally influential brands is one of the main reasons why China lags behind in the clothing industry with respect to brand development (Delong et al. however. however. 2004). Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. Besides. According to a report published by Business Week (2007). followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. 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. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. However. When it comes to the case 4 . The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. The originally advantageous factors. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands.1..
The key motivation for doing so is to build up a global image so as to enhance the company’s international reputation and it is suggested that quality is the major determinant for the overseas customers to make their buying decisions. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people. 2007). With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members.2. 2004). the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. because of its mature economic structure. Among the respondents. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades. Regarding its GDP growth. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes.com. regardless of their quality. 1.com. including the clothing industry. 1. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. 2007).2.2. The manufacturing sector.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. In addition. According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. March 25). females are more likely 5 . contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense.
Siddiqui et al. 2003). Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. short-life-cycle products. 2003).2. 2002). 1998. as cited in Carruthers. strong competitive activities. In 6 . the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. South and Spitze. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. 2004). 1999). As mentioned by Moore (1995). However. 1. 1995).to spend on clothes than males. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. 1999.. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. However. a polarized marketplace. 2004. concentrated markets. fashion retailers tend to create product differentiation in which they can distinguish themselves from their potential competitors in terms of product features like design and price.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. 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. 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. As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. 1994). as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce.2. there is a trend for own brand development. 2004). Moore. and occasionally.
consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. According to Aaker (1991). brand loyalty. 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). 2004). 1. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. 1998). 2001. Mintel. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. composing of independent.addition. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. clothing is a kind of public 7 . 2003). 1. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce.. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. 2004. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. namely brand awareness. the retailing sector is fragmented. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. Compared with other retailed sector. perceived brand equity and brand associations. Marciniak and Bruce.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name.
being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. In this way. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. 2007). In addition. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. 1. China. 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. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. 2007. First. the research objectives and the dissertation outline.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. 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. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. ZARA. is on the lookout for extensions. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. 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. 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 . there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK.
understandable in the forthcoming sections. 9 . Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. Whether brand image would affect the consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities and differences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated. Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed.
advertising. However. 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. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy.. From the consumers’ perspective.Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. most of them concentrate on a single country study. Murphy. In this chapter. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 .2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. 2. 1991. This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image. 2001). 2003). 1991. a brand is also composed of products. 1998). 1998). consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. 1998). packaging. promotion. Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. In addition to a specific brand name. Keller. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour.
2. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. As mentioned by Levitt (1983). a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . Finally and most importantly. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. Murphy. Basic brand. Successful branding could make consumers aware of the presence of the brand and hence could increase the chance of buying the company’s products and services (Doyle. Fennis and Pruyn. Added to this. 1999). 1999. augmented brand and potential brand. there are four elements for building a successful brand. effective after-sales services and the like. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories.in consumer products (Roman et al. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. on the other hand. basic brand. 1998). When deciding which products to purchase. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. 2005). consumers would have their preferences. 2006). 1998). considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. 1998.. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. 2. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. they share something in common. Nowadays.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. namely tangible product. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. 2000).
In order to combat piracy. 1991. One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. In countries with well-established legal system. patents. 2002). This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. Marks and Spencer. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. including its name and symbol. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange.. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. designs as well as copyright. 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. 1996). Added to this. Yasin et al. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold.3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. 2007). Vodafone. Brands like HSBC. Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. For instance. In addition. 1995). 1998). not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. 2007). 12 . 1998).preference and loyalty. 2. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. However. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. By doing so.
1998). Owning to the positive image.3. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. As for the firm. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. 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. 1991).1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. 1991). name awareness. 1991. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . 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. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. namely brand loyalty. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. the merger between adidas and Reebok in 2005 not only increased their market share so as to compete with Nike in the US sports apparel market. For instance. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. Besides. 2. Keller. For the consumers. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. 1991). 2005).
This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. 2007). 2007).. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. In case of China.set (Blackwell et al. In order to achieve brand awareness. Macdonald and Sharp. (2004). Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. 2000). For source credibility. two tasks are to be accomplished. As for source 14 . Moreover. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al.. As mentioned by Keller (1998). brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. 2005).. In addition. Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. Tsai et al. 1986. For long time. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world.. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. due to their political separations. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). According to research conducted by Delong et al. 1990. In this way. In recent decades. owing to geographical differences. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. 1990). has once been a colony of the UK. being a special administrative region since 1997.
perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. 1989).2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. 1991). responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. conformance with specifications. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. 1991).. Similar to brand awareness. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. overall feeling towards a brand. features. serviceability as well as fit and finish. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. 1991. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 . 2004). Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. charging premium price. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. In addition. Keller. differentiating the position of a brand. reliability. To be more specific. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. 1998. Regarding product quality. 2007). Service quality. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. Nevertheless.3. 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. competence. Since it is a kind of intangible. 2. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. reliability. Yasin. namely performance.attractiveness. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. on the other hand. durability. 1992).
Hence.. 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. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 . consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. Keller (1998). Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. 2. Second. Under the influence of brand loyalty. 2005). 1991). First. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand.. however. This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. Third. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). 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. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. 1991). Moreover. For many companies. 1993).purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. consumers continue to buy the brand.3. 1991). In this case.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. regardless of the superior features. Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. the less vulnerable the customer base would be. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. 1991). loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage.
Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. 2. 1998. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. examples. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. Marney. Consumers usually depend on informal. episodes. Moreover. the intangible qualities. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. 2000). several airlines like Cathay Pacific.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. 2000). for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations.. 17 . (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. which contribute to a specific brand image. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. Bansal and Voyer. 1995. In addition to the tangible products. 1991). KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. According to Aaker (1991). many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. Silverman. consisting of multiple ideas. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. For instance. 1997.recommend the same model of product. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. Hence.3. 2000). Finally.
Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. benefits and attitudes. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. price information. 1991). Second. on the other hand. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. First of all. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. namely attributes.Keller (1993. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. Benefits are another category in brand associations. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. For experimental benefits. They can be classified into functional. As for non-product related attributes. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. This can make the brand 18 . Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. 1998). 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. Symbolic benefits. packaging. 1998). experimental and symbolic. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. making the customers remember the brand by heart. Finally. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences.
(2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. a vivid brand image is established. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. contributing to its higher premium price.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. 2. For examples. Forth. Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. money and effort. First of all. 2006). The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. buy. however. some associations can engender positive feelings. services. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. use or dispose the products. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. ideas or experiences. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field.. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . Third. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al.
through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. These seven steps include need recognition.. Therefore. Blackwell et al. However.. 1998).1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. consumption. consumption and disposal of products or services. 2006). consumption. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. 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. 2003). 2006). Moreover. pre-purchase. Arnoud et al. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. search for information. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. Rayport and Jaworski. as well as disposal of used goods. purchase. 2. comprising acquisition of goods and services. For instance. Second. Based on this loophole. 2001. which companies to succeed. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. and also which products to excel. Although they vary in form of presentation. 20 post-consumption evaluation and . evaluation.4. 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.
social class. (2006). past experiences. consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. as well as customer satisfaction. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. Attributes like quantity. 1992). 1997).. Functional needs are related to the performance of the product whereas psychological needs are intrinsically obtained when customers feel contented with shopping or owning a product which they long for. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision.. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. income. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. namely functional needs and psychological needs. 2006). size of purchase. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions.divestment (Blackwell et al. There are two kinds of needs. Ongoing search. Stage one is need recognition which occurs when an individual is aware of a difference between their perception and the actual satisfaction level (Solomon et al. As mentioned by Solomon et al.. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. Stage two is the search of information. Blackwell et al. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. In this stage. on the other hand. 2006). size. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. Any changes in 21 . The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. 2005)..
Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. as well as point-of-purchase advertising.. In addition to in-store purchase. Retailer selection is made by judging which retailers to buy after investigating the attributes from the previous stage whereas in-store selection is affected by the selling skills of salesperson. 22 . According to Porter (2004). 2003). In stage five.. (2006). 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. 2006). stage seven comes to divestment. including retailer and in-store selection. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. Stage five. visual displays inside the shops. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. 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. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. Last but not least. customers evaluate the consumption process. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes. 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 six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. 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. 2006).
Nowadays. products are developed in an unprecedented way. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. perceived quality. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. perceived quality. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. brand loyalty and brand associations. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. and at the same time.2. In this dissertation. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. including brand awareness.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. 23 .
2. In general. research is required. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches. 3. there are two types of research methods. interpretive research and critical postmodernism. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. 3. The details of the sampling would also be discussed. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. there are three research traditions. 2004). theories. 24 . research theories can be classified into different types.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. the research traditions. 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. 2004). recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. namely qualitative and quantitative research. During the course of consumer behaviour research. namely positivism. data are gathered.. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. think and behave (Arnould et al. epistemology is about the science of knowing.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. In accordance with Gephart (2004).
events and mechanisms. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. While positivism stresses on objectivity. In the field of research. As for critical postmodernism. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality.2. including experiences. 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. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. official statistics. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. 2004. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. 1993). the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. In accordance to Fisher (2004). Added to this. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. examining the attitudes.. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. 3. 2002). Finally. random sampling 25 . together with the structures and processes within it. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. Dey.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality.
2000). Nevertheless. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. Besides.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. 2000). Silverman. it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. Cicourel. Unlike quantitative research. (2002). 1986). Qualitative analysis. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. 2000). That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. numeric data. attitude (Kirk and Miller. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. however. 2000). As for qualitative research. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. 1964. the reliability of tape-recorded and transcribed data is argued by some to be weakened owing to the possibility of missing some trivial but crucial pauses and overlaps (Silverman. 2000). for example. 3. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. 1989). In this way. 1975).2. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . 1956.
giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. namely language-orientated approach. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). However. 2000). 2000). the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. While reliability is correlated to consistency. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. As mentioned by Tesch (1990). 1992). Hence. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. 3. validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. 27 . 2006). it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. This may affect the reliability of the research findings. (2003). This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. As mentioned by Saunders et al. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. Besides.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. 1992).useful findings or not. to justify reliability.
theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. For instance. During the course of interviews. One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. Added to this. focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell.descriptive/ interpretative approach. 28 . However. interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. say 12-15 people. 2000). In case of interviews. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. 2004). researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. 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. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. 2004). Thus. 1992). Finally. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. as well as theory-building approach. 2006).
unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. In addition. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. Among different structures of interviews. 2006). with the use of a semi-structured format. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. 2006). These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced.Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. Unlike structured interviews. interesting responses emerged during the interviews. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). 2000). In accordance with Breakwell (2006). interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. researchers can follow up some unexpected. 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. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. 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.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. 3. like other self-report methods. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. 2000). semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. non-probability sampling is used 29 . researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. When it comes to the process of data collection. Moreover.
As mentioned by Proctor (2000). In this research. 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. 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. 2004). 2003). though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. Hence. Among the 10 samples. Moreover. The criteria for judging whether they are Chinese or British customers are based on the passports they are holding together with the number of years they have lived in their home country. Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. Malhotra and King. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications.as the tool for this research. The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). 2005). Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. in quota sampling method. 30 . 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. 1982). 2002. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28.
5. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. 2006). namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. After the introduction. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. which are discussed in the following sections. Also. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). so they were not covered here. The approximate length of the interview. say 30 minutes. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. was mentioned. There are two types of questions. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. Questions 1 31 .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. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell. 3.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages.1 Stage one In this stage.
In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Mooij. Moreover. 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. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. 1999. 1998). As mentioned in the literatures. these can help understand their spending styles. were discussed. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3.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. How often do you buy clothes? 2. 4. probing questions were asked if needed. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. including brand and brand equity. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. The questions in this stage are as follows.5. 32 . further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1.
After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. Do you recommend brands? 9. these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. 1991. 5. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. Keller. 2006.. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. 11.perceived quality. 2003). As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . Why do you like this brand? Question 11 asks for the interviewees’ opinions about the new emerging online shopping mode whereas question 12 is about their post-purchase actions they took towards the clothes they had purchased. 1993). Rayport and Jaworski. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. including pre-purchase. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10.
The interviews were then transcribed. repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. 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. 1984).3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage.7. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. It focuses on 34 . and common categories from observational data (Babbie. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns.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. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis.5. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. 3. themes. 2004).1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. 3.6 Administration The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions.3. 3. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967).
3. 2002). Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total.. 2006). (2002).7. based on grounded theory. including familiarization. conceptualization. re-coding. especially the use of systemic coding. 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. as well as following the research procedures. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. 1993). cataloguing concepts. Hence. reflection.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994).different ways to code data (Dey. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. patterns and categories. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. 2006). interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . provided that they follow three rules. linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. 2004). In addition. According to Easterby-Smith et al. leading to further analysis of themes. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. They include periodically stepping back and asking. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. maintaining an attitude of skepticism. Besides.
analysis. In this dissertation, the interviews conducted were investigated based on these two approaches. The summary of these two approaches is shown in Figure 1.
Listening to tape and producing a transcript
Coding the transcript
Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes
Looking for patterns from similar and different responses
Creating tables based on responses from interviewees
Figure 1: Overview of analysis
184.108.40.206 Within-case analysis During the interviews, notes were first jotted down and then the summary of each individual interview was made after listening to the MP3 recorder for the sake of keeping the fresh memory of the interview content. A full transcription of each interview (see Appendix 3) was made after the completion of the whole interview process. After finishing the transcription, the main ideas of the interviews were summarized and presented in form of tables with codes like ‘+’ standing for interviewee who has mentioned this idea, whilst ‘-‘ connoting to a negative response to the question. Some quotes from the answers would be
illustrated for explanation if necessary.
220.127.116.11 Cross-case analysis Cross-case analysis aims at looking for convergences and divergences in the data, recognizing ways to account for the similarities and differences of the respondents (Smith and Eatough, 2006; Smith and Osborn, 2003). Each interview was analyzed in the same way as mentioned in the within-case analysis. Then the patterns emerged were analyzed based the several tables in different themes.
3.8 Summary In this chapter, the methodology used in this dissertation has been justified and explained. Qualitative semi-structured interviews have been chosen as a mean to collect data since they are found to be more appropriate for soliciting responses in relation to attitudes, opinions and feelings. Besides, the sampling method was covered. In the course of data collection, the combination of convenience and quota sampling was being used. In addition, the schedule of interview was discussed with a view to providing some general ideas about the underlying reasons for asking such questions. The data collected would be analyzed using the methods of within-case and cross-case analysis. The research findings will be presented and discussed in the next chapter.
Chapter 4 Research Findings and Discussion
4.1 Introduction This chapter aims at presenting and discussing findings obtained from the interviews concerning the effect of clothing brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. As mentioned in chapter 3, 10 people, including 5 British and 5 Chinese were interviewed. Each interview was recorded and transcribed for the purpose of analysis in this chapter.
As far as the analysis is concerned, it will be based on the most pertinent quotes, which reveal the viewpoints from the British and Chinese respondents respectively. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), qualitative researchers need to communicate the findings in an honest and systematic manner, disseminating the richness of the findings and hence the experience of the researchers. In addition, the analysis should be open to verification as far as possible so that the others are free to repeat what has been done and check the conclusions (Breakwell, 2006).
The chapter consists of three sections in which the respondents’ backgrounds, the effect of brand image on them and also their opinions of brand are presented and compared.
4.2 Backgrounds of respondents All respondents are students from the University of Nottingham, with nine of them being master students and one of them being a PhD student. Their ages range from 22 to 27 and the male to female ratio is 1 to 1.
The first three questions try to solicit the interviewees’ response about their clothing spending habits, asking about their shopping frequency, money spent
Male 39 .” Mark. 23. British. In England. buy every 4 to 5 months. 24. But before that. Chinese. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. 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.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. 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.” Kevin. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. 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. 2002). “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. 27. Because I have been poor. let’s go’. Generally. 2000). I will buy clothes if there are discounts. maybe one item every couple of month.” Narinder. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. quite rare. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season).” Hannah. 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. 23. maybe 3 times a year. Female Besides. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. Male “In China. British. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now.
. 1994). more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. retailers. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. It really gets a large variation. 1991. however.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. the reasons why people buy them vary.When asking about the price range of clothes. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 . 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. In the coming section. British. There could be two identical clothes in the world. “Probably. as well as consumers (Aaker. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. 24. 1993). it does not really mean that males have less spending power. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. South and Spitze. Sometimes. 4. Keller. 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. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. 1999. As mentioned in chapter 2. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. 2007).
The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes. 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.or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 .examined in question 4. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. +/. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly.or words in black: Initial response without prompt.
” Neil. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. 24. However. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. Female 42 . In this regard. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. I probably buy again. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there.” Mark.” Hannah. 24. Male “Never. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. British. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. but I do not particularly look for brand names. British. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. Male “Well. “Yes. all respondents from both nations regard quality. If I have good experiences with something. Moreover. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. Well. British. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. 1991). 23. They are probably the shops I like. Actually.
which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. Fennis and Pruyn. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. Female “Yes. 1999.” Vanessa. including 43 . H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. if I buy cheap ones. For some T-shirts. So. like medium.3. 24. “I do think most of the brands. I can use less money. it costs me too much.to high-priced brands. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. and buy more clothes to change. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. I bought some big brands like designer labels. 2006). as well as quality (Roman et al. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes. 26. if I buy too many big brands. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. Chinese.” Jovi. 4.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. 1991). Female Based on the above findings. do have better quality than cheaper brands.. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. Chinese. 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. But recently. 2005). In addition.
advertisement. 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.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. peers..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). two of them 44 . 1986. 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 +/. +/.. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. internet and shops. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5.
Zidane (is very memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. they are familiar faces.” Neil. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). you know. Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. 23. so they associate themselves with brands.” Kevin. Chinese. 24. 1989).” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. 23. Chinese.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. advertisements in the shopping mall. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. Female “TV. Like Coby Bryrant. they (basketball players) will show up. and it’s easy to make connections. David Beckham. British. During the game break. Marketing people may affect me someway. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire. Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. Lance Armstrong. 45 .
and from my mind. 46 .“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. 4.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6. I will consider them. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something.” Kevin.3. in which interviewees were asked. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. they are nice to put them on. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. 24.” Neil. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. So. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. when I go shopping next time. British. “How do you judge the quality of the clothes?” Their attitudes towards country-of-origins of clothes were also solicited from the follow-up questions. that’s cool. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. 23. Chinese.
colour. price and performance. 1991). in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker. +/. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7. There are no significance differences between British 47 . durability.Table 6: Criteria for judging clothes quality (British respondents) Criteria Name Materials Style Colour Durability Country of origin Others Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + + + + + Performance Price + - Table 7: Criteria for judging clothes quality (Chinese respondents) Criteria Name Materials Style Colour Durability Country of origin Others Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. followed by style.
3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. they represent better quality. For buying Puma shoes. Contradictory to the literature. so the countries don’t really affect it. Regarding country of origin. Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for.” Michael. 22.” Jovi. Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents) Countries Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Countries with highest quality Italy. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. “In some of the countries like Japan. France Italy. 24. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 . The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. Chinese. British. I expect Puma quality basically. 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. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality.and Chinese respondents. France or Italy.
they should meet the required quality. 49 . US. including China. “I don’t have some preconception about it. you can buy good or bad clothes. Because I know from every country. Male “They suppose to all be the same.. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. France. 2004). from Thailand. Malaysia.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. 22. some South American countries Vivian Li UK.” Michael. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. Thailand. British. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. However. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France. 24. Italy China.” Neil. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. produce poor quality clothes. If Puma gets its stuff from China. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. British. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. Italy No comment Korea. India.
” Vanessa. Chinese.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7.” Vivian. 50 . “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. 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. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. Lowest (quality) maybe China. If it’s about big brands. 26. if I consider some basic ones. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. maybe it’s the reason.3. 23. Actually. China don’t have very famous brands. Female 4. I think those made-in-China are something good. I will prefer France or Italy ones. 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. or some of the developing countries.“I think the UK and US have top brands. Chinese. Female Nevertheless. Italy as well. 1997).
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. 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. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands.
British. Male Surprisingly. 23. Topshop and All Saints. CEU and Vertical Club.” Jovi. British. 24. 24.. Chinese. 23. for examples. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. I will tell my friends. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. so I will buy them more often. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned. there are quite many. 27. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon….” Neil. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. British. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. 26. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder.’” Vanessa. none of the UK respondents have any clothing club cards even though the shops take this chance to reward their loyalty in terms of discounts 52 . The Diesel jeans fit me well. I will tell them. In Hong Kong. I like Fred Perry. In the UK. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. Chinese. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices.” Mark.” Vivian. Chinese.. Female “I just like it.
The price is acceptable. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. 24. It fits my age and my occupation as students. 1991). Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. Sometimes. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. 26. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. Female 4. we need not apply for the loyalty cards. 2007). 27. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. It’s not stylish but it is well made. not so complicated design” Jovi. 23. Chinese.” Vanessa.” Narinder. Chinese. British. Female 53 .as cited in the literature (Aaker. That’s why I don’t apply for it. Chinese. Store cards are dangerous. Vivian. it takes time to apply for it and maybe I will not spend much money on the same shops…I tried to apply House of Fraser and M&S (loyalty cards).3.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards.
24. 27. Chinese. For jeans. British. Female “’Simply Me’. For T-shirt. Male “For Topshop. Male “Simple. Male “60s hippie.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. For shirts. not like football. and they look good. I prefer blue jeans. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. British. they work well. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality.” Kevin. Male “They are practical. 22. alternative sports.3. 23. 2002).” Alick. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. 24. usually cotton…” Hannah. khaki style…quality is good. fits my age.” Neil. In order to investigate this issue. British.” Vanessa. Chinese. 54 . 26. Male 4. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. Chinese.” Mark.” Narinder. Female “Basically. like grid shirts. I prefer some simple image. British. I prefer very colourful image. 27. British. All Saints is a bit more innovative. 23.
Surprisingly. 23. but I don’t buy online. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes.” Michael. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. just like the clothes from the markets. Female “Not really. 23. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. Chinese. “No. Chinese. including the varieties of choices. Male 55 . 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. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. To be honest. right size as well” Vivian. Male “I don’t buy online. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. but I know many people do. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. 27. no. Female “I like fitting. “For clothes. I’ll have a look and compare prices. The clothes online are cheap.” Kevin. try on to see if it is fit probably. 24. not right colour. British. British. lower prices and informative websites.” Narinder. you can buy it online. 22.
Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. 24. 26. Chinese.“(Shop online) Sometimes. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. Female 4.” Alick. 24. Chinese. It is good. Chinese. 26. maybe one or twice a month. Chinese. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. but it represents the taste and quality of them.” Vivian. 23. These are what internet offers.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up.” Vanessa. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. Chinese. Chinese. good quality and good prices. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. Male “Brand is just like the name of people.” Kevin. It may not be the spirit of clothes. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. almost everything is quite good. 23. Female 56 . British.4 Results In the last question.) Vanessa. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. 27.
5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. Male 4. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. At the beginning of the chapter.” Narinda. British. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. I realized. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. 22. British. British. 57 . Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with. rather than the designer. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service.” Neil. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. 23. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. 24.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development.” Mark. however. 27. manufacturer. British.” Michael.
5. However.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. 5. brand is one of their considerations. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. In addition. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. 58 . this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. they cited that what they liked is more important. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers.2.
In addition. for example.2. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. colour. In terms of advertisements. That is to say.As revealed from the above findings. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. followed by style. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. However. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. some respondents from both nations cited that they had been affected by celebrity advertising in which they could associate the brand image with the celebrities’ images. From the findings.2. price and performance. 5. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. Nevertheless. peers. durability. consumers think of the other criteria as well. 5. internet and shops. none of the UK respondents thought it would affect their perception of clothes quality whereas some Chinese respondents had cited that some countries connoted to better quality. In general.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for.
2. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. it is good at manufacturing (Cui.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. however. 1991). China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. However. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. From the findings. This brings out an important issue that Chinese brands should get rid of their poor image on perceived quality at least to the Chinese themselves. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. 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. styles. 1997).. However. while most of the Chinese respondents had.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. functions etc. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. prices.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. 60 . 2004). regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. by working on the brand development. Also. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. including the product features.2. 5.
online security is also a matter of concern. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 . 5. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. 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. various choices and cheaper prices. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. As far as sampling method is concerned. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites.3 Limitations During the course of research. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. time and also interpreting skills.The establishment of such positive images can help enhance the brand values and there are no significant differences between the British and Chinese respondents in this regard. 5. Added to this. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. In terms of fitting. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. However. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. For online securities.2.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system.
gender and age. 2000). 62 . ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. 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. for instances accent. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. the characteristics of the interviewers. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. Finally. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. having a propensity of getting deviated results. There are numerous brands around the world. During the interviews. 5. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. 2000). Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. In terms of time.. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. 2000). 1991). the number of samples interviewed is limited. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. however. In selecting the students. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. As long as more time is allowed. In addition.
As for brand association. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. style. namely brand awareness. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. price and performance. brand loyalty and brand association. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. some Chinese respondents have negative perceptions towards clothes quality produced from China and other developing countries whereas their British counterparts do not have such strong feelings. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. As far as perceived quality is concerned. To reward loyal customers. durability. perceived quality and brand loyalty. four different areas were investigated. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. colour. marketers can think of relevant strategies. In addition. In terms of brand awareness. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. From the findings.Therefore. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. perceived quality. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes.
This could provide much more conclusive results. 5.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. for instance working class. have done. could 64 . there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. For instances. Other sampling groups. More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. in addition to semi-structured interviews. Further research could also be done on comparisons between some other countries’ consumers in which they are found to have significant impact on consumer behaviour. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. like supermarkets. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. 2002). For the UK. Besides. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. 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. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers.
65 . exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned.also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples. By taking the above recommendations. researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives.
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S. U.S. U. France U. U.S.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U. France U.S. U. U.S.S.S.S. Japan Britain S. Netherlands France France U.S.S.S. France U.Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV Name Coca-Cola Country U.S. 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. France U. Italy U.S.S.S. U.S. U. Germany U.S.S. U.S. U. U.S. Germany U. Britain Japan U.S. U.S.S. U. U. Germany France U.S.S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co.S.S. Britain U.S. U.S. Germany 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.S.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U.S. Japan U. U.S.S. U.S.S. U. U.S. Switzerland U. U.S. U. U. U. Finland Japan U. U.S. Germany Japan U. France U.Korea Britain Japan Britain U. U. Netherlands Bermuda U. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 .S.S.S.S.S.S. Switzerland U.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S.S.Korea U. U. Japan S.
Why do you like this brand? 11. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. Do you recommend brands? 9. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. How often do you buy clothes? 2. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. 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 .
Kevin: Yes.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. maybe 3 times a year. In England. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. so in winter. It would talk about 30 minutes. 81 . Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. Kevin. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. In England. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). I was the company.
medium-priced or low-priced?
Kevin: Medium-priced. I don’t buy very cheap clothes. I prefer higher quality, good taste, so these clothes are more expensive.
Chris: What about the kinds of clothes you buy? Sports apparel, casual wear, formal wear or others?
Kevin: The first two. I buy casual wear more frequently than sports apparels. Sports apparels are just for doing some exercises, and I won’t wear sports apparels on streets. But I buy trainers.
Chris: You really seldom buy formal wear.
Kevin: There are not many chances for me to wear. I have one, just one.
Chris: What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?
Kevin: I prefer quality as I said, and good taste…I prefer some grand clothes…I like Jack and Jones, and Levi’s. For shoes, I like adidas and Reeboks.
Chris: You have mentioned something about price before, so do you think price is one of your considerations?
Kevin: Yes of course. My girlfriend likes to go to some markets where she can find many cheap clothes. Some of them are on discount and some of them are out of season, she is pursuing that kind of clothes.
Chris: What about you?
Kevin: I like buying shoes in a very good ground. I don’t like bargain with the prices. Some clothes have the absolute prices.
Chris: So when you went to the market with your girlfriend, did you buy them? Because normally we need to bargain in the market.
Kevin: If you go to some small shops, these clothes do not have ground, you can bargain with the shop assistants. But in some shopping malls, some clothes have ground, you cannot bargain with them. Because they are of fixed prices and the quality is good.
Chris: Which one do you prefer? Shops or Market?
Chris: What about brand?
Kevin: Yea, Jack and Jones.
Chris: What about country of origin?
Kevin: Um…I’m not sure which countries these clothes come from because some are made in China, maybe the designers are from other countries. Most of them I think they are from Europe.
Chris: So you have no special preferences?
Chris: If I divide the question into 2, maybe do you have any preference for the country of manufacture?
Kevin: As I said, most of them are made in China.
Chris: What about the country of design?
Chris: Do you have special preferences for the clothes made in Europe?
Kevin: Actually, we can’t find the clothes made in Europe, but in China.
Chris: What about advertising?
Kevin: Advertising is important. Sometimes, I go shopping for clothes just up to the advertising…and maybe there are reputations.
Chris: Do you have any advertisement series come to your mind?
Kevin: Levi’s…their advertisement for jeans is very impressive…so are the one from Jack and Jones.
Chris: What is the advertisement about? For Levi’s, why can it make you so memorable?
Kevin: Because people who wear the clothes look very nice, look very handsome with the clothes.
Chris: You mentioned some people appearing in this advertisement. Are these people celebrities?
Kevin: No, just models. Some of them are Chinese and some of them are foreigners.
Chris: But you maybe affected by them. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. so maybe next time I go shopping. it will. it may be longer. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. from my perspective.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. not frequently. How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. 85 . they put posters in the public areas. I only wear them for one to two year. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. of course. I can’t afford it. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. For winter clothes. advertisements in the shopping mall. For summer clothes. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. I will consider them. on the streets. they are nice to put them on. Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. and from my mind.
86 . and Demank (Jack and Jones). Kevin: As long as it can. by the colour. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. I never compare which clothes come from which countries. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China.Chris: So if it’s durable. Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). keep the quality until out-of-date. you know. I think their quality is good. Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. then it’s of high quality. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable.
I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. Kevin: No. not many. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. I will go to those places…not E-land. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 . you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. maybe cheaper than from other countries. the appearance is more important…the quality. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. but for casual wear. of course. famous among young people. I think quality is not a problem for these brands.Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. it just likes Jack and Jones. we prefer clothes from other countries.
I never buy clothes online. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. maybe they will keep in mind. So. I don’t know.Kevin: No. I will buy it. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. To be honest. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. 88 . Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. you can buy it online. I prefer very colorful image. but I know many people do. if it is fit to me. The clothes online are cheap. I can see how it looks like. For jeans. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. I know many girls do that. For shirts. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. if I recommend my preference to him or her. maybe they will ignore it. like the clothes from the markets. For T-shirt. I prefer blue jeans. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I prefer some simple image. After I put it on. like grid shirts.
I will wear it very regularly. of course I will wear it. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. As long as l finish shopping. they will give me a VIP card. that’s the main advantage. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. 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 can get some gifts from the accumulated credits.Chris: So. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. maybe they are there. Chris: If you are satisfied. 89 . Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. at least once a week. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. just after finish shopping. the size may not fit and the quality as well… Chris: What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchased? Kevin: If I am satisfied with the clothes I bought. but less frequently. maybe after one or two month. maybe take it as my pajamas. But if I’m not satisfied with it. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. Normally. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. Kevin: Yea. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said.
but it represents the taste and quality of them. glasses. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. sunglasses. Thanks very much. wallet. belts. 90 . something like that. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’.like some accessories. It may not the spirit of the clothes. Chris: That’s all for the interview.
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