Effect of Brand Image on Consumer Purchasing Behaviour on Clothing: Comparison between China and the UK’s Consumers
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 18.104.22.168 Chinese spending habits 22.214.171.124 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 126.96.36.199 British spending habits 188.8.131.52 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 184.108.40.206 Within-case analysis 220.127.116.11 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
5 Recommendations for further research
58 58 58 58
59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64
Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006
Appendix 2: Interview questions
Appendix 3: Interview transcription
.5 Brand association 18.104.22.168.5 Summary
46 50 53 54 56 57
Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.3 Perceived quality 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.2.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.2 Brand awareness 5.2.4 Brand loyalty 4.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.1 Introduction 5.4 Results 4.5 Brand association 22.214.171.124.4 Brand loyalty 5.3 Limitations 5.2 Conclusions 5.4 Implications 126.96.36.199.3 Perceived quality 4.
comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. however. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. brand loyalty and brand association. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. namely brand awareness. 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. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts.
. perceived quality. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. In the UK.Abstract
Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products.
Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis.
Vicky Story. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process.
Last but not least. 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.Acknowledgements
I would like to thank my advisor. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. Dr.
. She has given me support as well as valuable comments throughout the consultation period so that I can manage to handle one of the hardest subjects in my university life.
in addition to the basic functions.
Several brands. as a matter of fact. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. but also in other markets with high potential.
. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. have become popular not only in their country of origin. Thus. namely pre-purchase. decide which and where to buy. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. 1996). As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). clothes can also serve as fashion items. which can tell how significant an individual is. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us.Chapter 1 Introduction
1. Nowadays. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision.
Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. different genders and cultural backgrounds. read product information. purchase and post-purchase. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. choose the buying modes. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. 2000). clothing can help represent our personal identity. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass.
The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. 2000. managing brand image is of utmost importance. On the other hand. 1998. In this way. 2001. In accordance with Delong et al. 1993). which would be illustrated in the following chapters. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner.widen the profit margins. Under this concept. 1991.
1. Corstjens and Lal.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China.
1. 2005). 2003). 1996. In this paper. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector.
The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. Keller. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand.2. contributing to 74. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. 1993. (2004). Being an advanced developing country.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in
. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework. 2000). In order to differentiate one brand from another.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. Ailawadi.
the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range.
. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. quality and finally trendiness.. China plays a role as a producer. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China.1. however.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). pricing. On average.
1. 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.2005 (WTO. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. followed by cutting. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. Nowadays. 2006). However.2. 2004). 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. As stated by Cui (1997). people spend 7. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern.
The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. However.
. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development China has competitive advantages in terms of production factors such as low labour costs and growing technology. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. Besides.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. 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. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. 2004). Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China. The originally advantageous factors. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. However. the lack of globally influential brands is one of the main reasons why China lags behind in the clothing industry with respect to brand development (Delong et al. however.
1. however. Also.
China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades. When it comes to the case
. According to a report published by Business Week (2007).1. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation.2.
com.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes. 2007).2. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. Regarding its GDP growth. The manufacturing sector. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate.
According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005.com.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. 2007).2.
1. 2004). because of its mature economic structure. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand.
1. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades. regardless of their quality. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands.2. females are more likely
. including the clothing industry. March 25). which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. Among the respondents. In addition. 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.
1998. strong competitive activities. fashion retailers tend to create product differentiation in which they can distinguish themselves from their potential competitors in terms of product features like design and price. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. As mentioned by Moore (1995). short-life-cycle products. the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. 2002). concentrated markets. 2003).2. 1994). as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. However. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. as cited in Carruthers.
.. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. Moore.2. South and Spitze. a polarized marketplace.
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. Siddiqui et al. 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. there is a trend for own brand development.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. 1999). 1995). Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones.
Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. This could be explained by the fact that store cards sometimes have much higher interest rates than that of the credit cards and personal loans (Mintel. 2004). 2004). 1999. 2004. 2003). the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. However.to spend on clothes than males. and occasionally. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers.
clothing is a kind of public
. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. 2001. 1998). perceived brand equity and brand associations.addition. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. Mintel. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey..
According to Aaker (1991). with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. namely brand awareness. 2004). This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. brand loyalty. 2004. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. composing of independent. 1995). the retailing sector is fragmented.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al.
The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research.
1. Marciniak and Bruce. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. 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. 2003). Compared with other retailed sector.
In addition. 2007. 2007). First. 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. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. is on the lookout for extensions.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. 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
Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. Chinese and British consumers are going to be compared in this research since China and the UK have been targeted by many clothing retailers due to their enormous customer base. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second.
Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies.
1. China. In this way. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows:
Chapter 1 is the introductory section. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK.
Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies.
Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology. Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included.understandable in the forthcoming sections.
Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters.
Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. 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.
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. Murphy. 1991. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. 1998). 1998). a brand is also composed of products. 2003).
In this chapter. However.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. most of them concentrate on a single country study. In addition to a specific brand name. 2001). This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image.. advertising. From the consumers’ perspective. 1998).
Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker.
2. Keller. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for
understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. promotion. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality
.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij.Chapter 2 Literature Review
2. packaging. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. 1991.
basic brand. effective after-sales services and the like. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. 1998). 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. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. augmented brand and potential brand.. Finally and most importantly. 1999). a potential brand is established through engendering customer
. 2000). Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers.in consumer products (Roman et al. Added to this.
As mentioned by Levitt (1983).
2. consumers would have their preferences. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. Fennis and Pruyn. they share something in common. 1999.1 The characteristics of successful brands A brand can be an everlasting and lucrative asset as long as it is maintained in a good manner that can continue satisfying consumers’ needs (Batchelor. 2005). Basic brand. 1998). considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. 2006).2. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. Murphy. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. namely tangible product. 1998. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. When deciding which products to purchase. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories.
Nowadays. there are four elements for building a successful brand. on the other hand.
2007). 1991. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. Marks and Spencer. In countries with well-established legal system. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. In addition. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed.3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. For instance. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. 1996). 2002). patents. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume.
One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. 1998). the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. Added to this. By doing so. Vodafone.. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold.
2. Brands like HSBC. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. 1998). 1995).
. poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image. Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. including its name and symbol. 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. Yasin et al.preference and loyalty. designs as well as copyright. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. However. not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. In order to combat piracy. 2007). the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers.
It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. 2005). These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. 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.
Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. 1991). For instance. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration
.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. Keller. namely brand loyalty. 1991). There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. For the consumers. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. name awareness. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker.3. 1991. 1991). brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. Owning to the positive image. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. As for the firm. 1998). brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. Besides.
two tasks are to be accomplished. 2007). In order to achieve brand awareness. In addition. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. In case of China.set (Blackwell et al. 1990). 2007).. In this way. 1986. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. being a special administrative region since 1997. In recent decades. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. has once been a colony of the UK. Macdonald and Sharp.. According to research conducted by Delong et al. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. owing to geographical differences. 2005).. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. 2000). due to their political separations.
Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. 1990. Moreover. For source credibility. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. Tsai et al. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. For long time. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. As for source
. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. (2004)..
As mentioned by Keller (1998). namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class.
there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. durability. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. conformance with specifications. 1991. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker.. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. 1998.
Similar to brand awareness. Service quality.3. namely performance. competence. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate
values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. 2007). Since it is a kind of intangible. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. Nevertheless. 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. charging premium price. reliability. 1992). To be more specific. Keller. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. 1991). overall feeling towards a brand. Yasin. 1989). Regarding product quality. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the
. 2004). This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand.
2. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions.attractiveness. In addition. features. on the other hand. reliability. serviceability as well as fit and finish. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. 1991). the
country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. differentiating the position of a brand.
Under the influence of brand loyalty. 2005). Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. 1991). In this case.
2. Second. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand.purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. Moreover.. Keller (1998). 1991). 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.
For many companies.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. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who
. First. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. 1991). This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. This is due to the fact that some consumers make habitual purchase towards a particular brand just because of its prominence in stock and effective promotions. 1991). price is one of the important cues to
evaluate perceived quality (Aaker.. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al.3. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. 1993). consumers continue to buy the brand. however. the less vulnerable the customer base would be. Third. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. Hence. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. regardless of the superior features.
Marney. 1998. 2000). Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. Finally.
. Consumers usually depend on informal. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. which contribute to a specific brand image. the intangible qualities. 2000).4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. Hence. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits.
2. 1995. Bansal and Voyer. This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. brand loyalty can
help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. In addition to the tangible products. 1997. Moreover.recommend the same model of product.
Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. 2000). episodes. 1991). as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. Silverman.3. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker.. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. consisting of multiple ideas. For instance. According to Aaker (1991). examples. several airlines like Cathay Pacific.
experimental and symbolic. Second. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. This can make the brand
. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand.
Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. Symbolic benefits. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. First of all. namely attributes. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. 1998). Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand.Keller (1993. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. They can be classified into functional. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. Benefits are another category in brand associations. For experimental benefits. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. For product-related attributes. 1998). 1991). packaging. on the other hand. Finally. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. price information. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. As for non-product related attributes. making the customers remember the brand by heart. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. benefits and attitudes.
from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. Third. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. First of all. however. Forth. ideas or experiences.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. services. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers
. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. some associations can engender positive feelings.. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. use or dispose the products. buy. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design.
The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects.
2. money and effort. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. 2006). the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. a vivid brand image is established. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. contributing to its higher premium price.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. For examples.
Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way.
Based on this loophole. Although they vary in form of presentation. consumption and disposal of products or services. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. Second. pre-purchase. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. 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.. consumption.
As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. search for information. which companies to succeed.
2. evaluation. Moreover. These seven steps include need recognition. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. Arnoud et al. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. Rayport and Jaworski.
Blackwell et al. comprising acquisition of goods and services. purchase. 1998). 2006).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. consumption. Therefore. For instance. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. as well as disposal of used goods. and also which products to excel. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. 2003).are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’.
such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. However. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. 2006).4. 2001. 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.
quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand.. as well as customer satisfaction. past experiences.divestment (Blackwell et al.
Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. 2005). The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. 2006).
Stage one is need recognition which occurs when an individual is aware of a difference between their perception and the actual satisfaction level (Solomon et al. 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 two is the search of information. As mentioned by Solomon et al. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. social class. Blackwell et al. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace.. size of purchase. In this stage. income. size. (2006). on the other hand. There are two kinds of needs. The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality. 2006)... namely functional needs and psychological needs. Ongoing search. 1997). Attributes like quantity. 1992). search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. Any changes in
In stage five. This stage is crucial since customers could be possible to make repeat purchases provided that they are satisfied with the aforementioned stages (Rayport and Jaworski. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage.
. 2003). As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six.
Stage five. As stated by Blackwell et al. (2006). including retailer and in-store selection. visual displays inside the shops. 2006). In addition to in-store purchase. 2006). According to Porter (2004).. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others.
Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. Retailer selection is made by judging which retailers to buy after investigating the attributes from the previous stage whereas in-store selection is affected by the selling skills of salesperson. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. customers evaluate the consumption process.. this new kind of non-shop retailing format has begun replacing the fairly established catalogue and TV shopping and its development is rapid albeit it is more recently found in comparison with the existing non-shop retailing modes. This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al. stage seven comes to divestment. Last but not least. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. 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.
. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions.2.
Nowadays. including brand awareness. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. perceived quality. brand loyalty and brand associations. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. perceived quality. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. In this dissertation. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. products are developed in an unprecedented way. and at the same time.
think and behave (Arnould et al. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. During the course of consumer behaviour research.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. 2004). This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches..
. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. epistemology is about the science of knowing. research is required. there are two types of research methods.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. theories. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition.
In general. interpretive research and critical postmodernism. there are three research traditions. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected.2. The details of the sampling would also be discussed.
3. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. namely positivism.Chapter 3 Methodology
3. 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.
3. In accordance with Gephart (2004). the research traditions. research theories can be classified into different types. data are gathered. namely qualitative and quantitative research. 2004).
As for critical postmodernism.
While positivism stresses on objectivity. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. together with the structures and processes within it. 2004. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world.. In accordance to Fisher (2004). events and mechanisms. random sampling
. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. Dey.2. official statistics. 2002). it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. including experiences. Finally. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. examining the attitudes. 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.
3.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. Added to this. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. 1993). which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. the majority of positivist research
incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. In the field of research. research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research.
3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. for example. 2000). which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. In this way. 2000). Unlike quantitative research. 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. 1975). 1956. That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman.
Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages.
As for qualitative research. Qualitative analysis. 2000). quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor.2. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. Nevertheless. numeric data. attitude (Kirk and Miller. it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. 2000). 2000). 1989). however. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman.
3. (2002). both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. Cicourel. 1986). Besides. These determine whether the research can engender
. Silverman.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. 1964. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman.
This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. namely language-orientated approach. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. 1992). to justify reliability. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. However. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. (2003). and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. Hence. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses.
As mentioned by Tesch (1990). While reliability is correlated to consistency.useful findings or not.
Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. 1992). Besides. As mentioned by Saunders et al. 2000). 2006). validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). 2000). it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. This may affect the reliability of the research findings. giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley.
3. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated.
During the course of interviews. as well as theory-building approach. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. 2006). Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. In case of interviews. interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. 1992).
. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. 2004).
The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. For instance.
One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. say 12-15 people.
theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. Thus. In descriptive/ interpretative approach.descriptive/ interpretative approach. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. 2000). focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. Finally. Added to this. 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. However. 2004). the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words.
with the use of a semi-structured format. In accordance with Breakwell (2006). interesting responses emerged during the interviews. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. researchers can follow up some unexpected.
When it comes to the process of data collection.Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner.
3. Unlike structured interviews. In addition.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. non-probability sampling is used
. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. 2000). unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. Moreover. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. 2000). like other self-report methods. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. it is suggested that interviewers be trained for a specific study if necessary since their manner in questioning could impose an effect on how reliable and valid the data will be (Proctor. semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). Among different structures of interviews. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. It is suggested that interviews could be complemented with other types of data such as observation and diary techniques so that the data obtained can be more valid. 2006). researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. 2006).
as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. 2004).
. 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. 2003). The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). 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. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. in quota sampling method. As mentioned by Proctor (2000). In this research. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. 2005). 1982). findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon.
Among the 10 samples. 2002.
Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. Moreover. Malhotra and King. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28.as the tool for this research. Hence.
so they were not covered here. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell.5.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. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. Also. There are two types of questions. say 30 minutes. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview.
3. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). which are discussed in the following sections.
After the introduction. Questions 1
.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. The approximate length of the interview. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing.1 Stage one In this stage. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). 2006). was mentioned.
There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows:
4. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. How much do you spend on clothing each month?
3. As mentioned in the literatures. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy?
Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. 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. 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. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. probing questions were asked if needed. these can help understand their spending styles. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. including brand and brand equity. How often do you buy clothes?
2. Moreover.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.
. The questions in this stage are as follows. Mooij. 1999.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image.5. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?
Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions.
these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. How do you judge the quality of the clothes?
7. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase?
. 2006. Do you shop online for clothes?
12.. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes?
8. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. Do you recommend brands?
9. including pre-purchase. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. Keller. 1993). In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?
6. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models.perceived quality.
5. 1991. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand?
10. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. 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. 2003). purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. Rayport and Jaworski.
3. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. and common categories from observational data (Babbie.3. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. 1984). After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence.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. 2004).7. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage.
3. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. 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. themes. repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features.5.7 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. It focuses on
. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967).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 interviews were then transcribed. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis.
different ways to code data (Dey. which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. patterns and categories.
The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total.
Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). leading to further analysis of themes. In addition. based on grounded theory. provided that they follow three rules. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. 2006). as well as following the research procedures. 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. 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. Besides. (2002). methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. conceptualization. 2004). namely within-case and cross-case
. especially the use of systemic coding. including familiarization. re-coding. 2002).7. 1993). maintaining an attitude of skepticism. According to Easterby-Smith et al. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. linking and finally re-evaluation
(Easterby-Smith et al. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. They include periodically stepping back and asking. cataloguing concepts. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). Hence. reflection.
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
188.8.131.52 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.
184.108.40.206 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
some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. British. 2000). Male
“In China. Female
Besides. In England. 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.” Hannah. British. quite rare.” Kevin.
“I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now.” Mark. 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. maybe one item every couple of month. 23. Male
. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). 2002).” Narinder. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. 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. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. Generally. let’s go’. maybe 3 times a year.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. 24. One of them was slightly different in that she indicated that she is an impulsive buyer and hence she would buy clothes based on her moods and feelings at the time of purchase. 23. British.
“…This year…not at all (buying clothes). Because I have been poor. 27. Chinese. But before that. buy every 4 to 5 months.
“Probably. 1993).1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. British. 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. Male
The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. Keller.3.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour
4. As mentioned in chapter 2. retailers. 2007). 1991. In the coming section. South and Spitze. however. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. Sometimes.When asking about the price range of clothes. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. There could be two identical clothes in the world. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. 24. the reasons why people buy them vary.. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. as well as consumers (Aaker. 1999. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated.
4. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. Whether brand is a determining factor is
. It really gets a large variation. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. 1994). targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges.
or words in black: Initial response without prompt. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections. Non-label Non-advert
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
+ + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
Functional use (Sports)
Table 3: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (Chinese respondents)
Country of origin
+/. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents)
Country of origin
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key
+ + + + +
+ + -
+ + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
Pleasant. +/.examined in question 4. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly.or words in blue: Response with prompt
. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes.
I probably buy again. If I have good experiences with something. British. However. all respondents from both nations regard quality. Male
“Never. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. In this regard. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. British. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. British. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. Moreover.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given.” Neil. but I do not particularly look for brand names.” Mark. 1991). Male
“Well. 24. 24. Female
. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes.
“Yes. Actually. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. 23.
When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. They are probably the shops I like. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there.” Hannah. Well.
Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes.
it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. Female
“Yes. Chinese. But recently. For some T-shirts.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. do have better quality than cheaper brands. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. as well as quality (Roman et al. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. 1999. 2005). if I buy too many big brands. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. Female
Based on the above findings. and buy more clothes to change. I bought some big brands like designer labels.
“I do think most of the brands.to high-priced brands. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. 2006). Chinese. if I buy cheap ones. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. it costs me too much. 1991). 24. 26..3. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. So.
4.” Jovi. like medium. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. Fennis and Pruyn. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. I can use less money. including
. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. 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.” Vanessa. In addition. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought.
with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British.. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5. Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents)
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinda Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
+ + +
From shops. 2007). peers.or words in blue: Response with prompt
+ + +
+ + + +
Advertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al. 1986.. Internet From shops
Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents)
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key +/. +/. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. Tsai et al.or words in black: Initial response without prompt.advertisement. internet and shops. Among these respondents. two of them
they (basketball players) will show up.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. Chinese. 1989).
“I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. you know. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. Male
“I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. 24. they are familiar faces. 23. David Beckham. advertisements in the shopping mall. Male
As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. Lance Armstrong.” Kevin. Female
“TV. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. 23.
“It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). British. Like Coby Bryrant. so they associate themselves with brands. Chinese. During the game break.”
“The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. and it’s easy to make connections. Marketing people may affect me someway. Zidane (is very
memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire.” Neil. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian.
” Neil. “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. and from my mind. Male
“If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something.3.
4. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. that’s cool.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. Male
Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear.
. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. in which interviewees were asked. British.” Kevin. they are nice to put them on. 24. So. Chinese. 23.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6. when I go shopping next time. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. I will consider them.
followed by style.or words in blue: Response with prompt
As shown in Tables 6 and 7. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker. colour. Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. price and performance. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. 1991). durability. There are no significance differences between British
.Table 6: Criteria for judging clothes quality (British respondents)
Country of origin
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
+ + +
+ + + Performance
Table 7: Criteria for judging clothes quality (Chinese respondents)
Country of origin
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key
+ + + + + + + + + +
+ + + -
” Michael. Female
“It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. British. Male
When further question was asked about the issue ‘Which country’s clothes do you think they’re of highest/ lowest quality?’ British and Chinese respondents showed divergent views. they represent better quality. I expect Puma quality basically. For buying Puma shoes.
Regarding country of origin. 24. so the countries don’t really affect it.
“In some of the countries like Japan.and Chinese respondents. France Italy. 22. Contradictory to the literature. France or Italy. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. Chinese. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. France No comment No comment No comment
Countries with lowest quality
No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment
. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9.” Jovi.
Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents)
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
Countries with highest quality
Italy. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality.
British. Thailand. If Puma gets its stuff from China. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. Male
“They suppose to all be the same.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents)
Countries with highest quality
Japan. you can buy good or bad clothes. France. Italy No comment Korea. Because I know from every country. British. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. Denmark
Less developed countries No comment China
As shown in Table 8.
. India. 22.” Neil. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. Italy
Countries with lowest quality
China.” Michael. including China. 24. South Africa
Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang
France. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. produce poor quality clothes. from Thailand. Malaysia. some South American countries
UK. they should meet the required quality. 2004).
“I don’t have some preconception about it. However. US. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. Male
For those who can tell the names of specific countries.
3. or some of the developing countries. Lowest (quality) maybe China. 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. 23.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. China don’t have very famous brands. If it’s about big brands.
“China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design.” Vanessa. 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. Chinese. 1997). one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. 26. if I consider some basic ones. Female
. Chinese. Actually.” Vivian. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. I will prefer France or Italy ones. maybe it’s the reason. Female
4.“I think the UK and US have top brands. Italy as well. I think those made-in-China are something good.
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. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow:
. recommend brands to friends or relatives.Table 10: Clothes purchasing habit (British respondents)
Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz
Club card owner
+ + -
Table 11: Clothes purchasing habit (Chinese respondents)
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang
Club card owner
+ + + +
+ + + -
+ + + +
As observed from Tables 10 and 11.
four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. In Hong Kong. 23. 24. Male
Surprisingly. Chinese. British. for examples. so I will buy them more often. 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
. 23. Male
“(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. 27. The Diesel jeans fit me well. there are quite many. I like Fred Perry. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good.’” Vanessa.” Neil. I will tell my friends. Female
“If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me.” Vivian. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from.” Jovi. Chinese. British. I will tell them.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. British. Chinese. In the UK.. Female
As far as brand recommendation is concerned. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. CEU and Vertical Club. 24.
“I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff.. Topshop and All Saints. Female
“I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. Female
“I just like it. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon….” Mark. 26.
The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below:
“No.” Narinder. Chinese. 2007). 1991).” Vanessa. 27. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. The price is acceptable. it takes time to apply for it and maybe I will not spend much money on the same shops…I tried to apply House of Fraser and M&S (loyalty cards). Female
“Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. 24. Female
. Store cards are dangerous. Vivian. 23. British.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. 26. Female
“I think it’s casual and good quality. Female
4. Chinese. Sometimes. It fits my age and my occupation as students. That’s why I don’t apply for it. not so complicated design” Jovi. It’s not stylish but it is well made. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. Chinese.as cited in the literature (Aaker. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. we need not apply for the loyalty cards.
“I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear.3. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards.
not like football. Male
“For Topshop. Male
“They are practical. Chinese. Chinese.” Narinder. it’s a kind of like casual clothing.” Alick. For shirts. usually cotton…” Hannah. British. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. 23. 2002). coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. khaki style…quality is good. British. 24.” Vanessa. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. British.” Neil. 24.” Kevin. I prefer blue jeans. For jeans. In order to investigate this issue. For T-shirt. 26. Male
“Simple.” Mark. I prefer some simple image. and they look good. Male
“60s hippie. they work well. Female
“Basically. fits my age. All Saints is a bit more innovative. Female
“It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. like grid shirts. British. Female
“’Simply Me’. 27.3. 27. 23. alternative sports. Chinese. 22. British. I prefer very colourful image.
nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons. you can buy it online.Surprisingly.” Michael. 22. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. 23. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. I’ll have a look and compare prices.
“No. but I know many people do. right size as well” Vivian. Female
“Not really. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. 23. Chinese. To be honest. just like the clothes from the markets. 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. lower prices and informative websites. British. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. try on to see if it is fit probably. British.” Narinder. including the varieties of choices. Chinese. but I don’t buy online. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. no. Female
Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. Chinese. 24.
“For clothes. Male
. not right colour. Female
“I like fitting. The clothes online are cheap. Male
“I don’t buy online. 27.” Kevin.
The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. 26. Female
“Brand is something difficult to understand. Chinese. Male
“Brand is just like the name of people. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. It may not be the spirit of clothes. maybe one or twice a month. good quality and good prices. 24. Female
“Brand is not a paper bag. but it represents the taste and quality of them. British. Female
. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money.) Vanessa. Chinese.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up.4 Results In the last question.” Vanessa. Chinese. Male
“Brand is a way for people to identify each other. 26. Female
“Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. 24. It is good.” Kevin. Chinese. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah.“(Shop online) Sometimes.” Alick. Female
4.” Vivian. 23. 27. Chinese. These are what internet offers. 23. Chinese.
“Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. almost everything is quite good.
Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development. British.
At the beginning of the chapter. however.” Neil. 27. Male
“Brand is the identity of a product or service. 23. 22.” Mark.” Narinda.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. manufacturer. rather than the designer. I realized. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. British.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. 24. Male
“Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. Male
“Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. British. British.” Michael. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment.
they cited that what they liked is more important. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined.
5.Chapter 5 Conclusions
5.2. brand is one of their considerations. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy.
This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. It is then followed by the research limitations and
recommendations for further research.
.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. However. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. In addition. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed.
There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. From the findings. peers.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. That is to say. price and performance. consumers think of the other criteria as well.
5.As revealed from the above findings. Nevertheless. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. colour. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and
. More Chinese respondents
expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees.
5. In terms of advertisements. followed by style.2. However. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. durability. internet and shops.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. none of the UK respondents thought it would affect their perception of clothes quality whereas some Chinese respondents had cited that some countries connoted to better quality.2. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. for example. some respondents from both nations cited that they had been affected by celebrity advertising in which they could associate the brand image with the celebrities’ images.
From the findings. by working on the brand development. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. functions etc. prices. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. including the product features.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. however. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. while most of the Chinese respondents had. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. Also. 1997).
5. However. 2004).5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. However.. This brings out an important issue that Chinese brands should get rid of their poor image on perceived quality at least to the Chinese themselves.2.
. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. styles. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives.2.
Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. 1991). As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers.
and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined.
5. online security is also a matter of concern. For online securities. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. 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. time and also interpreting skills. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels.3 Limitations During the course of research. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect
. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures.2. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. However.
As far as sampling method is concerned. Added to this. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties.
5. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents.
Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo.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. various choices and cheaper prices. In terms of fitting.
especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. In addition. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used.
. This is the author’s second time to do the dissertation and the aspects like nervousness and lack of experiences can also be regarded as some of the limitations for this dissertation. gender and age. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. 1991). There are numerous brands around the world. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. the number of samples interviewed is limited. 2000). During the interviews. 2000). Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. In selecting the students. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. 2000).
5. having a propensity of getting deviated results. however. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy.
In terms of time. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. for instances accent. As long as more time is allowed. the characteristics of the interviewers. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour.
colour. perceived quality. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. As far as perceived quality is concerned. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control
. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. four different areas were investigated. marketers can think of relevant strategies. In terms of brand awareness. durability. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. In addition. From the findings.
This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. As for brand association.Therefore. price and performance. To reward loyal customers. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. perceived quality and brand loyalty. brand loyalty and brand association. some Chinese respondents have negative perceptions towards clothes quality produced from China and other developing countries whereas their British counterparts do not have such strong feelings. namely brand awareness. style. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from.
Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers.
it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. have done. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. could
. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section.
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. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. 2002).
5.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. 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. Besides. For instances. in addition to semi-structured interviews. Other sampling groups. This could provide much more conclusive results. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so.
More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. like supermarkets. for instance working class.
For the UK.
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. researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives.
By taking the above recommendations.
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U.S.S.S.S. U. Netherlands Bermuda U. 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.S.S. Germany U.S.S.S. Switzerland U. U. Switzerland U. Germany Japan U.S. Germany U. U.S. U. France U.S.S. U.S. U.S.S. Italy U.S.Korea Britain Japan Britain U. U. 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. U.S. U.S.S.S. Japan 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.S.
(Data adopted from Business Week (2007))
.S. Britain U. Rank 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Gap L’Oreal Heinz Yahoo! Volkswagen Xerox Colgate Wrigley KFC Chanel Avon Nestle Kleenex Amazon. Japan U. U. France U. U. U. U.Korea U.S.S.S.S.S.S.S. Germany France U.S.S.S.S.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.S. U.S. Netherlands France France U. U.S. U. U. U. U. U. U. U. Britain Japan U. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S.S.S. Germany U. U. U. Japan Britain S.S.S. Finland Japan U.S. France U.S.S. U.S.S.
Why do you like this brand? 11. Do you recommend brands? 9. 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. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. How often do you buy clothes? 2. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. Can you comment on what brand is to you? (Note: Further probing questions would be asked after each of the above question if necessary)
.Appendix 2: Interview Questions
Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3.
Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK?
Kevin: In China.
. Kevin. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes.
Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. In England. maybe 3 times a year.
Kevin: Because in China. How often do you buy clothes?
Kevin: In China. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. so in winter. In England.
Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. I was the company. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. It would talk about 30 minutes. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season).Appendix 3: Interview Transcription
Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese
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.
but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes?
Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends?
Kevin: Yes. they put posters in the public areas. I will consider them. they are nice to put them on. so maybe next time I go shopping. from my perspective.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. on the streets. not frequently.
Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently?
Kevin: No. For summer clothes. I only wear them for one to two year. and from my mind. it will. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. it may be longer.
Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands?
Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes?
Kevin: It depends. For winter clothes. I can’t afford it. How can they affect you?
Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. of course.
Chris: But you maybe affected by them. advertisements in the shopping mall.
keep the quality until out-of-date.
Kevin: As long as it can. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality?
Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China.
Chris: What about lowest quality?
Kevin: China…maybe. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. then it’s of high quality.
Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality?
Kevin: Korea (for E-land).Chris: So if it’s durable. I think their quality is good. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable.
Chris: Any others to judge the quality?
Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it.
. you know.
Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability. and Demank (Jack and Jones). by the colour. I never compare which clothes come from which countries.
Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes?
Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries.
not many. you go to that shop again to buy clothes?
Kevin: Ah. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing.
Kevin: No. I will go to those places…not E-land. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category.Chris: Why do you have such feelings?
Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high.
Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes?
Kevin: Every time I go shopping. we prefer clothes from other countries. of course.
Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices?
Kevin: Actually for young people. famous among young people. it’s high
Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else?
. the appearance is more important…the quality. it just likes Jack and Jones. I think quality is not a problem for these brands.
Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes?
Kevin: Yea. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. but for casual wear.
Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance.
Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. maybe cheaper than from other countries.
Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand?
Kevin: I prefer very simple image.
Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging?
Chris: Why not?
Kevin: I think every one has their own place. I know many girls do that. I don’t know. The clothes online are cheap. I never buy clothes online.
Chris: Do you shop online for clothes?
Kevin: No. maybe they will keep in mind. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. if it is fit to me.
. maybe they will ignore it. you can buy it online. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. After I put it on. I prefer very colorful image. For jeans. I prefer some simple image. To be honest. like the clothes from the markets. I can see how it looks like. how does such image come from?
Kevin: I think its appearance.
Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. but I know many people do. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I prefer blue jeans. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. like grid shirts.Kevin: No. I will buy it. For T-shirt. if I recommend my preference to him or her. For shirts. So.
at least once a week. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. As long as l finish shopping.Chris: So. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. maybe they are there. 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. maybe take it as my pajamas. But if I’m not satisfied with it. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently.
Chris: If you are satisfied.
Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. just after finish shopping. would you go to the same shops to have a look again?
Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping.
Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online?
Kevin: As I said. they will give me a VIP card. that’s the main advantage. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. but less frequently. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. I will wear it very regularly. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes.
. of course I will wear it. Normally. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets.
Kevin: Yea. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. would you apply for it?
Kevin: Yea. maybe after one or two month.
. It may not the spirit of the clothes. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. but it represents the taste and quality of them.
Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. belts. Thanks very much. something like that.
Chris: That’s all for the interview. glasses.like some accessories. sunglasses.