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 184.108.40.206 Chinese spending habits 220.127.116.11 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 18.104.22.168 British spending habits 22.214.171.124 Characteristics of the UK clothing market 1.3 Theoretical framework 1.4 Objectives of the dissertation 1.5 Outline of the dissertation
1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8
Chapter 2: Literature review 2.1 Introduction 2.2 The important roles of brand 2.2.1 The characteristics of successful brands 2.3 Brand equity 2.3.1 Brand awareness 2.3.2 Perceived quality 2.3.3 Brand loyalty 2.3.4 Brand association 2.4 Consumer buying behaviour
10 10 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 19
2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviour 2.5 Summary
Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds 3.2.1 Review of different research traditions 3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 3.2.3 Reliability and validity of data 3.3 Justification of research method 3.4 Sampling 3.5 Interview schedule 3.5.1 Stage one 3.5.2 Stage two 3.5.3 Stage three 3.6 Administration 3.7 Analysis strategy 3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis 3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis 126.96.36.199 Within-case analysis 188.8.131.52 Cross-case analysis 3.8 Summary
24 24 24 24 25 26 27 29 31 31 32 34 34 34 34
35 36 37 37
Chapter 4: Research findings and discussion 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Backgrounds of respondents 4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 4.3.2 Brand awareness
38 38 38 40 40
46 50 53 54 56 57
Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.3.4 Results 4.3 Perceived quality 4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.2.5 Brand association 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.4 Implications 5.3.3 Perceived quality 5.2 Brand awareness 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.2.1 Introduction 5.3.2 Conclusions 5.5 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
.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.3 Limitations 184.108.40.206.3.2.4 Brand loyalty 4.5 Brand association 4.2.
The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. namely brand awareness. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. however. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. 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. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. In the UK.
Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. brand loyalty and brand association.
Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. perceived quality.
She has given me support as well as valuable comments throughout the consultation period so that I can manage to handle one of the hardest subjects in my university life. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century.
. Vicky Story. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members.
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.Acknowledgements
I would like to thank my advisor.
In addition. Dr.
Several brands. in addition to the basic functions.
. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. 1996). different genders and cultural backgrounds. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. decide which and where to buy. clothing can help represent our personal identity. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. choose the buying modes. as a matter of fact. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. have become popular not only in their country of origin. Thus. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. namely pre-purchase. which can tell how significant an individual is. read product information. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them.
Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages.Chapter 1 Introduction
1. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. but also in other markets with high potential. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). Once consumers make a purchasing decision. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. purchase and post-purchase. clothes can also serve as fashion items. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. 2000).
1. 1991. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. Under this concept. 1993. Being an advanced developing country.widen the profit margins. contributing to 74. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. In this way. 2005). (2004). managing brand image is of utmost importance. On the other hand.
The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in
1. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. 2003). 2001. Keller. 2000. 2000). In this paper. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. Corstjens and Lal. Ailawadi. In order to differentiate one brand from another.2. In accordance with Delong et al. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. 1993). 1996. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand.
2005 (WTO.1. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. On average. However. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. however. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. China plays a role as a producer.
1. followed by cutting. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China..
The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002).2. However.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount.
. 2006). With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. Nowadays. quality and finally trendiness. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. As stated by Cui (1997). It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. 2004). wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. pricing. people spend 7.
become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. 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. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. 2004). Lim and O’Cass (2001) explain that people in the west tend to have negative perception towards brands from emerging economies and hence the number of famous clothing brands in China is limited. however. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation.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. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. Besides. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing.. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. Also.
1. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China. The originally advantageous factors. However. however. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level. When it comes to the case
.1. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73. According to a report published by Business Week (2007).
China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades.2.
2007). This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes.com.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people.2. In addition. because of its mature economic structure.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. The manufacturing sector. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist.
1. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million.2. 2004). it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. 2007). According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. regardless of their quality. which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. March 25). Regarding its GDP growth. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic.
According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005. Among the respondents.2.com. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. 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. females are more likely
. including the clothing industry.
. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. 1995). this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy.2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. and occasionally.
Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. a polarized marketplace. 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. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. 2002). strong competitive activities. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. 1999. However. there is a trend for own brand development. 2003). 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. concentrated markets. 2004. 2004).2. 1999). 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. South and Spitze.2. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. 2003).
1. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. 1998. as cited in Carruthers..to spend on clothes than males. the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. 1994). 2004). Moore. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. short-life-cycle products. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. However.
As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned. As mentioned by Moore (1995).
with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. the retailing sector is fragmented. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. namely brand awareness. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned.
1. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. Mintel.
1. 2004. Compared with other retailed sector. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues.addition.. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. 2004). composing of independent.
The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. brand loyalty.
According to Aaker (1991). with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey. Marciniak and Bruce. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. perceived brand equity and brand associations. 2003). 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. clothing is a kind of public
. 1995).3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. 1998). 2001.
1. First. 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. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. In this way.
In addition. 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. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. 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.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows:
Chapter 1 is the introductory section. 2007). the research objectives and the dissertation outline.
Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. ZARA. China. is on the lookout for extensions.
Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies.
Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included.
Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology.
Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters.understandable in the forthcoming sections. 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.
as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. advertising. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. 1991. 1998)..2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij.
Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. a brand is also composed of products. 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. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. Murphy. packaging. 1998). 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. However. From the consumers’ perspective. 2001). In addition to a specific brand name. most of them concentrate on a single country study. Keller.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire.
In this chapter. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al.Chapter 2 Literature Review
2. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality
. 1998). 2003). 1991. promotion. This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image.
. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. 1998). Murphy.
As mentioned by Levitt (1983). 1998.in consumer products (Roman et al. Finally and most importantly. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. 1998). they share something in common. Basic brand. augmented brand and potential brand.
Nowadays. effective after-sales services and the like.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. 2000). on the other hand. 1999. a potential brand is established through engendering customer
. When deciding which products to purchase. Fennis and Pruyn.2. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. there are four elements for building a successful brand. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. 2005). Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. 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. basic brand. 1999). consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. consumers would have their preferences. Added to this. namely tangible product.
1998). 2002). designs as well as copyright. Added to this. In addition. not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. including its name and symbol. Brands like HSBC.
2. 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. Marks and Spencer. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. However. 1991. 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. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. Yasin et al. 2007). Concerning the positive side of brand equity. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks.
One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. 1995). patents. 1996).3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. In countries with well-established legal system. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. 1998).. 2007). By doing so. For instance. In order to combat piracy.
.preference and loyalty. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. Vodafone. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold.
1998). There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. 1991). brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. namely brand loyalty. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole.
Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. Besides. 1991). As for the firm. Keller. For instance. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand.3. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. For the consumers. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. name awareness. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration
. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. 2005). 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.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum.
It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. 1991). 1991. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker.
2. Owning to the positive image.
2005). In case of China. two tasks are to be accomplished. (2004). 2000). Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. For long time. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. In this way. 1990). In addition. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. Tsai et al. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). 1990. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness.. namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. 2007). For source credibility.. 1986. has once been a colony of the UK.
As mentioned by Keller (1998). Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. In recent decades. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. due to their political separations. In order to achieve brand awareness.. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. 2007).
Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. 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.. owing to geographical differences. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. Macdonald and Sharp. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. As for source
. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. being a special administrative region since 1997.set (Blackwell et al. Moreover. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al.
1990) and also the perceptions towards the
. reliability. Nevertheless. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. 1992). perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. namely performance. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. 1991. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. 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. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. on the other hand. charging premium price. 2004). Since it is a kind of intangible. conformance with specifications. Keller. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate
values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. 1991).2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. In addition. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. features. overall feeling towards a brand. reliability. Yasin. durability. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. Service quality.attractiveness.
Similar to brand awareness. differentiating the position of a brand.. serviceability as well as fit and finish. competence. 1991). the
country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. 1998. 2007).3. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. Regarding product quality.
2. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. 1989). To be more specific. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker.
1993). consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who
. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. First. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. Third. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. 2005). Second. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. however. consumers continue to buy the brand. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. 1991).. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold.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.
2. Hence. Keller (1998). 1991).3. 1991). Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty.purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. Under the influence of brand loyalty. 1991). Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones.. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. Moreover. In this case. regardless of the superior features. 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. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). price is one of the important cues to
evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. the less vulnerable the customer base would be. 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. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand.
This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. Marney.3. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another.
. 1991). episodes. 1997. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research.
2. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association.. Silverman. According to Aaker (1991). Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. the intangible qualities. 1995. brand loyalty can
help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. Bansal and Voyer. Hence. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. Consumers usually depend on informal. consisting of multiple ideas. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. Finally. 2000). Keller (1998) and Yasin et al.
Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. examples. which contribute to a specific brand image. Moreover. 2000).recommend the same model of product. several airlines like Cathay Pacific. 2000). For instance. 1998. In addition to the tangible products. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al.
It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. 1998). Benefits are another category in brand associations. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. Symbolic benefits. For experimental benefits. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. packaging. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. namely attributes. experimental and symbolic. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. First of all. Second. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg.
Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. 1991). Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. They can be classified into functional. price information. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. making the customers remember the brand by heart. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. benefits and attitudes. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. Finally. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes.Keller (1993. As for non-product related attributes. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. on the other hand. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. For product-related attributes. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. This can make the brand
. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. 1998). attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand.
however. some associations can engender positive feelings.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day.
The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. use or dispose the products.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. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al.
Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. a vivid brand image is established.
2. ideas or experiences. First of all. Third. For examples. Forth. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). money and effort.. contributing to its higher premium price. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers
. buy. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. services. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. 2006).
As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. 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. Therefore. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. 2003).
such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. 1998). Although they vary in form of presentation. consumption. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. Based on this loophole. 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. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop.. 2006). through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions..
Blackwell et al. However. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. These seven steps include need recognition. search for information. Second. For instance.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’.
. evaluation. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. Rayport and Jaworski. Arnoud et al. 2006). as well as disposal of used goods. consumption. 2001. and also which products to excel. comprising acquisition of goods and services. consumption and disposal of products or services. pre-purchase. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. which companies to succeed.4. Moreover.
namely functional needs and psychological needs. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used.. size. In this stage.
Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision.divestment (Blackwell et al.. past experiences. Functional needs are related to the performance of the product whereas psychological needs are intrinsically obtained when customers feel contented with shopping or owning a product which they long for. size of purchase. 1992). on the other hand. 2005). Blackwell et al. Ongoing search. (2006).. Any changes in
Stage one is need recognition which occurs when an individual is aware of a difference between their perception and the actual satisfaction level (Solomon et al. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. As mentioned by Solomon et al. There are two kinds of needs.
Stage two is the search of information. as well as customer satisfaction. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions.. social class. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. income. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. 2006). Attributes like quantity. consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. 1997). The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality.
Retailer selection is made by judging which retailers to buy after investigating the attributes from the previous stage whereas in-store selection is affected by the selling skills of salesperson.. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others. In addition to in-store purchase. As stated by Blackwell et al. customers evaluate the consumption process. 2006). there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes.. According to Porter (2004). 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. Last but not least. stage seven comes to divestment. including retailer and in-store selection. In stage five. 2006). visual displays inside the shops. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. (2006).these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al.
Stage five. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. this new kind of non-shop retailing format has begun replacing the fairly established catalogue and TV shopping and its development is rapid albeit it is more recently found in comparison with the existing non-shop retailing modes.
Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers.
whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. brand loyalty and brand associations. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. Brands are so important that they are regarded as the equity to a firm. perceived quality. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. In this dissertation. products are developed in an unprecedented way. and at the same time. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. including brand awareness. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm.2. perceived quality.
. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way.
research is required.. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. theories. epistemology is about the science of knowing.Chapter 3 Methodology
3. During the course of consumer behaviour research. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic.
. the research traditions.
3. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. data are gathered. 2004). 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. 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. there are two types of research methods.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. interpretive research and critical postmodernism. namely positivism. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches. research theories can be classified into different types.
In general. think and behave (Arnould et al. The details of the sampling would also be discussed.
3. there are three research traditions. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. 2004).1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. In accordance with Gephart (2004).2. namely qualitative and quantitative research.
Dey. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. the majority of positivist research
incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. together with the structures and processes within it. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned.. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. In the field of research. events and mechanisms. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. including experiences.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. random sampling
. Added to this. Finally. In accordance to Fisher (2004).
As for critical postmodernism. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. examining the attitudes.2.
While positivism stresses on objectivity.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. official statistics. 2002). which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. 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. 2004. 1993). research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three.
3. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie.
2. 2000). 1975). That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. Besides. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor.
Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. Silverman. 1964. These determine whether the research can engender
. for example. quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. 2000). attitude (Kirk and Miller. 2000). however. Unlike quantitative research. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. numeric data. 1956. Nevertheless. 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. 1989). 2000). it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. 1986). both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. In this way. Cicourel.
3. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. Qualitative analysis. (2002).
As for qualitative research. 2000). research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research.
the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. However. 2006). 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).
. qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses.
This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. 1992). and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. Hence. it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. (2003). 2000). giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. As mentioned by Saunders et al.useful findings or not.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. 2000). 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. 1992). validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. to justify reliability. While reliability is correlated to consistency.
As mentioned by Tesch (1990). This may affect the reliability of the research findings. Besides.
Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results.
Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. In descriptive/ interpretative approach.
The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. Finally. For instance. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. 2000). ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. 2006).
.descriptive/ interpretative approach. However. Qualitative interviews refer to the interaction between an interviewer and interviewee on a topic which needs not to follow particular order and words in questioning and answering (Babbie. 2004). Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. Thus. During the course of interviews.
theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. 2004). interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. as well as theory-building approach. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process.
One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. In case of interviews. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. Added to this. say 12-15 people. 1992). interviews are chosen as the data collection methods.
In addition. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. with the use of a semi-structured format. Among different structures of interviews. interesting responses emerged during the interviews. non-probability sampling is used
. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings.Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed.
3. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. 2000). researchers can follow up some unexpected.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. Moreover. like other self-report methods. 2000). Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. 2006). 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. underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. Unlike structured interviews. 2006). semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research.
When it comes to the process of data collection. it is suggested that interviewers be trained for a specific study if necessary since their manner in questioning could impose an effect on how reliable and valid the data will be (Proctor. In accordance with Breakwell (2006). researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation.
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. 2004). 2005).as the tool for this research. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. 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. Hence. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. Malhotra and King. 2003). In this research. 2002. Moreover. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population.
Among the 10 samples. 1982). researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. in quota sampling method. 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed.
Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated.
. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. As mentioned by Proctor (2000).
leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages.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. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions.
3. As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). say 30 minutes.5. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview.1 Stage one In this stage. the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. Also. was mentioned. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. The approximate length of the interview. Questions 1
. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. so they were not covered here. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. 2006).
After the introduction. which are discussed in the following sections. There are two types of questions.
The questions in this stage are as follows. were discussed.
There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows:
1. these can help understand their spending styles. In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses.
4.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image.5. It also intends to investigate whether brand is an important criterion for consumers to choose particular products to purchase as mentioned in the literature (Doyle. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. Moreover. 1999. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy?
3. including brand and brand equity. probing questions were asked if needed.
. How often do you buy clothes?
Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. Since this research is
about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?
Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. Mooij. How much do you spend on clothing each month?
3. As mentioned in the literatures.to 3 attempt to serve as ice-breaking as the interviewees may not be prepared to answer in-depth questions at the very beginning of the interview.
purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. How do you judge the quality of the clothes?
7. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. 2006. Do you shop online for clothes?
12. 1991. Keller.
11. including pre-purchase.perceived quality. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?
6. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. Do you recommend brands?
9. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. Rayport and Jaworski. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker.
5. these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. 1993). What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase?
. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand?
10.. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes?
8. 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).
they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. and common categories from observational data (Babbie. themes. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence.
3. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. 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. repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features.
3.7 Analysis strategy This section introduces the concept of grounded theory and the use of within-case and cross-case analysis as the strategies for analyzing the research data.7.6 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. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’.
3. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview.3. It focuses on
. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967). The interviews were then transcribed. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. 2004). it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns.5.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 1984).
it demonstrates some main strategies of qualitative inquiry that contain creative interplay of theories and methods during the integrated process of social research (Henwood and Pidgeon. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990).
3. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. especially the use of systemic coding. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. reflection. Hence. Besides.
The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. (2002). 2006). re-coding. conceptualization.7. namely within-case and cross-case
. leading to further analysis of themes. provided that they follow three rules. linking and finally re-evaluation
(Easterby-Smith et al.
Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. based on grounded theory. cataloguing concepts. 1993). They include periodically stepping back and asking. as well as following the research procedures. including familiarization. In addition.. 2002). which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. 2006). There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). maintaining an attitude of skepticism.different ways to code data (Dey. 2004). According to Easterby-Smith et al. patterns and categories.
analysis. In this dissertation, the interviews conducted were investigated based on these two approaches. The summary of these two approaches is shown in Figure 1.
Listening to tape and producing a transcript
Coding the transcript
Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes
Looking for patterns from similar and different responses
Creating tables based on responses from interviewees
Figure 1: Overview of analysis
220.127.116.11 Within-case analysis During the interviews, notes were first jotted down and then the summary of each individual interview was made after listening to the MP3 recorder for the sake of keeping the fresh memory of the interview content. A full transcription of each interview (see Appendix 3) was made after the completion of the whole interview process. After finishing the transcription, the main ideas of the interviews were summarized and presented in form of tables with codes like ‘+’ standing for interviewee who has mentioned this idea, whilst ‘-‘ connoting to a negative response to the question. Some quotes from the answers would be
illustrated for explanation if necessary.
18.104.22.168 Cross-case analysis Cross-case analysis aims at looking for convergences and divergences in the data, recognizing ways to account for the similarities and differences of the respondents (Smith and Eatough, 2006; Smith and Osborn, 2003). Each interview was analyzed in the same way as mentioned in the within-case analysis. Then the patterns emerged were analyzed based the several tables in different themes.
3.8 Summary In this chapter, the methodology used in this dissertation has been justified and explained. Qualitative semi-structured interviews have been chosen as a mean to collect data since they are found to be more appropriate for soliciting responses in relation to attitudes, opinions and feelings. Besides, the sampling method was covered. In the course of data collection, the combination of convenience and quota sampling was being used. In addition, the schedule of interview was discussed with a view to providing some general ideas about the underlying reasons for asking such questions. The data collected would be analyzed using the methods of within-case and cross-case analysis. The research findings will be presented and discussed in the next chapter.
Chapter 4 Research Findings and Discussion
4.1 Introduction This chapter aims at presenting and discussing findings obtained from the interviews concerning the effect of clothing brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. As mentioned in chapter 3, 10 people, including 5 British and 5 Chinese were interviewed. Each interview was recorded and transcribed for the purpose of analysis in this chapter.
As far as the analysis is concerned, it will be based on the most pertinent quotes, which reveal the viewpoints from the British and Chinese respondents respectively. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), qualitative researchers need to communicate the findings in an honest and systematic manner, disseminating the richness of the findings and hence the experience of the researchers. In addition, the analysis should be open to verification as far as possible so that the others are free to repeat what has been done and check the conclusions (Breakwell, 2006).
The chapter consists of three sections in which the respondents’ backgrounds, the effect of brand image on them and also their opinions of brand are presented and compared.
4.2 Backgrounds of respondents All respondents are students from the University of Nottingham, with nine of them being master students and one of them being a PhD student. Their ages range from 22 to 27 and the male to female ratio is 1 to 1.
The first three questions try to solicit the interviewees’ response about their clothing spending habits, asking about their shopping frequency, money spent
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. Chinese. buy every 4 to 5 months. In England. Because I have been poor. 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. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. British.” Hannah. Female
Besides. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. let’s go’. 23. 23. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes.” Narinder.” Kevin. 2000). Female
“…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. Male
. 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. But before that. quite rare. British.
“…This year…not at all (buying clothes). Male
“In China. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. 2002).on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased.
“I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. 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. maybe 3 times a year.” Mark. British. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). 27. maybe one item every couple of month. 24. Generally.
it does not really mean that males have less spending power. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. As mentioned in chapter 2. 1994).3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour
4. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. retailers.When asking about the price range of clothes. 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. however. Whether brand is a determining factor is
. 2007). 1993). It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil.3. 24. Keller. the reasons why people buy them vary. Male
The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. 1991. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. South and Spitze.. as well as consumers (Aaker. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. There could be two identical clothes in the world. Sometimes. British. It really gets a large variation. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. In the coming section.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. 1999.
Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents)
Country of origin
Comfortable. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. Intuition
+/. 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
Comfortable. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections. Suitable
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key
+ + + + +
+ + -
+ + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
+ + + + +
Pleasant.or words in blue: Response with prompt
.examined in question 4.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. +/.
British. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. 24. However. all respondents from both nations regard quality. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. British. 1991). in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents.” Mark.” Hannah. British.” Neil. 24. Male
Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes.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. Female
“Yes. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. but I do not particularly look for brand names. Male
“Well. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. 23. They are probably the shops I like. In this regard. Well. Moreover. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. If I have good experiences with something. I probably buy again. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. Actually.
When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints.
” Jovi. as well as quality (Roman et al. So. including
.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. 2006). one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. it costs me too much. This issue was examined through asking the question ‘In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?’ There are mainly four ways for the respondents to learn about the brands. 26. But recently. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. Chinese. Fennis and Pruyn. if I buy cheap ones. like medium. In addition. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees.to high-priced brands..3. Female
Based on the above findings. Female
“Yes. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. 24. I can use less money. Chinese. if I buy too many big brands. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. I bought some big brands like designer labels.
“I do think most of the brands. 2005). This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability.
4. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. 1991). 1999.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. and buy more clothes to change.” Vanessa. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. do have better quality than cheaper brands. For some T-shirts. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes.
advertisement. Tsai et al. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. Among these respondents. internet and shops.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. 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. two of them
. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. Internet From shops
Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents)
Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key +/.. peers. 2007). +/. 1986.or words in blue: Response with prompt
+ + +
+ + + +
Advertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al..
similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. and it’s easy to make connections. Female
“TV. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. Chinese. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas.
“It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). British. Chinese. Male
“I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. Marketing people may affect me someway. they (basketball players) will show up. 24. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire.” Kevin. they are familiar faces. David Beckham. 23. Male
As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned.
.” Neil. Like Coby Bryrant.”
“I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. 1989). 23. Zidane (is very
memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. so they associate themselves with brands. Lance Armstrong.”
“The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. you know.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. During the game break. advertisements in the shopping mall.
23. in which interviewees were asked. Male
Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. So.
. and from my mind.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6.3. “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. I will consider them. 24. Chinese.” Neil.
4. British.” Kevin. that’s cool. they are nice to put them on. when I go shopping next time. Male
“If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something.
Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. +/. There are no significance differences between British
. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker. colour.or words in blue: Response with prompt
As shown in Tables 6 and 7. 1991). nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality. price and performance.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. durability.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
+ + + + + + + + + +
+ + + -
+/. followed by style.
country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. so the countries don’t really affect it.
Regarding country of origin. 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. 22. 24. For buying Puma shoes. France Italy. I expect Puma quality basically. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. British.and Chinese respondents. Contradictory to the literature.” Michael. France No comment No comment No comment
Countries with lowest quality
No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment
. they represent better quality. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. France or Italy.
“In some of the countries like Japan.” 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. Chinese. Female
“It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for.
If Puma gets its stuff from China. Thailand. Male
“They suppose to all be the same. produce poor quality clothes. they should meet the required quality. US. Italy
China. including China. France.. However. Italy
Countries with lowest quality
China.” Michael. Malaysia. British. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. British.” Neil. 2004). 24. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. Denmark
Less developed countries No comment China
As shown in Table 8. Because I know from every country. Italy No comment Korea.
. from Thailand. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. South Africa
Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang
France. you can buy good or bad clothes. Male
For those who can tell the names of specific countries. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents)
Countries with highest quality
Japan. they show up the same quality standard in all countries.
“I don’t have some preconception about it. 22. India. some South American countries
4. China don’t have very famous brands. Italy as well.“I think the UK and US have top brands. Chinese. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design.” Vivian.
. I think those made-in-China are something good. 1997). maybe it’s the reason. or some of the developing countries. If it’s about big brands.” Vanessa. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. 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.
“China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. 26. Actually.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. if I consider some basic ones. 23. Female
Nevertheless.3. 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. I will prefer France or Italy ones.
they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. whereas the others think they need to take other factors like price and style into consideration and hence they do not buy the same brands regularly. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. recommend brands to friends or relatives. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow:
.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.
CEU and Vertical Club. In Hong Kong. Topshop and All Saints. 26. 23. The Diesel jeans fit me well.” Vivian. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. 27.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. Female
As far as brand recommendation is concerned. for examples. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. Female
“If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. there are quite many.. In the UK.
“I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff.” Neil. 24. British. I will tell them. British.’” Vanessa. Chinese. Male
“(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. British. I like Fred Perry.” Mark. Female
“I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. Chinese. I will tell my friends. 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
Surprisingly. 24.” Jovi. Chinese. 23. so I will buy them more often. Female
“I just like it. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good.
These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. 1991). 26. Chinese.
“I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. Female
“Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. Store cards are dangerous. Female
. Chinese. The price is acceptable. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. we need not apply for the loyalty cards. Sometimes. Vivian. not so complicated design” Jovi. 2007). 27. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card.” Vanessa. It fits my age and my occupation as students.” Narinder. Chinese.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. It’s not stylish but it is well made. 24.3. That’s why I don’t apply for it. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. 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). British. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. Female
4. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below:
“No.as cited in the literature (Aaker. 23. Female
“I think it’s casual and good quality.
22. they work well. 24.” Vanessa. it’s a kind of like casual clothing.” Alick. 27. khaki style…quality is good.” Mark. and they look good. I prefer very colourful image. Female
“’Simply Me’. Male
“60s hippie. 27. Chinese. Female
“It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. British.” Narinder. usually cotton…” Hannah. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. For jeans. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. For T-shirt. Male
“Simple. I prefer some simple image. All Saints is a bit more innovative. Male
“For Topshop. fits my age.” Neil. 2002).“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. I prefer blue jeans. 24.
. Chinese.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. British. British. Male
“They are practical. British. 23. British. 23. Female
“Basically. 26. not like football. In order to investigate this issue. Chinese.3.” Kevin. alternative sports. Male
4. like grid shirts. For shirts.
Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. Chinese. Male
“I don’t buy online.” Kevin. 23. right size as well” Vivian. 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. no.
“For clothes.” Narinder. Male
. British. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. try on to see if it is fit probably.
“No. you can buy it online. but I don’t buy online.” Michael. I’ll have a look and compare prices. not right colour. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. Female
“Not really. 27. 22. but I know many people do. just like the clothes from the markets.Surprisingly. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. Chinese. 24. lower prices and informative websites. The clothes online are cheap. including the varieties of choices. 23. Female
Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. Female
“I like fitting. Chinese. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons. To be honest. British. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online.
The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap.” Alick. Female
“Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. These are what internet offers. but it represents the taste and quality of them. Female
“Brand is something difficult to understand. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. British. Female
4. good quality and good prices. Chinese. Chinese. 26. Chinese.“(Shop online) Sometimes.” Kevin.4 Results In the last question. Male
“Brand is just like the name of people.” Vivian. Chinese.) Vanessa. almost everything is quite good. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. Female
“Brand is not a paper bag. It is good.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. 24. 23. 23. It may not be the spirit of clothes. 24. 26. Male
“Brand is a way for people to identify each other. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. maybe one or twice a month. 27.” Vanessa.
“Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. Chinese. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. Chinese.
4.” Neil. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment.” Michael. British. however. manufacturer. rather than the designer. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development. 23.” Mark. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents.
At the beginning of the chapter. Female
“Brand is the identity of a product or service. British. Male
“Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes.
. I realized. 24. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. 27. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. Male
“Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with.” Narinda. British.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. 22.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name.
2.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below. It is then followed by the research limitations and
recommendations for further research.
. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes.Chapter 5 Conclusions
5. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. brand is one of their considerations.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. they cited that what they liked is more important.
5. In addition.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. However.
This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes.
In terms of advertisements. Nevertheless.
5. some respondents from both nations cited that they had been affected by celebrity advertising in which they could associate the brand image with the celebrities’ images. More Chinese respondents
expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes.
5. From the findings.2. price and performance. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents.As revealed from the above findings. peers. internet and shops. followed by style. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. consumers think of the other criteria as well. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and
In general. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. That is to say.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. for example. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. durability.
In addition. none of the UK respondents thought it would affect their perception of clothes quality whereas some Chinese respondents had cited that some countries connoted to better quality. However.2. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. colour.
5.. by working on the brand development. However. functions etc.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers.
Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. while most of the Chinese respondents had.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated.2. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. 1991). 2004). regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. This brings out an important issue that Chinese brands should get rid of their poor image on perceived quality at least to the Chinese themselves. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. styles. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. From the findings. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. including the product features. however. prices. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. However. 1997). none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops.2. Also.
. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality.
2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents. Added to this. online security is also a matter of concern.
5. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. However. For online securities.
Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect
.2. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. time and also interpreting skills.The establishment of such positive images can help enhance the brand values and there are no significant differences between the British and Chinese respondents in this regard.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels.3 Limitations During the course of research.
As far as sampling method is concerned. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. One of the obstacles for online clothes purchasing is that the consumers can not try on the clothes to see if they are fit or not. various choices and cheaper prices.
5. In terms of fitting. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings.
In addition. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. There are numerous brands around the world. In selecting the students.
In terms of time. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. however. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. As long as more time is allowed. the number of samples interviewed is limited.
Finally. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. for instances accent. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. 2000). having a propensity of getting deviated results. 2000). since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. 2000).. the characteristics of the interviewers.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. During the interviews.
.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. gender and age. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. 1991). the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. 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.
it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. From the findings. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. colour. As for brand association. brand loyalty and brand association. marketers can think of relevant strategies. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. style. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. durability. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. perceived quality. namely brand awareness. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control
. In terms of brand awareness. four different areas were investigated. As far as perceived quality is concerned. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects.
Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers.
This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. perceived quality and brand loyalty. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts.Therefore. In addition. price and performance. To reward loyal customers. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. some Chinese respondents have negative perceptions towards clothes quality produced from China and other developing countries whereas their British counterparts do not have such strong feelings. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes.
For the UK. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. This could provide much more conclusive results. in addition to semi-structured interviews.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. for instance working class. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. have done. 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. could
. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers.
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. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. Besides.
5. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. like supermarkets.
More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. Other sampling groups.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. 2002).
also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples.
By taking the above recommendations.
. researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives. exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned.
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S.S.S. Germany U.S. France U. U.Korea Britain Japan Britain U. U. Japan Britain S. U. U. U.S. Finland Japan U.S. France U.S. U.S. Italy U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U. U. France U.S. Switzerland 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 S.S.S. U. U. U.S.S. France U.S.
(Data adopted from Business Week (2007))
. Germany U.S.S.S. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Name Nintendo Country Japan U.S.S.S. U.S.S.S.S. U. Switzerland U. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S.S. Germany France U. U.S. U. Germany U.S. U.S.S. Netherlands Bermuda U.S. U.S. U.S.S.S.S. Britain Japan U. Germany Japan U.S.S. Netherlands France France U. U. France U.Korea U. 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. U.S.S. U.S. U. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U.S. U.S.S. U.S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. U.S. Japan U.S.S.S. Britain U.S.S. U.S.
Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. Do you recommend brands? 9.Appendix 2: Interview Questions
Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. How often do you buy clothes? 2. Why do you like this brand? 11. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Can you comment on what brand is to you? (Note: Further probing questions would be asked after each of the above question if necessary)
. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4.
I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. How often do you buy clothes?
Kevin: In China.
Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. It would talk about 30 minutes. Kevin.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription
Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese
Chris: Hi. I will buy clothes if there are discounts.
Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. I was the company. maybe 3 times a year. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). so in winter.
Kevin: Because in China. In England. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds.
. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping.
Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK?
Kevin: In China. In England. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes.
medium-priced or low-priced?
Kevin: Medium-priced. I don’t buy very cheap clothes. I prefer higher quality, good taste, so these clothes are more expensive.
Chris: What about the kinds of clothes you buy? Sports apparel, casual wear, formal wear or others?
Kevin: The first two. I buy casual wear more frequently than sports apparels. Sports apparels are just for doing some exercises, and I won’t wear sports apparels on streets. But I buy trainers.
Chris: You really seldom buy formal wear.
Kevin: There are not many chances for me to wear. I have one, just one.
Chris: What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them?
Kevin: I prefer quality as I said, and good taste…I prefer some grand clothes…I like Jack and Jones, and Levi’s. For shoes, I like adidas and Reeboks.
Chris: You have mentioned something about price before, so do you think price is one of your considerations?
Kevin: Yes of course. My girlfriend likes to go to some markets where she can find many cheap clothes. Some of them are on discount and some of them are out of season, she is pursuing that kind of clothes.
Chris: What about you?
Kevin: I like buying shoes in a very good ground. I don’t like bargain with the prices. Some clothes have the absolute prices.
Chris: So when you went to the market with your girlfriend, did you buy them? Because normally we need to bargain in the market.
Kevin: If you go to some small shops, these clothes do not have ground, you can bargain with the shop assistants. But in some shopping malls, some clothes have ground, you cannot bargain with them. Because they are of fixed prices and the quality is good.
Chris: Which one do you prefer? Shops or Market?
Chris: What about brand?
Kevin: Yea, Jack and Jones.
Chris: What about country of origin?
Kevin: Um…I’m not sure which countries these clothes come from because some are made in China, maybe the designers are from other countries. Most of them I think they are from Europe.
Chris: So you have no special preferences?
Chris: If I divide the question into 2, maybe do you have any preference for the country of manufacture?
Kevin: As I said, most of them are made in China.
Chris: What about the country of design?
Chris: Do you have special preferences for the clothes made in Europe?
Kevin: Actually, we can’t find the clothes made in Europe, but in China.
Chris: What about advertising?
Kevin: Advertising is important. Sometimes, I go shopping for clothes just up to the advertising…and maybe there are reputations.
Chris: Do you have any advertisement series come to your mind?
Kevin: Levi’s…their advertisement for jeans is very impressive…so are the one from Jack and Jones.
Chris: What is the advertisement about? For Levi’s, why can it make you so memorable?
Kevin: Because people who wear the clothes look very nice, look very handsome with the clothes.
Chris: You mentioned some people appearing in this advertisement. Are these people celebrities?
Kevin: No, just models. Some of them are Chinese and some of them are foreigners.
I only wear them for one to two year.
Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands?
Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes?
Kevin: It depends.
. they put posters in the public areas. from my perspective. I can’t afford it. on the streets. so maybe next time I go shopping. it may be longer.
Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends?
Kevin: Yes. So it needs to keep the quality for that period.
Chris: But you maybe affected by them. For summer clothes. How can they affect you?
Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. I will consider them.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. it will. and from my mind. not frequently. they are nice to put them on.
Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently?
Kevin: No. For winter clothes. of course. advertisements in the shopping mall. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes?
.Chris: So if it’s durable.
Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes?
Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries.
Chris: Any others to judge the quality?
Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality?
Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. and Demank (Jack and Jones). some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China.
Kevin: As long as it can. I think their quality is good.
Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability.
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: What about lowest quality?
Kevin: China…maybe. by the colour. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. I never compare which clothes come from which countries. keep the quality until out-of-date. then it’s of high quality. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. you know.
I will go to those places…not E-land. of course. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. you go to that shop again to buy clothes?
Kevin: Ah. the appearance is more important…the quality. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle.
Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes?
Kevin: Every time I go shopping.
Kevin: No. it’s high
Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else?
. 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. famous among young people.
Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices?
Kevin: Actually for young people.
Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. it just likes Jack and Jones. not many.
Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes?
Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. but for casual wear. we prefer clothes from other countries. maybe cheaper than from other countries.
maybe they will keep in mind. you can buy it online. like the clothes from the markets. So. I prefer some simple image. like grid shirts. For shirts.
Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand?
Kevin: I prefer very simple image.
. After I put it on. I never buy clothes online. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. how does such image come from?
Kevin: I think its appearance. if I recommend my preference to him or her. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops.
Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. For jeans. I can see how it looks like. maybe they will ignore it. I will buy it.
Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging?
Kevin: Yea. I don’t know. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence.
Chris: Do you shop online for clothes?
Kevin: No. For T-shirt. but I know many people do. I know many girls do that. if it is fit to me. The clothes online are cheap. To be honest.
Chris: Why not?
Kevin: I think every one has their own place. I prefer very colorful image.Kevin: No. I prefer blue jeans.
.Chris: So. maybe after one or two month. just after finish shopping. But if I’m not satisfied with it. maybe they are there. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. that’s the main advantage. the size may not fit and the quality as well…
Chris: What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchased?
Kevin: If I am satisfied with the clothes I bought. I will wear it very regularly. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. of course I will wear it. would you go to the same shops to have a look again?
Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval.
Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. would you apply for it?
Kevin: Yea. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. at least once a week. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits.
Chris: If you are satisfied. Normally. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. they will give me a VIP card. As long as l finish shopping. but less frequently. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online.
Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online?
Kevin: As I said. maybe take it as my pajamas.
Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. belts. It may not the spirit of the clothes. wallet. Thanks very much. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. sunglasses.
Chris: That’s all for the interview. something like that. but it represents the taste and quality of them.like some accessories.