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By Kwok Keung Tam
A Dissertation presented in part consideration for the degree of “MSc International Business”
Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i
Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing 1.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets 1.2.1 China clothing market 18.104.22.168 Chinese spending habits 22.214.171.124 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 126.96.36.199 British spending habits 188.8.131.52 Characteristics of the UK clothing market 1.3 Theoretical framework 1.4 Objectives of the dissertation 1.5 Outline of the dissertation
1 1 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8
Chapter 2: Literature review 2.1 Introduction 2.2 The important roles of brand 2.2.1 The characteristics of successful brands 2.3 Brand equity 2.3.1 Brand awareness 2.3.2 Perceived quality 2.3.3 Brand loyalty 2.3.4 Brand association 2.4 Consumer buying behaviour
10 10 10 11 12 13 15 16 17 19
2.4.1 Models of consumer behaviour 2.5 Summary
Chapter 3: Methodology 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Theoretical backgrounds 3.2.1 Review of different research traditions 3.2.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis 3.2.3 Reliability and validity of data 3.3 Justification of research method 3.4 Sampling 3.5 Interview schedule 3.5.1 Stage one 3.5.2 Stage two 3.5.3 Stage three 3.6 Administration 3.7 Analysis strategy 3.7.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis 3.7.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis 184.108.40.206 Within-case analysis 220.127.116.11 Cross-case analysis 3.8 Summary
24 24 24 24 25 26 27 29 31 31 32 34 34 34 34
35 36 37 37
Chapter 4: Research findings and discussion 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Backgrounds of respondents 4.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4.3.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 4.3.2 Brand awareness
38 38 38 40 40
5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.2 Brand awareness 5.5 Brand association 18.104.22.168.4 Implications 5.3 Perceived quality 5.4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.4 Brand loyalty 5.2.3 Perceived quality 4.2.3 Limitations 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.2 Conclusions 22.214.171.124 Recommendations for further research 58 58 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64 References 66 Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79 Appendix 2: Interview questions 80 Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81 .4 Brand loyalty 4.5 Brand association 126.96.36.199 Introduction 5.4 Results 4.2.
clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. perceived 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. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. brand loyalty and brand association. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry. In the UK. i . Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. however. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. namely brand awareness.
Vicky Story. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. 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. ii .Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. Dr. In addition. but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. Last but not least.
the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. in addition to the basic functions. which can tell how significant an individual is. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. read product information. Several brands. namely pre-purchase. Thus. different genders and cultural backgrounds. decide which and where to buy. Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. 1 . These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. Nowadays. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. 2000). purchase and post-purchase. have become popular not only in their country of origin. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. as a matter of fact. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003).1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. choose the buying modes. 1996). but also in other markets with high potential. 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. clothes can also serve as fashion items. clothing can help represent our personal identity.
marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. 2000. 1993. the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. 1993). In this paper. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. 2001. Keller. Under this concept. In accordance with Delong et al. (2004). managing brand image is of utmost importance. 1998. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework.2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. Ailawadi. 2005). The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector. 1. In this way. 2003). In order to differentiate one brand from another. brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. contributing to 74. Corstjens and Lal. 1996. On the other hand. 1. Being an advanced developing country. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. 2000).widen the profit margins.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 .2. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. 1991.
1. On average. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern. people spend 7. However. The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. As stated by Cui (1997). however. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China.2. 3 . for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. Nowadays. this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China.. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. China plays a role as a producer. Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. 2006).1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). 2004). With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. 1. quality and finally trendiness. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount. However. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range. pricing. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. followed by cutting.2005 (WTO.
followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73.2. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China. 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. The originally advantageous factors. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. become a major hindrance to the global brands’ development process. This spells out the need for China to establish its own brands with good reputation. Besides. The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences.. 1. none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. When it comes to the case 4 . however. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. however. the lack of globally influential brands is one of the main reasons why China lags behind in the clothing industry with respect to brand development (Delong et al. China has been connoted with the reputation of low-cost products in the overseas markets for decades.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. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. However. Also. According to a report published by Business Week (2007).1.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level.
Regarding its GDP growth.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people. 1. because of its mature economic structure. March 25). pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades. 1. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004).com. 2007). which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. regardless of their quality. According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005.2. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. Among the respondents.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. The manufacturing sector. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand.2. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. females are more likely 5 .2. the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands. The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense.com. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. 2007). 2004). including the clothing industry. 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. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate. In addition. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes. it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic.
1994). this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. In 6 ..2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. concentrated markets. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. 2003). women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. 2004). 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. This could be explained by the fact that store cards sometimes have much higher interest rates than that of the credit cards and personal loans (Mintel. the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. 2003).2. As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned.to spend on clothes than males. as cited in Carruthers. there is a trend for own brand development. 1. 2004). South and Spitze. 1995). 1999.2. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. However. 1999). 2004. This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. short-life-cycle products. Moore. Siddiqui et al. a polarized marketplace. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers. and occasionally. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. 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. As mentioned by Moore (1995). However. 1998. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. 2002). strong competitive activities.
2001. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned. Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. the retailing sector is fragmented. 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. Compared with other retailed sector. namely brand awareness. perceived brand equity and brand associations. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook.. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. 1998). 1. composing of independent. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. Mintel. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce. 2004. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores. clothing is a kind of public 7 . brand loyalty. with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers.addition. 2004). According to Aaker (1991). marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. 2003). Marciniak and Bruce. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. 1. 1995).
China. It is believed that this chapter could provide readers with general information like theories and issues in relation to consumer buying behaviour for clothes so as to make them more 8 . 2007. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. 2007). brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. 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. 1. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. is on the lookout for extensions.necessity with weak reference group influence on the product category but strong reference group influence on the brand choice. mainly concentrating on clothing industry and consumer buying behaviour. First. In this way. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. the research objectives and the dissertation outline. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK.5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. ZARA. 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. In addition.
Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included.understandable in the forthcoming sections. Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. Whether brand image would affect the consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities and differences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology. 9 . Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data.
In addition to a specific brand name. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 . Keller. 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker. 2001).Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. promotion. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. packaging. This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image. Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. In this chapter. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. 1991. 1991. 1998). 1998). a brand is also composed of products. advertising. 1998). However. Murphy.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. 2. most of them concentrate on a single country study. the literatures concerning the roles of brand and brand equity are to be reviewed so as to provide a theoretical framework for the aforementioned analysis. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy.. From the consumers’ perspective. 2003). The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al.
Fennis and Pruyn. Murphy. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. Finally and most importantly. Nowadays.in consumer products (Roman et al. 1998. augmented brand and potential brand. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. effective after-sales services and the like. 1999. 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. 1999). 2. 1998).2. 2006). Added to this.. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 . The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. Basic brand. they share something in common. on the other hand. When deciding which products to purchase. 2005). there are four elements for building a successful brand. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry.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. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. consumers would have their preferences. basic brand. 2000). 1998). for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. namely tangible product. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. As mentioned by Levitt (1983). which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand.
poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image. By doing so.preference and loyalty. One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. patents. 1996).. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. 12 .3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand. 1998). brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. For instance. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. Marks and Spencer. 1998). Added to this. not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. Yasin et al. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. 2. In addition. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. designs as well as copyright. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. 2007). Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. In countries with well-established legal system. 1995). 1991. Brands like HSBC. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. 2007). brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. 2002). In order to combat piracy. However. including its name and symbol. Vodafone. 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.
name awareness. 1998). For the consumers. There is a high propensity for consumers with good perceptions to buy from the same shop again than those with poor perceptions. brand equity could provide them with information about the brand which influences their confidence during the purchasing process. with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. 1991). For instance. namely brand loyalty. 1991). 1991. 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. The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker.1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker. consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. 2005). It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. As for the firm. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. Keller. Owning to the positive image. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections.3. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas. 2. Besides. 1991).
In this way. According to research conducted by Delong et al.set (Blackwell et al. In addition. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. Tsai et al. affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. 1990). In recent decades. 2007). In order to achieve brand awareness. In case of China. being a special administrative region since 1997. namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. 2005).. brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. For long time. due to their political separations.. 1990.. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. as pointed out by McGuire (1978). Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles. has once been a colony of the UK. 1986. Macdonald and Sharp. As mentioned by Keller (1998). Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. For source credibility. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. 2007).. Moreover. two tasks are to be accomplished. owing to geographical differences. (2004). Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. As for source 14 . 2000). its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong.
motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. it is becoming more difficult to obtain satisfactory level of perceived quality owing to the fact that fast and continuous product advancement has already strengthened consumers’ expectations on product quality (Sherman. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. 1991. Keller. on the other hand. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. Similar to brand awareness. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. features. 1991). Service quality. namely performance. In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. 2. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. competence. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. Yasin. overall feeling towards a brand. Since it is a kind of intangible. serviceability as well as fit and finish. reliability. 1991). it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. conformance with specifications. In addition. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality.. charging premium price. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 .attractiveness.3. Nevertheless. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. 1992). reliability. 1998. 2004). durability. differentiating the position of a brand. To be more specific. 2007). Regarding product quality. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. 1989).
1991). 2005). price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. Third. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand.3. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 . First. 2. It is found that price is more relevant in judging the perceived quality of a product given that a person lacks the ability to evaluate the quality of a product. consumers continue to buy the brand. Under the influence of brand loyalty. 1991).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. 1993). however. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. Second. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. 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. Moreover. having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. In this case. For many companies. 1991). the less vulnerable the customer base would be. This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky. Keller (1998). loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage.. it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker.purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances.. 1991). prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. regardless of the superior features. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. Hence.
Silverman. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. 2. which contribute to a specific brand image. and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. consisting of multiple ideas. 2000). 2000). According to Aaker (1991). 2000).. Consumers usually depend on informal.3. Bansal and Voyer. In addition to the tangible products. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. several airlines like Cathay Pacific. For instance. Moreover. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. 1997. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. episodes. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. 17 . 1998. the intangible qualities. Marney. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. Hence. It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. Finally. 1995. 1991).4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association. examples.recommend the same model of product.
Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. 1998). lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. This can make the brand 18 . As for non-product related attributes. Finally. Second. benefits and attitudes. First of all. 1991). 1998). the overall features of the product or service are concerned. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. They can be classified into functional. Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. For experimental benefits. attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand.Keller (1993. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. namely attributes. Benefits are another category in brand associations. making the customers remember the brand by heart. experimental and symbolic. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand. Symbolic benefits. on the other hand. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. For product-related attributes. price information. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. packaging.
Forth. For examples. however. Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. buy. consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. some associations can engender positive feelings. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field.. services. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. money and effort. 2006). Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . use or dispose the products. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. First of all. ideas or experiences.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. contributing to its higher premium price. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al. Third. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. 2. The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. a vivid brand image is established. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000). brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand.
consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. 2003). tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. 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. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. Arnoud et al.4. which companies to succeed. evaluation. 2006). 1998). pre-purchase. 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. purchase. comprising acquisition of goods and services. as well as disposal of used goods. 20 post-consumption evaluation and . 2006). Moreover. 2. consumption and disposal of products or services. and also which products to excel. For instance. Based on this loophole.. search for information. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. However. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. consumption.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. Although they vary in form of presentation. Blackwell et al. consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. consumption. Second. These seven steps include need recognition.. 2001. Rayport and Jaworski.1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase. Therefore.
divestment (Blackwell et al. regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages.. past experiences. Ongoing search.. There are two kinds of needs. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. 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. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision. Attributes like quantity. As mentioned by Solomon et al. 2006). Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used. In this stage. Stage two is the search of information. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. Blackwell et al. Functional needs are related to the performance of the product whereas psychological needs are intrinsically obtained when customers feel contented with shopping or owning a product which they long for. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers.. 1997).. income. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. namely functional needs and psychological needs. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. 2006). size. Any changes in 21 . size of purchase. (2006). consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. on the other hand. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. 2005). 1992). Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. as well as customer satisfaction. social class. The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality.
Last but not least. 2006). The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002).. In addition to in-store purchase. This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al. as well as point-of-purchase advertising. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes. 2006). In stage five. including retailer and in-store selection.. Stage five. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. As stated by Blackwell et al. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. 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. (2006). customers evaluate the consumption process. stage seven comes to divestment. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others. this 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. Retailer selection is made by judging which retailers to buy after investigating the attributes from the previous stage whereas in-store selection is affected by the selling skills of salesperson. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. According to Porter (2004). 22 . visual displays inside the shops. 2003).
and at the same time. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions.5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. 23 . brand loyalty and brand associations. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way.2. In this dissertation. perceived quality. 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. consumers seem to be more aware of the products they buy. perceived quality. including brand awareness. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. Nowadays. products are developed in an unprecedented way.
The details of the sampling would also be discussed. epistemology is about the science of knowing. research is required. research theories can be classified into different types. the research traditions. During the course of consumer behaviour research. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. interpretive research and critical postmodernism. In accordance with Gephart (2004). In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition. Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches. 3. 3. data are gathered. 24 . which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. 2004). think and behave (Arnould et al. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic. there are two types of research methods. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. there are three research traditions. and also the validity and reliability of data are discussed in order to provide a general view about how the research is carried out and which factors influence the justification of research method.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. 2004). theories. namely positivism.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section..2. namely qualitative and quantitative research. In general.
research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. examining the attitudes. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. 2002). Finally. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. 1993). Added to this. As for critical postmodernism. 2004. together with the structures and processes within it. Dey. While positivism stresses on objectivity. events and mechanisms. 3. In accordance to Fisher (2004). official statistics.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science.2. random sampling 25 . In the field of research.. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. including experiences. it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. 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. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned. the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally.
having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. 1956.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. 1986). attitude (Kirk and Miller. Cicourel. That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other. 2000). numeric data. 2000). Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor. it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. for example. Silverman. 2000). 3.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. 1989). research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. As for qualitative research. Unlike quantitative research. In this way. 1964. the reliability of tape-recorded and transcribed data is argued by some to be weakened owing to the possibility of missing some trivial but crucial pauses and overlaps (Silverman. (2002). qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. These determine whether the research can engender 26 . As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. Qualitative analysis. 1975). quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale. suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. 2000). 2000). Nevertheless. however.2. Besides.
and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. Hence. While reliability is correlated to consistency. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). This may affect the reliability of the research findings. validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. 27 .useful findings or not. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. 2000). Besides. to justify reliability. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. 2006). 1992). However. This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs. namely language-orientated approach. 1992). As mentioned by Tesch (1990). As mentioned by Saunders et al. This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. (2003). 3. giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. 2000). qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses. it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner.
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. Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. During the course of interviews. One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. Added to this. Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. Thus. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. say 12-15 people. The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process.descriptive/ interpretative approach. 1992). 2004). researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. For instance. In case of interviews. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. However. Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. as well as theory-building approach. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. 2000). Finally. 2004). interviewers may need to probe each answer and make use of the replies for further questioning (Proctor. the thorough description and interpretation of social phenomena are the central focus. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. 2006). interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. 28 . researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson.
2000). interesting responses emerged during the interviews. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. it is suggested that 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. with the use of a semi-structured format. non-probability sampling is used 29 . interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. 2006). researchers can follow up some unexpected. 3. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. Moreover. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. like other self-report methods. Unlike structured interviews.Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. In addition. 2006). When it comes to the process of data collection. 2000). researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. In accordance with Breakwell (2006). semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. Among different structures of interviews. It is suggested that interviews could be complemented with other types of data such as observation and diary techniques so that the data obtained can be more valid.
this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. 2002. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. 2005). 10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. 1982). researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. Moreover. though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. 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). findings reveal that homogeneous respondents can help reduce the possibility of measurement model error (Assael and Keon. in quota sampling method.as the tool for this research. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. 30 . As mentioned by Proctor (2000). In this research. Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. 2003). The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. Hence. equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. Among the 10 samples. Malhotra and King. Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. 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.
5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). so they were not covered here. After the introduction. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell. There are two types of questions. Questions 1 31 . As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006).5. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently.1 Stage one In this stage. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. Also. 3. 2006). The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews. The approximate length of the interview. which are discussed in the following sections. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. say 30 minutes.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. was mentioned. the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer.
In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. these can help understand their spending styles. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. were discussed. How often do you buy clothes? 2. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2.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.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. probing questions were asked if needed. It also intends to investigate whether brand is an important criterion for consumers to choose particular products to purchase as mentioned in the literature (Doyle. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. The questions in this stage are as follows. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. Mooij. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. 4. As mentioned in the literatures. 1998). Moreover. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. including brand and brand equity.5. 32 . There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. 1999.
there are three stages for purchasing products or services. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. Rayport and Jaworski.perceived quality. 11.. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. Keller. 2006. 5. these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. 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). including pre-purchase. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. 1991. Do you recommend brands? 9. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. 1993). How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker.
It focuses on 34 . After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967).6 Administration The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions. 3. themes. repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. 2004).7. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns.3.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. 3.5. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. 1984). The interviews were then transcribed. possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview. 3. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close.7 Analysis strategy This section introduces the concept of grounded theory and the use of within-case and cross-case analysis as the strategies for analyzing the research data. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis.1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. 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. and common categories from observational data (Babbie.
provided that they follow three rules. based on grounded theory. leading to further analysis of themes. especially the use of systemic coding. 2006).. including familiarization. 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. 1993).2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994). methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. Hence. Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research. researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. (2002). interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. 2006). The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. cataloguing concepts. these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . maintaining an attitude of skepticism. In addition. 2002). qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total.7. 3. conceptualization. which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. Besides. According to Easterby-Smith et al. linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al. patterns and categories. as well as following the research procedures. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. re-coding. reflection.different ways to code data (Dey. They include periodically stepping back and asking. 2004).
analysis. In this dissertation, the interviews conducted were investigated based on these two approaches. The summary of these two approaches is shown in Figure 1.
Listening to tape and producing a transcript
Coding the transcript
Analyzing data with tables in codes and quotes
Looking for patterns from similar and different responses
Creating tables based on responses from interviewees
Figure 1: Overview of analysis
188.8.131.52 Within-case analysis During the interviews, notes were first jotted down and then the summary of each individual interview was made after listening to the MP3 recorder for the sake of keeping the fresh memory of the interview content. A full transcription of each interview (see Appendix 3) was made after the completion of the whole interview process. After finishing the transcription, the main ideas of the interviews were summarized and presented in form of tables with codes like ‘+’ standing for interviewee who has mentioned this idea, whilst ‘-‘ connoting to a negative response to the question. Some quotes from the answers would be
illustrated for explanation if necessary.
184.108.40.206 Cross-case analysis Cross-case analysis aims at looking for convergences and divergences in the data, recognizing ways to account for the similarities and differences of the respondents (Smith and Eatough, 2006; Smith and Osborn, 2003). Each interview was analyzed in the same way as mentioned in the within-case analysis. Then the patterns emerged were analyzed based the several tables in different themes.
3.8 Summary In this chapter, the methodology used in this dissertation has been justified and explained. Qualitative semi-structured interviews have been chosen as a mean to collect data since they are found to be more appropriate for soliciting responses in relation to attitudes, opinions and feelings. Besides, the sampling method was covered. In the course of data collection, the combination of convenience and quota sampling was being used. In addition, the schedule of interview was discussed with a view to providing some general ideas about the underlying reasons for asking such questions. The data collected would be analyzed using the methods of within-case and cross-case analysis. The research findings will be presented and discussed in the next chapter.
Chapter 4 Research Findings and Discussion
4.1 Introduction This chapter aims at presenting and discussing findings obtained from the interviews concerning the effect of clothing brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. As mentioned in chapter 3, 10 people, including 5 British and 5 Chinese were interviewed. Each interview was recorded and transcribed for the purpose of analysis in this chapter.
As far as the analysis is concerned, it will be based on the most pertinent quotes, which reveal the viewpoints from the British and Chinese respondents respectively. According to Easterby-Smith et al. (2002), qualitative researchers need to communicate the findings in an honest and systematic manner, disseminating the richness of the findings and hence the experience of the researchers. In addition, the analysis should be open to verification as far as possible so that the others are free to repeat what has been done and check the conclusions (Breakwell, 2006).
The chapter consists of three sections in which the respondents’ backgrounds, the effect of brand image on them and also their opinions of brand are presented and compared.
4.2 Backgrounds of respondents All respondents are students from the University of Nottingham, with nine of them being master students and one of them being a PhD student. Their ages range from 22 to 27 and the male to female ratio is 1 to 1.
The first three questions try to solicit the interviewees’ response about their clothing spending habits, asking about their shopping frequency, money spent
24. 27.” Hannah. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. quite rare.” Kevin. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. British. 23.” Mark. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. maybe one item every couple of month. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. let’s go’. But before that. In England. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). 2000). ranging from every week to three or four times a year. 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.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. Female Besides. buy every 4 to 5 months. 2002). 23. Because I have been poor. Generally. 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. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. maybe 3 times a year. British.” Narinder. Male “In China. 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. 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. British. so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. Chinese. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). Male 39 .
3. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 . There could be two identical clothes in the world. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. retailers. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. 4. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. In the coming section. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. 24. it does not really mean that males have less spending power. South and Spitze. British. It really gets a large variation. 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. the reasons why people buy them vary. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges.When asking about the price range of clothes. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. 1994). 1991.. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. 1993). as well as consumers (Aaker. 2007). however.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. As mentioned in chapter 2.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. 1999. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. Keller. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. “Probably. Sometimes.
or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 . Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Pleasant.examined in question 4. +/. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes. Non-label Non-advert Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + - - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Functional use (Sports) Personal need Table 3: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (Chinese respondents) Reason Name Brand Country of origin Advert Quality Style Price Others Comfortable. The columns named ‘country of origin’ and ‘advert’ would be discussed in later sections.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Intuition +/.
Moreover. Male “Well. but I do not particularly look for brand names. If I have good experiences with something. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. Female 42 . “Yes. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. However. Well. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes.” Neil.” Hannah. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. British. Actually.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. 24. two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. Male “Never. They are probably the shops I like. 23. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there.” Mark. I probably buy again. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. 24. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. In this regard. British. all respondents from both nations regard quality. 1991). When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. British.
it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. 2005).. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes. if I buy too many big brands. Chinese.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. 1991). as well as quality (Roman et al. like medium. But recently. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. Chinese. if I buy cheap ones. Female “Yes. 4. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. This issue was examined through asking the question ‘In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands?’ There are mainly four ways for the respondents to learn about the brands. I bought some big brands like designer labels. For some T-shirts. The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands.to high-priced brands. “I do think most of the brands. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost. 26. I can use less money. 1999. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. do have better quality than cheaper brands. In addition. So.3. it costs me too much. Female Based on the above findings. 2006). and buy more clothes to change. 24. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark.” Jovi. Fennis and Pruyn. including 43 .” Vanessa. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality.
with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. internet and shops. Among these respondents.advertisement. Tsai et al. peers. two of them 44 .. 1986.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. 2007). Internet From shops From shops Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key +/.. Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinda Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Advert Peers Others + - + + + From shops From shops. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5.or words in blue: Response with prompt Advert Peers Others Internet + + + + + + + Internet Internet From shops Advertisement is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness (Mackenzie et al. +/.
British.” Kevin. so they associate themselves with brands. Lance Armstrong. and it’s easy to make connections. Chinese.” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. they (basketball players) will show up. 24. David Beckham. Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned.” Neil. Zidane (is very memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. advertisements in the shopping mall. During the game break. “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them).mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. 23. you know. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. Chinese.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. 1989). Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. Female “TV. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions. Like Coby Bryrant. 45 . they are familiar faces. Marketing people may affect me someway. 23. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas.
3. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. British.” Kevin. Chinese. “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. they are nice to put them on. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. that’s cool. 46 . 24. 4. in which interviewees were asked. and from my mind.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. when I go shopping next time. 23. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting.” Neil. So. I will ask them what the brand is…my brother bought a Helly Hansen sportswear. I will consider them. Male “If I am training and I see a friend wearing a new T-shirt or something.
in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker. There are no significance differences between British 47 . colour. +/. price and performance.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7. durability.or words in black: Initial response without prompt.Table 6: Criteria for judging clothes quality (British respondents) Criteria Name Materials Style Colour Durability Country of origin Others Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz + + + + + + + Performance Price + - Table 7: Criteria for judging clothes quality (Chinese respondents) Criteria Name Materials Style Colour Durability Country of origin Others Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/. followed by style. Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality. 1991).
they represent better quality. Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality.” Michael.and Chinese respondents. 22. 24. France Italy. Contradictory to the literature. 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. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. For buying Puma shoes. British. France or Italy. so the countries don’t really affect it. Table 8: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (British respondents) Countries Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Countries with highest quality Italy. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality.” Jovi. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality. “In some of the countries like Japan. I expect Puma quality basically. Male When further question was asked about the issue ‘Which country’s clothes do you think they’re of highest/ lowest quality?’ British and Chinese respondents showed divergent views. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 . Regarding country of origin.
These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. including China. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. British.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. British. Because I know from every country.. 2004). Thailand. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. you can buy good or bad clothes. If Puma gets its stuff from China. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. Male “They suppose to all be the same. France. from Thailand. produce poor quality clothes. “I don’t have some preconception about it. 24.” Neil. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. Malaysia. India. they should meet the required quality. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8. However. some South American countries Vivian Li UK.” Michael. 49 . Italy No comment Korea. US. Italy China. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. 22.
Female 4. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. I will prefer France or Italy ones.” Vanessa. China don’t have very famous brands.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7. or some of the developing countries. Chinese. 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. Lowest (quality) maybe China. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design. I think those made-in-China are something good. 26. 50 .“I think the UK and US have top brands. Italy as well. maybe it’s the reason. if I consider some basic ones. Female Nevertheless. 23.” Vivian.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. 1997). If it’s about big brands. Actually.
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. The quotes of regular buyers are shown as follow: 51 . recommend brands to friends or relatives.Table 10: Clothes purchasing habit (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinder Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + - + - - Table 11: Clothes purchasing habit (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Regular buyer Recommend brands Club card owner + + + + + + + - + + + + As observed from Tables 10 and 11. For those who buy regularly from the same brands. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased.
Female “I just like it. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff.” Neil. 26. Topshop and All Saints. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned. I will tell them. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. British. I like Fred Perry. 23. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. CEU and Vertical Club. 24. 23. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. Male Surprisingly. In Hong Kong. British.. Chinese. 24. The Diesel jeans fit me well. for examples.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon….’” Vanessa.” Jovi.” Mark. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices.” Vivian. there are quite many. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. 27. Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for. British. Chinese.. none of the UK respondents have any clothing club cards even though the shops take this chance to reward their loyalty in terms of discounts 52 . Chinese. so I will buy them more often. I will tell my friends. In the UK.
5 Brand association Regarding brand association. not so complicated design” Jovi. Female 4. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin. Vivian. 23. 27. Chinese. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. 2007). 26. it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. It fits my age and my occupation as students.” Narinder. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear.” Vanessa. 24. The price is acceptable. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. Store cards are dangerous. That’s why I don’t apply for it. It’s not stylish but it is well made. Sometimes. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. Chinese.3. British. Chinese. Female 53 .as cited in the literature (Aaker. Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. we need not apply for the loyalty cards. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer. 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). Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. 1991).
Female “’Simply Me’. Male “They are practical.” Neil. British. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. 27. Chinese.” Alick. Male 4.” Kevin. and they look good.3. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. not like football. 26. 24. Male “60s hippie. fits my age. For jeans.” Vanessa. British. I prefer blue jeans. 27. Chinese.” Mark. 2002). like grid shirts. 54 . I prefer some simple image. British. 22. All Saints is a bit more innovative.” Narinder. Female “Basically. For shirts. I prefer very colourful image. Chinese.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. alternative sports. For T-shirt. In order to investigate this issue. they work well. 23. Male “Simple. British. British. 24. usually cotton…” Hannah. khaki style…quality is good. 23. Male “For Topshop.
I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. 24. 23. To be honest. no. try on to see if it is fit probably. you can buy it online. not right colour. lower prices and informative websites. 23. 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. Chinese. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. The clothes online are cheap. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online.Surprisingly. right size as well” Vivian. Female “Not really. just like the clothes from the markets. Male 55 . Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. I’ll have a look and compare prices. Male “I don’t buy online.” Narinder. 27. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons.” Kevin. Female “I like fitting. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. “For clothes. British. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online. Chinese. “No. but I know many people do.” Michael. British. but I don’t buy online. 22. including the varieties of choices. Chinese. Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi.
Male “Brand is just like the name of people. These are what internet offers.4 Results In the last question. Chinese. It may not be the spirit of clothes. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. It is good. British. Chinese. 23. Female 56 .“(Shop online) Sometimes. Chinese. 24. Female 4.) Vanessa. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. 27. Chinese.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up. maybe one or twice a month. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi. Chinese. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. almost everything is quite good. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping.” Vanessa. but it represents the taste and quality of them. good quality and good prices. 26. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money.” Kevin. 23. 26.” Vivian. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. 24.” Alick. Chinese.
24. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. 23. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. however. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with. 57 . My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. 27. I realized.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service.” Neil. At the beginning of the chapter. 22. British. rather than the designer.” Narinda. British. manufacturer.” Michael. British. Male 4. British.” Mark.
58 . brand is one of their considerations.Chapter 5 Conclusions 5.2. In addition. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy. However.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. 5. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. 5. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. It was found that there are slight differences between the Chinese and British consumers in terms of their attitudes towards brand equity.2 Conclusions The findings in chapter 4 do have some implications for the development of brand image. they cited that what they liked is more important. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined.
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. That is to say.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. 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. Nevertheless. 5. colour.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. for example. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees.2. In addition.As revealed from the above findings. internet and shops. it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. In terms of advertisements. price and performance. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents.2. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 . 5. followed by style. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. From the findings. consumers think of the other criteria as well. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance. peers. However. durability. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. In general.
Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned.2. such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker.2. styles.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. However. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. it is good at manufacturing (Cui.other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from.. 60 . 5. 2004). however. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. functions etc. 1991). none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. 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. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. However.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards. Also. including the product features. 1997). As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. From the findings. prices. 5. by working on the brand development. while most of the Chinese respondents had.
5. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method. online security is also a matter of concern.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels. 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. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. Added to this. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. As far as sampling method is concerned. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. However.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. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. time and also interpreting skills.2. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. For online securities. 2002) but the findings suggested that buying clothes online was not that common among the respondents. 5. Most of the interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes through the internet. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 .3 Limitations During the course of research. In terms of fitting. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system.
In addition. 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. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. for instances accent. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. There are numerous brands around the world. As long as more time is allowed. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. the number of samples interviewed is limited. 5.. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. 2000). Finally. having a propensity of getting deviated results. 2000). the characteristics of the interviewers. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. In selecting the students. During the interviews. however.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor.4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. 2000). 1991). the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. gender and age. 62 . since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. In terms of time.
perceived quality and brand loyalty. aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. In addition. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. As far as perceived quality is concerned.Therefore. From the findings. colour. 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. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. brand loyalty and brand association. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. style. price and performance. As for brand association. marketers can think of relevant strategies. perceived quality. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. durability. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. four different areas were investigated. In terms of brand awareness. To reward loyal customers. namely brand awareness. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased.
5. 2002). This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC. other kinds of research methods such as focus group and even some quantitative research methods could be used so as to provide findings from different perspectives. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. have done.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. This could provide much more conclusive results.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. for instance working class. More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. could 64 . Besides. Other sampling groups. 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. like supermarkets. For instances. For the UK. in addition to semi-structured interviews. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity.
By taking the above recommendations. exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. 65 . researchers could be able to get more representative and deeper findings from different perspectives.also be investigated since they may provide entirely different results as what have been obtained from the student samples.
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U. France U.S.S.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S. U. Germany Japan U. U. Germany U. U.S.S.Korea U.S.S. U. U.S.S. Germany U.S. U.S. U. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Name Nintendo Country Japan U. U.S.S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co. U.S.S.S. Japan U. Switzerland U.S.S. U.S. Rank 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Gap L’Oreal Heinz Yahoo! Volkswagen Xerox Colgate Wrigley KFC Chanel Avon Nestle Kleenex Amazon.S.S.S.S.S.S. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 .S. Japan Britain S.S. France U. U.S. U.S. Italy U. U.S. Britain U.S.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.S.S. U. U. Switzerland U. Germany France U.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. Finland Japan U. France U.S. Japan S. U. U.S. Britain Japan U.S.S.S.S.Korea Britain Japan Britain U. France U.S. U. Netherlands Bermuda U.S.S.S.S. U. Germany U.S.S.Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV Name Coca-Cola Country U. U. Netherlands France France U.S. U. France U.S.S. U. U. U. U.S.
Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. Do you recommend brands? 9. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. How often do you buy clothes? 2.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. Why do you like this brand? 11. Can you comment on what brand is to you? (Note: Further probing questions would be asked after each of the above question if necessary) 80 .
Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). In England. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. I was the company. In England. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. It would talk about 30 minutes. Kevin: Yes. so in winter. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. 81 . How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. Kevin.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. maybe 3 times a year. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced.
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.
So it needs to keep the quality for that period. For winter clothes. they are nice to put them on. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes. I can’t afford it. 85 . I only wear them for one to two year. Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. it may be longer. and from my mind. I will consider them. so maybe next time I go shopping. from my perspective. it will. on the streets. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. advertisements in the shopping mall. Chris: But you maybe affected by them. How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. of course.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. not frequently. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. For summer clothes. they put posters in the public areas.
Chris: So if it’s durable. I think their quality is good. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. I never compare which clothes come from which countries. Kevin: As long as it can. Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. 86 . Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. and Demank (Jack and Jones). then it’s of high quality. keep the quality until out-of-date. by the colour. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it. you know. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability.
I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. of course. Kevin: No. it just likes Jack and Jones. maybe cheaper than from other countries. you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. we prefer clothes from other countries. the appearance is more important…the quality. not many. but for casual wear. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. famous among young people. Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. 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. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 . I think quality is not a problem for these brands. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. I will go to those places…not E-land.
I will buy it. The clothes online are cheap. So. but I know many people do. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. you can buy it online. like the clothes from the markets. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. I prefer some simple image. if I recommend my preference to him or her. I prefer very colorful image. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. After I put it on. if it is fit to me. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. I can see how it looks like. For jeans. maybe they will ignore it. If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. 88 . Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image.Kevin: No. I never buy clothes online. To be honest. I know many girls do that. I don’t know. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. like grid shirts. I prefer blue jeans. For T-shirt. maybe they will keep in mind. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. For shirts. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity.
Chris: So. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. they will give me a VIP card. maybe they are there. Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. of course I will wear it. at least once a week. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. just after finish shopping. Kevin: Yea. but less frequently. 89 . they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. maybe take it as my pajamas. I will wear it very regularly. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. that’s the main advantage. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. Chris: If you are satisfied. the size may not fit and the quality as well… Chris: What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchased? Kevin: If I am satisfied with the clothes I bought. Normally. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. But if I’m not satisfied with it. Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. maybe after one or two month. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. As long as l finish shopping.
but it represents the taste and quality of them. Chris: That’s all for the interview. belts. Thanks very much.like some accessories. something like that. sunglasses. wallet. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’. glasses. It may not the spirit of the clothes. 90 .
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