Effect of Brand Image on Consumer Purchasing Behaviour on Clothing: Comparison between China and the UK’s Consumers

By Kwok Keung Tam

2007

A Dissertation presented in part consideration for the degree of “MSc International Business”

Table of Content
Page numbers Abstract i

Acknowledgements

ii

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 1.2.1.1 Chinese spending habits 1.2.1.2 Impediments to China’s clothing brand development 1.2.2 UK clothing market 1.2.2.1 British spending habits 1.2.2.2 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

20 23

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 3.7.2.1 Within-case analysis 3.7.2.2 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

43

5 Brand association 4.3 Limitations 5.3.3.3 Perceived quality 5.4 Results 4.2.4 Brand loyalty 4.6 Consumer buying behaviour 5.5 Brand association 5.2.4.3.2.1 Introduction 5.4 Implications 5.5 Summary 46 50 53 54 56 57 Chapter 5: Conclusions 5.2 Brand awareness 5.2 Conclusions 5.5 Recommendations for further research 58 58 58 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 64 References 66 Appendix 1: The 100 top brands 2006 79 Appendix 2: Interview questions 80 Appendix 3: Interview transcription 81 .3 Perceived quality 4.2.2.4 Brand loyalty 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour 4.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions 5.3.2.

The findings suggested that Chinese tend to have negative perceptions towards the quality of clothes produced in their own country. perceived quality.Abstract Brand is a powerful tool to attract more consumers to buy particular products. Some may even regarded it as equity as it can add values to the products. Having known that China has no influential clothing brands around the world. namely brand awareness. comparing the consumer behaviour between the British and Chinese respondents based on the four respects of brand equity. clothing brands are much better developed than its China counterparts. more emphasis should be placed on the marketing strategies such as rewarding customer loyalty with a view to enhance the sustainable development of the clothing brands. it is important that Chinese factory owners together with marketers should join hands to have better control over the clothes quality. however. i . In the UK. brand loyalty and brand association. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted to solicit responses from interviewees for analysis. This study examines the factors which contribute to brand equity in the clothing industry.

They have devoted their precious time for the interviews voluntarily and their wholehearted support contributes to the success of this dissertation. I would also acknowledge my school-mates for their help in the data collection process. Last but not least.Acknowledgements I would like to thank my advisor. ii . but also encouraged me to face the challenge ahead. In addition. in assisting me to finish the dissertation. 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. This dissertation is dedicated to my family and I will try my best to do anything. He has not only inspired me to do this dissertation. I would like to extend my gratitude to my family members. Vicky Story. especially my father Chun Shiu Tam who has devoted himself to the clothing industry for nearly half a century. Dr.

Several brands.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. choose the buying modes. the purchasing processes can be divided into three stages. 1996). Thus.1 The importance of brand image on fashion clothing Clothing. Having a strong and remarkable brand image could help establish an identity in marketplace (Aaker. which can tell how significant an individual is. express the status an individual has and what their personal image is like (O’Cass. clothing can help represent our personal identity. show satisfaction to the services or product quality and finally be loyal to the brand. is a kind of necessity that helps keep our bodies warm. under the influence of globalization and concerted efforts from media advertising. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the clothing sector. consumers need to take serious consideration during the buying processes. Shopping for clothes is one of the popular pastimes among people from all ages. Each stage is of equal importance that can alter the consumer buying decision. clothes can also serve as fashion items. These highlight the complication of buying processes and the potential impact a brand could impose in between them. namely pre-purchase. consumers may need to recognize their personal needs. purchase and post-purchase. determine whether to buy again from the same retailer. Human beings cannot live without the protection from clothes in adverse conditions and this signifies how important clothing is for us. read product information. different genders and cultural backgrounds. decide which and where to buy. 1 . have become popular not only in their country of origin. but also in other markets with high potential. Once consumers make a purchasing decision. as a matter of fact. Nowadays. As mentioned by Rayport and Jaworski (2003). 2000). in addition to the basic functions.

2005). 2000).2 Background information of China and the UK clothing markets China and the UK are entirely different in their economic structures. Keller. In accordance with Delong et al. 2003). 1993). In order to differentiate one brand from another. 1993. Being an advanced developing country. consumers appear to rely on the brand image as long as they have little knowledge about the brand. 2001. which would be illustrated in the following chapters. Corstjens and Lal. In this paper. 1998. encourage greater intermediary co-operation as well as increase the chance for further brand extension (Delgado-Ballester and Munuera-Aleman.2. marketers would develop retail brands with unique image so as to continue to gain popularity and market share (Abend. The importance of brand image has inspired many marketing scholars and practitioners to begin researching the concept of ‘brand equity’ (Aaker. 1991. China tends to be more dependent on labour-intensive production activities rather than natural resource-based activities (Greenaway and Milner. Under this concept. This may probably explain why China is now becoming one of the most influential countries within the clothing sector. 1996. In this way. the concept of brand equity would be utilized as a theoretical framework.1 China clothing market The clothing industry is one of the most important and hence heavily invested industry in China. Ailawadi. On the other hand. The differences in their economies have triggered the interest of my study towards their consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector.16 billion US dollars in terms of export value and leading it to become the second largest clothing export market in 2 . brands are regarded as valuable assets which can help the companies generate lucrative revenues. (2004). the UK has transformed from an industrial country to a well-developed country in the recent decades. 1. 1. 2000.widen the profit margins. managing brand image is of utmost importance. contributing to 74.

this would also engender intense competition since foreign firms are allowed to sell their products directly to China. 2006).1. This disparity is probably due to the fact that professionals have higher spending power than the students’. quality and finally trendiness. However. Nowadays. however.1 Chinese spending habits According to a research conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) (2002). China plays a role as a producer.2. The HKTDC (2002) research also reports on the average annual spending on clothing. It is shown that they would prefer buying middle-priced range clothes from Hong Kong and luxury brand-named clothes made in foreign countries. 1. China is known for the manufacture of basic goods in large volumes and foreign registered brands are often designed elsewhere and produced in China. people spend 7. Chinese customers show divergent opinions with respect to purchasing clothes. This points out the fact that a large majority of Chinese is still in favor of domestic brands in low-priced range.. the Grey China Base Annual Consumer Study (Bates. It is believed that China could make use of its competitive advantages.2005 (WTO. Chinese brands have competitive advantage in fitness and pricing (Delong et al.3% of their income on buying clothes with women professionals having the highest demand and students’ spending the minimal amount. pricing. 3 . Regarding the criteria for buying clothes. the development of clothing industry in China becomes even much faster. respondents rank fitness as their prime concern. followed by cutting. As stated by Cui (1997). On average. 2004). However. It is undeniable that the entry of WTO would provide business opportunities for China. 1998) reveals that over two thirds of the consumers regard domestic brands as their first priority. for instances low labour costs and large portions of usable land. to further strengthen its position in the clothing sector. With the accession of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. wielding the techniques and human resources to finish the orders placed by the foreign counterparts.

The lack of brand knowledge is probably attributed to the geographical and political differences. The originally advantageous factors. however.. followed by adidas in 71 and the Spain-found clothing company ZARA in 73.2. however.people still tend to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets. When it comes to the case 4 . none of the Chinese brands can enter the 100 Top Brands in 2006 (see Appendix 1) in which Nike was ranked 31. 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. However. Also. They tend to perceive US brands positively as US has a reputation in technological development and high fashion. 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. 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. Such findings provide insights to the future development of local brands in China. Schmitt and Pan (1994) state that Chinese customers could not be able to differentiate between US and European apparel brands. According to a report published by Business Week (2007). 1. 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. 2004). Cui (1997) points out that customers would only justify a brand through its image as long as they know little about it. they often find Hong Kong and Taiwan brand names confusing.1. Besides. such confusion does not affect the overall perception towards brands in other countries. This is possibly owing to the fact that Chinese brands are confined to low.to middle-priced range market without fully penetrating to the luxurious level.

The image of China-produced products needs improvement in this sense.com. This can be revealed by the gradual decline of employment rate within the UK clothing industry (Jones and Hayes. pales in comparison with the development of the business sector and even has a sign of recession in the recent decades. Among the respondents.1 British spending habits Spending seems more welcome than saving among the British people.2 UK clothing market The UK is a European country with population of around 60 million. it is pursuing a stable rather than aggressive GDP growth rate.about the perception of China-produced foreign brands.2. With such impetus and the concerted effort from the industry members. females are more likely 5 . Regarding its GDP growth. just around one-third of female respondents and less than half of the male respondents express that they have the saving habits. contributing to nearly 30% of the total domestic products (Economist. In addition. 1.com. According to a research reported by Hargrave-Silk (2005.2. 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.2. March 25). the overall image of Chinese brands could become better in the future. 1. 2007). which is 21 times less than that of China (Economist. including the clothing industry. 2007). it is ironic that most respondents find that they are less authentic. According to a research conducted by Weekes (2004). regardless of their quality. the business services and finance sector are the most important source of gross domestic products. The manufacturing sector. nearly two thirds of the companies in China would like to establish their own global brand. 2004). because of its mature economic structure.

fashion retailers tend to create product differentiation in which they can distinguish themselves from their potential competitors in terms of product features like design and price. and occasionally. 2003).2 Characteristics of the UK clothing market Like most of the developed economy. Store cards and loyalty cards are common promotional tactics to solicit consumer’s loyalty. South and Spitze. 2002). As far as the UK fashion retail sector is concerned.to spend on clothes than males. 2004). In 6 . concentrated markets. 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. However. 1994). there is a trend for own brand development. the same research shows that store cards may not be regularly used even though special offers are often given to the cardholders (Weekes. as well as fluctuating consumer demand (Marciniak and Bruce. short-life-cycle products. 1999. 2004. the UK clothing industry has shifted its manufacturing section to other countries with low labour costs and skilled labour. women may even shop for men’s clothing (Dholakia. leaving alone the design centre with well-trained designers.2. 1998.2. as cited in Carruthers.. 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. Such move can probably account for the significant drop in employment rate and amount of output in the clothing sector (Jones. As mentioned by Moore (1995). 2004). 1995). This may possibly explain why shopping is a gendered activity (Dholakia. However. strong competitive activities. Although the UK is overwhelmed with fashion brands. Siddiqui et al. 2003). 1999). the market is characterized by products with small differentiation (Birtwhistle and Freathy. this is found to hinder the development of British clothing design due to lack of manufacturing facilities (Dagworthy. a polarized marketplace. 1. Moore.

1. Compared with other retailed sector.3 Theoretical framework With a well-known brand name. the fashion retailing sector is found to incorporate the largest number of indigenous chains such as Next plc (Marciniak and Bruce. brand equity is mainly derived from four elements. the retailing sector is fragmented. 2004).. According to Aaker (1991). namely brand awareness. consumers would prefer buying brand-name products (Bello and Holbrook. Marciniak and Bruce.4 Objectives of the dissertation The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour in clothing. Having found out the relationship between brand image and consumer purchasing behaviour. As far as the same level of product quality is concerned. 2004. family-owed businesses and some large scale chain stores.addition. 1. 1998). Such phenomena have stimulated the emergence of brand name development in the competitive UK clothing market. clothing is a kind of public 7 . with the comparison between the Chinese and British consumers. 2001. 2003). brand loyalty. This phenomenon spells out the concept of brand equity. Mintel. perceived brand equity and brand associations. marketers and practitioners could devise strategies to increase the sales revenues. with the later one contributing to the largest proportion of market share (Easey. composing of independent. The clothing sector is particularly chosen in this research. As stated by Bearden and Etzel (as cited in Hogg et al. consumers would appear to be more likely to purchase the products in much higher prices. 1995). 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.

Two assumptions are made throughout the dissertation. being an emerging country with high potential on clothing brands. 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 .5 Outline of the dissertation The structure of the dissertation is shown as follows: Chapter 1 is the introductory section. Famous clothing brands like H&M and ZARA have already obtained their footholds in these two markets that underlie their significant contribution to these companies (H&M. whereas the UK is a mature market in which consumers are more experienced in purchasing brand-name clothes. 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. 1. China.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. Chapter 2 will incorporate the review of previous studies. results obtained from the research on brand image could be more conspicuous. 2007). the research objectives and the dissertation outline. is on the lookout for extensions. In this way. brand image should have an impact on the consumer buying behaviour of clothing and second. The results of such comparison would offer meaningful insights for further brand development in both China and the UK. ZARA. containing the background information of China and the UK clothing industry. 2007. In addition. there are differences in buying behaviour for consumers in China and the UK. First.

understandable in the forthcoming sections. Chapter 5 would draw conclusions on the findings from the previous chapters. focusing on the description of research design and justification of data. Recommendations would be made with regard to the limitations so as to provide further directions in the future studies. 9 . Implications towards the business environment and research limitations are also included. Whether brand image would affect the consumer buying behaviour in the clothing sector is shown and also the similarities and differences regarding the circumstances in China and the UK are investigated. Chapter 4 is the core of the dissertation in which research findings are presented and discussed. Chapter 3 delineates the research methodology.

advertising. packaging. However. The emergence of brand equity underlies the importance of brand in marketing tactics and hence provides useful insights for managers and further research (Keller. Owing to the proliferation of brands in the recent decades. Keller. 1991. 2001). 1998) and it is characterized by a noticeable name or symbol which can differentiate the goods and services from the rivals’ (Aaker.1 Introduction Consumer behaviour refers to the activities in which people acquire. brand is a guarantor of reliability and quality 10 . promotion. In addition to a specific brand name.. consume and dispose products and services (Blackwell et al. Brand serves a pivotal role for distinguishing goods and services from those of the competitors (Aaker. there is a growing number of research conducted in the field of consumer buying behaviour. 1998).Chapter 2 Literature Review 2. as well as its overall presentation (Murphy. From the consumers’ perspective.2 The important roles of brand Brand is a name in every consumer’s mind (Mooij. In this chapter. 1998). the literatures concerning the roles of brand and brand equity are to be reviewed so as to provide a theoretical framework for the aforementioned analysis. most of them concentrate on a single country study. regardless of the importance of cross-country comparisons which will inspire innovative ideas for understanding the fast-changing consumer habits. a brand is also composed of products. 2003). 1991. Murphy. 2. 1998). This dissertation is going to investigate the differences of British and Chinese in purchasing clothes under the influence of brand image.

consumers have a wide range of choice to choose from when they enter a shopping mall. Tangible product refers to the commodity which meets the basic needs of the customers. 1999. 2006). Fennis and Pruyn. Finally and most importantly. effective after-sales services and the like.. 2005). 1998. 2000). 1999). which are developed in accordance with their perceptions towards the brand. consumers would have their preferences. 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. 2. there are four elements for building a successful brand. consumers would like to buy and use brand-name products with a view to highlight their personality in different situational contexts (Aaker. According to a research conducted by Freeride Media LLC (1998) on shopping habits. namely tangible product. When deciding which products to purchase. Added to this. nearly one-forth of the respondents are likely to impulse-buy clothes and accessories. As mentioned by Levitt (1983). Murphy. they share something in common.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. 1998). Basic brand. for instances well-priced products and consistent quality (Murphy. considers the packaging of the tangible product so as to attract the attention from the potential customers. Nowadays.in consumer products (Roman et al. It is found that consumers’ emotions are one of the major determinants which affect their buying behaviour (Berry. augmented brand and potential brand.2. on the other hand. Although successful brands can be totally different in nature. basic brand. 1998). The brand can be further augmented with the provision of credibility. a potential brand is established through engendering customer 11 .

One of the quintessential examples regarding brand as a kind of equity is the imposition of laws to protect intellectual property (Murphy. It is not uncommon to find some familiar brands listed on the stock markets in which they could be bought or sold. 1995). patents. brand equity could be ruined if it is not properly managed. For instance. Sainsbury and Tesco are all listed on the FTSE 100 index (London Stock Exchange. 1996). Yasin et al. Keller (1998) points out that brand equity signifies the unique marketing effects imposed on the brand. Concerning the positive side of brand equity. not to mention the growth or declines of retail sales (Blackwell. brand is also a tradable product with measurable financial value (Murphy. including its name and symbol. it happens when consumers are willing to pay more for the same level of quality just because of the attractiveness of the name attached to the product (Bello and Holbrook. In addition.preference and loyalty. designs as well as copyright. However. Added to this. It is found that the volatility of stock market could affect consumers’ purchasing mood. Marks and Spencer. many countries have set up laws to protect trade marks. 2007). 1998). 2007). 2002). 2. By doing so. 1991. 1998). 12 . poor product quality and customer services could adversely affect the brand image.. which could impose beneficial or detrimental effects on the values arising from the products or services (Aaker. the image of the brand could be well instilled in the customers’ mind. This is supported by the fact that brand equity depends on the number of people with regular purchase (Aaker. Vodafone. the values of brands have been recognized to both the consumers and producers. giving rise to a reduction in sales volume. In countries with well-established legal system. In order to combat piracy. Brands like HSBC.3 Brand equity The term ‘brand equity’ refers to a set of assets and liabilities associated with a brand.

brand equity could also be a source for the firm to generate cash flow. 1998). with brand recognition being the lowest level and the first named brand with unaided recall being the highest level. For the consumers. Brand equity is a broad concept which can be further subdivided into four main areas.The above examples highlight the values of brand equity for both consumers and the firm. linking the brand with its corresponding product class (Aaker. It refers to the ability of a potential consumer to recall and recognize the brand. For instance. 2005). namely brand loyalty. but also attracted more people to invest in the bigger company with high potential (Business Week. Besides. 1991). The level of brand awareness lies in a continuum. 2. perceived quality and brand associations (Aaker.3. Past purchasing experiences and familiarity with the brand could be attributable to the perceptions generated from the consumers (Aaker. 1991).1 Brand awareness Brand awareness is one of major determinants of brand equity. 1991. brand equity could also allow higher margins through premium pricing and reduced reliance upon promotional activities (Aaker. 1991). consumers no longer focus on the short-term promotion but the brand on the whole. It is important for the potential consumers to be aware of a product so that it can become one of the purchasing choices. Keller. 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. This is due to the fact that the product needs to enter the awareness set before it comes to the consideration 13 . Owning to the positive image. 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. These four main areas are to be discussed in the coming sections. As for the firm. name awareness.

. 2000). In order to achieve brand awareness. 1986. brands from Taiwan and Hong Kong are sometimes confused. celebrities can disseminate messages to particular consumers and hence increase the brand awareness. (2004). For long time. owing to geographical differences. two tasks are to be accomplished. According to research conducted by Delong et al. being a special administrative region since 1997.. In addition. Several factors can alter the level of brand awareness. In this way. there is an increasing number of advertising campaigns around the world. In recent decades. 2005). It is found that advertisement attitude is attributable to the influence on brand attitudes. 2007). affecting consumer’s intention to purchase (Mackenzie et al.. As mentioned by Keller (1998). brands with higher level of awareness would be more likely to be purchased (Yasin et al. celebrity endorsement can give rise to source credibility and source attractiveness. Chinese consumers cannot distinguish US apparel brand names from the European ones. 2007).set (Blackwell et al. Tsai et al. In case of China. has once been a colony of the UK. as pointed out by McGuire (1978).. Advertising and celebrity endorsement could be some useful tools for raising brand awareness. Taiwan would like to become politically independent from China owing to their different political standpoint whereas Hong Kong. 1990). Moreover. Macdonald and Sharp. For source credibility. 1990. 2001) and an increase in brand awareness is conducive to a higher chance of entering the later set (Nedungadi. brand awareness can be enhanced through repeat exposure to the brand. its geographical location and politics could affect the consumer brand awareness level seriously. As for source 14 . namely increasing brand name identity and associating it with the product class. This could probably explain why consumers tend to buy a recognizable brand rather than an unfamiliar one (Hoyer. due to their political separations. Consumers are hence well-equipped with comparative elements to judge which product or service to purchase (Alvarez and Casielles.

Keller. motivating channel members to perform well and also introducing extensions into new brand categories (Aaker. 1991). In addition to the aforementioned dimensions. perceived quality is determined by a number of factors. responsiveness and empathy (Aaker. 1990) and also the perceptions towards the 15 . serviceability as well as fit and finish. Perceived quality of a brand could help generate values by providing a pivotal reason-to-buy. 1991). Regarding product quality. This association can raise the public awareness towards the brand. conformance with specifications. It is defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product or service (Aaker. In addition. Yasin. differentiating the position of a brand. it is found that perceived quality is of utmost importance in determining brand loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Delong et al. reliability. charging premium price. reliability. 1998. Similar to brand awareness. durability.3. To be more specific. 1989).attractiveness. competence. it is subjective in nature and hence the knowledge of actual detailed product specifications could have little correlation with the perceived quality. 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. overall feeling towards a brand.. 1991. on the other hand.2 Perceived quality Another important attribute to brand equity is perceived quality. there are seven dimensions which affect the consumers’ perception. Nevertheless. the country-of-origin of a product is found to affect its perceived quality (Khachaturian and Morganosky. Service quality. is judged by its corresponding tangibles. 2004). 2007). Since it is a kind of intangible. perceived quality can further be classified into product quality and service quality. successful endorsement can associate the culture of the celebrity world with the endorsed product (McCracken. 2. features. 1992). namely performance.

Third.. loyalty to a brand can enhance trade leverage. prices and convenience owned by its competitors (Aaker. The more loyal the consumers are towards the brand. consumers are inclined to develop stereotypical beliefs about the products from particular countries. Under the influence of brand loyalty. In this case. Keller (1998). For many companies. Second.. 1991). having loyal customers is a kind of blessing. 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. Loyal customers confer to a higher possibility of repeat purchases and it is less costly to keep customers than to get new ones. Brand loyalty is regarded as valuable asset under different circumstances. 2. Hence. 1993). it can help reduce the marketing costs of doing business (Aaker. As mentioned by Srikatanyoo and Gnoth (2002). the less vulnerable the customer base would be. 2005).3. 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. consumers continue to buy the brand. 1991). Based on the practice that repeat buying is one of the indicators for brand loyalty. 1991).purchased value (Ahmed and d’Astou. however. First. consumers could have their preferences for products made from one country over another (Papadopoulos et al. Some consumers with strong affiliation to one brand would switch to the shop in which a designated brand is sold. price is one of the important cues to evaluate perceived quality (Aaker. regardless of the superior features. challenges that such measure may not be totally accurate. Moreover. loyal customers could influence the others to purchase the brand. consumers are assured to buy the product if they have some friends or relatives who 16 . 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. This is typically true when the product concerned is somewhat risky.

Marney. Keller (1998) and Yasin et al. brand loyalty can help provide ample time for the firm to response to competitors’ newly launched products. (2007) further note that equity of a brand is largely supported by consumers’ associations towards the brand. 1997. According to Aaker (1991). It is defined as the specific linkage between the memory and the brand (Aaker. In addition to the tangible products.recommend the same model of product. Finally. 2000). Silverman. Hence. 2000). 1995. This suggests why word-of-mouth communication is one of the most powerful tools in the marketplace (Henricks. 1991). several airlines like Cathay Pacific. Due to the values obtained from brand loyalty. consisting of multiple ideas. for instances innovativeness and distinctiveness are also taken into account as brand associations. as well as personal communication sources in making purchasing decision rather than more formal and organizational advertising campaigns (Bansal and Voyer. 17 . the intangible qualities. 1998. Moreover. many firms would devise different strategies to maintain and enhance the loyalty from customers. the firm could make good use of the time lapse to develop more superior products in order to compete with its rivals. which contribute to a specific brand image. it is important to treat the customer with respect in order to keep them loyal. Bansal and Voyer. episodes. 2. KLM and chain stores such as TOPMAN provide club-cards or loyalty cards to reward their customers with discounts and other benefits.. Brand association is such a complicated concept that connects to one another. customer satisfaction level needs to be properly managed through conducting consumer research. Consumers usually depend on informal. Customers can also be rewarded for their loyalty towards the firms so that they will continue to buy the products.3. 2000). and facts that create a brand knowledge network (Yoo et al. examples. For instance.4 Brand association The last dimension for brand equity is brand association.

they are related to consumers’ emotional feelings. the overall features of the product or service are concerned. Consumers are attracted by the signal when they purchase a product in a particular brand.Keller (1993. namely attributes. Signal effect is determined by the image of consumers and also the personality of the brand. Associations towards a brand can create value for the firm and so its customers in a number of ways. 1991). brand associations can differentiate one brand from another. user imagery as well as usage imagery are to be considered. Benefits are another category in brand associations. As for non-product related attributes. Second. For product-related attributes. This can make the brand 18 . Function benefits signify the physical or basic advantages a brand may have. Such kind of associations can provide bases for them to make purchase decisions and even become loyal to the brand (Aaker. Attributes refer to the specific characteristics a product has. They incorporate summary evaluations of information which represent how consumers feel in a long run. 1998). attitudes are regarded as the consumers’ overall assessments towards a brand. 1998). making the customers remember the brand by heart. they help the customers to process or retrieve information (Keller. Symbolic benefits. Associations can also be used to trigger the customers to recall their past experiences. Customers are sometimes forgetful and associations towards a brand serve as a brief summary for the customers to make their purchasing decision. packaging. lying in a continuum from positive to negative (Gabbott and Hogg. Finally. They can be classified into functional. It is about brand positioning that a well-positioned brand will find it hard to be attacked by its competitors due to its uniqueness. First of all. refer to the signal effect that a brand may impose on the consumers. benefits and attitudes. experimental and symbolic. Attributes can be further categorized into product-related attributes as well as non-product related attributes. For experimental benefits. Different brands have different associations to their prospective customers. 1998) further divides brand associations into three categories. price information. on the other hand.

services.4 Consumer buying behaviour Many people do consume a wide range of products every day. Forth. the specific brand image attached on a product may differentiate itself from the others. however. Third. Once brand associations are constructed in a meaningful way. For examples. (2006) further provide a holistic view that defines consumer behaviour as the activities and the processes in which individuals or groups choose. some associations can engender positive feelings. Consumers would have their preferences in purchasing products from specific retailers and hence the remaining retailers 19 . consumer behaviour is about how people make their decisions on personal or household products with the use of their available resources such as time. from basic necessities to high-valued collectables. consumer behaviour can influence the economic health of a nation (Blackwell et al.unbeatable but it is quite difficult to achieve since consumer taste changes quite rapidly. Madonna appearance in H&M’s collection advertisement can stimulate customers their positive feelings about the products. First of all. adidas slogan ‘Impossible is nothing’. Brand image possibly affects how consumers perceive the brand and hence their purchasing behaviour. The study of consumer buying behaviour is of utmost importance in a number of aspects. 2. contributing to its higher premium price. such phenomenon is one of the most interesting and hence heavily investigated topics in the marketing field. brand associations may include some product attributes or consumer benefits which encourage the consumers to purchase the brand. There may be products on the market with similar quality and design. money and effort. ideas or experiences. Gabbott and Hogg (1998) and Blackwell et al. As mentioned by Schiffman and Kanuk (2000).. 2006). Owing to the proliferation of products in the market. use or dispose the products. a vivid brand image is established. buy.

1 Models of consumer behaviour Several models are developed with a view to provide explanations for the consumer buying behaviours. 2006). 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. tailor-made products can be made to enhance customer value and thus facilitate repeat purchase (Gabbott and Hogg. Moreover. Blackwell et al.. 1998). consumers’ decisions can provide a clue for which industry to survive. 2001. evaluation. Therefore. through understanding the reasons for consumers to buy the products and their buying habits. purchase. consumption. Rayport and Jaworski. 2003). and also which products to excel. Arnoud et al. 2006). consumption and disposal of products or services. These seven steps include need recognition. (2001) define consumer behaviour as a summation of acquisition. 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.are selected using the rule of ‘survival of the fittest’. Second. Based on this loophole. as well as disposal of used goods..4. search for information. comprising acquisition of goods and services. (2004) further propose the circle of consumption that recognize purchasing processes as a loop. However. As far as the consumer decision process model is concerned. For instance. such definition falls short of the continuity of the processes. the firms can make use of such information to devise corresponding marketing strategies in response to the consumers’ needs (Blackwell et al. consumption. Although they vary in form of presentation. pre-purchase. which companies to succeed. 2. purchase and post-purchase (Hoyer and Maclnnis. 20 post-consumption evaluation and . consumers need to go through seven steps before reaching their final decisions. most of them are composed of stages such as pre-purchase.

consumers pay particular attention to the attributes which are most relevant to their needs (Kolter et al. income. 2005). The buying process is initiated when people recognize their unsatisfied need (Levy and Weitz. social class. As mentioned by Solomon et al. (2006) add that most consumer research would primarily base on these seven stages and how different elements affect each stage of consumers’ decisions. 2006). regardless of the different terms and consolidation of stages. search of information can further be divided into pre-purchase search and ongoing search. The length and depth of search vary for different customers and depend on variables like personality.divestment (Blackwell et al.. quality and price are commonly used to judge a brand by customers. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) propose a similar model with slight differences regarding the terms used.. Stage three comes to the pre-purchase evaluation that consumers compare between different products and brands to make a purchasing decision.. Functional needs are related to the performance of the product whereas psychological needs are intrinsically obtained when customers feel contented with shopping or owning a product which they long for. Stage one is need recognition which occurs when an individual is aware of a difference between their perception and the actual satisfaction level (Solomon et al. as well as customer satisfaction. Blackwell et al. 1997). on the other hand. prior brand perceptions (Moorthy et al. size of purchase. In this stage. is more likely to be based on personal interest on a particular brand. size. namely functional needs and psychological needs. Stage two is the search of information. Customers pursuing this kind of search would like to obtain the most updated information about the designated brand. There are two kinds of needs. past experiences. 1992). Attributes like quantity. Pre-purchase search is initiated when consumers recognize a need and hence look for more information from the marketplace. Any changes in 21 . 2006).. (2006). Ongoing search.

As stated by Blackwell et al.these attributes can affect consumer decisions on brand or product choices (Blackwell et al. firms can create value by providing lower price or unique offers to the customers so as to excel their competitive advantages over the others. In addition to in-store purchase. 22 . visual displays inside the shops. According to Porter (2004). as well as point-of-purchase advertising. customers begin consuming the products whereas in stage six. there are two phases contributing to the decision making processes. Stage four refers to the purchase decisions made by the consumers after evaluating the offers from different retailers. 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. The firms need to think about the possibility of remarketing. customers evaluate the consumption process. 2006). Stage five. 2003).. Rayport and Jaworski (2003) further point out the significant impact of internet on consumer purchasing decision. including retailer and in-store selection. As pointed out by Dholakia and Uusitalo (2002). (2006). In stage five. in which consumers dispose or recycle the products and at the same time. this new kind of non-shop retailing format has begun replacing the fairly established catalogue and TV shopping and its development is rapid albeit it is more recently found in comparison with the existing non-shop retailing modes. stage six and stage seven are under the category of the post-purchase stage.. stage seven comes to divestment. 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. 2006). Last but not least. This gives rise to satisfaction when consumers’ expectations are higher than the perceived performance and vice versa (Blackwell et al.

whether the brand image would affect the consumers to purchase clothes is to be investigated. 23 .5 Summary This chapter provides a review about the major research and theories regarding the consumer purchasing behaviour. Brand equity can be divided into four dimensions. In this dissertation.2. It is hoped that by finding out the relationships of brand awareness. including brand awareness. Nowadays. brand loyalty and brand association with the consumer purchasing behaviour that will provide useful insights for the development of the clothing sector. products are developed in an unprecedented way. brand loyalty and brand associations. and at the same time. perceived quality. All of them have significant contribution to the brand as equity to the firm. 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. Only by understanding the consumer behaviour can the products or brands be developed in a right way. perceived quality.

In accordance with Gephart (2004). research is required. data are gathered. This chapter aims at discussing different theories and research methods. 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. whereas methodology is acknowledged to be the science of finding out (Babbie. research theories can be classified into different types. which are determined on the kinds of data being collected. In terms of the science of knowledge acquisition.1 Introduction With a view to finding out the underlying principles of certain phenomenon. 2004). Each of them encompasses a variety of approaches.1 Review of different research traditions Based on the methodology used. namely qualitative and quantitative research. interpretive research and critical postmodernism.2. epistemology is about the science of knowing. namely positivism. there are two types of research methods. recorded and analyzed in a systematic and objective manner so as to apprehend and foresee how consumers feel. as well as justifying the most suitable approach for the research topic.. In general.2 Theoretical backgrounds In this section. During the course of consumer behaviour research. theories.Chapter 3 Methodology 3. The details of the sampling would also be discussed. the research traditions. there are three research traditions. think and behave (Arnould et al. 2004). 3. 24 . 3.

2. Added to this. it assumes that a social world exists externally that should be measured objectively (Easterby-Smith et al. In the field of research. interpretative research focuses on subjective interpretations to describe meanings and understand reality. Fisher (2004) notes that the linkage between interpretations are dialogic and hence interpretive research aims at soliciting people’s accounts of how they find the world. mechanisms are the roots of events which are regarded as the deepest level among the three. Events are concerned about what has happened in the world by our experiences to them. 1993). together with the structures and processes within it. 2004. 3. Dey. official statistics. Experiences are our perceptions and encounters of the world. In accordance to Fisher (2004). research methods can be classified in a dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research. events and mechanisms. examining the attitudes. which is shaped by values and crystallizes over time. feelings and motivations of people (Babbie. As for critical postmodernism. 2002). While positivism stresses on objectivity. qualitative research is sometimes regarded as a relatively minor methodology than its quantitative counterpart and there are some assumptions that only experimental data. Finally.2 Quantitative versus qualitative analysis Generally.. random sampling 25 . it underlines the assumption of symbolic reality. the majority of positivist research incorporates the comparison of qualitative case studies to analyze if there are any connections between variables. As far as the description and explanation of phenomena are concerned.Positivism makes use of the stance of realism in which the objective reality can be understood by mirror of science. including experiences. quantitative research focuses on analyzing numerical data whereas qualitative research deals with meanings. Fisher (2004) further reveals that critical postmodernism is a kind of realism which comprises three levels of reality.

2000). In this way. for example. both of them are not perfect in a sense that they need to serve as a complement to each other.2. suffers from the problem of ‘anecdotalism’ in which it just narrates some examples of phenomenon without taking less clear data into account (Silverman. which uses ad hoc procedures to define and measure variables (Blumer. (2002). 2000). Both the quantitative research and qualitative research have their own advantages and disadvantages. Unlike quantitative research. As suggested by Easterby-Smith et al. That is why it is suggested that qualitative research should be used more often at the early or exploratory stage of a study (Silverman. research needs a partnership and it could be beneficial to collaborate rather than compete between the different kinds of research methods. Nevertheless. 2000). As for qualitative research. Qualitative analysis. numeric data. having a complete set of categorization for the events or activities described (Silverman. 1975). attitude (Kirk and Miller.and quantified data can lead to valid or generalizable social facts. 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. Silverman. 2000). These determine whether the research can engender 26 . quantitative analysis is stronger than qualitative analysis in that it can persuade readers with large-scale. Besides. 1964. however. Cicourel. 1956. 3. Quantitative research surpasses qualitative in a sense that it can analyze data based on representative samples from a large population (Proctor.3 Reliability and validity of data The reliability and validity of the data and findings are of pivotal importance to the whole research. 1986). 2000). it is more likely to look into people’s in-depth feelings. qualitative research tends to focus on describing the process of how we define and measure variables in everyday life (Silverman. 1989).

Besides. one can replicate the same research to see whether the same outcomes are obtained on subsequent occasions. (2003). the research cannot be claimed valid so long as there are only few exemplary instances reported. This dissertation makes use of the qualitative research method and there have been some discussions on qualitative research regarding its reliability and validity. As mentioned by Saunders et al. and the original form of the materials is unavailable (Silverman. 3. Hence. there are as much as forty types of qualitative research in three main orientations. opinions and attitudes towards brand image are investigated. While reliability is correlated to consistency. it is found that having reliable research results is not always attributable to valid outcomes (Davis and Bremner. which are judged by different observers or by the same observer on different occasions (Hammersley. giving an accurate account to the social phenomena (Hammersley. the findings of qualitative research are not necessarily repeatable since they reflect reality at the time of data collection. However. Reliability connotes to the consistency on the research results. 2000). 2000). validity concerns about the truth (Silverman. 1992).useful findings or not. to justify reliability. 2006). qualitative research is more suitable in terms of soliciting the consumers’ in-depth responses.3 Justification of research method Different research methods should be adopted based on the nature of research. This may affect the reliability of the research findings. As pointed out by Davis and Bremner (2006). These underlie the importance of ensuring reliable methods and making valid conclusions in the research process. As mentioned by Tesch (1990). 1992). namely language-orientated approach. 27 . This dissertation aims at finding out consumer purchasing behaviour on clothing in which their beliefs.

descriptive/ interpretative approach. interviews are more controllable than focus groups in this regard. The structure of interviews lies in a continuum in which fully-structured and unstructured interviews are the two extreme poles (Breakwell. 2004). Although focus groups are much more effective and cheaper than interviews as one may see. 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. 2000). Breakwell (2006) points out that interviews are flexible in that they can be used at any stage in the research process. in a room to engage in a guided discussion on a common topic (Babbie. Finally. Thus. One may argue why interviews but not the other types of qualitative research methods are chosen in this research. During the course of interviews. 1992). Based on the descriptive and interpretive nature in this research. focus group can also be a useful kind of research method that brings together some interviewees. Added to this. However. For instance. theory-building approach tries to examine the connections between social phenomena. Language-oriented approach concerns the use of language and meaning of words. 28 . In case of interviews. 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. as well as theory-building approach. researchers may find it difficult to assemble a large group of people and the control over the interviewees is minimal (Gamson. researchers should show their ability to ask further in-depth questions based on the answers obtained. 2006). Proctor (2000) notes that the usefulness of qualitative research depends heavily on the researchers’ skills. In descriptive/ interpretative approach. say 12-15 people. interviews are chosen as the data collection methods. 2004). ranging from the initial stage for identifying areas to more detailed exploration.

As pointed out by Smith and Osborn (2003). semi-structured interviews are chosen in this research. researchers tend to regard people as experiential experts on a specific topic under investigation. 2006). underlying the importance human-to-human relationship of interviews (Fontana and Fry. leaving more room for the interviewees to respond. In addition. Being reliable does not necessarily attribute to validity but it is found that inconsistent responses may lead to certain inaccuracy (Davis and Bremner. Such format can enhance the sensitive and empathic facets of the findings. 2000). 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. This gives rise to the possibility of unreliable and invalid data. interesting responses emerged during the interviews. These can help solicit consistent responses and hence the reliability of data can be much enhanced. This can enrich the data collected from the interviewing process (Smith and Eatough. it is important to develop a systematic set of questions and help the interviewees to understand the questions. unstructured interviews do not have specific formats. When it comes to the process of data collection. Unlike structured 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. Moreover. Interviewees may find these kind of interviews constrained as they are not free to provide information which is important in their mind. 3.4 Sampling As far as the sampling method is concerned. non-probability sampling is used 29 .Structured interviews are characterized by their fixed nature and sequence of questions or the fixed nature of answers allowed. Among different structures of interviews. In accordance with Breakwell (2006). interviews depend on respondents’ accurate and complete responses. 2006). with the use of a semi-structured format. like other self-report methods. 2000). researchers can follow up some unexpected.

10 Nottingham University students were chosen to have face-to-face interviews. as comparisons of British and Chinese buying behaviour for clothes are investigated. 2003). though a homogeneous sample has lesser degree of external validity. 1982). equal proportions of British and Chinese were interviewed. 2005). The male to female ratio of Chinese and British samples is 1 to 1 (see Table 1 for details). As mentioned by Proctor (2000). In this research. researchers deliberately look for participants so that they are of equal distribution for comparison whereas in convenience sampling. This is a combination of quota sampling and convenience sampling under the non-probability sampling classifications. 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. 9 of them are master students and the remaining one is a PhD student. 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. non-probability sampling looks for participants on purpose (Babbie. 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. Malhotra and King. researchers tend to choose interviewees which are easier to be looked for. 2002. Hence. Student samples are used in this research because they can enhance homogeneity and it is much easier to control error during theory testing (Goldsmith. this can be sacrificed for a greater degree of internal validity (Carpenter and Fairhurst. 2004). All of them are students aged between 22 and 28. 30 . Unlike probability sampling which select samples randomly in a pool of population. Moreover. Among the 10 samples.

was mentioned. say 30 minutes. with the former one being dominant in the interview (see Appendix 2). Also.1 Stage one In this stage. As suggested by Smith and Eatough (2006). After the introduction. it is better to have mental prompts rather than constantly referring to the interview questions in the course of the interview. namely open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. so they were not covered here. leaving more room for them to think of the issue (Breakwell. The questions may not follow the order as set in the interview schedule as the respondents will react to them differently. the interview began with some general questions regarding consumer spending habits on clothing.5 Interview schedule The interview is composed of three stages. 2006).5. Questions 1 31 . the main theme of the interview was introduced with the provision of general ideas about what the interviewees were expected to answer. As mentioned by Smith and Eatough (2006). which are discussed in the following sections. The approximate length of the interview. a successful interview incorporates both general and specific questions which will move between each other fairly seamlessly. 3. The issues relating to confidentiality and record permission were already mentioned at the time when the appointment was made.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. There are two types of questions. Open-ended questions are preferred since they allow the interviewees to answer as little or as much as they choose. the questions were learnt by heart before the interviews.

Main issues covered in the literatures in chapter 2. further probing questions would be asked if the respondents mention something related to brand and brand equity. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 3. including brand and brand equity. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. were discussed. The questions in this stage are as follows. 1998).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. Moreover. Question 4 attempts to find out the criteria of clothes selection in which the interviewees consider. As mentioned in the literatures. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? Questions 5 to 10 are brand equity-related questions. How often do you buy clothes? 2. There are three questions in this stage and they are listed as follows: 1. Since this research is about the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. brand equity is regarded as the summation of brand awareness. 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. Mooij. 32 . In order to explore more information from interviewees’ responses. these can help understand their spending styles. 1999.5.2 Stage two This stage covers in-depth questions about their views to clothing brand image. 4.

In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7. 1993). Keller. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. 2006. purchase and post-purchase (Blackwell et al. Rayport and Jaworski. brand loyalty and brand association (Aaker. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10.perceived quality. there are three stages for purchasing products or services. 11.. As mentioned in some consumer behaviour models. After finding out what the interviewees would do before making their purchasing decisions from the aforementioned questions. 5. These questions are to find out whether brand equity is as important as what has been noted in the literatures. 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. including pre-purchase. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 33 . these two questions try to figure out their purchase and post-purchase behaviour. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. 1991. 2003). Do you recommend brands? 9.

they would be thanked for providing their valuable time to attend the interview.7. the interviewees were asked to write a sentence which starts with the words ‘Brand is’. 3. 2004). Originated from two socialists Glaser and Strauss (1967).1 Grounded theory and its relationship to qualitative data analysis Grounded theory is one of the important concepts suggesting how researcher conducts their research. 1984). possibly attributing to important research findings (Atkinson and Heritage. depending on the interviewees’ familiarity to the questions and their willingness to provide more fruitful responses. The processes were recorded with the use of MP3 player with the approval from the interviewees so as to facilitate the subsequent analysis. They lasted for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The production and the use of transcripts are essential research activities that they involve close. It focuses on 34 .5. 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. 3. The interviews were then transcribed. 3. After the interviewees have finished writing the sentence.6 Administration The interviews were conducted in the places such as rooms in the student accommodations or common areas in the university where the interviewees felt comfortable to answer the questions.7 Analysis strategy This section introduces the concept of grounded theory and the use of within-case and cross-case analysis as the strategies for analyzing the research data.3 Stage three In the last stage of the interview. themes.3. repeated listening to the records which often reveal some unnoted recurring features. it attempts to derive theories based on the analysis of patterns. and common categories from observational data (Babbie.

linking and finally re-evaluation (Easterby-Smith et al. based on grounded theory. As mentioned by Strauss and Corbin (1990). They include periodically stepping back and asking. 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. reflection. (2002). researchers could be both scientific and creative at the same time under this theory. In addition. interviews can be analyzed in two distinctive but interrelated ways. 2002). these could explain why grounded theory has gained much popularity in recent decades (Henwood and Pidgeon. Besides. 1993). including familiarization. leading to further analysis of themes.2 Within-case and cross-case analysis As mentioned by Miles and Huberman (1994).different ways to code data (Dey. maintaining an attitude of skepticism. especially the use of systemic coding. conceptualization. The importance of research procedures is heightened in the grounded theory. patterns and categories. namely within-case and cross-case 35 . qualitative data as well as interpretative thematic analysis of the qualitative data. There are seven stages for grounded analysis in total.7. re-coding. Hence. cataloguing concepts. Grounded theory does have some impact on the qualitative research.. one of the benefits of grounded analysis is that qualitative research structure has first been derived from the data. 3. provided that they follow three rules. which can enhance the validity and reliability of the data (Babbie. According to Easterby-Smith et al. 2006). as well as following the research procedures. These imply the seriousness of such theory in interpreting data and provide the basis for analyzing the ten interviews conducted. 2004). methodology skills can be developed in a number of areas such as handling and analyzing of large volumes of ill-structured. 2006).

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.

Within-case analysis

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

Cross-case analysis

Figure 1: Overview of analysis

3.7.2.1 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

36

illustrated for explanation if necessary.

3.7.2.2 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.

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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
38

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. many respondents revealed that they buy clothes at a regular interval. British. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. Chinese. Female “…Maybe not often recently because I have not got a lot of income for clothes. “I’m a sort of impulsive buyer…’Oh gosh! I really need to buy some clothes now. But before that. British. Male 39 . Female Besides. Male “In China. quite rare.” Mark. 23. ranging from every week to three or four times a year. 2000). This could probably be explained by the findings mentioned in chapter 2 that consumers’ emotion is one of the determining factors for buying clothes (Berry. maybe one item every couple of month.on clothes and also the types of clothes they purchased. 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. let’s go’. 27. 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. 24. 2002). so I’ll buy them when I need them…probably. some of them pointed out that their financial status would have an impact on their frequency of buying clothes. Because I have been poor.” Kevin. buy every 4 to 5 months. In England.” Hannah. British. Generally.” Narinder. “…This year…not at all (buying clothes). 23. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). maybe 3 times a year.

British. 4. 1998) and hence it could have a beneficial or detrimental effect on customers’ buying decisions (Yasin et al. More male than female respondents manifested that they would buy clothes in medium or above price ranges. It really gets a large variation. 24. One of the male respondents revealed that he would spend about 50 to 250 pounds for clothes each time. however. As mentioned in chapter 2. It could be as simple as they are cheap and good looking or they are brand-named. brand names can add tremendous value to the products. 1991. more than half of them were fond of buying clothes in the medium or high price ranges. Male The above quotes illustrate that clothes purchasing behaviour varies from time to time and from person to person. South and Spitze. retailers. 1994). 1993). 2007). There could be two identical clothes in the world. 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.When asking about the price range of clothes. Keller. the reasons why people buy them vary. whether brand image would affect clothes purchasing behaviour is investigated. I buy lots of clothes and it lasts me for half a year…” Neil. Sometimes.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions As mentioned previously in chapter 2. 1999. In the coming section. Whether brand is a determining factor is 40 .. Although it is mentioned in the literature that more females would like shopping than males (Dholakia.3. “Probably.3 Effect of clothing brand image on consumer buying behaviour 4. targeting to buy clothes in medium to high price ranges. it varies anywhere between 50 to 250 pounds. brand is important for product development in that it can be instilled in consumers’ minds (Mooij. as well as consumers (Aaker. it does not really mean that males have less spending power.

Suitable Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key + + + + + + + - + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Pleasant. 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.examined in question 4.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. in which the respondents were asked about the reasons of buying particular clothes.or words in blue: Response with prompt 41 . The results from both British and Chinese respondents are illustrated in Tables 2 and 3 accordingly. Table 2: Determining factors for clothes purchasing (British 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. Intuition +/. +/.

I probably buy again. nine out of ten respondents had not provided immediate answer to question 4 regarding this issue until prompt was given. However. the British and Chinese interviewees showed some divergent viewpoints. 24. in which one of them highlighted the importance of past shopping experiences as mentioned in the literature (Aaker. style and price as some of the determining factors for buying clothes. I wouldn’t specifically buy it because it’s from there. Female 42 . 23. I bought it (she points at her top) yesterday from NEXT. Moreover.” Hannah. British. but I do not particularly look for brand names. Because I know it a little bit good quality or that it’s going to be last well or perform well. 24. They are probably the shops I like.As observed from Tables 2 and 3. 1991). two UK interviewees stated that brand names do not initiate them to buy during their shopping. Male “Well. Well. In this regard. Male “Never. the findings from literature that Chinese find these three as important criteria for buying clothes (HKTDC. When it comes to the effect of brand on buying clothes. Some of the UK respondents revealed that they look for brand names in buying clothes. “Yes. If I have good experiences with something. British. I mean I will buy clothes from a shop. Actually. all respondents from both nations regard quality. 2002) seem also applicable to the UK respondents. I wouldn’t buy something because it’s from H&M or because it’s from ZARA. British.” Neil.” Mark.

if I buy cheap ones. In addition. Fennis and Pruyn. I changed my purchasing habits to some cheap stuff like Primark. 2005). The UK respondents tend to buy clothes they like but not merely because of the brands. like medium. 1991). “I do think most of the brands. Chinese.. I bought some big brands like designer labels. 4. 1999. as well as quality (Roman et al.to high-priced brands. Female “Yes. I think they mostly get better cutting and better quality. For some T-shirts.” Jovi. so I have more faith in those brands for their clothes. 2006). 26.2 Brand awareness As mentioned in the literature.All Chinese respondents found that brand is one of the key factors for them to consider when buying clothes. one of them pointed out that brands can help change her personal style. which is coherent with the literature that brands are used to highlight personality under different circumstances (Aaker. But recently. This is consistent with the literature that brand-named products can be served as a guarantor of reliability. it seems that brands are more likely to have an impact on Chinese than British interviewees. it costs me too much. 24. Female Based on the above findings. brand can make potential consumers aware of the products (Aaker. and buy more clothes to change. So. 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. H&M and Dorothy Perkins…It’s quick for me to dislike the clothes that I bought. Chinese. One of them mentioned that reputable brands in medium to high price ranges connote to better quality and cutting. including 43 . if I buy too many big brands.3.” Vanessa. I can use less money. do have better quality than cheaper brands. It can be in consistent with my changing look and just lower the cost.

+/.. 1986. two of them 44 . Internet From shops From shops Table 5: Ways to learn about clothing brands (Chinese respondents) Name Jovi Chong Vivian Li Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang Key +/.. with the number of Chinese respondents outweighing British. The results are shown in Tables 4 and 5.or words in black: Initial response without prompt. Table 4: Ways to learn about clothing brands (British respondents) Name Hannah Smith Mark Morrison Neil Bowley Narinda Sandhu Michael Kosciukiewicz Advert Peers Others + - + + + From shops From shops. internet and shops. Among these respondents. Some of the UK and Chinese respondents did regard it as one of the methods to know the brands. 2007).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. Tsai et al.advertisement. peers.

23. so they associate themselves with brands. on the street…they (advertisers) put posters in the public areas. they (basketball players) will show up. 45 . “It (Advertising) is important because the brand image is built up so that you will choose (to buy them). he was the representative of adidas previously…” Vivian. British. they are familiar faces. Male “I guess it does (have an effect) on subliminal basis. 24. Marketing people may affect me someway. David Beckham. you know.” Neil. 23. Lance Armstrong. which confirms with the literature that celebrity endorsement can lead to product credibility (McGuire. 1978) and enhance attractiveness (McCracken. Chinese. and it’s easy to make connections. Male As far as peers influence on clothes purchasing is concerned. Female “TV.” “The adidas ‘impossible is nothing’ advert with leading sportsmen like Michael Jordan. advertisements in the shopping mall. Zidane (is very memorable)…because I know them through their sports achievement. 1989).” Kevin. similar number of Chinese and the UK respondents agreed that it does have impact on their purchasing decisions.mentioned that they became more aware of the brands through the celebrities in the advertisements. Chinese. During the game break.” “I used to play basketball and so I used to watch NBA games. Like Coby Bryrant.

So. that’s cool.3 Perceived quality The issue of perceived quality was investigated through question 6.” Neil. 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. 4 British interviewees revealed that they became familiar with the brands through shop visiting. in which interviewees were asked. Chinese. when I go shopping next time. Male Other sources for raising brand awareness like internet surfing and shop visiting are also prevalent among Chinese and British respondents. The findings are illustrated in Tables 6 and 7. 24. British. 23. while 4 Chinese interviewees got their brand information via internet surfing. 4. and from my mind.“Maybe they (my friends) buy very nice clothes.3. 46 . “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.” Kevin.

price and performance. in which these criteria are important for consumers in judging product quality (Aaker. +/. nine out of ten respondents regard materials as one of the criteria for judging clothes quality. followed by style. 1991). Most of them could mention these judging criteria at once. There are no significance differences between British 47 . colour. 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 + + + + + + + + + + + + + - +/.or words in blue: Response with prompt As shown in Tables 6 and 7.

Two Chinese interviewees pointed out that country of origin is correlated with quality. France Italy. they represent better quality. British. France No comment No comment No comment Countries with lowest quality No comment No comment No comment No comment No comment 48 .” Jovi. 24.” Michael. Chinese. The results are listed in Tables 8 and 9. 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. so the countries don’t really affect it. France or Italy. For buying Puma shoes. country of origin seems not to have an impact to the UK respondents on perceived quality. 22. 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. I expect Puma quality basically. Female “It should all be good quality if they have a brand name on it because it’s what the brand name stands for. Regarding country of origin. 3 Chinese respondents found that it would have an effect on the clothes perceived quality.and Chinese respondents. Contradictory to the literature. “In some of the countries like Japan.

US. only Chinese respondents made comments on countries which make clothes in the lowest quality. you can buy good or bad clothes. 3 of the Chinese respondents could mention that some less developed countries. Italy China. Male “They suppose to all be the same. Malaysia.” Michael. Because I know from every country. These findings can be explained by the literatures in that China does not have influential brands with phenomenal quality (Delong et al. produce poor quality clothes. “I don’t have some preconception about it. British.. 49 . including China. many of them mentioned that France and Italy can produce clothes in high quality. Thailand. India. Male For those who can tell the names of specific countries. British. Denmark Less developed countries No comment China As shown in Table 8. from Thailand. just a few British respondents try to provide the names of specific countries. 22. However. Italy Countries with lowest quality China. Italy No comment Korea. 24. some South American countries Vivian Li UK. they should meet the required quality.” Neil.Table 9: Perception towards countries which produce clothes with highest and lowest quality (Chinese respondents) Countries Name Jovi Chong Countries with highest quality Japan. they show up the same quality standard in all countries. 2004). France. South Africa Vanessa Fang Alick Wong Kevin Fang France. If Puma gets its stuff from China.

if I consider some basic ones. If it’s about big brands. Italy as well. 26. Actually. I will prefer France or Italy ones. Lowest (quality) maybe China. or some of the developing countries.4 Brand loyalty The issue regarding brand loyalty was investigated through questions 7.“I think the UK and US have top brands. Chinese. 23. The results are illustrated in Tables 10 and 11. Female 4. one Chinese interviewee specifically pointed out different countries should have their competitive advantage in either production or design. maybe it’s the reason. Chinese. 50 . China don’t have very famous brands. “China is good at manufacturing and Italy and France are good at design.3. 1997). I think those made-in-China are something good. Female Nevertheless.” Vanessa. 8 and 12 in which the respondents were asked whether they buy the same brands regularly and also if they recommend brands to the others.” Vivian. 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.

more Chinese respondents tend to buy the same brands. recommend brands to friends or relatives. and also hold the club cards of their favourite stores than the UK interviewees. For those who buy regularly from the same brands.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. they pointed out that they are quite satisfied with the clothes they had purchased. 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 .

Topshop’s price is affordable and also I like the style from All Saints” Narinder. I like Fred Perry.the certain shops that I sort of rely upon…. The Diesel jeans fit me well. 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. I will tell my friends.. There are casual wears good for everyday dress and they are of reasonable prices. “I will if I visit some shops and they have good stuff. there are quite many. Female “If it is excellent performance and if someone asks me.” Mark.” Jovi. so I will buy them more often. Female “I just like it. British. Female “I reckon the design fits me and these brands have high quality which is what I’m looking for.. British.“I do have a few brands that I prefer. say ‘Go ahead! They are really good. They have quite a lot of varieties of different design for me to choose from. 23. 24. I will tell them. CEU and Vertical Club. British. 24.” Vivian.’” Vanessa. Male Surprisingly. Female As far as brand recommendation is concerned. Chinese. Topshop and All Saints. Male “(I like buying from) Diesel for jeans. In Hong Kong. In the UK. 27.” Neil. Chinese. four respondents cited that they would recommend brands as long as they are good. 26. for examples. 23.

Store cards are dangerous. That’s why I don’t apply for it. Chinese. Chinese. Female 53 . Female “I think it’s casual and good quality. It’s not stylish but it is well made. Vivian. The price is acceptable. store cards try to get more money from me when I don’t have more. 27. Female 4. 2007). it is examined through questions 9 and 10 in which interviewees were asked about their favourite brand images. 1991). 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). 23.” Narinder.3. Female “Because we have student cards and we can enjoy the offer.as cited in the literature (Aaker. 24. These findings confirm what has mentioned in the literature that associated brand images can help enhance the value of brands (Yasin.” Vanessa. Both the British and Chinese respondents managed to recall some positive connotations of their favourite brands. not so complicated design” Jovi. we need not apply for the loyalty cards.5 Brand association Regarding brand association. Some of them did mention the drawbacks of applying these cards. It fits my age and my occupation as students. 26. “I like something that is simple and good for casual and everyday wear. The quotes for some non-club card owners are shown below: “No. they always make them like credit cards and I don’t want to have one more credit card. British. Chinese. Sometimes.

23. Female “Basically. they work well. the respondents were asked if they had shopped online for clothes in question 11. Female “’Simply Me’. For jeans. I prefer very colourful image. Chinese. alternative sports. Chinese.“They do something stylish and good quality…sometimes good offer. coloured fabrics…it’s a sort of a bit unusual. Male “For Topshop. 26. British. 22. For shirts.” Mark. British.6 Consumer buying behaviour It is found in the literature that internet shopping is gaining its popularity among consumers (Dholakia and Uusitalo.” Vanessa. British. British. I prefer blue jeans. 24.” Kevin. 54 . 27. fits my age. and they look good. Male 4.” Neil. 2002). 27. 23. crickets but skiing and snowboarding and surfing…” Michael. it’s a kind of like casual clothing. like grid shirts. Chinese. Female “It’s just sort of reasonably well-priced and sort of good quality. For T-shirt. 24.” Narinder. not like football. Male “60s hippie. usually cotton…” Hannah. All Saints is a bit more innovative. Male “They are practical. khaki style…quality is good. I prefer some simple image. Male “Simple. British.” Alick. In order to investigate this issue.3.

Because I can’t try the clothes to see if they are suitable or not” Jovi. The clothes online are cheap. To be honest. nine out of ten interviewees expressed that they had not bought clothes via the internet due to several reasons.Surprisingly. Male “I don’t buy online. Female “Not really. try on to see if it is fit probably. I will consider maybe it is not safe to shopping online. Chinese. “For clothes. British. One of them mentioned the poor internet security while the others revealed that they could not try the clothes before paying for it. you can buy it online. some of them can point out the positive aspects of internet shopping. 23. “No. I can see how it looks like…so I never buy clothes online.” Kevin. Chinese. including the varieties of choices. 23. British. but I know many people do. 27. Male 55 . Female “I like fitting. lower prices and informative websites. These signify the fact that online shopping for clothes is not impossible but something need to be done to improve it as far as the problems of fitting before purchasing and online security are concerned. Female Even though some of the interviewees do not shop online for clothes. but I don’t buy online. Chinese. no.” Michael. I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I’ll have a look and compare prices. 24.” Narinder. right size as well” Vivian. If you can’t find (suitable clothes) in the markets or in the shops. just like the clothes from the markets. 22. not right colour.

24.) Vanessa. good quality and good prices. and I’m not fond of popular ones!” Hannah. maybe one or twice a month.4 Results In the last question. respondents were asked to provide their comments on brand. Female “Brand is an important but not decisive indicator for my choice of shopping. Chinese. Male “Brand is just like the name of people.” Kevin. Female “Brand is something difficult to understand. a way for companies to keep consumers back to spend their money. “Brand is something that adds value to clothing but not a must” Jovi.” (It means brands are not easy to be broken up.” Alick. 26. almost everything is quite good. The only thing is that sometimes the delivery fee is not that cheap. 24. Chinese. Chinese. Male “Brand is a way for people to identify each other. Chinese. Chinese. Female “Brand is not a paper bag. Female 4. 23. These are what internet offers.” Vanessa. 23. Chinese. 27. 26. It is good. but it represents the taste and quality of them.” Vivian. The quotes below show their perceptions towards what brand is in their mind. It may not be the spirit of clothes.“(Shop online) Sometimes. British. Female 56 .

Male 4. respondents’ backgrounds were introduced to provide some thorough understandings on their clothes purchasing habits. mainly focusing on the four dimensions of brand equity. 23. however.” Mark. 22. Female “Brand is the identity of a product or service. British. rather than the designer. Then it came to the analysis and discussion of interviews’ findings to look for any similarities and differences between British and Chinese respondents. British. Male “Brand is the label a company use to market/ advertise them with.” Neil. manufacturer. 27. British. I realized.” Michael. British. 57 . Male “Brand is not unimportant to my decision making when buying clothes. 24. At the beginning of the chapter. Some of the responses from interviewees were quoted and analyzed so as to highlight the important findings for further brand image development.5 Summary This chapter presented the findings from the interviews of both British and Chinese respondents. My clothes purchased tend to be based on the individual garment. that a brand can be a powerful draw for many shoppers.“Brand is not something I would follow because of the name.” Narinda.

The comparisons were made between the British and Chinese respondents’ purchasing behaviour throughout the last chapter. brand is one of their considerations. It is then followed by the research limitations and recommendations for further research. style and price as their most important criteria for choosing clothes. This chapter will provide an overview of the research findings. more Chinese than UK respondents expressed that brand is important for them to choose particular clothes to buy.2. with the inclusions of similarities and differences between the British and Chinese consumers. they cited that what they liked is more important. For those British respondents who did not look for brands when purchasing clothes. 5.1 Introduction Based on the research findings in chapter 4. providing insights for comprehending consumer purchasing behaviour and further investigations.1 Significance of clothing brands on consumer purchasing decisions The determining factors for clothes purchasing have been examined. 58 .Chapter 5 Conclusions 5. However. 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. Our findings suggested that all British and Chinese respondents regard quality. 5. They are presented under each sub-section as shown below. In addition. this chapter draws conclusions on what has been analyzed and discussed.

it could enhance the chance for consumers to buy the clothes. colour. Nevertheless. 5. peers. none of the UK respondents thought it would affect their perception of clothes quality whereas some Chinese respondents had cited that some countries connoted to better quality.2 Brand awareness To increase the publicity. In terms of advertisements. There are no significant differences between British and Chinese respondents regarding these issues. internet and shops.3 Perceived quality The findings suggested that most respondents tend to judge the clothes quality by looking at the materials. many Chinese respondents had the preconception that China and 59 .2. if brand-named clothes can incorporate the other criteria the consumers are looking for. In addition. whereas British respondents tended to know the brands through on-the-spot purchase in the shops. More Chinese respondents expressed that they had been influenced by advertisements and internet than British interviewees. for example. respondents tend to know the brands through advertisements. followed by style. 5. the brands need to become more aware among the consumers. when it comes to the country of origin of clothes. price and performance. durability. That is to say. brand can have a value-adding function in that some respondents are fond of particular brands.As revealed from the above findings. 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.2. these methods for spreading the brand image are commonly employed by both British and Chinese respondents. However. From the findings. In general. consumers think of the other criteria as well. famous sportsmen can be attributable to good sportswear performance.

Also. 60 .2. Some characteristics of the brands in which they are fond of were mentioned. by working on the brand development. Such discrepancies may be because the UK respondents tend to buy clothes from more independent stores which are less likely to offer loyalty cards.. All respondents could recall some positive aspects of their favourite brands at once. As brand can provide guarantee of quality to consumers. including the product features.4 Brand loyalty This aspect of brand equity is important for the development of customer base and encouraging repeat purchase. This coincides with the findings by Keller (1993) that consumers are attracted by the signal when they consider buying particular product. 1991).other developing countries produce clothes in poor quality. whereas they did think that clothes from Italy and France normally confer to better quality. styles. however. it is good at manufacturing (Cui. From the findings. 5. 5. China does not have influential global clothing brands (Delong et al. 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. prices. while most of the Chinese respondents had. the British respondents did not have strong feelings about where the clothes come from.5 Brand association The association between brand and memory of respondents was investigated. some respondents did reveal that they are frequent buyers of the same brands and also recommend brands to their friends and relatives. 1997). However.2. functions etc. there would still be chances for China to produce well-perceived quality clothes. 2004). such perceptions may be attributable to their loyalty towards the brands (Aaker. none of the UK respondents cited that they had had some loyalty cards from clothing shops. However. regardless of the nations the respondents belong to.

One of the obstacles for online clothes purchasing is that the consumers can not try on the clothes to see if they are fit or not. the details of the size and materials should be listed on the website to reduce the chances of buying wrong clothes. As far as sampling method is concerned. In terms of fitting. However. not to divulge personal information to unknown third parties. online security is also a matter of concern. various choices and cheaper prices. the retailers should be more vigilant in the design of verification system. something should be done on the aforementioned drawbacks. qualitative research can not provide representative samples from the target population even though they can detect 61 . time and also interpreting skills. Added to this. There are three limitations regarding the sampling method.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. Internet shopping is gaining its popularity (Dholakia and Uusitalo. 5.6 Consumer buying behaviour Consumers can shop for clothes via different channels.2. In order to make it more prevalent for clothes shopping. For online securities.3 Limitations During the course of research. some respondents cited that online shopping is good for its informative websites. several limitations were found to hinder the overall accuracy of the findings. and whether online shopping for clothes is popular among the respondents from both nations was examined. whereas the shoppers need to be aware of the login procedures. 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.

interviewers’ questioning skill is also one of the determinants for answer accuracy. During the interviews. the responses from the in-depth interviews can be subjected to researcher’s effects. Students were used as the subjects for investigation and they tend to be more susceptible to the views. ideas and products of other cultures than older people (Netemeyer et al. whether the brand is influential or not depends on how it is perceived. 1991). gender and age. however. will have an effect on the interviewees’ willingness to participate and their nature of answers. since in-depth interviews were chosen to be the method of data collection. In terms of time. Finally. 2000). The dissertation was confined to finish within the summer term which lasted for 3 months. having a propensity of getting deviated results. 1992) and data obtained are influenced by the interviewers’ manner. for instances accent.minor problems that are not obvious in a quantitative study (Proctor. more samples could be gathered so that it could enhance the overall conclusiveness of the interviews. including the skills of handling follow-up and probing questions (Proctor. especially for those who are difficult to contact (Proctor. 62 .4 Implications This dissertation attempts to find out the effect of brand image on consumer purchasing behaviour. Such discretion of choosing samples may introduce a source of bias since there is a possibility to omit some types of people. As long as more time is allowed. 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. 2000). In addition. the combination of quota and convenience samples was used.. There are numerous brands around the world. the number of samples interviewed is limited. Interviewers may ask leading questions that distort respondents’ answers (Levy and Weitz. 2000). 5. In selecting the students. the characteristics of the interviewers.

aiming at finding out their similarities and differences in the consumer purchasing behaviour on clothes. Through understanding how customers behave in these four aspects. In terms of brand awareness. marketers can think of relevant strategies. perceived quality. marketers should make use good of the traditional channels like advertisements and word-of-mouth and devise new methods to communicate with customers. Such positive connotations are achieved through working closely on brand awareness. To reward loyal customers.Therefore. four different areas were investigated. marketers can devise different reward methods in different forms such as discounts. the study of brand can provide an insight for further brand development. colour. manufacturers together with retailers need to join hands to produce better clothes for the customers to choose from. having mentioned that customers judge the quality mostly based on the factors like materials. price and performance. This provides an important insight that Chinese customers should get rid of their negative perceptions towards the clothes quality. From the findings. namely brand awareness. it is of utmost importance to keep the customers’ positive perceptions towards the brands so that the chances for repeat purchase would be increased. This dissertation highlights the comparisons between British and Chinese. brand loyalty and brand association. As far as perceived quality is concerned. In addition. perceived quality and brand loyalty. Under the premise that brand is regarded as equity for marketers. owing to the fact that consumers will buy clothes after they have known them well. the investment in brand loyalty could enhance the chance of repeat purchase and broaden the customer base. durability. Chinese brand developers should put more efforts on quality control 63 . some Chinese respondents have negative perceptions towards clothes quality produced from China and other developing countries whereas their British counterparts do not have such strong feelings. As for brand association. style.

for instance working class. More interviewers could be hired and trained to collect as much data as they can. like supermarkets. The use of club cards was found to be more common among Chinese than the UK respondents for buying clothes. it could think of making online clothes purchasing more popular and also introducing varieties of benefits to reward loyal customers. It is important to make improvement in the further research to provide more fruitful and representative findings. It is hoped that Chinese can have some influential global clothing brands by doing so. Besides. 5. have done.5 Recommendations for further research Although the findings from this research are interesting and useful as one may think. since famous clothing brands are not uncommon in such developed country. it should be more aware of the marketing strategies to enhance the overall brand equity. 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. This could provide much more conclusive results. 2002). More samples should be interviewed as long as time and money are not constraints. there are several limitations as mentioned in the previous section. This may change the buying attitude that Chinese are now confined to buy luxury clothes produced in the foreign markets (HKTDC.with a view to establish some strong national clothing brands among themselves. 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. Marketers could consider the feasibility of getting this idea widespread in the clothes retailing industry as other retail sectors. could 64 . Other sampling groups. For instances. For the UK. in addition to semi-structured interviews.

exploring the research to a higher stratum as far as brand development is concerned. 65 . By taking the above recommendations. 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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S. France U. Germany U.S.S. U. U.S. France U. U.S. U.S.S.S.S. Germany Switzerland Spain Germany S.S. Italy U.Korea Italy Italy Italy Britain Germany U.S. Japan S. U. U.S. U. Rank 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 Gap L’Oreal Heinz Yahoo! Volkswagen Xerox Colgate Wrigley KFC Chanel Avon Nestle Kleenex Amazon. U.Korea U. France U.S. Japan U.S.S.S.S. Netherlands France France U. (Data adopted from Business Week (2007)) 79 . Germany France U. U. Britain Japan U.S. U.Appendix 1: The 100 Top Brands 2006 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Microsoft IBM GE Intel Nokia Toyota Disney McDonald Mercedes-Benz Citi Marlboro Hewlett-Packard American Express BMW Gillette Louis Vuitton Cisco Honda Samsung Merrill Lynch Pepsi Nescafe Google Dell Sony Budweiser HSBC Oracle Ford Nike UPS JPMorgan SAP Canon Morgan Stanley Goldman Sachs Pfizer Apple Kellogg Ikea UBS Novartis Siemens Harley-Davidson Gucci eBay Philips Accenture MTV Name Coca-Cola Country U.S. Japan Britain S.com Pizza Hut Danone Caterpillar Motorola Kodak adidas Rolex Zara Audi Hyundai BP Panasonic Reuters Kraft Porsche Hermes Tiffany & Co.S. U.S. Sweden Switzerland Switzerland Germany U. Netherlands Bermuda U.S.S.S.S.Korea Britain Japan Britain U. U. Germany Japan U. U. Germany U.S.S. U. U. Britain U. Switzerland U.S. Finland Japan U.S.S. U.S. U. Germany U.S. U.S.S.S.S.S.S.S. U. U. U.S. Switzerland U.S.S. U.S.S. U. France U.S. U. U.S. Hennessy Duracell ING Cartier Moet & Chandon Johnson & Johnson Shell Nissen Starbucks Lexus Smirnoff LG Bulgari Prada Armani Burberry Nivea Levi Name Nintendo Country Japan U.S. U.S.S.S.S. France U.

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 . In what ways do you usually learn about clothing brands? 6. How often do you buy clothes? 2. Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? 10. Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? 4. How much do you spend on clothing each month? 3. Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? 8. Do you recommend brands? 9. What would you do if you are satisfied or dissatisfied about the clothes you purchase? 13. Do you shop online for clothes? 12. How do you judge the quality of the clothes? 7.Appendix 2: Interview Questions Name: Course: Nationality: Age: Year of study: Year of living in your home country: 1. What is it about particular clothes that make you buy them? 5. Why do you like this brand? 11.

Kevin: Yes. I had a girlfriend who likes shopping. Chris: Why? Kevin: Because in China. normally I buy clothes 4 times a year (for each season). I was the company.Appendix 3: Interview Transcription Name: Kevin Fang Age: 23 Gender: Male Nationality: Chinese Chris: Hi. Summer clothes are cheaper than winter clothes. In England. since clothes are more expensive than those in China. Chris: So you buy clothes less frequently in the UK. Chris: Which categories of clothes do you usually buy? I mean high-priced. I would like to ask you about your purchasing behaviour on clothes. so in winter. it would be like 40 to 50 pounds. I will buy clothes if there are discounts. It would talk about 30 minutes. Chris: How much do you spend on clothing each month? In case of China and also the UK? Kevin: In China. How often do you buy clothes? Kevin: In China. so normally I spent 30 pounds more or less each time when I went shopping. maybe 3 times a year. around 20 to 30 pounds each time. Kevin. In England. 81 .

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?

82

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?

Kevin: Shops.

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?

Kevin: No.

Chris: If I divide the question into 2, maybe do you have any preference for the country of manufacture?
83

Kevin: As I said, most of them are made in China.

Chris: What about the country of design?

Kevin: Europe.

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.
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it will. would it have an impact on you to buy the clothes? Kevin: Yes. How can they affect you? Kevin: Maybe they buy very nice clothes. I will consider them.Chris: If some advertisements feature the celebrities. Chris: How do you judge the quality of clothes? Kevin: It depends. it may be longer. I only wear them for one to two year. I can’t afford it. For summer clothes. Chris: Do you talk about buying clothes with your friends frequently? Kevin: No. from my perspective. and from my mind. Chris: But you maybe affected by them. they put posters in the public areas. advertisements in the shopping mall. they are nice to put them on. 85 . Chris: In what way do you usually learn about clothing brands? Kevin: TV. so maybe next time I go shopping. of course. So it needs to keep the quality for that period. For winter clothes. on the streets. not frequently. but the prices for these kinds of clothes are high. Chris: What about peer influence? Do you know some brands from your friends? Kevin: Yes.

Chris: Do you have some ideas that which countries’ clothes you think they are of highest or lowest quality? Kevin: Korea (for E-land). Kevin: As long as it can. you know. I never compare which clothes come from which countries. by the feeling of texture and whether it will fade or not. I think their quality is good. some brands have their own manufacturing (plants) in China. keep the quality until out-of-date.Chris: So if it’s durable. Chris: So you judge the quality in terms of durability. by the colour. and Demank (Jack and Jones). then it’s of high quality. these clothes are from very good brands and they quality is conceivable. Chris: So you think these two countries produce the highest quality clothes? Kevin: I consider brands more than the countries. Would country of origin affect your perceptions towards clothes quality? Kevin: As I said most of them are made in China. 86 . Chris: What about lowest quality? Kevin: China…maybe. Chris: Any others to judge the quality? Kevin: Colour…the feeling…whether or not it becomes fade after washing it.

Chris: So you believe quality goes with prices? Kevin: Actually for young people. of course. Chris: Do you regularly buy the same brand of clothes? Kevin: Every time I go shopping. Kevin: No. famous among young people. it just likes Jack and Jones. I think quality is not a problem for these brands. Chris: So because of the quality and the appearance. maybe cheaper than from other countries. Chris: You mean China usually sells cheap clothes? Kevin: Yea. not many. but it doesn’t have any brands in casual wear category. we prefer clothes from other countries. Chris: So you mean maybe China has some famous brands in sport apparels. we may buy some sport apparels like LiNing. I only bought E-land once… I also buy clothes from Kuhle. it’s high Chris: Do you recommend brands to your friends or someone else? 87 . I will go to those places…not E-land.Chris: Why do you have such feelings? Kevin: I think quality goes high as prices go high. the appearance is more important…the quality. you go to that shop again to buy clothes? Kevin: Ah. but for casual wear.

If you can’t find in the market or in the shops. For jeans. 88 . I am a little bit fat and if I put on it. I prefer blue jeans. if it is fit to me. I know many girls do that. you can buy it online. I never buy clothes online. advertising is the first impression and packaging is on-the-spot influence. but I know many people do. So. like grid shirts.Kevin: No. how does such image come from? Kevin: I think its appearance. The clothes online are cheap. Chris: Why not? Kevin: I think every one has their own place. I will buy it. Chris: So you mentioned something about colour and simplicity. maybe they will keep in mind. I don’t know. After I put it on. Chris: Does such image come from advertising and packaging? Kevin: Yea. I prefer very colorful image. Chris: Can you describe the image of your favorite brand? Kevin: I prefer very simple image. For shirts. For T-shirt. I prefer some simple image. if I recommend my preference to him or her. I can see how it looks like. Maybe girls can find more suitable size than guys do. Chris: Do you shop online for clothes? Kevin: No. To be honest. maybe they will ignore it. like the clothes from the markets.

they will give me 5 to 10 percent discount or some credits. So next time I go to these shops to buy clothes. But if I’m not satisfied with it. maybe they are there. of course I will wear it. You can find some clothes which you can’t buy in the shops or markets. I have one from Kuhle and one from Jack and Jones. As long as l finish shopping. would you go to the same shops to have a look again? Kevin: Maybe I will go there next season when I go shopping. maybe take it as my pajamas. if I buy clothes more than 40 or 50 pounds once. I will wear it very regularly. I will go there again to see some new clothes…new arrival…But I will not go to the same shops very frequently. Normally.Chris: So. would you apply for it? Kevin: Yea. that’s the main advantage. Chris: What are the bad things of buying clothes online? Kevin: As I said. they will give me a VIP card. Chris: If you are satisfied. it maybe the advantage of buying clothes online. at least once a week. I will not go to the see any clothes within a short interval. Kevin: Yea. maybe after one or two month. just after finish shopping. I can get some gifts from the accumulated credits. 89 . Chris: If the shops do offer you some loyalty cards. but less frequently. 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.

Thanks very much. Chris: That’s all for the interview. sunglasses. belts. Chris: So you said ‘Brand is just like the name of people. It may not the spirit of the clothes. but it represents the taste and quality of them. wallet. I would like you to help me finish a sentence starting with ‘Brand is’.like some accessories. glasses. something like that. 90 .

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