Consumer buying behaviour: Fashion industry (uk) Analysis

Table of Content


The UK clothing market has huge amount of share in the British people’s consumption and expenditure. This means that British people spend too much on fashion items and the competition in the Fashion Industry is as strong as available statistics implies. Consumer Buying Behaviour has been modeled even at the onset of 60’s but firms and enterprises do not give too much attention to this process that might lead them to gain absolute market share in their respective industries. The different sides of the market were also analyse including its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Further analyses was given to different areas in business especially advertising and marketing to inspect the effect of consumer buying behaviour and how will the subject increase their effectiveness. This paper will give a well defined overview of the Fashion Industry and how can consumer buying behaviour enter their strategic plans to capture consistent market power. The paper also gives look at different models of consumer buying behaviour and how these models can help an organization plan their marketing efforts. Consumer Buying Behaviour in lieu of fashion items was also assessed to contribute to the body of analyzing consumer perception in purchasing fashion products.

The methodology used in the paper includes quantitative and qualitative techniques to get the desired accuracy of the fashion market analysis. This is implemented through the conduct of both surveys and indepth interviews.

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Chapter 1 Introduction

The chapter aims to discuss why the topic is important in the field of business and why it is the main subject of the paper. Generally, the chapter will explore on the current fashion industry including its current status showing the market leaders in the industry. It will show specifically the main objectives of the paper.

Background of the Research

Skinner (1953) said: “the behaviour of man can be decomposed into component atomistic parts or molecules”. Taking into account this view of Skinner, the behaviour of people in buying saleable items can also be categorized into its component parts. Thus, the consumer buying behaviour is composed of different attitudes, feelings and thoughts for a particular product.

Belch and Belch (2004) define consumer behaviour as “the process and activities people engage in when searching for, selecting, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services so as to satisfy their needs and desires”. Marketers and psychologists alike say it tries to study, whether alone or setting in groups, the behaviour of people. The demography, psychograph and other relevant behavioural variables are also used to further discover the science of discovering consumer wants through their behaviour.

The United Kingdom’s Fashion Industry has been an arena for unique fashion sense. British people tend to buy more fashion items than ever. Consider the United Kingdom’s biggest clothing retailer—Marks and Spencer— they stayed with the market power for long dominating the market and responding to people’s fashion wants. The more the items respond to the behaviour of the British people, the more their net sales rise.

How can the competitors of Marks and Spencer rival their marketing strategy? Can new entrants in the market use Consumer Buying Behaviour as a weapon in winning the tight fight in the Fashion Industry?

With the study of Consumer Buyer Behaviour, the author wants to convey the would-be effect of incorporating the theory to the Fashion Manufacturer’s marketing goals and objectives. The paper will give a full and thorough discussion of the buying process, the consumer behaviour and the way it will help the manufacturers of products and services, specifically in the fashion industry, in the United Kingdom.

The Fashion Industry: Growth

Almost 100% of the clothing used by the British people comes from importations of huge clothing manufacturers. It is their new way to improve their productivity and probably to lower cost in production. Outsourcing has been one of the biggest moves of these manufacturers and many firms in the industry are already witching to this new move. However, there are still manufacturers like Gap and Next plc which sell and manufacture goods inside the country. Even if clothing goods are imported they still have the same label brand from UK, their country of origin.(

According to Business Wire, the UK Clothing market has a large share of UK GDP. Even if the recent decade has experienced diminishing sales in the clothing market, it is still large if the figures will be clearly evaluated. In a sense, there is always an increase, when the millennium came, in the consumption of consumers when it comes to clothing.

Employment has increased. Both the public and private sectors gained considerable addition of jobs and people are already earning sufficient amount of money.(

The 74.8 % of the first month of the year was added another 0.4%. Vacancies has increased because of the increase in the jobs offered and so, the effect would be greater number of jobs and lower rates of unemployment.  (

Since the primary market of the industry is those within the working age and the youth, an increase in employment shall surely be a positive influence for the clothing and retail industry of United Kingdom. Increasing consumer with incomes will definitely imply sales increase. In fact, the strong rise in the clothing market will probably lead to the possible entrance of new competitors, product line additions or stiffer competition.

British clothing companies have two major organisations which regulate the activities of the entire supply chain. Organisations are important for delivering efficient service and products to consumers and maintaining healthy competition.

One of the organizations that regulate either the supply of materials in both the textile and clothing industry or the issues that circulates within the whole industry is the British Apparel and Textile Confederation. The association was founded in 1992 and from then on, it increased the employment rate immensely.Data showed that the industry has already reached £47 billion (2005) in the field of retail sales alone. (

Just like the British Apparel and Textile Confederation, the Association of Suppliers in the British Clothing Industry or ASCBI is one that regulates the main issues of the supply industry. It is according to their site, “the only Association to bring together the clothing industry from fibre manufacture through to garment manufacture, retail and aftercare”.   (

Burberry was founded in England , the company is involved in both the devise and sourcing of apparel garnishing. Their market spans internationally through their retail and wholesale branches both inside and outside the country. They are “luxury brand with a distinctive British sensibility, strong international recognition and differentiating brand values that resonate across a multi-generational and dual gender synonymous with quality, innovation and style.  (

74 % and 14 % increased in total sales profit from their wholesale and retail stores was reported in their quarterly reports. Burberry believes that these increased in sales were mainly because of “their continued appeal of Burberry’s new product and marketing strategies globally, and particularly in their high growth, under-penetrated regions including the United States, China and Emerging Markets” (

Courtaulds Textiles (Holdings) Ltd

As one of the main dominating companies in the market, it has already established its stores in, aside from London, in France, HongKong, the main cities of United States and other major cities in the world. In the 80’s, the company transferred its manufacturing to the Southern Part of Asia and consequently stopped its product making functions in United Kingdom. In the following decade, the company were divides into two, the textiles and the plc.

Brands of Courtaulds include berlei, gossard ( ladies’ underwears) , aristoc, pretty polly and elbeo. Courtaulds mainly caters to the woman market. It is obviusly the largest manufacturer of both lingerie and underwear brands. (

Delta Textiles (London) Ltd

Delta is a company with partnerships in famous brands around the world and known internationally. Their main attribute in making their brands, as they point out is “according to each brand’s nature, position, style and spirit”. Hugo Boss, Nike, Puma, Ralph Lauren are only some of those brands that delta works with.  (

French Connection Group PLC

French connection Group has already been known to world market. They were able to established strong sense of brand name, their FCUK prints. The name was able to capture the attention of the market and the policy makers alike. But because of this different name strategy French Connection has, they still remain one of the biggest and largest clothing and fashion company founded in the United Kingdom. (Benady, 2001)

French connection has already established many stores around the world aside from establishing a good and intriguing brand name.

Levi Strauss UK Ltd

Levis Strauss carries the name of its founder. Although the company is a family company where shares are not available to the public, it is still it is obviously one of those dominating the market.

Levi Strauss mainly popular jeans and shirts are sold globally and their brand name has been established with quality and style (

Research Objectives

The dissertation is established for the following purposes:

  1. To investigate literature on consumer behaviour generally in the fashion industry particularly;
  2. To investigate the behaviour of consumers regarding fashion items in the United Kingdom;
  3. To investigate the factors influencing the choices of fashion items in United Kingdom;
  4. To assess the relative importance of factors which influence choice of fashion items in the United Kingdom; and
  5. to provide recommendations to fashion manufacturers and retailers.
  6. Research Rationale

Many Manufacturers of different products or service find it difficult to design a particular product or service according to the consumers’ preference. Even the best designs fail. Designs may be well evaluated but the need for consumer interaction in deciding on this is of a big importance not just for the manufacturers but for the consumers alike, because they are the ones who will use the product through the years. Product and service innovations and even new designs should consider consumer buying behaviour in order to become successful and stay in the market for long.

The quest for designing a new product or service, or a new fashion style item starts from a good analysis of the buying behaviour of the consumers needing it. The consumers are not just affected by a single factor but a variety of factors in every decision they make. A consumer making a purchase decision is typically affected by three main factors: personal, psychological and social.

Personal factors are factors inherent to the consumers’ demography such as race, age, gender or their own biases to a product.

Psychological factors are the factors such as motives which motivate a person to do an action, perception, ability and knowledge, attitude, personality, and lifestyles.

Social factors include opinion leaders, roles and family influences, reference groups, social class, and sometimes culture.

The need for Fashion Manufacturers in the United Kingdom to consider a person’s basic external and internal influences could lead to a successful market power. But still, leading and amateur Fashion retailers and manufacturers have a choice: to be beaten by the competitors or to be able to go forward.

Relevance and Importance of the Study

Principally, manufacturers of the fashion and clothing industry will be given the maximum impact by the study. The marketing and product innovation strategies they might employ in the future could lead to substantial increase in brand image and market supremacy. The use of the consumer buying behaviour analyses can boost product response to the needs of buyers.

The degree of advantage to the consumers could also be one of the secondary impacts of the study to the market. Products are not just intended for the producers alone to make profits but to the consumers, first and foremost, to get what they desire.

Scope and (De)Limitations

The study will have its own weaknesses as it only tries to assess the consumer behaviour in United Kingdom. However, the study will sustain the best possible analysis of consumer behaviour as it tries to collect relevant and accurate data from most reliable sources, the manufacturers and the consumers themselves.

Structure of the Dissertation

The introduction of the paper will give the pruimary importance of the chosen subject in the filed of fashion industry in the United Kingdom. It explores on the different market leaders including their strengths and how they stay in the market. The main objectives of the dissertation were also presented.

The Review of Related Literature chapter will basically give the main aspects of the chosen research topic, which is consumer buying behaviour. The models of consumer behaviour will also be given weight as the different models will also be presented. The author will also try to provide the different factors that influence consumer buying behaviour, in the fashion industry specifically. Moreover, the importance of the subject will be presented in this part.

The various research philosophies will also have a part on the research methodology of the paper. The approaches in finding the best research technique as to give the most accurate results and analysis will be done through the careful analysis of the different research designs: exploratory, descriptive and causal.

The chapter on the results will basically explain the survey findings and outcomes as it is the main key to the success of the paper. On the next chapter, the conclusion, the findings will be analyse and associated to the previous findings previously presented. In this chapter also the recommendations to the manufacturers and retailers involved in the fashion industry will be offered.

Chapter 2 Review of Related Literature Introduction

The chapter will 1.) define Consumer Behaviour, 2.) provide the importance of Consumer Behaviour to business generally, and to Fashion Industry, specifically 3.) introduce the Models of Consumer Behaviou and, 4) Present the different factors which influence consumer buying behaviour.

The definitions of Consumer Behaviour will be varied. The Models will be presented according to a.) formal, as characterized by Bettman and Jones (1986), b.) adaptive, as given by Hopkins (2006) and c.) other models not classified between a and b such as that of the Wheel of Consumer Analysis by Peter and Olson (1999).

Consumer Behaviour Defined

According to Belch and Belch (2004) consumer behaviour is “the process and activities people engage in when searching for, selecting, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services so as to satisfy their needs and desires”.

The Encyclopedia of Management (online data) defines consumer behaviour as “To how and why people make the purchase decisions they do”.

As defined by Hawkins, Best and Coney (1998) it is the science of persons, associations , or societies including the processes they  undergo to pick, keep, apply, and set out goods, services, practices or thoughts to please their desires and the influences that these processes have on the buyer and the social order.

Not only that consumer buying behaviour encompasses the behaviour of buyers and the processes but also how it will give an influence to the community as a whole.

To summarise, the definitions gave the fact that it is a study of the consumers purchase decisions and how the consumers decide on making purchase and that consumer behaviour is also a study of the process of how consumers arrive at deciding on what to purchase.

Consumer Behaviour : Importance

Dr, Lars Perner, Assistant Professor of Clinical Marketing at the Marshall School of Business of the University of Southern California (

  1. gave his four main applications of consumer behaviour it is to
  2. guide companies that makes new product especially in the relative importance of production to costs,
  3. to engage in knowing what consumers want and thereby increase the possibility of getting their attention toward the product,
  4. to increase efficient public laws
  5. knowing what consumers want and what they need for products to respond to.

The importance of consumer behaviour to marketers and manufacturers has been established long ago. Manufacturers make product according to the wants and needs of the target market. People respond positively to the well designed products that reflects consumer’s tastes.

Manufacturing “pertains to the creation of products and services” (Webster dictionary,2000) . In product design or innovation, consumer behaviour can be used as a fundamental tool for powerful product image. The Research and Development of a company needs to focus on continuously improving the company’s market position through intensive consumer behaviour researches.

The question arises as to how long should manufacturers study the impact of their products to consumer buying behaviours? The answer would depend on how long they should want to stay in the market.

It is already established that products that doesn’t catch customer’s attention suddenly fades from the market. Fashion retailers and manufacturers who have been making consistent sales in years most probably consider consumer buying behaviour as a tool for marketing their fashion products.

The competition for United Kingdom’s Fashion Industry is stiff and no clothing company will ever want to fall out of place.

Dey (1993) and Haggerman (1994) proved this by saying that it is a requirement for manufacturers to discover why a product is bought by consumers and why they will want to buy it again. Marketers and manufacturers alike are given the chance to realise what are essential to the consumers and understand its cause by advancing in the science of discovering consumer behaviour. They also added that it is an opportunity to be prepared with the best protection in the battle of products in the competitive market.

Robinson, Faris and Wind (1967) also commented that there is a need to define who and what affects the decisions of the buyers. With that, can the marketing tactiques become effective. The process as well as the centre, as defined by the modelers, should be firmly understood and given strict detail attention.

Consumer Behaviour: Models

Models are necessary for us to facilitate a given theory of certain knowledge. These are depictions of real objects or existing conditions (Anderson, Sweeney & Williams, 1997).

According to Bettman and Jones (1986), models with mathematical or computer structure and not “verbal” can be grouped as formal models of behaviour. There are four models according to Bettman and Jones (1986) , these are information processing, stochastic, experimental and other linear and large system models.

According to Bettman and Jones (1986) Information Processing models “make the basic hypothesis that individuals get repeated data and knowledge stimuli from his setting and processes this information as a fundamental element of creating choices” (Bettman &Jones, 1986).

Mainly, information processing models claims that there is a process of information when individuals make choices and these processes are those that included in the model. Models of this type also believe that models of choice processes are “deterministic” and use procedural data. Thus, these models are gathered through a system of acceptable data gathering process (Bettman & Jones, 1986).

One of the best known models of this type is that given by Bettman (1970).

The model starts with a motivation goal hierarchy which also affects processing capacity. The model has all elements associated with each other. When a consumer is motivated to buy a particular product he goes through some processing capacity which is directed to gain attention, to acquire or evaluate information, to learn or to finally decide. Perceptual encoding takes place whenever an individual’s attention has been already caught. In information acquisition and evaluation, an individual goes through some internal search of information already in his mind. External search takes place in decision processes as when a person is influenced by any outside factor (Bettman, 1970).

When Bettman (1970) gave his own model of information processes, he used “information processing capacity” or the person’s restrictions on the quantity of information he can get, then utilize and retain. An example would be when an individual speaks only those words that, he know, is needed in the conversation (Bettman, 1970). Bettman (1970) also utilized what he calls “information search” or the processing itself of the information a person has acquired from his environment but are influenced by “motivation”, “attention” and “perception” coming from him. It is a manifestation of clarity and only consumes little efforts to get consumers concentration. Another point Bettman (1970) emphasized is “Decision rules” or what he calls “Heuristics”. Heuristics are improved and this helps consumers make his choices among the available best options. Bettman (1970) also used “Consumption and Learning” as the feedback which is internal from the results of the alternatives. Bettman (1970)  also believes that an individual have previous familiarities with things and does not rely only into the current information his environment feeds him, rather, he often makes choices according to what he has seen or gained from the past. Decision makers are also equipped by an information environment which includes the kind and the quantity of the information they faced everyday (Bettman, 1970).

Stochastic models have two major vital parts. One is the individual model of behaviour itself and the aggregation rules used (Bettman and Jones, 1986). What compares these kinds of models to other models is that the first part is exactly the one representing consumer purchase behaviour but this behaviour is just a utility of the main determining features of behaviour (Bettman & Jones, 1986).

Definitely, stochastic models incorporate elements that are stochastic in nature to be able to manage multifaceted human behaviours. These models mainly focus on usual behavioural determining factors and mostly concern itself for population collection (Bettman & Jones, 1986).

Experimental and other linear models are models basically giving data on individuals for their behaviour to be available for reading (Bettman & Jones, 1986). Some models of this type use demography or personality tests, and then utilise these as independent variables according to them. They basically have the ability of describing an aspect of behaviour and there are also other types of this kind which are using marketing and sales as variables (Bettman &Jones, 1986).

The main characteristics of these linear models according to Bettman and Jones (1986) are their structure, which is basically linear and the error factors are included in the model.

Large-System models of consumer choice have “postulated interrelationships” and are mainly not mathematical or computer structured and these models are actually simple and easy to understand (Bettman and Jones, 1986).

Nicosia (1966) started the development of his model from four fields or what they call “building blocks”. After his building blocks development he then used s system of differential equations using the variables that is mainly representative of the inputs and outputs of the four fields. “Buying behaviour”, “motivation”, “attitude” and “advertising” are the variables he used (Nicosia, 1966).

Howard and Sheth (1968) gave also their own model of Consumer Behaviour. For them, there are three kinds of input which the buyer mainly gets from his surroundings:

The stimuli starts the process when the buyer receivers it from any factor such as perceptual bias, brand comprehension, intention and satisfaction. Constructs are the system of processes that the consumer mainly undergoes so he will arrive to a definite decision. In fact, after the consumer received the input, the constructs will then follow. It is like the Stimulus-Response of psychology where before the brain receives the information, there is a process first. (Howard and Sheth, 1968).

After the processes the individual goes through, the outputs will be the results. The buyer might give his attention or he might purchase the product. This model is only a simple model to understand since it is systematic and the process is explained well (Howard and Sheth, 1968).

Amastutz’s (1967) consumer-behaviour model is “a microanalytic simulation”. “Marketing factors”, “attitudes”, “word of mouth” and “media” along with other constituent parts are interrelated and the model relies mostly on assuming probabilities.

Formal Models: Uses, Properties, Problems Distinguished

Erev and Roth (1998) add that models are not just in science but also in the science of business as to further analyse what constitutes the market and how it makes decisions and models can be used to describe, predict and understand behaviour. Models of different types are also subject to dissimilar applications and functions. Models have been varied around the world especially in the sciences. The following is a table summarising the uses of the models presented above.

Information processing models have an advantage over other models in describing and understanding individuals. And since they can fairly understand and describe behaviours in an individual setting, they have the capability to be the foundation or the basis of the foundation for building macromodels. In this case, they are also possible of being utilized in modeling situations.Thus, Bettman and Jones (1986) argue that the most important use of these models is that it can be utilized for the exact description of an individual’s behaviour. However, this is not applicable to big populations and individuals who have an interest in this model should give more emphasis to that aspect (Bettman and Jones, 1986).

If information processing models are not so useful for large population behaviour prediction, experimental and linear models are best for this. Markets are the arena of their application but they are not used for individual setting purposes. Also, applications of different models are carefully determined because, as Bettman and Jones (1986) argue anyone applying any kind of model must be careful because there are certain complexities the model might give.(Bettman and Jones, 1986).

In the case of stochastic models, it’s still uncertain to what extent they are useful. Some have been used as predictive models and were able to confirm their ability to be executed. However, its still a question whether these can be used as individual models and not merely market models. Many were already able to provide explanations that they are useful in the case of description and prediction of behaviour (Bettman and Jones, 1986).

Hopkins (2006) defines Adaptive Learning Models as those representing the agent’s choices who experience recurring complexities provided they utilize common sense.

In his research in marketing, he supports the fact that many models can actually explain consumer buying behaviours and one of those is his own model (Hopkins, 2006). Experimenters found ways to prove this phenomenon. Most adaptive learning models are completely mathematical in structure and do not deal with abstractions in comparison with other models previously discussed.

Other models of consumer behaviour include that of Peter and Olson (1999) to aid the devise of effective marketing strategies using consumer affect, cognition, consumer behaviour and marketing strategy itself.

The wheel is a continuous system where consumers affect, cognition, consumer behaviour, consumer environment affects each other ( Marketing strategy, on the other hand is also an element of the wheel. When consumer affect starts the process, cognition will follow and thus the result will be the behaviour he will exhibit (Peter and Olson, 1999). This behaviour can be further analyse by behavioural analysts in business to predict what could be the next marketing strategy to follow and what to incorporate in the buyer’s environment.

Yu (2006, unpub.) in his dissertation pointed out the new consumption model, the Holistic Consumer Behaviour Model. This model according to Yu acquaints the market surroundings with buyer reactions. It is different because it denies that the results of behaviour is the acquisition of goods. It also contests normal and practical viewpoints. The model also says that not only goods are what the consumers are after for but as well as the overall environment it is located.

Piana (2004) has his own model of consumer behaviour but this time, he used agents to simplify the situation just like Hopkins (2006):

Piana (2004) believes that consumers are faced with decision problems starting from the decision of buying or not buying. This one is actually a step-by-step process. He conceptualised that agents should be able to observe this rule to be able to predict the outcomes of the buyers in the real society. Actually, his model is just a summarization of the experiments and real market studies through the years (Piana, 2004)

The Engel-Kollat-Blackwell model (EKB Model) is presented below:

The Engle-Kollat-Blackwell model is considered by business behavioural analysts as more precise and accurate. It starts with an input where the decision processes begins and  whenever an individual gets the input from his environment, just like any other model, he is subject to many decision process variables and are able to process this variables to be able to come with an output, or his decision (Engle, Kollat, Blackwell 1978).

There are various models presented in this paper but there are still models not presented yet. The problem with the users of this model is not the complexity of each model but the fact that each model should be clearly understood to be able to put into proper use and yield proper results so that consumer behaviour will be fairly understood and can be predicted well.

Many marketers in different fields today use consumer buying behaviour to improve their marketing strategies. Fashion companies may use the same step toward innovating their products or making new fashion items.

Olshavsky and Spreng (1996) in their search for the keys to successful product innovation said that “product managers and researchers typically focus on trying to identify the most effective organisational processes, strategies, and structures”. Because the goal of business is to create products and services that will mainly cater to the market, and marketing them to reach the market, the industry focused more of its attention into devising strategies that might seem good into the marketers but might not be appreciated by the buyers. The success of every strategy goes into the process of discovering why a product is needed by a consumer and how a consumer uses it (Olshavsky and Spreng ,1996).

Wind and Thomas (1980) defines the Buying Process as :

“from the instance where a call for a good or service comes ,until the acquisition choices and its succeeding appraisals, it is a multifaceted incalculable actions may happen. Thus, it is a procedure in which several process movement and or stages of development can be acknowledged.

The Buying Process is a simplification of the purchase decision. In this diagram its shows that not only consumers are the buying participants but also, the deciders, influencers, the buyer and the users. As such, the buyer and the user can be different. The process starts from a pre-purchase activity until the purchase was done. But just as the other models shown, the buying participants goes through the external and internal influences first that affect the decision.

The initiator is the person who identifies that something is needed and thus, initiates the purchase. The influencer is someone who affects the actual purchase, intentionally or intentionally. The buyer is the one who makes the action, the one who buys. The User is the one who will use the product or service ( Zatman & Burger, 1993).

Buyer Behaviour: Influence Factors

According to Dibb (2000), every individual goes through a decision process when he goes to the market to make a purchase. His decision to buy or not buy a particular brand will be influenced by various factors such as personal, psychological or social influences.

This consumer buying decision process includes five stages as shown in Figure 9 below. These include the processes of problem recognition, information search, evaluation of the alternatives available, purchase and post-purchase evaluation.

The figure above illustrates the processes that a customer undertakes right from the time the need to for a product is recognized to post purchase evaluation. Whilst undertaking this process there are strong chances of influences from various sources on a customer, these sources can affect a customer choice between two brands. These sources can be grouped under personal, psychological and social influences (Wiedner, 2001).

In problem recognition, the buying process begins when the buyer recognizes or identifies a problem or a need. The need can be initiated by internal and external stimuli. The information search begins when a consumer gathers information to purchase a product and comes to know of the competing brands and their features. In the evaluation of alternatives, the consumer uses information about the product to simplify the decision making process. Consumers make use of selection criteria to evaluate each brand. The purchase decisions indicate consumer intention to buy the most preferred brand. Factors that intervene between the purchase intention and the purchase decision include attitude of others and situational factors that may erupt to change the purchase intention. In the post purchase behaviour, the act of purchasing the product will cause the consumer to experience some level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Marketers must monitor post purchase satisfaction and post purchase actions (Schiffman & Kanuk, 1995).

Internal Influences

Loudon and Della Bitty (1993) gave six determinants / influences to an individual’s purchase decision as follows: a) personality and self-concept; b) motivation; c) information processing; d) learning and memory; e) attitudes.

Personality and Self-Concept. Personality is the totality of an individual. These are several personality theories applicable to the study of behavior such as that of Freud, etc. These personality theories are often used by marketing people to affect the way individuals make decisions by appealing to the traits and elements of personality Freud has established (Kasarjian, 1971). The id, the ego, and the superego are just the common relationships used. Some of the most prominent advertising themes were centered on these three and the relationship of these to purchase decisions. Social Theory’s are also applicable to consumer’s behavior, the theory emphasizes that people searches for love, belonging, etc. in order to become happy (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).

According to Horney (cited by Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993), there are three major orientations which attempt to give a description of how people relate to others:

  • Compliant orientation, the way to get people needs love, approval, modesty, and affection;
  • Aggressive orientation, to be able to get people there should be manipulation and force and
  • Detached orientation, we need to be independent.

Traits of individuals are also very applicable to assess the consumer purchase behavior because everyone has the same behavioural tendencies and has different ways to use these tendencies plus the fact that using these differences are very effective in assessing their personalities. These theory in traits is more applicable because they are based on already available and evaluated personality inventories and techniques (Kasarjian, 1971).

Self-concept is very useful and is more advantages in studying behaviors because consumers, if they gave accurate answers, are the primary source of data and the data are from their self-assessment. Compared with the way some personality tests do where wise experimenters observe them (Marcus, 1965).

In fact, such concepts are already established with the importance in the field by developing analyzable information on consumers thru their profile data. That is why, a person who takes part in this study needs to assess himself with considerate honesty. This one’s important because the way a person sees himself might vary from the way others sees or interprets him. Many behavioral psychologists like William James have made considerate contributions in this field already. Self- appraisal is one-way to assess behavior. It is the way a person typically puts a barrier to his behavior (Koponen, 1960). Through his view of the world and according to what is socially acceptable or not. Reflection is also a view of a person to himself . Sometimes, an individual views himself according to others says about himself. Comparison with others is also substantial and is very important in conducting appraisal tests as individuals are dependent with knowing that their actions are consistent with that of the society and the world(Koponen, 1960).. Thus, if an individual will be asked to assess his own fashion sense, a great consideration to the way others look at fashion sense will surely be exhibited.

Self-concept and personality theories are easy to define in areas such as design, product position, imaging and consumers behavior in lieu of brands. However, the marketer should be very efficient in determining the interpretation of what the “self” is and how to understand its implications. The greater the accuracy of the interpretation, the less limitations it can give (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).

Motivation. A motive is an internal state of self that drives the individual to move for something (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). If a person wants to buy nike shoes because he wants to have a simply, new shoes, it is a motive. That fact tends to give us a better direction that our motives are simply the ones arousing us to do a particular action or the ones that forces us to move toward a goal. In fact, motives can be used to guide behavior as follows: a) define basic strivings; b) identifying goal objectives; c) influencing choice criteria and; d) Directing other influences (Korman, 1974) .

Motives drive individuals to identify what they basically need. Thus, The motives can be further analyse by using the Hierarchy of needs of Maslow (cited in Peter & Leadley, 2001)

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs include physiological, safety, social belonging, esteem and status, and self-fulfillment. These should be considered when planning and implementing brands strategies to ensure that customer’ needs and requirements are fulfilled. This consideration may be made in drafting brand marketing strategies. Maslow posited a hierarchy of human needs which he centered on deficiency and growth needs. As per him, at the deficiency needs, a person must satisfy his need starting at the lowest level of the hierarchy before he moves to the next higher level (Peter & Leadley, 2001).

The first level of the above is the level of physiological needs that include water, food, sex, shelter. Maslow explains that when a person is hungry, the only thing that he may think of is food (Elkin & Tobi, 1999).

Safety needs follow physiological needs. At this level the individual needs a guarantee that he will get food not only today but for years to come. When Mercedes launched its C class in the US market, its advertisement read “Of course it is a family car. Who do you think will be driving it years from now?” This way Mercedes is appealing to the belonging/social needs of prospective Mercedes buyers (Philip, 2005).

As per Maslow’s theory, when a consumer wants to purchase a brand like 65” High-Definition Plasma Panasonic TV, he is fulfilling his esteem/ego needs which after the purchase is done will fulfill command prestige, status and self respect over his peers (Philip, 2005).

Once esteem needs have been fulfilled by the consumer, the next stage involves self actualization needs or self fulfillment needs. This means having whatever one may dream of e.g. home theatre system, branded electronic gadget in the home, among others.  By doing this he is fulfilling his desires. This stage is reached by very few members of the society (Rothman & Wilson, 2002).

Motives sometimes drive people to think that products are their ultimate goals(Korman, 1974) .. Thus, Women who works for single Louis Vuitton purse are under this assumption. This is pushing the consumers to get their particular interest, that’s why, brand image is very important.Oftentimes, motives are primary guidance to consumers in choosing what products to buy or what to “want”. Therefore, it shows that consumer behaviours are capable of being influenced by motives. However, there are instances where people are often aware of their motives but are uncertain of how to utilise their mtives to choose product alternatives(Korman, 1974) .. At basic levels, motives have the ability to influence, the consumer’s overall internal state(Korman, 1974) .. Thus, a direct influence on behaviour could follow.

Motives ar subject to arousal and arousal is often casued by a.)physiological conditions, b.) cognitive activity, c.) situational conditions and d.) stimulus properties(Korman, 1974) .

Information Processing. Consumers use the information they get from the environment. This is a basic assumption that is very significant for the marketer to get an understanding of consumers information acquisition and handling (Cox, 1967). Thus, it is relevant to see individuals as problem solving buyers trying to analyse the puzzle of how to choose the best product or service applicable. According to Loudon and Della Bitta (1993) there are five ways consumers use these information: 1.) to have a good grasp of the product 2.) to try to go back to past product choices 3.) to solve the problem on buying now or buying next time 4.) to satisfy ones craving for information and 5.) be reminded of the products that needs habitual refill. Information processing starts from the stimuli that signals the need for a product, the process of acquiring these makes possible the consumers way of confronting definite stimulus and there the process begins.

The information processing could be further analysed below:

Learning and Memory. Since individuals, as consumers, have been exposed to different purchase decisions, it is important to consider their previous knowledge and how they were able to process this information. Consumers learn in two ways, intentionally and unintentionally (Alba, Hulchinson & Lynch 1991). Analysing the consumers’ learning and memory is very helpful in predicting their behaviour since individuals are adapting to their evolving environment. Thus, the knowledge of these principles is significant in describing how individuals acquire their “needs and wants” and how they were established. Some marketers and advertisers argue that these basic principles are important to advertising and marketing strategies such as the way advertisements must be showed repeatedly(Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).

Attitudes. Attitudes are also important in determining consumer behaviour since it is a centralised concern of most marketers. Many studies about attitudes have been done by practitioners both in the business and academic field. Having a good understanding of consumer attitudes will launch any marketing programme’s success. Attitudes are agreed to have many important aspects to wit: a.) they rise out due to something in the past or present b.)They are directed to a specific intensity, and degree c.) they seem to be structured and d.)they arise out of learning (Allport, 1935).

Attitudes also arise because of different sources such as personal experiences, organizations, and other who can exert significant influence. Models and theories were also developed to take note of the process of attitude and attitude changing(Allport, 1935).

Changing attitudes is the main objective of some marketing applications. There are different methods by which attitudes can be changed such as the low involvement strategies and high involvement strategies(Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). This depicts that there are a variety of ways to influence attitudes by consumers which will lead to successful consumer behaviour change.

External Influences

  • There are also a variety of factors that affects consumer buying behaviour,
  • culture, and subculture,
  • social class and social groups,
  • family and
  • personal influence and diffusion of innovations (Loudon & Dela Bitta 1993).

Culture and Subculture. Culture is everything we gained from our environment through our lifelong existence (Cuzzort, 1969). Products and services are categorized as material aspect of culture. The importance of culture in considering the buyer behaviour is that it’s a manifestation that the study of people can also be extended to the study of culture and that the fact that this external influence is a big influence to behaviour (Cuzzort, 1969). It just implies that even if people are the same in some aspects such as biologically, still, differences are there as to their beliefs, characters and values.

It is known fact that culture affects consumers and the decisions they make. In fact, the way we understand culture will make the marketer equipped with the different marketing concepts applicable to different markets and segments(Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). Nationality, taboos, subcultures and rituals are only manifestations that everyone differ in any parts of the world. Culture is a product of a long process of formation. It can be said that it’s a product of many systems such as a.)ideological, b.)technological, and c.)organizational.It is also a product of learning when it comes to individuals (LaPiere, 1946).

Cultural values are societal beliefs that takes note of the different activities etc. vital to the community it was formed(LaPiere, 1946). Cultural values are determined by the long process of knowledge sharing and acceptance. And values have a big impact to the buyer behaviour. Take for example, the instance of loungeries and bikinis, in muslim countries, they will not dominate because the culture is conservative and they value conservatism especially for women. It is not easy to take a good grasp pf how to make marketing strategies thru culture but it is much easier to do if the products are in harmony with the culture(Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).

In designing the market segment to enter, it is noteworthy to take the personal values of the people(Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). However, there is still a greater market research needed to predict the degree to which cultural values affect the decision choices of consumers (Gutman & Vinson, 1979). Some organisations are already putting some of their marketing budgets to discover the applications of these values into predicting the behaviour of buyers(Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). The last implication of consumer values has been to explain why do consumers opt to purchase or not to purchase a particular product, or why they opt a product over the others available and why they opt one brand over another. One theory about this states that there are many values to consider when deciding on this aspect such as emotional, social etc. and cultural changes are also giving a big impact to the marketers decisions (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).

Subcultures are more prevalent than culture because this one pertains to the particular group of people within a culture (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).The reason why it is more important for the marketer to see what constitutes the subculture and how they make decisions. By having a good view of the structure of the subculture, the marketer is able to have a greater location with respect to the particular sector targeted .Differerences in subcultures can be by size, location, income and employment, education, and family and age (Dhalla & Mahatoo, 1976).

Social Class and Social Groups. Social classes has been evident even from the early centuries and it is also evident that there ae as many products as  social classes. Social classes are the product of different rankings by other members of the community according to some criteria (Coleman, 1983).

People basically purchase products according to what they can give (Coleman, 1983).. Some of the products are being purchased because they add some social meaning. The purchase of a 5000 pound worth of one purse would already symbolize a higher position in social class. This is why products are also becoming symbols and symbols of who the individuals are in the society. Even now, studies show that this is prevalent among both rich countries and developing countries (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). Marketers are always after the buyers who look for items who will give them a unique edge in the society. The need for prestige, is very important for individuals especially those who want to belong in the higher class (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).

For most products, marketers concern themselves with targeting the middle and the upper class consumers because they are the ones who can afford the products mostly.

Social classes can be classified according to the following: upper-upper, lower-upper, upper-middles, middle class, working class, and the lower lower (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). Each of this social class exhibit different buying behaviour. Upper upper are inherent to spending vacations abroad while the working class are not (Sherif, 1936). This is the this distinguishing factor that social class affects consumer buying behaviour (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).However, some marketers are developing innovations in selling products to each all social classes (Coleman, 1983)..

Social Groups are just groups of people who have developed a sense of attachment to each other (Stafford, 1966). Groups can be classified according to content, the degree of personal involvement, and the degree of organization. One very influential groups to the buyer is the reference group. A reference group can have a very big impact on the buyer’s purchase decision ( Stafford, 1966). Thus, an individual who whishes to purchase a jag t-shirt would shift to another brand if he found out that his reference groups uses a different one. For this reason, some individuals consult their reference group first before making a purchase decision (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).

Some groups differ in function as to professors and janitors. Some differ in the way they treat each other as a group of scouts and a group of students. The degree of organization of a social class is also important such that it can be formal or not (Lewin, 1965). Groups are also governed by different norms, status, roles and power Lewin, 1965). Through this, marketers are able to exert significance influence to groups such as the purchase of medical insurance and the brands to use.

Family. The family is where the buyer grew up and that is a big reason why some of major purchase decisions depend most on his family (Foxman & Burns, 1987). It is both a reference and a primary group where the buyer belongs (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). However, his attachment is the main reason why he is mostly affected by the decision. An important factor relevant to the family’s influence is that which children are affected until adulthood (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). This one results from the transfer of, not just family beliefs etc., but as well as the current knowledge the family has on a particular product (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993). Therefore, an important challenge for the marketer is how to enter the overall family purchase processes.

Cozenza (cited in gave his view of who makes purchase decisions in a family. He argues that usually, the husband is more powerful in affecting or even dominant in the decisions of purchasing insurance and appliances.

Families are also bounded by a structure. Some family perceptions affect how they make decisions.

Personal influence. Personal influences on consumer behaviour can be described as follows: a.) the communication from the sender and the receiver of the message b.) the ways of influence and c.) the way it was done (Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).

Personal influences can happen through communication of the medium of advertisement or any media related factor (Robertson, 1976). Many people tend to act as transmitters and receivers of the information and affect others too in some way (Robertson, 1976)..

Opinion leaders are the people who can give personal effect to the buyer(Loudon and Della Bitty, 1993).They are the ones people see as reliable source of information when it comes to certain situations or things(Robertson, 1976). Thus, some of the celebrities used by commercial advertisements are opinion leaders in some way.

Chapter 3 Methodology – Introduction

In this section, the approaches and the research techniques used for the research are investigated and rationalized. Researches are ways to explain a certain phenomena, to answer a question to identify relevant societal information.

Research Philosophy

Reviewing the philosophy of searching for knowledge, the researcher relied on the following philosophies applicable.

Positivism deals with only real and actual self-experience. Positivist believes that pure and true knowledge comes from an actual data gathered by the knowledge seeker (Giddens, 1974). The only way to do this is through the use of scientific theories and strict observance with the scientific methodologies applicable (Giddens, 1974). This theory, led by Auguste Comte (cited in Giddens, 1974) has three different stages, a. theological, b.metaphysical and c.) positive (Giddens, 1974). The positive stage deals with the fact that anyone has the right to seek ideas and his own right is more significant than any other rule (Giddens, 1974).

Realism lies in the different aspects of truth and its relationship to each other (Blackburn, 2005). Reality comes from everyone’s thinking and is dependent of the world’s ideas either current or previous (Blackburn, 2005). It tries to argue that any knowledge we have right now is simply a closer understanding of the truth and its reality (Blackburn, 2005).

Phenomenology is the description of knowledge based from different interrelated previous theories and concepts available (Cartwright, 1984). However, phenomenologist in social science argue that only the very central theories are applicable and should delve with the new theories arising (Cartwright, 1984). Some experts in this field believes that the result of this philosophical method does not give a full account of the described and searched subject matter but can be used in some other matters in the field (Cartwright, 1984).

The research philosophy as a central theme of the dissertation will be more of a ‘positivism’ than ‘phenomenology’ and ‘realism’ since ‘Positivism’ deals with only real and actual self-experience. The data to be used in the survey, especially the primary data, will basically come from the market, in this case the fashion market of UK. Moreover, consumer behaviour models and other applicable theories will be applied to the study. The research information is coming from secondary data and primary data. In this context, the secondary data, as previous and fundamental theories, will be employed. The primary data, as a positivist approach, will also be used in the study for the purpose of giving a description of the chosen phenomenon. The relationship of the primary and the secondary data will be analysed to give a detailed understanding of the subject matter.

According to Zikmund (2000) the key function of exploratory research can be achieved through carefully analyzing the case of any related subject to the matter. He further asserts that experts in this field must be consulted as well so that there can be a new concept, not just from the experts but also from informal data gathering procedure, to strengthen the aim of the study.

However, the paper will be based on a descriptive research design. The study will not just explore but moreover, describe the subject as it tries to gather information from the real world purporting to represent the already firm knowledge of the researcher on the subject.

Data Collection Method

The quantitative method. In a quantitative study, the researcher is interested in collecting evidence so that a statement can be made about the outcomes of broadly comparable experiences (Yin, 1994). Researchers using this approach adopt an objective (or positivist) approach to the social world (Yin, 1994).The philosophy of this approach is that knowledge and facts are objective and that complex problems can be best understood if they are reduced into simpler component parts, (Yin, 1994). This perspective expresses itself most forcefully in a search for universal laws which explain and govern the reality which is being observed (Oppenheim, 1992).

Quantitative methods have a number of attractions for the inexperienced researcher. The main attraction is that they appear to be clearer cut, with more obvious boundaries around the data collection phase.

However, there are also disadvantages. To meet the requirements of the underlying philosophy of this approach the research instrument must be scientifically respectable. Yin (1994) makes the point that the development of the research instrument must incorporate ‘rigorous design, administrative control and clerical accuracy’. Also, if there is to be any subtlety of analysis it will be necessary for the research to be moderately large scale. (Zikmund, 2000) suggests samples of 100’s or 1000’s are required if reliable results are to be produced.

It is suggested by Oppenheim (1992) that the quantitative philosophy leads to a preference for the use of written multiple choice questionnaires and surveys, and the statistical analysis of the results.

The qualitative approach. In a qualitative study the researcher is not so interested in obtaining a set of facts, but is more interested in gaining an insight into a perspective (Yin, 1994). Researchers using this approach adopt a more subjectivist approach to the social world. Oppenheim, 1992 suggests that the philosophy of this approach is that knowledge and facts are subjective and that problems cannot be fully understood in isolation. It is important that problems are viewed as part of a complex pattern of links and relationships (Oppenheim, 1992).

The main advantages of the qualitative approach as described by Oppenheim (1992) are that it is intensive but flexible. Small samples, even single cases, may be sufficient, as long as they are investigated in depth and over a period of time(Yin, 1994). This has obvious attractions for the slenderly resourced, single-handed researcher. However, there are also disadvantages to this approach. Zikmund (2000) argues that qualitative methods are slow and may create anxiety because of the lack of structure in the research design. The more participative and reflexive style of this approach means that the research is more likely to invade the researcher’s way of life.

Under these principles this dissertation will be studied concerned with the related subject which is consumer buyer behaviours and steps of buying process will be thoroughly evaluated under the qualitative method. The main aim of this dissertation is to gain understanding and description of the buyer behaviours concept and its underlying components in relation to the purchase of fashion products. This dissertation proposes to explore the concept by answering the research question and in the end it proposes to explain the phenomena.

There are five main primary research strategies for collecting data. These are experiments, survey, archival analysis, histories and case studies. These strategies have different advantages and disadvantages for the different situations.(Yin , 1994)

The Case Study Method will be employed for the dissertation since the case study strategy has considerable ability to generate answers to the question ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’, it provides a rich understanding of the context of the research and it focuses on contemporary events.

The secondary data was collected from different journals, books, and valid internet resources concerning the Fashion Industry, Competition and the Consumer Buying Behaviour applications.

The primary data. The focus of this study is to investigate the consumer buying behaviours of the chosen sample in the United Kingdom on the products related to the Fashion and Clothing Industry. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used in investigating the current topic. The qualitative style of approach will allow certain flexibility within the study, to take account of the buying behaviours of the consumers on the different fashion items. On the other hand, there are also some considerations in adopting a quantitative data gathering technique through the use of survey questionnaires.

  • Primary Data Collection
  • Quantitative
  • Surveys
  • Qualitative
  • In-depth interviews

Primary data collection is concerned with the gathering of data that is unique to the peculiar requisites of the study. On the basis of the goals of the research and secondary data collection, a questionnaire was drafted to allow the gathering of primary data for this research. Questionnaires are often the only plausible means of covering a big number of respondents that will permit valid statistical outcomes. An effectively crafted tool that is utilized well can yield data beneficial for both the general performance of the test system in addition to data on its particular portions or components. Thus, this is the reason the researcher has selected a questionnaire a data gathering technique, particularly on gathering the demographic profiles of the respondents.

The Survey method will also be employed because the main aspect of this research will be to analyze the consumer buying behaviour of the British people vis-à-vis the Fashion and Clothing Industry. Thus, a questionnaire will be constructed and an in-depth interview with reputable organisations will be done according to the factors which affect consumer purchase decisions. The factors were adapted from handouts.

A survey is a means of gathering information about the characteristics, actions, or opinions of a large group of people, referred to as a population (Yin, 1994). There are several ways of collating data; surveys are the primary means through which data is measured and captured. They have varied purposes, and encompass marketing surveys, opinion surveys, and political polls, among others.

Survey questionnaires that have been deployed for research have two specific objectives. One is the quantitatively depict certain facets of the group being investigated. The analysis of the questionnaires may be mainly focused on associations between variables or with making estimates in a descriptive manner to a well defined group of respondents. Next, it is also an effective means of gathering data by soliciting individual evaluations through predetermined items or questions. Their responses, which may pertain to their own views, compose the data set subject for statistical analysis (Zikmund, 1992).

The familiarity with the subject and to explore initial constructs related to the subject is some of the objectives of undertaking survey research. In the current dissertation, this data gathering technique has been utilized to probe on the broad array of answers which may probably be given in some other similar population. Moreover, it has been used to fine tune the instruments along its psychometric characteristics. The main focal point of the survey is to assess which constructs to measure and the manner which is best fit for undertaking such measurement.  Finally, it is also utilized to uncover and define new avenues and categories for research of the population under investigation (Oppenheim, 1992).

Numerous units of analyses are utilized in survey research; however, the counts for units in data gathering are conventionally “individuals”. By convention, their answers are cumulated for “larger units of analysis such as role, work group, department or organisation”.  The objectives of the study, it may be adequate to utilize any of these units. Nonetheless, it is usual for numerous respondents to be used since these individuals serve different functional units and occupy various levels of the organisational structure. In effect, they have peculiar views and evaluations on the topic at hand.

Questionnaire Design

According to Chesnall (1997) the questionnaire is a pencil-and-paper measurement instrument used when data is collected by means of self-reporting techniques. They are either mailed to the relative people, or used on physical level with the coordinator being present to aid the person responding with any queries or problems. The information received is limited to the respondent’s written responses to specifically constructed questions, designed prior to the meeting between the two. Questionnaires either describe or measure individual/group characteristics such as values, attitudes, opinions, etc. and contain four types of questions: demographics, behaviour, knowledge and attitude. Finally, they can be classified according to the type of response required, or the type of questionnaire administered (Chesnall (1997). Other considerations are the resources and time available for the research to be carried out. Having considered all of these factors the chosen research style will be (qualitative/quantitative).

The questionnaire has been self-constructed, dealing with the following items: frequency of going buying clothes or visiting a clothing shop, brands usually bought, the budget usually spent every time they shop, considerations important in making a purchase such as social factors (e.g.opinion leaders), the level of influence of these factors and the attributes of the fashion product they usually evaluate.

These close-ended questions had fixed options given for each, and the respondent simply checked which option/s is applicable for him/her. Close-ended questions are questions that the researcher provides, and which may be accomplished by putting a check mark on a box or by encircling a response that corresponds to your choice. Oppenheim (1992) suggests these questions are straightforward and thus easier and quicker to answer; they are very useful in testing specific hypothesis. Most probably, they shall be utilized in the beginning of the investigation, since the unrestricted responses they attract create a better picture of the survey for the researcher. The main advantage of this kind of question is its ability to obtain a summated value (Chesnall, 1997)

As Chesnall (1997) suggests that mail questionnaire is a predetermined set of questions that is sent to a predetermined sample. Its advantages over other methods include its low price, reassured anonymity, confidentiality, its large target scope and its ability to keep certain standards. Mail questionnaires are advantageous when responses have to be obtained from a sample that is geographically dispersed, or it is difficult or not possible to conduct telephone interviews to obtain the same data without much expense. Respondents can take more time to respond at convenience. However, the return rates of mail questionnaires are typically low. A 30% response rate is considered acceptable. Another disadvantage of the mail questionnaire is that any doubts the respondents might have cannot be clarified. Another disadvantage is the restriction to verbal behaviour; answers must be accepted as written without the benefit of additional explanations which interviewers could obtain by probing questions, and overall lack of control on the settings of the research. Because of these constraints, the researcher decided to personally administer the tool to the respondents.

Finalizing the size of the sample to be used is critical from both statistical and economic perspectives (Oppenheim, 1992). Thus, the size of the sample should be determined carefully. Zikmund (2000) suggests that the necessary sample size depends on the sample design and variability in the population. This variability is measured by a standard deviation gained from the pilot study. Because 30 is the minimum number of respondents necessary for using parametric statistics, the researcher ensured that the total number of respondents exceeded this minimum requirement for the quantitative portion of the study.

According to Chesnall (1997), validity is generally considered and established through the relationship of the instrument to the content, criterion, or construct that it attempts to measure. A lack of validity can lead to incorrect conclusion. To ensure the validity of this research, the face validity test is employed as a measure for this questionnaire. The content of questionnaire after the pre-test is shown to marketing and branding experts. They confirmed that the questionnaire basically approaches the appropriate direction. The questionnaire was also shown to two friends of the researcher, who are familiar with the subjects as judges. Both of them consider the questions and layout are appropriate and pitched at the acceptable level.

Sampling Consideration

Sampling Technique

The conduct of a pilot study is critical in the aspects of finalizing the sample size and instrument development. Chisnall (1997) points out that the value of a pilot study lies in validating the accuracy and consistency of sampling frames and planning the final sample size by measuring variability. According to Chisnall (1997), pilot testing pertains to testing the questionnaire on a limited sample of respondents to determine and eliminate potential problems. Therefore, the pilot test is done to 3 respondents in this research study. A pilot study has been conducted to ensure the clarity of the questions in both the survey questionnaire and the interview.

The pilot study allows the proponent to countercheck the comprehension of the interviewees of the research topic and the interpretation of its items. The respondents are asked to answer and comment on the questions. Based on their feedback, some changes are made to the questionnaire to improve the questions considered to be biased so that they would generate more honest and accurate answers.

Sample Size

In all research work, it is usually impossible to survey the whole population under study. Therefore it is of paramount importance to target correctly and determine a sampling frame and a sampling size that will allow the findings to be generalizable to the whole population. A sampling frame is a representation of the elements for determining the target population (Chesnall, 1997) The methods of how sample size is worked out can be found in the ‘Pilot’ section. “The target population has to be defined in such a manner that it contains information on sampling elements, sampling units, and the area of coverage” (Chesnall, 1997). The sample in the current study was chosen through purposive sampling choosing respondents who have already made a recent purchase at Sainsbury (i.e. within the year), and within the 20-40 year old age range.

Data Collection Method

After identification of the relevant research design, data gathering procedures, and the sample size the researcher carefully chose the location of the data gathering process. The researcher made sure that the location will be able to supply the different demographic and psychographic data needed for the success of the study. For this reason, the researcher chose, Covent Garden, Comden Town, United Kingdom due to the following factors:

  • the availability of the respondents
  • the assessment that the respondents can supply the data needed
  • the accessibility of the location

The questionnaires were administered to different respondents. The respondents were chosen randomly to avoid bias in the results.

Limitation of the Research

Due to the fact that the study claims to cover all of the UK market, the study is but limited in the location of gathering the primary data. The researcher admits the focus to only one area and not to all of the United Kingdom cities. Thus, the respondents are also limited and are or maybe, coming from the same area. The number of respondents is also a limitation of the study since it is only an approximation of the total UK fashion market and here the information is derived. The most accurate statistics for the UK fashion market may not be available and thus, limits the data used in the market analysis. The duration of the data gathering process, which, due to the personal limitations of the author, only lasted for two consecutive weeks is a big consideration for the paper and intensifies the limit of the paper.


The use of the secondary and primary data as actual sources of information are not enough to understand the United Kingdom Fashion Market. A more thorough investigation and analyses are needed. In response the paper also employed the following method to analyze the primary aspects of Fashion and Clothing Industry in the United Kingdom and to give a good understanding of the present environment:  Fashion Industry and the Competition Analysis. The Fashion Industry and the Competition were discussed using the current trends in the Fashion Industry. The different market leaders were also presented.

Chapter 4 Findings and Discussion – Survey Results

Demographic Profile

The survey accounts for 60 respondents. All of them were randomly chosen.

11 (18.3% ) of the sample is male and the remaining 49 (81.67 %) is female. It can therefore be implied, that the survey results are bounded by female ideas or, in this case, fashion sense.

The majority of the respondents were married accounting for 39 (65 %) of the sample.

Most of the respondents were from the 25 -30 year old age range accounting for almost 28 (46.67%) of the whole sample. The age bracket with the least representation comes from the 40 – 50 above age range or 2 (3.33 %) only of the sample. The rest of the sample comes from the 20- 25 year old age range (11.67 %), less than 20 year old age range (10 %) and 35-40 year old age range (28.33%).

To know the level of spending of the respondents, they were asked how much they spend for a fashion item or whenever they buy a fashion item. Most of the respondents ( 26.66 %) indicated an average spending of 200 – 275£ although some really spend a lot,10 (16.66 %) said they spend more than 375 £. Some spend 150 – 200 £ (18.33%), 100- 150 £ (13.33%) and 75 – 100 £ (8.33%) and less than 50£ (3.33%). 1 (1.7%) did not indicate his/her level of spending.

Consumer’s Shopping Behaviour

The respondents were asked how many times they visit a clothing shop to assess their frequency of checking or buying a fashion item. 24 (40%) of the respondents said that they seldom visit a fashion store or only once in every 6 months, while 3 (5 % ) visits often once a month. 15 (25 %) , on the other hand, said they pay a visit fornightly.Meanwhile, there were respondents who stated that they visit once a week (11.67%) and/ or more than once a week (18.33%). There were no respondents visiting a shop less than once in 6 months.

To know how many hours the decision process takes place, the respondents were also asked how many hours they spend shopping. Many of the answers from the respondents were stating that they shop for more than four hours, frequency of 11 (18.33 %).  Some spend 3 hours to less than 4 hours when they shop, frequency of 8 (13.33%).7 (11.66 % )said they shop for 1 hour to less than 2 hours. 5 (8.33 %) said they shop for 2 hours to less than 3 hours. 2 (3.33%) of the sample said they shop for 0 to less than an hour.

When the author asked the respondents where they usually go to shop for a clothing item, these were their answers: 25 (41.7 %) shop at a clothing outlet; 19 (31.7 %) of the respondents prefer to purchase at a department store; 10(16.66%) move to a high street shop and 6 (10.0%) do their shopping on other shopping venues as it can be seen in figure 21 above.

To know who the usual buyer of their clothes is, the respondents were asked who usually buys their clothes.The figure 22 above indicates the results as follows: 30 (50%)  of the respondents said they buy their clothes themselves. 18 (30%)  said their partners buy the clothes for them. 7 (11.7%) said their mother/ family members help them buy their clothes and the remaining 5 (8.3%) indicated said their friends buy their clothes.

The author also asked the respondents who are their usual shopping mates, the respondents answered to wit:  25 (41.7%) of the respondents said they shop with their friends, 19 (31.7%) said they shop with their partners while 13 (21.6%) said they like to shop alone. Meanwhile, only 3 (5%) said they shop with their family members.

Shopping Influences

Social factors influence the respondents purchase decisions through: Boyfriend/ Girlfriend (mean=3.8400, sd=.92899), Friends (mean=3.8000,sd=.94281), Print ads (mean= 3.78001, sd=.34525), Parents (mean=3.4700, sd=.57656), Radio ads(mean=3.4400, sd=1.33576), Television (mean=2.8800,sd=1.36537) and Siblings (mean =2.6800, sd= 1.17103)

Attributes the sample said they consider when they choose a product are as follows (ranked accordingly): Style or trend (mean=4.0600, sd=.81427), The brand itself (mean= 3.8800, sd=1.28927), Design (mean=3.8000,sd=.94281), Price (mean=3.1600,sd=1.36122), and Store reputation (mean=3.1600,sd=1.36122). Some of the attributes scored fairly among the other attributes.

Chapter 5 Conclusion and Recommendations


One of the primary reasons why psychologists study behaviour is to predict how man will react to his environment and how he makes his actions. This so called behaviour has been made prominent in all areas of human studies. The study of behaviour in business has been started long ago by Sheth, Howard etc. as their models show. But will these models and the study itself create an impact to business generally, and to the Fashion Industry, specifically?

  • Presented below is the summary of the different models presented in the Review of Related Literature Chapter:
  • After the models were presented, the study also covered the factors that influences the consumer’s buying behaviour as follows:
  • As a summary, the paper attempted to present all possible aspects that might give a good view of how the consumer buying behaviour works.

Summary of the Key Findings

In this part, the paper will try to discuss the results in the previous chapter and see the connections it has with the previous theories by experts in the field. Moreover, this part will answer all the research questions presented in the Introduction Chapter.

Although advertising is one powerful method of reaching the market, it scored lowest among those that affect the consumers’ behaviour. This means that greater efforts are needed to be given to advertising to increase its effectiveness. The UK Fashion Industry market does not lack this factor but the consideration of price or budget to consumers is important, next to design. However, extensive research to segment the market can lead to successful pricing strategies.  Manufacturers must make a strategy to lower the cost of their production to be able to keep up with the pricing demands. For example, 17% of the garments materials used by Marks & Spencer are from India and Asia, respectively. Marks and Spencer made this as a big step toward their goal of lowering production costs ( Thus, strategic initiatives must be well designed. Why? Because the UK market spends only at an average for fashion products.

Another factor to consider in advertising brands is the person to whom it is directed. It is identified in the research that partners and friends are the biggest influence when choosing a fashion item. It is also noticeable, that the usual buyers are those who still have the ability to enjoy the art of shopping.

Since the survey results showed that a store’s location is also important, next to brand itself, it must also be given weight by marketers. Retailing, as one step to reaching the consumers has made a big impact to Courtaulds and will also make an impact to those who will follow Courtauld’s steps because consumers’ access is one important factor to consider, next to the brand name itself. The greater the access, the greater the possibility of buying.

Models of Consumer Behaviour can explain how long the process of making the decision takes place. The first class of formal models, Information Processing models believes that as man makes purchases there is a continuous group of information coming from his environment and he consequently uses this information to make his selections (Bettman & Jones 1986). These information processing models assume that when making choices, man processes information and so this information man processes is simply defines the length of the process. Consumer Behaviour Models vary as given by Bettman etc., but one of the most applicable models would be that of Howard and Sheth according to the findings of the study,. The ‘constructs’, or the processes which the consumer goes through to decide upon his or her actions are important to consider when studying the behaviour of consumers (Howard and Sheth 1968). Effective communication to them can lead to effective product innovation. Although, quantitative approaches are now becoming a part of a firm’s decision making strategies, quantitative models like that of Hopkins are still hard to analyse and may not make good points to behaviour.However, consumer behaviour models are not easy to adapt as there can be as many models as there are forms of products and services.

To further illustrate the model given by Howard and Sheth (1968)  they used Inputs, Constructs and Outputs. From the factors that affect the decision of the buyer, in Fashion, the inputs may include colour, quality of material used, style or trend, design, price, the brand itself and the store location. Consumers can have an evident search into the product characteristics first before getting a stimulus to respond to.In fact, results how that consumers make an intensive search. But the search can be ambiguous and can take a little time to choose between different colours, designs and styles. The style or trend scored high in the survey results which means that consumers often respond to the most popular brand in relation to the current fashion trend. But these aspects are only the physical aspects of the brand. Buyers also consider advertising and the overall brand image shaped by the manufacturer through the years. The social can be the perception of the society about the fashion item which can be good or bad and may affect the consumers brand choices. Consumers also have those choice criteria whenever a product is evaluated.

Finally the outputs the manufacturers look for include that of consumers’ attention or did the brand or product appeal able to capture the consumers’ interest. Results show that the usual attributes of a fashion item they look for are (top three): style or trend, brand itself and design. Brand comprehension speaks if the consumer was able to grasp the meaning the brand communicates. Does consumers attitude changed toward a product or brand? But the most important thing to consider as the output is the fact that consumers really purchased or bought the material after a long product search processes. According to the survey results, consumers really spend a lot of time when searching for a fashion item.

Consumers stated that they actually “shop alone” and “buy their own clothes”. In relation to this, there is a wheel of consumer choice conceptualized by Peter and Olson (1999), this model represent the way actual marketing strategies should be designed. Each of the elements, since it’s a wheel can be a motivation or a reaction to a given set of circumstances which is parallel to the findings of the study that consumers decision affect many factors. Consumer environment as the external forces affecting the buyer can actually lead to alter the consumers buying behaviour, which is also an ingredient of the system. The mental processes used by the consumers when deciding on a product might also have an effect to any of the variables in the wheel. Proponents of this model simplifies the actual processes to help marketers plan their efficient marketing techniques toward triumphant products.

The Holistic Consumer Behaviour model (Yu, 2006 unpub.) argues that the input of the model of the consumers’ experience involves three factors including the individual itself, his setting and the contact between the two. This one can be further analysed using the results of the paper. Marketers use different advertising and marketing strategies to make consumers believe what they are trying to tell them. It is very important that the marketers were able to plan various strategies only to target the “person” as being affected by his “environment”. Why is this important? Because since people go on with their daily struggles with what is actually, not necessarily important, but is connected to them, of course, it is obvious that they will only appreciate those that has relationship to them. When individual gets information that he knows is applicable to him, he will catch the data and it will have the chance to be situated in a part of the individual’s mind. Marketers have this greater chance to expose the consumers to their marketing efforts because consumers, as the results suggest, shop only once in every 6 months.

After looking at the models and how a decision process is evaluated, a clearer picture of the scenario would be to incorporate how consumers start the need to buy. The buying process is a simple process adopted by many consumer behaviour studies. The process starts when the consumers feel the need for a particular product. When an individual in the UK starts to feel that she wants to have a pair of shoes, that’s where the buying process starts. This is followed by the individual’s pre-purchase activities such as evaluating the different brands of jeans in the clothing shop. But, such an individual will not only evaluate but use her behaviour to evaluate. This is where the behaviour takes place in decision making.

The buying participants include the influencers, deciders, the user and the buyer herself ( Zatman & Burger, 1993). The results show that the top three social factors leading him to choose an item are: partners, friends and print-ads. These are actually many of the factors that will lead the consumer to choose her “choices”. Including the brand itself, the social factors such as her partner’s opinions and the different images attached to the competing products. Users of the jeans, in the example, may not have an effect at all to the decision had she not communicated it to the buyer. In short, every decision is made in relation to the influence given by the buying participants. In fact, the results will tell us that the buying participants include the family and partners, but still, the greatest weight must be given to the user of the item. Why? Because, they “shop alone”. Internal Variables might have the least influence in the purchase decision depending on the pressure it can give to the decision. Most probably, a consumer has varying more powerful external forces than that showed by the survey results.

Results show that “brand name image” is very important for the consumer to consider. Thus, this is why marketing strategies should be mainly designed to focus on continuous product development, to increase market visibility, to increase market share, to increase their target market or even to analyse market segments as part of their marketing strategies and mostly, to increase the brand image of the company.

However, the author agrees with the idea of Olshavsky and Spreng (1996). Identifying the most effective organisational processes and policies but not the product which the company carries and, will carry the company, will just do good to the organisation but not the market as a whole.

General Conclusion and Recommendations

Because of the competition in the United Kingdom’s Fashion Industry, wide range promotional activities of leading manufacturers and retailers are increasing. Online retailing has made a big difference in consumers purchasing activities and is now a new move for other companies to switch into the trend.

The main market of the Fashion Industry is the females. With the results of the survey, respondents gave more weight to budget as the primary influence in making a purchase decision. Thus, prices should already revolutionize in the market. Considerably, this is not an easy thing to do. Prices are the indicators of quality and luxury. People find it fulfilling to buy expensive fashion brands. This is the challenge to marketing and advertising: making people buy what they desire.

Advertising, as is as always expensive should be targeted to the most reliable source of influence to the purchaser. Friends and family member’s opinions are one sure way to hit the purchasers’ decision. To target particular markets might be really difficult but the benefit is always worth the exerted efforts. Distinct advertising strategies are now becoming a trend but the market is not easy to bit, its still a test. The more the advertising campaigns influence the decision makers and influencers the greater the probability their products will be given an advantage. Still, advertising campaigns should be strictly law abiding. Thus, in the case of French Connection the agency of UK authorized to repudiate print ads and any kind of advertising made it a requirement for the company to have all ads checked before publicly showing them.

Because it’s very noticeable that people easily give up to fashion trends, as the results show, fashion items should always make a statement.  Fashion styles are becoming a new strategy for companies to enter the consumers want for unique fashion products. . Fashion trends can impact the society as a whole and can add prestige to the product image.

Popular brands easily get the markets’ attention. Consumers will most likely buy the brand that has the name than the quality. Since the UK Fashion brands are established brands in the world market, product imaging is not a serious problem. Threats from the other non-popular brands entering the market are not as strong as it may seem to impact the whole fashion industry.  But still as Bob Stone suggests “People buy benefits, not features”.

But in the quest for continuous product image improvement, there might be an unfair competition strategy especially to some of the most respected UK brands, the reason why enough competition analyses should be strictly implemented.

Consumer Behaviour is a serous thing to consider especially if firms comprising the Fashion Industry want to improve customer perceived value or the “what they can get from the product”. Customer satisfaction and customer relationship successes will just come after that.

It can be considered that investing in appropriate research and development methods to identify consumer buying behaviour is not a complex decision to do. Firms hire the best possible managers but should also employ the best possible initiatives. Incorporating buyer behaviour analyses to a company’s main product lines will not give harm to the company and instead increase the benefit they get from these products.

Although “stiff competition” can be considered a strength for the UK Fashion Industry (because the stiffer the competition, the better the items will come out from the producers), does not guaranty that the market will always be strong in all centuries to come. Employment is getting big and so are enterprises, new products come and develop.

Although Burberry Group PLC, Courtaulds Textiles (Holdings) Ltd, Delta Textiles (London) Ltd, French Connection Group PLC , Levi Strauss UK Ltd are the current market leaders, business groups below them still have a big chance of dominating the market.

In this era of technology where there is not a slight difference between communication transmission methods, not only the giants in the Industry will be able to gear up their strategies to their target markets. Considerable marketing efforts should stand against all barriers to success. Given the fact that a consumer behaviour analysis is not widely used, it is still a plus for those who will employ it.

Still, where fewer efforts are needed, investing in the research is still an option. Firms which have significant profit margins on a particular product or market have already gained substantial power enough to retain the market. In such cases, consumer buying behaviour, as key to the consumer’s heart, presents only the opportunity for a firm’s product or service to penetrate into the consumers’ thought.

However, different buyer behaviour models are needed to ensure effective analyses and employ competitive innovative strategies. UK Fashion firms do not only focus on one market because of its international image and brands. Thus, methodical studies are made by proficient analysts of the subject matter should be a priority not only to UK but also to all other markets targeted by each brand and planned to be entered.

Manufacturers and retailers who wish to adapt the strategy have a choice in making their own models to fit better to their business ideas.

The role of production in business is to ensure that they have made products according to what costumers need and what consumers want. People will definitely react optimistically to the products that they know have been designed for them.

Generally, consumer buying behaviour analysis is important for marketing strategy to consider that new products are actually not just created for the marketer to sell but for the consumer to buy. Another thing is that firms that enter the market exert huge efforts and enormous amounts of money to put their products into the consumers buying choice. Consider also that customers are the ones who identify which brands will stay in the market and which brands to say goodbye. The effect of consumer buying behaviour to consumers is not only that they will purchase the product but they will be happy purchasing the product because it is getting what they think and what they know they want. In advertising as a source of getting the targeted consumers are needed to be addressed to the decision makers of those purchasing the products. Marketing efforts can be lessened and costs can be decreased because of successful consumer behaviour analyses that respond to the product identity. Further improvements in products can be given more substance when consumer buying behaviour is considered and decline, in case of mature products can be avoided. Fashion products that make the consumer special will definitely stay in the market and might become a legacy of every fashion company.

Because of the increase in new global brands threatening the UK fashion market, especially from the non-clothing companies which are visibly becoming embraced by the consumer market. There is no more opportunity for the both the retail and manufacturing industry to stay afloat in spite of all these external invading forces. Industries which have a better understanding of the process of the consumers buying and there they arrive at their purchase decisions have an advantage to those who have not because the they can expand their strategies which concerns the consumer’s buying outline. But still, a more effective marketing strategy will come if the determinants of the buyers’ decisions are well recognized.

Directions for Future Research

The author of the study recognizes that the future studies will be better than this one. First, as indicated in Chapter III, there are various factors that affect the strength of the study such as area or location, the number of respondent or sample size, the data for the market analysis and duration of the data gathering process. The author recommends that future researches on the topic cover more of the limitations mentioned above. The greater the data available, the more accurate the result. Furthermore, the researcher also recommends the use of a more systematic data gathering procedure for surveys and other methods carried out for this purpose.

Limitations of the Research

With the knowledge of the author that this study might be the premier study conducted for the consumer buying behaviour in the fashion industry in the United Kingdom, the author recognizes that the study is still weak in terms of the following: sample size, time and expertise. The author recognizes the need for the development of a more thorough and better research on this subject.  The sample size, as seen in chapter IV, is only very small if it will be the basis to constitute the whole population of the fashion industry market. Thus, a better research might deal with more respondents. The time spent for this study is also limited compared to the studies done by experts in the field of psychology and human behaviour. In fact, the researcher believes that had this study been done with experts in the field, the study and the results could be more comprehensive and reliable. However, the implications and conclusion stated in the research are, in one way or another, a foundation for other researches to pursue a more excellent investigation.


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