The importance of apparel product attributes for teenaged buyers

Abstract

The present paper is an attempt to examine the significant factors of teenagers’ apparel purchase intentions in Lucknow. The main objective of the research paper is to explore and conceptualize various factors, which influence the purchase patterns of teenagers. A questionnaire consisting of 43 items was developed to measure the construct and its dimensions. The first draft of the questionnaire was subject to a pilot testing through a focus group and an expert evaluation. Data was gathered from 187 teenagers and a structured questionnaire on a fivepoint rating (Likert scale)was administered byway of a personal interview. Through this study, an attempt is made to find out the effect of fashion apparels, instore promotions, reference group, body cathexis and its influence on purchase of apparel by teenagers. For the purpose of analysis, statistical tools like Factor analysis, GRA & RIDIT have been used. Results of the study might be useful to academicians, apparel manufacturers, and other applied researchers.

Introduction

The intention of this article is to present a descriptive approach to clothing brands purchasing behaviour and attitudes of teenagers in Lucknow. The purpose of the study is to analyze the attitudes of teenagers towards clothing brands from the viewpoint of fashion apparels, in-store promotions, reference group, body cathexis and purchasing choice criteria. It has been observed by some researchers that cultural values affect the purchase intentions of fashion apparel. In societies that exhibit hedonic values, fashion apparel is promoted by manufacturers and retailers to induce a sudden, compelling, socially complex buying behaviour through promotional programs to increase disposable income by facilitating credit to the consumer (Venkatesh et al, 2010). Manufacturers and retailers apply both push and pull strategies to make promotions of fashion apparel effective and advantageous to the consumers. Promotions targeted at final consumers, known as pull promotions, directly offer extra value to consumers, with the primary goals of attracting consumers to retail locations and stimulating immediate sales. Though both push and pull promotions are designed to speed up the selling process and increase sales, at least in the short term, their strategic implications as well as their impacts on fashion sales and profits are believed to be different. Such promotion led fashion retailing culture stimulates fashion oriented attitudes, debt and spending behaviour on clothing among consumers (Martin-Herran et al, 2010). Designer brands and departmental stores have redefined the strategies of retailing fashion apparel in India considering globallocal buying preferences. The central and northern regions of India have witnessed an increase in specialized apparel stores, which imposes new demands on manufacturers, wholesalers, and consumers (Chavez, 2002). It has been observed that the attributes determining overall acceptance of fashion apparel and accessories among Indian consumers are significantly influenced by product attractiveness and price sensitivity. Purchase intent was influenced by overall appearance, brand appeal, and overall liking (Rajagopal, 2006a; Herrera-Corredor , 2007). Fashion apparel is largely penetrating in India through cross border (American) consumer influence. Out shoppers literally go extra miles to out shop for better quality and assortment of merchandise, higher quality of personal service, a more pleasant shopping atmospherics, and more competitive prices (Guo and Wang, 2009). In-store promotion techniques are employed to increase unplanned purchases of products. The techniques include in-store settings, on-shelf positions, price-off, sampling, point-of purchase displays, coupons, demonstrations of samples to name a few. (Abratt and Goodey1990) found out that unplanned shopping was to the tune of 14 per cent in toilet soaps, 24 per cent in fizzy drinks and 9 per cent in toothpastes. The study concluded that stimulus responsible for unplanned purchase was as follows: Sign on shelf: 54%, Price 14.5%, Special display 8%, Others 5%, POP 4.5%, Friend’s suggestion 4%, End of Aisle display 3.5%, Ad recall 2%, Family suggestion 2%, Size/ package 1%, Special Offer 1% and In-store advertisement 0.5%. Kessler (2004) points out that retailers worldwide are not only aware of their growing power, but flex their muscles and squeeze margins regularly. Brands respond to this in a variety of ways and one of them is in-store marketing and display. Research by point of purchase advertising institute (POPAI) has shown that 75% of purchase decisions are made in-store. Consumers have a profile of brands that they will consider purchasing and the choice of which one to buy is made at the moment of brand selection inside the store. Reference Groups – Kollat, Blackwell and Engel (1970) define reference groups as follows: “When an interacting group of persons or even a single person influences the attitudes or behaviour of another individual, that group is said to be a reference group for the influenced individual. The group serves as an evaluation or normative point for the individual”. Body cathexis, as defined by LaBat and DeLong, is “the evaluative dimension of body image and is defined as positive and negative feelings toward one’s body” and is an “integral part of body image and self concept”. (LaBat’s and DeLong’s, 1990) study regarding the relationship between body cathexis and satisfaction with apparel fit revealed that, indeed, there is a positive relationship between satisfaction with the body and satisfaction with the fit of clothing. The current study attempts to test the relationship between satisfaction with fit of clothing and fashion interest for teenagers. The results of the study by (Shim, Kotsiopulos and Knoll, 1991) in which the men illustrated relationships between the body cathexis and clothing attitude is a significant finding for the current research from which a prediction between the satisfaction with fit and fashion interest variables is made. The findings from the (Shim, et al. 1991) study may also prove significant in the relationship between store patronage and satisfaction with fit variables in the current study as those that have higher levels of satisfaction with fit are more likely to be more involved in fashion and will have more discriminatory tastes in where to shop for clothing.

This paper is an attempt to gain an insight into the purchase intention and the vital factors that influence teenage behaviour. The paper is an honest endeavour which will throw light on the significant aspects that the marketer can afford to ignore only at his own risk. Some of these issues discussed are: fashion apparels, in-store promotions, reference group, and body cathexis. The paper would also try to analyze the purchasing and spending patterns at the retail level and will make an effort to provide an insight into the media that usually appeal to their psyche.

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