The Female Fashion Consumer Behaviour

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The female fashion consumer behaviourFÖRETAGSEKONOMI/MARKNADSFÖRING VT-09--FÖRETAGSEKONOMI/MARKNADSFÖRING VT-09From the perspective of the shop Fever in GothenburgBACHELOR THESISBUSINESS ECONOMICS/MARKETING SPRING 10TUTOR: Martin ÖbergAUTHORS:Julia Holmberg 860329-5067Rebecca Öhnfeldt 841212-15201

PrefaceThis essay was written at Handelshögskolan during the spring semester 2010, at theUniversity of Gothenburg. We hope that you as a reader will enjoy taking part of thethings that we have learnt during the process, and that you find the subject interesting.With these words we would like to thank our tutor, Martin Öberg, for his guidanceand advice. We would also like to thank Henrik Hansson, the owner of the shopFever.Finally, we would like to thank all the respondents that participated in our survey.Their answers have been necessary and of great value for this essay.Gothenburg, May 24, 2010Julia HolmbergRebecca ÖhnfeldtI

AbstractFashion is a billion-dollar industry employing millions of people around the world.Ever since the economy became more global, consumers have to a large extent beenaffected by this fast evolving industry. Towards the late 1980’s, several large retailersdominated the fashion apparel business. Over the past decades the fashion industryhas gone through some major structural changes. The end of the Multi FibreArrangement in 2005 increased the amount of bargain supermarkets for clothing. Inthe fast evolving fashion industry even the best plans and activities can beundermined by economic change and the actions of competitors.The fashion market in Sweden experiences severe competition under presentconditions. Large clothing chains, such as H&M, Lindex and Kappahl, dominate themarket. This puts smaller independent retail shops in a problematic situation. It istoday easy to buy high fashion at a low price, particularly regarding female garments.The purpose of this study is to investigate the female consumer behaviour, withreference to clothes shopping. Subsequently the results will be applied to theindependent retailer Fever in order to understand the shop’s lack of female customers.The study consists of two female consumer behaviour investigations, one outside theshop Fever and one in the city, and an interview with the owner of Fever. Additionaldata has been collected from a variety of sources such as books, databases andarticles. The theoretical framework that has been selected consists of a part regardingmarket segmentation, the Marketing Mix Model, a consumer behaviour description,and a female consumer behaviour analysis. These theories and models constitute ourresearch model, which has been used throughout this thesis.The chosen method is a combination of two quantitative surveys of female consumerbehaviour, and a qualitative interview to gain deeper knowledge about the subject andto obtain width to the collected data. Initially, the approach will be exploratory withthe purpose of obtaining the fundamental knowledge and understanding of theproblem area that is needed as a basis for the rest of the thesis. Furthermore, thisinitial approach is developed by a descriptive part based on primary data.The outcome of the analysis shows that Fever is in a precarious situation. Thestructured interviews performed in the city and outside Fever, indicate that women inGothenburg in general are interested in fashion, but that there nevertheless is a largegap between the average female Fever customer and the average female shopper inthe city. Fever experiences problems with reaching its female target group. However,there are aspects of the female consumer behaviour that will support Fever’scontinued selling of female garments. In order to counteract the low demand in theladies department Fever has to take some severe measures, preferably on thepromotional side.Finally, we have come to the conclusion that Fever can continue selling femalegarment since there are opportunities that might turn the situation.II

DefinitionsTrend: the direction in which fashion is heading.Style: a combination of silhouette, construction, fabric, and details that make theperformance of an outfit distinctive.Image: profile, face outwards, the associations people make when the company or theproduct is being mentioned.Accessories: items that belong to clothing, for instance belts, gloves, scarves,jewelleries, bags and purses.Fashionable: conforming to fashion.Fashion consciousness: can be used to evaluate a person’s level of fashionability.Clothing: garments collectively; apparel, covering, costume etc.Fads: short-term styles that are fashionable for a moment but quickly rejected.Classic: a style that lasts for an indefinite period of time.Season: the frequency with which the entire range within a store is changed.Fast fashion: clothing collections which are based on the most recent fashion trendspresented at fashion week in both the spring and the autumn of every year.Fashion involvement: refers to the degree of which a person is involved in differentfashion-related concepts, together with reactions, awareness, interest and knowledge.Clothing interest: a persons’ attitudes and beliefs about clothing, how muchknowledge that person possess and how much attention he or she pays towardsclothing. It also involves the concern and curiosity that a person has about his/her ownclothing and that of others.Hedonism: a school of ethics that argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. Thebasic idea behind hedonistic thought is that pleasure is the only thing that has realvalue. This is often used as a justification for evaluating actions in terms of how muchpleasure and how little pain they produce. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives tomaximize this net pleasure (pleasure minus pain).Shopping: the examining of goods or services from retailers with the intent topurchase at that time. Shopping is an activity of selection and/or purchase. In somecontexts it is considered a leisure activity as well as an economic one.Multi Fibre Arrangement: governed the world trade in textile and garments from1974 through 2004, imposing quotas on the amount developing countries could exportto developed countries. It expired on 1st January 2005.III

Table of contents1. Introduction . 11.1 Background11.1.1 Fashion history11.1.2 Fashion as a pyramid21.1.3 The fashion industry31.1.4 Fashion consumption41.2 Fever41.3 Problem discussion51.3.1 Fever's situation51.3.2 Male and female shopping behaviour51.3.3 The female fashion consumer61.4 Research questions71.5 Purpose71.6 Delimitations81.7 Thesis outline91.8 Chapter overview102. Theoretical framework . 112.1 Market segmentation112.2 The marketing mix122.2.1 The fashion marketing mix2.3 Consumer behaviour12142.3.1 Attitudes142.3.2 Values152.3.3 Motivation152.3.4 Customer loyalty versus impulse buying162.3.5 Decision-making172.4 Female consumer behaviour2.4.1 Movement pattern17183. Informational need . 194. Method . 204.1 Scientific research approach204.2 Research purpose204.3 Quantitative or qualitative approach214.4 Data collection21IV

4.5 Primary data collection methods4.5.1 Interviews and surveys22224.6 Sample process224.7 Evaluation of our study234.8 Evaluation of the sources245. Results . 265.1 Interview with the owner of Fever265.2 Structured interviews in the city and outside Fever275.3 Female consumer behaviour285.3.1 Attitude5.3.1.1 Clothes shopping5.3.2 Value5.3.2.1 Mood5.3.3 Motivation28282929295.3.3.1 Trends and fashion295.3.3.2 Motivational factors305.3.3.3 Self-esteem and identity315.3.4 Consumer loyalty versus impulse buying325.3.4.1 Planning325.3.4.2 Loyalty towards a certain clothes shop335.3.4.3 Loyalty towards a certain brand335.3.5 Decision-making345.3.5.1 Designer clothes345.3.5.2 Clothes shops and shopping manner345.4 Movement pattern355.5 Fever365.5.1 Shopping frequency at Fever365.5.2 Knowledge about Fever375.5.3 Attitude towards Fever385.5.4 Fevers’ clothes385.6 Remaining results395.6.1 Store environment395.6.2 Image405.6.3 Shopping frequency405.6.4 Average spending on clothes416. Analysis . 436.1 Consumer behaviour43V

6.1.1 Attitudes6.1.1.1 Clothes shopping6.1.2 Values6.1.2.1 Mood6.1.3 Motivation43434344446.1.3.1Importance of fashion446.1.3.2 Motivational factors456.1.3.3 Identity and self-esteem456.1.4 Consumer loyalty versus impulse buying456.1.4.1 Impulse buying456.1.4.2 Loyalty towards a certain clothes shop466.1.4.3 Loyalty towards a certain brand476.1.5 Decision-making476.1.5.1 Designer clothes476.1.5.2 Clothes shops and shopping manner476.1.6 Movement pattern486.1.7 Fever486.1.8 Market segmentation496.1.9 Fashion marketing mix506.1.10 Remaining results516.1.11 The female fashion consumer516.1.11.1 The average female clothes shopper in central Gothenburg516.1.11.2 The average female Fever consumer527. Conclusion and recommendations . 53List of references . 56Appendices . 59VI

Figure tableFigure 1: Thesis outline . 9Figure 2 : Chapter overview . 10Figure 3: Marketing Mix . 12Figure 4: Consumer behaviour in fashion . 13Figure 5: ABC-model . 14Figure 6: Maslow’s hierarchy . 16Figure 7: Age and occupation . 27Figure 8: Clothes shopping . 28Figure 9: Mood . 29Figure 10: Trends and fashion . 30Figure 11: Motivational factors . 31Figure 12: Self-esteem and identity. 32Figure 13: Planning . 33Figure 14: Loyalty towards a shop . 33Figure 15: Loyalty towards a brand . 33Figure 16: Designer clothes . 34Figure 17: Clothes shops and shopping manner . 35Figure 18: Movement pattern . 36Figure 19: Shopping frequency . 37Figure 20: Knowledge about Fever . 37Figure 21: Attitude towards Fever . 38Figure 22: Fevers’ clothes . 39Figure 23: Store environment. 40Figure 24: Store image . 40Figure 25: Shopping frequency . 41Figure 26: Spending . 41VII

1. IntroductionThis essay examines how the behaviour of the female fashion consumer affects a smallindependent retailer named Fever. In this initial chapter, among other things, thebackground, the shop Fever, the problem discussion, the research question and thepurpose are being presented in order to provide a deeper understanding of theessays’ intentions. The chapter begins with an account of the term fashion.1.1 BackgroundFashion is a billion-dollar industry employing millions of people around the world.Ever since the economy became more global, consumers have to a large extent beenaffected by this fast evolving industry. Fashion reflects our society and our culture,likewise it reflects how people define themselves. People tend to equate fashion withclothing and accessories even though fashion processes affect all types of culturalphenomena. Fashion can be found in almost any human activity. The term involveschange and can be defined as series of short-term trends. (Solomon & Rabolt, 2009)In this essay the word fashion will be used as a reference to clothing and accessories.When clothes leave the fabric they are merely garments. It is not until the marketersget hold of them that they become fashion. Clothing and accessories express how wefeel, how we see ourselves and how we wish to be conceived by others. When we buyclothes we buy an identity. (Tungate, 2008) Fashion constitutes an important societalpart of the individual’s well-being. Through the right choice of clothing it is possiblefor an individual to improve his or her self-esteem and acceptance by other people.(Easey, 2009) Identities and social roles appear through people’s choice of clothingand accessories. Clothes function as symbols that indicate status, gender, social groupallegiance and personality. (Craik, 2009)The term fashion also includes the personal shopping behaviour that displaysindividuals’ values and tastes to others. Fashion can be related to all characteristics ofsomeone’s appearance that provide value on different levels. Fashion can now morethan ever become an important and meaningful activity in a clothing interestedperson’s life. (Pentecost & Andrews, 2009)1.1.1 Fashion historyThe term fashion was first used during the fourteenth century and the term was, as itis today, connected to people’s appearance according to established norms andcustoms. During the industrialization better technique increased the production speedof clothing and fashion became a consumer culture. People started to display theirstatus through choices of clothing to a much larger extent than before. (Craik, 2009)Nowadays high fashion has become easily accessible and consumer’s demand forclothing is fragmented and judicious. Retailers carry high stock levels and thedifferent styles and fabrics available are numerous. Retailers such as H&M and Zaraimport low-cost garments and are rapidly gaining market shares over the world. Tocounteract the strong competition the big retailers increase the speed with which theyintroduce new trends and style changes. (Easey, 2009)1

Until the mid 1980’s, the fashion industry was based on mass production ofstandardized styles that did not change frequently due to the design restrictions of thefactories. Consumers were less sensitive toward style and fashion, and preferred basicapparel. During the 1980’s the import of fashion oriented apparel for womenincreased. This reduced the demand for the more classic and simple apparel asconsumers started to become more fashion-conscious. (Bhardwaj & Fairhurst, 2010)Towards the late 1980’s, several large retailers dominated the fashion apparelindustry. Over the past decades the fashion industry has gone through some majorstructural changes. To survive the competition, other retailers started to increase theirprofits from combinations of design, sales and marketing, and by linking withoverseas factories. A large part of the manufacturing has been moved from thewestern world to e.g. China. The fashion industry developed an infrastructure with anemphasis on promoting responsiveness through reduced lead times, along withmaintaining low costs. The phenomenon of outsourcing manufacturing in the fashionapparel industry to offshore places with low labor costs became a trend, and resultedin a large cost advantage. (Bhardwaj & Fairhurst, 2010; Easey, 2009)Towards the beginning of the 1990’s, retailers started focusing on expanding theirproduct range with updated products and faster responsiveness to fashion trends. Inorder to increase the variety of clothing in the market, producers started to add morephases to the existing fashion seasons. These changes of the number of seasons camepartly from the changes in consumers’ lifestyles and partly from consumer’s demandfor fashion clothing for specific occasions. (Bhardwaj & Fairhurst, 2010)1.1.2 Fashion as a pyramidFashion is constructed like a pyramid. At the top we find haute couture (high fashion)literally meaning, “high sewing” in French. This is the highest form of sewing art andonly a few fashion houses in Europe perform the bespoke and very exclusiveproduction. The haute couture is traditionally associated with the Paris fashionindustry. Just below the haute couture is the famous designer’s prêt-à-porter (readyto-wear) clothing, clothes that are not bespoke but still maintain a high price tag. Theycan be found in designers’ shops, independent stores and some of the more exclusivedepartment stores. The designs are not unique but are produced in a limited numberwith a strict quality control. In the middle of the pyramid are the challenger brands,these garments are very fashionable but not as expensive as the well-knowndesigner’s ready-to-wear. (Easey, 2009)The bottom of the pyramid consists of mass retailing. Mass retailing can also bedivided into different sections. At the very bottom is the most basic type of garmentssewn according to standardized styles such as simple t-shirts and plain jeans; clothesthat are sold at, for example, large department stores. The authors of this essay referto this type of clothing as basic garments. In the higher layer of the mass retailingsection we find cheap but still very trendy garments sold at e.g. H&M and Zara. It isin this area that most people buy their clothes, what customers lose in exclusivity theymake up for in value of money. (Tungate, 2008)When people demand something more than basic apparel they become fashionconscious. As written before we refer to fashion as garments and accessories.However, this notion can be further developed. Fashion is a cyclical phenomenon of atemporary character adopted by consumers for a particular time. Fashion is2

characterized by factors such as low predictability, high impulse purchase and highvolatility of market demand. (Bhardwaj & Fairhurst, 2010) This definitiondemonstrates that basic garments cannot be referred to as fashion in that sense.Fashion involves a strong creative and design component

Fast fashion: clothing collections which are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at fashion week in both the spring and the autumn of every year. Fashion involvement: refers to the degree of which a person is involv