Decision-making styles of generation Y consumers in the purchase of fashion apparel in Kempton Park

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Mandhlazi, Lawrence
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The underlying determinants of how and why people shop has been a topic of study for many years, when typologies of shopping styles were developed. These studies have been successful in demonstrating that some shoppers display consistent shopping orientations that can be diametrically opposed, for example, the functional shopper versus the recreational shopper. This study concentrates on purchasing patterns of consumers by examining the decision-making styles of Generation Y consumers with regard to fashion apparel. The study reports on various stages that consumers undergo when confronted with a decision situation. These stages are outlined as need recognition, information search, pre-purchase evaluation, purchase, consumption and post-consumption. The buying behaviours influencing consumers were categorised into internal and external factors. The internal factor includes perception, motivation, learning, attitudes, personalities, self-concept, lifestyle and demography. The external factors comprised the following variables, namely, cultural background, subculture, family influence, and the social factor. The general characteristics of Generation Y were briefly discussed. Various dimensions used to measure consumer decision-making styles were reviewed in the study related to perfectionism, brand consciousness, novelty-fashion consciousness, recreational consciousness, price-and-value-for-money consciousness, impulsiveness and confusion as a result of overchoice of brands. The study adopted quantitative approach. A structured questionnaire was used to survey 230 students who were selected using non-probability convenience sampling. Seven dimensions measuring consumer decision-making styles were found to be applicable within the Generation Y context. These consumers were profiled as being quality conscious, brand conscious, novelty-seeking, hedonistic, confused by overchoice, habitual, brand loyal and fashion conscious. Differences were found between consumers who are confused by overchoice and younger Generation Y consumers. Younger consumers were found to be more confused by overchoice compared to their older counterparts. It is suggested that apparel retailers should try to use communication channels which will be more understandable by Generation Y consumers, and they should provide information that assists buyers to make a rational decision in the buying process. Differences were also confirmed between habitual, brand-loyal consumers and age. It was found that younger consumers are more likely to be loyal to specific brands as compared to their older counterparts. Differences were noted between brand conscious, confused by overchoice and gender. Brand consciousness was regarded as a reflection of men‟s desire to use shopping as a demonstration of their superiority, as well as being beneficial because they reduce search costs. It was revealed that males were more brand conscious than their female counterparts. It also highlighted that males were more confused by overchoice than females. The study found that the majority of Generation Y does pursue quality, even if it means paying higher prices. It is recommended that retailers should continue to emphasise their well-known brand names and set prices at levels where consumers perceive the quality of the product by its price. Retailers should focus on diverse designs, sizes and colours in their product assortment and range. The introduction of new products through the use of fashion shows, fashion magazines and advertisements may provide added advantages in terms of brand awareness
Thesis. (M. Tech. (Dept. of Marketing, Faculty of Management Sciences)) -- Vaal University of Technology, 2011.
Fashion apparel -- Kempton Park, Consumer purchasing patterns, Buying behaviour, Generation Y -- buying behaviour, Fashion brands