Describing the brand wearing male consumer and his searching and evaluating behaviour in the retail environment
The behaviour of the male consumer in the retail environment is under-explored. Literature indicates that the market for men's clothing is growing and is becoming increasingly important to clothing retailers. It was also found that younger male consumers are more fashion conscious and shop more frequently than older males. These younger males, aged 15 to 24, are more likely to be influenced by peer pressure and have a need to conform to a social group. The social identity theory was used in this study which shows that individuals want to conform to a group containing group members with certain similarity. In this study the similarities are being male consumers who wear branded clothing. By wearing branded clothing, social identity is formed and it makes it easier for them to identify with a social reference group. Limited research has however been done specifically in South Africa on brand wearing male consumers. In order to have a better understanding of this consumer market a qualitative exploratory study was done, examining the brand wearing male consumer's reasons for wearing branded clothing and his searching and evaluating behaviour in the retail environment. The three objectives of this study were: to explore why these male consumers wear branded clothing; the role of social identity when wearing branded clothing and their searching and evaluating behaviour in the retail environment. Thirty individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with brand wearing male consumers in order to investigate the three objectives of this study. The first objective was to explore the reasons why male clothing consumers wear branded clothing. It was found that the male consumer believes that clothing with brand names are better quality items. Furthermore they indicated that branded clothing has certain advantages, for example, complimenting their bodies through the way it fit and giving status to the persons wearing the brand. The effect of the branded clothing on the consumers led to the second objective, namely to explore the role of social identity in their reasons for wearing branded clothing. The participants felt that a brand name enhances the wearer's image and status and thus, not only makes the male feel better about himself, but also helps him to conform to a social group. Thirdly, their searching and evaluating behaviour in the retail environment was examined. The results indicated that when the males notice an item, they tend to think about the item, they evaluate it visually and also do a physical evaluation of the item. This research can be used as the foundation for a large quantitative study to obtain more comprehensive results. Retailers can use this information to understand their target market better and to deliver a desirable shopping experience for the brand wearing male consumer, thus leading to more sales.
- ETD@PUK