Global Fashion Management Conference 2015 Global Fashion Management Conference at Florence , Renaissance of Marketing and Management in Fashion (p.47-50)

GLOBAL FASHION CONSUMPTION MOTIVES: A CROSS-CULTURAL COMPARISON OF APPAREL CONSUMER DECISION-MAKING CHARACTERISTICS IN THE USA, FRANCE, GERMANY AND AUSTRIA

키워드 :
fashion consumption,decision motives,culture,purchase behavior,French consumer

초록

Background & Research Objectives
The ever-changing nature of fashion and multicultural consumption motives shape and challenge the contemporary global fashion world. To some extent, it has been experienced that individuals across countries engage in similar fashion movements simultaneously. Therefore, it may be assumed that there partially exists a homogenized, transnational global consumer segment when it comes to the purchase of clothing items. Nevertheless, on the other hand, there still remain several divergences in the consumption behavior of fashion products around diverse parts of the world (Yurchisin & Johnson, 2010). It is universally agreed that consumers engage in shopping with specific decision-making modes and styles which make the search for a common instrument that is able to describe the purchase orientation of fashion consumers across cultures quite problematic and challenging. Indeed, according to the buyer´s cultural backgrounds, fashion consumption motives and the benefits searched for when buying an apparel product could be very different (Tahmid, 2012).Today´s fashion consumer is characterized by a continuously evolving set of complex wants and needs that can be satisfied by a wide variety of competing alternatives (Pandey & Dixit, 2011). The different aspirations and motivations which consumers express are generally shaped by various shopping outcomes which they are prone to achieve (Yurchisin & Johnson, 2010).Motivation is described as an internal state that activates goal-oriented behaviour. It refers to the processes that lead people to behave as they do. It occurs when a need is aroused that the consumer wishes to satisfy. The need creates a state of tension that drives the consumer to attempt to reduce or eliminate it. This need may be utilitarian (i.e., a desire to achieve some functional or practical benefit) or it may be hedonic (i.e., an experiential need, involving emotional responses or fantasies). Marketers try to create products and services to provide the desired benefits and help the consumer to diminish this tension (Solomon, 2013).It is advocated that fashion consumption is made up of two major categories of drivers, namely social consumption motives and individual consumption motives which both represent psychological determinants. Those psychological factors influencing apparel purchase behavior can be separated into rational, emotional (perceptional) and patronage motives (Diamond, 2005). Rational motives replicate a pragmatic orientation, such as quality- or price consciousness in purchase behavior. In contrast, emotional drivers include, amongst others, motivations linked to physical vanity and fashion consciousness, adventure-, gratification- and pleasure seeking, materialism, status and conspicuousness, impulsive and compulsive consumption. Patronage motives, on the other hand, reflect habitual buying and for instance are connected to brand-consciousness and store loyalty (Diamond, 2005). By profiling international apparel consumers based on their individual decision-making styles and modes, more meaningful ways to identify and understand different cross-cultural customer segments are offered. As a result, fashion industries are able to target each customer segment with more focused marketing-strategies, based on their motives and aimed-for benefits linked to purchasing clothing products.This topic raises a number of important questions for researchers and practitioners. To the authors´ knowledge no empirical contributions to compare and contrast prevalent motives of apparel consumption in Western nations exist. Hence, in order to fill this research gap and broaden this important research area, this explorative study focuses on the identification and discussion of similarities and differences in buying characteristics between the USA, France, Germany and Austria by analyzing valuable motives that have not yet been empirically examined in a cross-cultural fashion context.

Methodology
Starting with a review of existing literature regarding generic consumer decision making motives, like e.g. Sproles & Kendall (1986), Mokhlis (2009) and Hiu, Siu, Wang & Chang (2001), an initial classification into rational, emotional and patronage motiveswas undertaken for the field of fashion, which later on was expanded using the results of a qualitative pre-study conducted with 50 interviewees in New York to gain first insights as a basis for the proximate, main empirical research. In compliance with triangulation theory in social science (see e.g. Cohen & Manion, 2000), which advocates data collection from manifold sources, a combination of quantitative and qualitative research was carried out in the core study, consisting of expert interviews and an online consumer survey. Due to a lack of existing literature foundation, the main research is explorative and not based on specific hypotheses. In the first section, a qualitative analysis of the mentioned motives was done using NVivo on the grounds of 16 expert interviews with fashion marketing communication and design experts in the four research countries. The second part of the empirical study was conducted via a quantitative consumer survey, to enable a Web based questioning through Lime Survey. To minimize possible language barriers, the questionnaire was delineated in three languages, translated from English into French and German by bilingual professionals in order to ensure best possible quality, precision, accuracy, reliability and validity of the empirical study. For this specific type of quantitative research, a stratified random sampling procedure was applied. Altogether, 693 individuals (482 female and 211 male subjects) participated in the online survey, 174 in USA, Germany and Austria respectively, and 171 in France. The total non-student sample included participants with a mean age of 28.4 years. Subjects were asked to evaluate 22 rational, emotional and patronage motives derived from literature and the pretest on a 7 point Likert scale. Cross-cultural similarities and differences were revealed throughout the examination process. An analysis of variance (one-way ANOVA) on the mean values and a subsequent Post-Hoc Tukey Test disclosed significant variations between the four nations for 15 out of the 22 tested motivational determinants influencing fashion consumption behavior.

In a first step, the authors refrained from using a factor analysis, in order to retain more detailed information. Findings demonstrate that American consumers pay the most attention towards price-value relations and cheap deals, compared to the remaining countries. They additionally consider quality attributes the least when deciding upon which fashion products to buy. In contrast to the other nations, American consumers are most pragmatically oriented when deciding upon which apparel items to purchase. Furthermore, they engage the least in spontaneous clothes shopping in the spur of the moment. An investigation of the preferred brand segments per country supported these outputs by highlighting the statistic that American consumers buy significantly less apparel from the upper-middle price segment than Austrian, German or French consumers. Accordingly, in comparison to the other nations, American consumers purchase the most value/discount fashion. Moreover, outcomes illustrate that French consumers have a higher tendency of buying garments from the same stores and boutiques than Austrian and German consumers. Correspondingly, Austrian and German consumers feel significantly less confused by over-choice of apparel offerings than French consumers. To that effect, in terms of country of origin being a characteristic that impacts fashion consumption, findings prove that French consumers value national heritage of clothing more than Austrian and German consumers. Indeed, they tend to also pay more attention to buying apparel that originates from the home country. Outcomes further pinpoint that compared to Austrian and German consumers, Americans and French utilize fashion significantly more to make a positive impression on others, feel socially belonging and accepted as well as to be part of a reference group. In contrast to Austrians and Germans, Americans are more likely to adjust their wardrobe to the specific expectations and norms of their working environments. In addition, results indicate that French consumers devote more consideration towards dressing in accordance to their job conventions than Austrian and German consumers. Interestingly, Austrian and German consumers value physical vanity significantly more than American and French consumers. French consumers, however, employ fashion the most as a means of boosting satisfaction with one´s self-image, compared to the other research nations.

Detailed results of the empirical study will be thoroughly discussed in the presentation in order to explicitly highlight specific common and divergent archetypes and patterns between the research countries. Additionally, final key outcomes, in-depth implications as well as limitations and directions for future research will be addressed in the conference.