What are decision making styles for international apparel brands in a large emerging market?

Claudio DeMattos, Laura Salciuviene, Vilte Auruskeviciene, Garima Juneja


Purpose. The main purpose of the paper is to test Sproles and Kendall’s (1986) decision making styles framework in a large emerging market for international apparel brands. India has the largest single consumer market in the developing world after China. Retailers from all over the world are seeking opportunities to enter the Indian market, as it has been ranked at the forefront in retail growth, ahead of other leaving behind other international markets like China, Ukraine and Vietnam (Batra and Niehm 2009). Branded retail comprises 3% of the total retail market but is expected to grow at the rate of 25-30% per year for the next four years (Dhanabhakyam and Shanthi 2013).

Methodology. A quantitative approach has been chosen to address the objective of the study using Indian consumers as respondents. A questionnaire using 5-point Likert scale was created for the study. Each respondent was asked to fill in the questionnaire indicating their age, gender, education, occupation, income and consumption patterns and purchasing preferences. In total, 200 respondents were surveyed in urban cities of India like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai as most of the international brand outlets are situated in the metropolitan cities and consumers living in these cities make the most consumption of international apparel brands such as Guess, Zara or Calvin Klein.

Results. Our study suggests five different consumer decision making styles can be found among Indian consumers for international apparel brands. Moreover, our findings show that majority of the respondents expect international brands to be more expensive, as they have very high quality expectations from international apparel brands. As a consequence, they prefer purchasing products of their desired international apparel brand and are loyal to those brands. In addition, we also found a statistically significant difference between students and self-employed respondents for brand loyalty styles. Specifically, self-employed were more brand-loyal than students. This is a new finding and therefore we are unable to compare it with previous studies, as to our knowledge no previous studies have reported statistically significant differences in the occupational groups of respondents.

Contribution. This study developed a simplified typology of decision-making styles based on Sproles and Kendall’s (1986) original categories in order to investigate consumer decision making styles of consumers towards international apparel brands in a context of a large economy market.

Practical implications (if applicable). In this study, the findings highlight a number of implications. First, as brand consciousness and brand loyalty were important, retailers should clearly communicate the global standing of the international apparel brand in the market and make efforts to maintain its strong brand image. It is imperative to keep brand image up to date and fashionable in the Indian market. Third, brand marketers should keep updating their fashion collection and frequently innovate products in order to meet high consumer expectations. Also, attention could be paid to creating and maintaining brand loyalty among specific groups of consumers by updating them with new offerings via emails, brochures and catalogues and by allowing their principal consumers exclusivity on the initial two days of sales offerings.


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