Consumer behavior is a broad field of study that provides insight of consumers’ psychological, cultural and anthropological information that helps in building the business model for knowing the taste of the consumers. It is a fact that consumer behavior is being a cognitive and behavioral trait of human being; it is difficult to evaluate it empirically and implement any action for determining any exact solution. There are many companies who deal with fashion products in the market are eager to customize their consumers lately due to intense competition. In addition to this, there are many products are upcoming in this industry every day with help of open technological place that is making problem for the veteran players in this market to sustain their position. It is also a concerned matter for the fashion industry that new emerging markets have different choices and taste of fashion, thereby; it is difficult for them to understand the needs of the emerging markets.
This paper aims in delivering the review on the consumer behavior especially in the fashion industry of UK. Further, the study will emphasize on the sentiment on fast fashion of the consumers in the country applying the historical analysis on this sector by analyzing the catalogues of the magazines on fashion in the country.
The past studies on this topic has viewed this subject as the change in taste of the consumers mainly rather the pushing from the marketers. The fashion of people was influenced by some celebrities and some sort of reputed incidents in the past (Letherby, 2003). Past studies were bounded in defining the effect of consumer behavior largely on fashion industry due to mentality of people and structure of society mainly as there was little scope for the researchers in diverting the concept of fashion in society (Ammi, 2012).
In the past research of Belk (2010), there are many common terms used in daily life that is concerned matter for understanding consumer behavior – among them attitude is one of them which plays a vital role in determining the as observed by HILL & MARTIN (2012), attitude is the motivational aspect of human being on individual level where four primary functions work as the pillar for the building the correct motivation for the consumers – utilitarian, ego, value and knowledge. The four functions clearly deliver a unique altitude to the behavior of an individual while different motivational aspects produce different attitudes in the consumers (Krishna & Schwarz, 2012).
The defender of this theory also state that attitude is the key metric for behavior and is developed among the consumers by experiences (Paul & Rana, 2012). Therefore, it is a key concern about assessing the attitude of the consumers in assessing the behavior of them in this process. Attitude has three metrics – cognition, affection and behavior. These three metrics have many influences on attitude and thus, it is also observed in the hierarchy of effects that behavior has immeasurable influence on it (Williams, 2014).
Another point of view in this regard has made different models on consumer behavior that assess the exact extinction points for the business and the driving power for them. ABC model is one of them that evaluates the attitude of customer in this sense which clearly indicates the low knowledge of the customers are least effective for making the customers loyal to any brand (Ammi, 2012). In this method of consumerism, advertising and packaging makes good sense for them to attract for their growth in consumerism. Value is another parameter that helps them to motivate the consumer in making decision.
Another research has concluded that there are many researchers have been conducted in this field, which has expressed concern over the matter as clothing decision is driven by the values perceived by the individual consumer. It is the interaction of an individual where consumer may experience from perceiving it either by interacting products or the service after sales as delivered by the companies (Kassa and Kassa, 2013). Therefore, it is also a metrics and provides direction towards the ethical consumerism for those value added products those restrict the business of fashion and clothing using the restricted animal products.
The argument from Schiffman Kanuk and Wisenblit (2010), states that values of product and service provides customers an idea of ethical consumerism and also perceiving that value provides a chance to make loyalty towards a brand or product.
Another theory states that motivation is another key aspect in this context, which is used vastly in determining the customers’ behavior on individual level. According to Bekhet and Alak (2011), it is a process where behavior is maintained throughout the cycle of it. Motivation theory is able to define the needs of cloth and also the fashion in this buying too. It also explains the drive of consumers for any substance very clearly. Therefore, it is an obvious way to judge the motivation of consumers for understanding the behavior of the current people who intend to buy clothes and also the fashion.
As stated by Goldsmith Flynn and Clark (2012), fundamentally people buy cloth to cover their body – a basic need in life. However, the theory was discarded by HILL and MARTIN (2012), stating that buying clothes are more about fashion rather covering body for the urban people who believes in draw attention of others. It is known as immodesty in context of psychology where people declares as them as modest although behaves like immodest (Hoyer and MacInnis, 2010).
According to the viewpoint of (), the theory of adornment seems to be nicely represent the needs of people for wearing clothes stating that it has an impact on creating individual’s identity where personal decoration gets more value from the consumers (Hyndman and Ozerturk, 2011). There might be different motive in buying the same clothes with same behavior. Therefore, motivation of people in buying fashion is impossible directly so it is assessed through behavior of people. In this case, Maslow’s hierarchy of states might be important as it predicts the need theory of people structurally. The needs of higher level of people are esteemed by self motivated while for the lower level of people the same is driven by their fundamental needs (Iniesta and Sánchez, 2012).
Here is another theory that states the stage of social need is someway different from the exact and pure need of people by means of physically while it is a need through their emotional sensitiveness (Ishak and Zabil, 2012). Consumer behavior is also driven by customer loyalty of consumers for any products or brand. Customer loyalty is the field of study that enables a company to know its sure business. Loyalty is an emotional phenomenon as stated by Kim and Kim (2012), which drives the customers blind with their judging power and also reduces their urge of checking the products.
However, from the perspective of business, it provides the companies in clothing and fashion industry loyal and regular customer that drives their business in a steady from (Lancaster and Luck, 2010). There is slight different in brand loyalty and product loyalty that drives the business of fashion industry at top notches. Due to presence of many products and dynamic changes in customers’ taste of clothing and fashion, the industry seek for making brand loyalty important for the consumers as it provides them to secure their newly launched products. It makes a bond between the two – consumers and brand where each may believe other for a long time Ostinelli Luna and Ringberg (2014). From motivational catalyst in brand, consumers have affinity of buying products especially the fashion products that have launched new in market. These products are not bought due to crossing the complex process of buying decision – it is the impulse of customers that drives them to buy them those new products (Park and Ha, 2014).
Impulse buying is the main reagent of invading the customer loyalty as the latter one faces stiff challenges from the previous one due to of its presence. There are three types of impulse buying as segregated by Yuk-Lan, Gopal and Kanji, (2011), stating that majority of customers are buying new products due to their unplanned purchasing of substitute products while some of them also buying without any plan of buy. Another reason is partially unplanned buying of products that drive the brand selection and product choice of consumers. Emotional factors such as positive feeling is a catalyst in impulse buying of customers due to decision made by them is not criteria based rather instinct based (Paul and Rana, 2012).
Decision making is the most complex part in consumer behavior as it describes the process of buying decision started from selection of products to comparison of those using cost benefit analysis. According to Rouf Ahmad, Rainier and Ahmad, (2012), cost benefit analysis is an useful tool in making decision on buying products such as fashionable and clothing products. however, it was discarded by Ren, Zhang and Tang, (2011), stating that fashionable products have least chance of making decision using cost benefit analysis rather it might be useful in using the model of trend and beliefs in making decision of selecting the products. In simple term, the need is the basic factor for consumer buying decision of any products – it is also true for fashion and clothing products.
The choices of products are different for the consumable product in daily life for the customers as in this case the decision making becomes more complicated for the people as observed in the information booklet of fashion magazines (Bauer Media, June 2011). The defender of this theory states that clothing is such type of industry where people make decision of buying products due to many steps of this process. Need, information seeking, comparison making with other brands and evaluation of that brand or product is done in this process. The last and final stage is to buy the product and win happiness for that one which might satisfy the customers much (Letherby, 2003).
Different view in this matter is argued by Williams (2014) that buying decision is made on basis of four factors mainly – product, brand, price and time to buy. Product and brand have immense importance in this case as fashion industry is driven by the image of brand mainly as seen by Ene, and Ozkaya, (2014), further, price does make a sense for middle class people in the society as they have little scope in maintaining the fashion and brand altogether.
Demographically observation made by some researchers as stating that in fashion industry, the main customers are female who are engaged in this industry as a customer mainly having the share majority. Many researches of critics state that shopping is a basic instinct for the female who love to shop or impulse driven to shop fashionable items and clothes (Solomon et al. 2013). Criticism state that female biased fashion industry face the challenges for capturing their taste as it has changed a lot for the last decade and it is becoming a great challenge for the fashion company due to this dynamicity in taste of fashion. The change in mentality is the key driver in this context where female gender has started revolving the industry for many years.
It is also observed by Williams (2014), that female consumers have many choices in buying products to maintain their fashion as it is important to them for making their presence and identity in the society. Social status also plays a crucial role in purchasing decision of fashion products of female species. Fashion industry also observed that women are much more value driven in making decision for their buying lists and also it has revealed in many researches that their presence with unique value driven product makes them feel happy and exceptional among others (Sandberg and Mena, 2014).
As stated by Ren, Zhang, and Tang, (2011), men are not far behind the women although their fashion is restricted to a special class of people who love to spend time and money for a well established fashion and adorable lifestyle. There is a special arm has grown for men to provide the need for the men for maintaining the fashion and clothing sense approved by the highest sensible manner for their different lifestyle. It is also observed from the research of Rouf Ahmad., Rainayee, and Ahmad, (2012), that fashion consciousness has driven from mainly branding and loyalty of consumers. In addition to this, the mentality of using the value added product is also a concern regarding this matter (Ostinelli Luna, and Ringberg, 2014). Therefore, a new arm like for the children has also grown up in this segment of business.
As opined by Schiffman, Kanuk, and Wisenblit, (2010), distribution of income is also a factor in this matter where society and emerging economy has started to do so which is delivering key reagent to fashion industry to expand. Price has great influence on this matter as it provides the edge of purchasing power to the customers as well as select fashionable standard for them (Jones, 2010). The consumer behavior in fashion industry is also driven by design of the clothes and the quality as provided with it. The quality driven fashion industry is in the edge of attracting the customers towards them for the requiem of unsung and non-branded products.
The fashion research on early days in the country was totally based on the culture as it was customary for the society then to use wears as the standard and position in society for the people (Cova, Kozinets, and Shankar, 2007).
Frazer (1987) observed that there was little scope for the fashion to grow up twenty years back as it was customary and trend for the workers and their families used to wear fashion-ill clothes as it was not popular among them due to fashion was bounded among the higher class of the society. Further, it was observed that psychologically people were not ready to accept the fashion as a daily work for them (Bocock, 1993).
From the literature review, it is observed that in UK there are many fashion company those are doing their business with notching their head upon the other brands due to many reasons. The fashion industry is divided into two parts here – fast fashion with a leading distribution time and excellence in design of the products. The first one is important to catch the trend and taste of fashionable products of the people in this market while the latter one is engaged with providing sophisticated design and quality for the products to consumers (Bbc.com, 2015). As stated by Udel.edu, (2015), H&M and Zara are delivering such fast fashion to the UK society to grab the majority of the market in the country and their market share is also high comparing to others. The policy of doing business in this method is to provide fashion for all at an affordable price with making the consumers much impulse driven so that trendy products sold more. However, the niche strategies of these companies are not suitable to invade the higher society’s customers who love to buy fashionable products after meeting their needs (Huang and Dubinsky, 2013).
Fast fashion companies have made their products affordable to the common people by sourcing it from the manufacturers of Asia where low labor cost has made it possible to them for providing fashion driven products at nominal price. Companies like Primark, New Look and many others have sourced their products from countries like Bangladesh, India and China due to low operating cost. From the research of Sandberg and Mena, (2014), it is clear that fashion companies which have retail operation in Europe and mainly in UK, they are sourcing their supply using their overall good supply chain strategy and predictability of demand from the consumer end. The apparel industry has become production driven due to high demand for it in society while before some decades it was a market driven industry – as observed by (Sabrina, E2014).
It is also observed that fast retail industry has selected in integrating their business model vertically for lowering their inventory level in their central warehouse all the year which has made them to allow more profit due to efficient management. The retail business of fashion industry is driven by many companies who spend only a handful of money into advertising and branding of their individual product rather they spend on the location and ambience of their products (Ostinelli, Luna, and Ringberg, 2014). It helps them in building a different image inside the consumers also place them in drawing attention of people from all parts of the society. Further, providing special types of fashion to the society for a small time of window has made them to push their new products in a driving impulse to the consumers much and also it is the key to grow the sales more lately (Lancaster and Luck, 2010).
The consumer behavior of the industry can be studied in future where it was clear that dynamic change in relation and instability in career has made the consumers dynamically changed with their fashion and period of changing it recently. As stated by Kim and Kim, (2012), fashion buying is much impulse driven rather motivated to the products for fast fashion retail industry.
The section develops an idea of providing arguments on the fashion industry of UK in the perspective of different past literature. Further, it was designed with the insight of current situation for estimating the future development can be possible in this matter. The section also concludes on the analyzing on consumer behavior in the society in current context.
Proposal for study
In this context, for getting a details study in fashion market of UK, it is needed to conduct a research thoroughly where the fast fashion and retail – both industry are necessary to be associated. The research will be conducted in gathering secondary information where a comparative study will be followed among the consumers. The style of the research will be to gather information using a proxy variable like changes made in fashion magazines in UK. The fashion magazines provide information on latest fashion to the consumers of fashion industry so they need to change their presentations and catalogue from time to time as the taste of consumers and readers changes in UK.
The comparative changes in the catalogue of magazines will provide an idea of the rate of changes in fashion industry. The research will be conducted using the old publications of fashion magazines like Grazia, Look, Heat, Pick Me Up, She etc. which are regularly published in the country and also provides the insights of latest fashion in clothing of women, men and kids. The catalogues of the magazines need to be segmented into three demographic parts – women, men and children, whereas further, segregation like daily wear, night clothe, office wear, formal and informal, playtime and tourist guide for every segments forgetting the rate of changes in every segment separately. In addition to this, the wears new in design and styles have been introduced in the retail shops will also need to be evaluated as it might produce artificial change rate in the nation. In this case the above said segmentation will be provided and a detailed comparative analysis will be done on evaluating the rate of introduction of new design and new wears with change in new demand among consumers.
I would also like to observe the existing customers’ selection of buying apparels and categorized them into high to low demand for getting the insight of affordability and type of taste for this sector in UK. Therefore, the research will also emphasize on the price and affordability of the fashion products by reviewing the information on the hot sale in values and in numbers. The target of this research will be to understand the clothing market specifically as it covers the fast fashion for all – men, women and children. In this context, the design, innovativeness, quality, supply, value and price will be concerned matter for the survey where the key information related to those will be gathered.
I also believe that design and availability of product is going to be the most vital parameters in this regard while the advertisements from the retailers about their products are going to be the simple advertising of drive the consumers’ awareness of products in their stock. In addition to this, I think that political red eyes and openness in society and in overall country holds a matter of concern in this case as politics governs the system of the society as a whole. It also affects the consumption of people a lot due to having impact on the decision making capability of people.
It might be conclude from the above study that many fashion companies which are driven by fast fashionable products are drawing attention for their special strategy. Further, the changing consumer behavior due to their changes policies are also a driving factor in their business. It is also observed from the above study that fashion industry provides fast fashion at affordable price to the society of UK providing to maintain fashion for all segment of society. It is also a factor for driving the ethical consumerism in UK while using of clothes especially from which ailment – general thread or animal skin. The study has also emphasized on the matter of buying decision influenced by the strategy considered by the retail fashion companies in UK and the freedom to make decision on fashion buying for the consumers
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