Changes in consumer buying behaviour of clothing in different economic climates.
Rossouw, Frederik Johannes.
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This study investigated whether changes occurred in consumer buying behavior within the retail clothing industry during difficult economic climates. The significance of the study was to determine whether the lack of disposable income and increasing inflation swayed consumers to pursue value for money clothing opposed to international branded products. The important factor was to establish whether the consumers shift in purchasing would be temporal or permanent. This research involved various research tools and designs which assisted in finding a feasible conclusion. Quantitative research was used with structured questionnaires being given to consumers. These findings were annotated accordingly in tables and diagrams with publications and literature to reiterate the findings and in turn enable this study to conclude that consumers buying patterns of clothing does change during difficult economic climates. The research was conducted in Durban with a sample of 133 respondents. Some salient findings emanating from this study included: consumer’s perceptions had influenced their behaviour, and preference as opposed to logical choice and need. Focus was concentrated on one of the most acknowledged value retailers in South Africa, Mr Price clothing. Seventy three percent of the respondents said that Mr Price offered value for money, seventy-six percent stated that they offered quality products. A further ninety six percent felt that Mr Price clothing offered choice of style. These percentages are undisputedly indicative that Mr Price clothing has obtained the winning formula especially in times when minimal disposable income and a clamp on the ease of getting or increasing credit options are scarce. The findings indicated that Mr Price was indeed the retailer of choice, with a staggering eighty eight percent stating that they would continue to frequent Mr Price clothing even after their finacial situation improved. Further testing also indicated that quality and price were the two crucial deciding factors that influenced consumers. This supports the fact that consumers are still looking for value for money. Perceptions and social status do influence the supply and demand theory when it involves clothing. A recommendation for further study would involve using different demographic market segments based on income, gender and race amongst others. Internet influence in clothing purchases would also be an influencing factor going forward along with the effect of advertising.