Buying motivations for apparel : a comparative study between male and female generation y consumers.
According to Kotler and Armstrong (2004: 259), “a product‟s position is the way the product is defined by consumers on important attributes”. Knowledge of these attributes, and more specifically, which attributes “attract customers to stores is more important than ever” (Paulins and Geistfeld 2003: 371). Furthermore, it is important to note that the attributes which constitute consumers‟ perceptions of value may be of different importance to different groups of consumers (Ziethaml 1988: 14 cited in Sweeney and Soutar 2001: 204), hence justifying the need to study Generation Y independently. According to Sweeney (2006: 6), it is important to study this specific age cohort as “Millennials are very different from previous generations at the same age” and many of their key behaviours and preferences “are likely to remain part of their lifelong culture” and adult buying behaviour. Consequently, it is vital to satisfy and capture this market now in order to secure a committed clientele for the future. Yarrow and O‟Donnell (2009: 2) also describe Generation Y as “potentially one of the most powerful and influential generations ever” (Yarrow and O‟Donnell 2009: 2), as well as being known for its unprecedented purchasing power “of which two-thirds goes on clothing” (Ebenkamp 1999: 4). The research objectives for this study were: 1. To identify the most patronised stores according to a sample of male and female Generation Y consumers. 2. To determine the relative importance of the attributes that Generation Y consumers apply when choosing between clothing retailers. 3. To determine the relative importance of the attributes that Generation Y consumers apply when purchasing various garments and pieces of clothing. 4. To identify the determinant attributes that influence clothing store selection among Generation Y consumers. 5. To determine whether a significant difference exists between the attributes of the male and female Generation Y respondents with regard to clothing store selection. The study involved a two-stage triangulated research design, with a qualitative focus group stage preceding a quantitative survey stage. The data obtained from the focus groups was analysed and subsequently used to formulate and refine the survey to be used in stage two of the triangulation. Purposive quota sampling was utilised during stage two of the research, which resulted in 380 sufficiently completed questionnaires, the findings from which enabled the researcher to achieve the research objectives. The key findings of the study revealed that Mr Price, Edgars, Woolworths and Identity were the most frequently patronised by the UKZNP student respondents. The attributes found to be of the most importance with regard to influencing clothing store selection were: High Quality Merchandise, Value for Money, Uniqueness of Merchandise, Fashionable Merchandise, Store Cleanliness, Wide Selection of Merchandise and Low Prices. The clothing attributes which were identified as the most important to the sample of Generation Y respondents when choosing clothing to purchase, were: Good Fit, Comfort and Quality. The results of the Discriminant Analysis, combined with the mean importance ratings of the clothing store attributes, revealed three determinant attributes influencing clothing store selection among the Generation Y respondents, namely: Low Prices, Fashionable Merchandise and Uniqueness of Merchandise. Finally, an Independent Samples T-Test, as well as a Mann-Whitney U-Test, were run to determine whether a significant difference exists between the attributes of the male and female Generation Y respondents with regard to clothing store selection. The results revealed that female Generation Y respondents in this study place greater importance on the attributes of Convenient Location, Low Prices and Appealing Advertising, when choosing between clothing retailers, while the male Generation Y respondents perceived High Quality Merchandise as being more important and influential. Lastly, numerous recommendations were made regarding how to target and satisfy the Generation Y consumer market, with particular reference to each of the clothing retailers.