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Consumer behaviour : factors affecting online clothing purchases in South Africa.

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Consumer buying behaviour is a well documented topic and as such has inspired a wealth of literature. In South Africa online shopping is a relatively new concept and as such still faces a variety of teething problems that can only be addressed once a better understanding of consumer buying behaviour has been reached. This study deals specifically with online clothing buying behaviour in South Africa. Seeking greater understanding of consumers’ buying behaviour in the clothing sector will assist online vendors in creating favourable experiences for online shoppers and therefore assist their attempts to satisfy their target markets. A quantitative study was conducted the aim of which was to determine what factors would attract consumers to purchase clothing online. Four hundred potential respondents were approached, however, only 289 took part in the study. To be considered for the survey respondents were required to be South African residents currently active on the social network, Facebook. The study aimed to create a profile of online clothing shoppers in South Africa and ascertaining what factors may improve their attitudes toward online shopping. The study revealed that a major challenge faced by online clothing is that of securing an initial purchase, however, once this initial purpose has been achieved respondents generally had a more favourable attitude toward shopping for clothing online. It was further revealed that certain factors or offerings could also improve consumers’ attitudes. The study showed that the majority of respondents, when provided with customisation options, had a significantly improved attitude toward online shopping. Social networks were another factor identified by the researcher as potentially having the ability to positively impact on consumers’ online shopping behaviour. The study revealed that in South Africa social networks are currently limited in their impact on buying behaviour, however, there were indications that social networks may prove useful to both vendors and consumers alike in future. Finally some of the most notable recommendations were that vendors should emphasise branding, obtain endorsement from public figures and tailor their payment and returns policies to suit the preferences of the consumers.


Master of Business Administration. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville 2011.


Consumer behavior--South Africa., Internet--Social aspects--South Africa., Theses--Business administration.