Academic journal article Management Dynamics

Profiling Male Apparel Consumers: Lifestyle, Shopping Orientation, Patronage Behaviour and Shopping Mall Behaviour

Academic journal article Management Dynamics

Profiling Male Apparel Consumers: Lifestyle, Shopping Orientation, Patronage Behaviour and Shopping Mall Behaviour

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The highly competitive male apparel consumer market is growing rapidly and significantly contributes to the billion-rand apparel industry. However, there is a dearth of research on this important and growing market segment. This study explores the lifestyle, shopping orientation and patronage behaviour of male apparel consumers, as well as their shopping mall behaviour. A mall intercept method (n = 297) was used to collect the raw data. Cluster analysis used demographics, eight lifestyle factors, three shopping orientation factors and patronage behaviour as input variables. Four clusters were identified, namely the traditionalists (38%), the shopping enthusiasts (19%), the dynamics (30%) and the laggards (13%). Managerial implications and recommendations for future research are highlighted as part of a larger research stream on apparel shopping behaviour in South Africa.

INTRODUCTION

The South African apparel market is highly competitive which necessitate the need to differentiate market offerings. One approach that management and retailers can implement to succeed in differentiating themselves to gain a competitive advantage would be to collect scientifically sound knowledge on this market segment. In doing so, retailers would be in a position to provide superior customer experiences by meeting the ever-changing needs of their consumers. Warrington (2005) emphasised the importance of researching the shopping behaviour of the South African apparel consumer, specifically of male apparel consumers. This need is even more apparent when investigating the scope of the apparel industry in South Africa. Datamonitor (2005: 3) reported a market value of R32.7 ($6. 1) billion in 2004, with an expected growth rate of 21.3% to 2009 and a projected value of R51.8 ($7.4) billion. Women's wear dominate the apparel retail scene (51.8%), but menswear contributed significantly to the industry's aggregate revenues (34.4%, total sales of R14.7/S2.1 billion in 2004). The same trend is evident in the United States, with an average annual growth rate of approximately 5.5% in men's apparel sales (Byrnes, 2006: 4). In some years, these figures exceed growth in the female apparel market.

Even though the lucrative nature of this market is unquestionable, male shopping behaviour is relatively unchartered. Only a few studies have focused on male apparel consumers, the majority being in the United States and the United Kingdom. Some of these studies were conducted in the seventies and early eighties (Bellenger and Korgaonkar, 1980; Bellenger, Robertson and Greenberg, 1977; Gentry and Burns, 1977-1978), while others reflect more recent findings (Ibrahim and HsuehShan, 2005; Chen-Yu and Seock, 2002; Reynolds, Ganesh and Luckett, 2002; Lee, Otnes and McGrath, 2001; Birtwistle, Clark and Freathy, 1999; and Birtwistle and Siddiqui, 1995). Chen-Yu and Hong (2002) focused on the importance of design, quality and presentation of apparel products for South Korean male consumers. They proposed that meeting these criteria would significantly contribute to the satisfaction levels of these consumers who predominantly make use of the conjunctive decisionmaking rule to choose between alternatives. As a result, products should, at least, adhere to or exceed all the minimum requirements. On the condition that retailers have satisfied consumers, Chen-Yu and Hong (2002) argue that male consumers will be willing to pay relatively higher prices for apparel products. With regard to price sensitivity, younger males would probably be reassured and less inhibited by higher-priced fashion brands than their female counterparts. Retailers could consequently introduce price markups adding to the profitability of this consumer segment.

Documented research on the apparel shopping behaviour of the male consumer segment is limited in South Africa. This is a growing market and, because the roles of women are changing rapidly, more men will become solely responsible for their own apparel purchases, therefore making the study of male apparel shopping a necessity (Du Preez, 2001). …

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