1.1 Background, Scope and Context of the research
In 2012, the luxury branded products’ market faced a substantial growth of 10% in revenue worldwide, and it is expected to continue to grow on an average of 5-6 percent throughout 2015 with the expectation of continual rapid growth amongst leather goods and accessories compared to other categories such as apparel (Bain, 2013). The total number of luxury products’ consumers has become more than three times as much in less than 20 years, despite the mature state of luxury markets in some Western European countries it was reported that the great majority of the new consumers to this market are from the emerging countries such as China (The Economist, 2014).
After thorough reviewing of the research literature related to the cultural impact and female consumers’ behavior towards the luxury fashion products, it was found that there was a lack of reliable and vigor contributions in terms of the quality of the publisher/journal and the ABS article ratings on the population of interest (Middle East, Arab countries, GCC countries, Kuwait). Therefore, this research proposes the need of analyzing and understanding the consumer behavior’s mentality in this geographical area and aims to present outcomes of value to assist practitioners in the luxury products industry.
1.3 Aim and Objectives
The main aim of this research is to explore the female consumer’s buying behaviour in fashion industry and study the impact of culture on luxury fashion branded product in Kuwait.
The main aim of this research is to study the impact of culture on luxury fashion branded products and to explore the female consumer’s buying behaviour in fashion industry a case study of ….. in Kuwait market.
The overall aim of this research is to explore the purchase motives and the role of culture on the consumption of luxury fashion branded products, in order to present a beneficial understanding of the Kuwaiti female consumer’s luxury buying behaviors.
There are following objectives of this research
To find out the importance of marketing department and its role in maximizing sales volume and in achieving organizational objectives
To analyze the importance of consumer behaviour and buying decision process in marketing strategies
To discuss the consumer behaviour models to analyze the consumer buying decision process
To find out the cultural factors and their impacts on consumer buying decision process
How Marketing department can play its effective role in bringing loyalty, satisfaction among the female consumers at…………. Fashion retail store?
To find out the relationship between cultural factors, fashion branded products, buying decision, demographics factors and their impact on buying decision process
To find out the necessary changes in consumer buying decision models to achieve organizational objectives
Which factors should marketing department must consider while making marketing strategies to maximize sales volume in luxury fashion industry at ……. Retail store in Kuwait?
To make recommendations
- To analyse the theoretical context of branding of luxury goods
- To investigate luxury product branding and buying behaviour
- To discuss the relationship between the demographics of age, gender, culture, social class and income
- To discuss and analyse brand loyalty
- To discuss motivations for the purchase of luxury fashion brands; personal values, price, product, quality, exclusivity and social status
- To analyse the impact of emotional behaviour and purchasing of the of luxury brand product: necessity versus desire for luxury products.
1.4 Key questions
Does the manager believe in consumer behavioral impact on the sales of luxury fashion branded products in Kuwait in fashion retail industry?
What are Kuwaiti female consumers’ motivations for the purchase of luxury fashion branded products?
Are the cultural characteristic of the studied area of Kuwait an influence on the resulted behaviour towards the purchase of luxury branded products?
What are the business implications of understanding the buying behavioural, perceptions, expectations, and preferences of female consumers in Kuwaiti and GCC countries?
1.5 Outline Methodology of the research
The dissertation will be carried out through a thorough literature review covering the aim and objectives. There will be primary research in the way of a survey in Kuwait.
1.6 Dissertation Contents/Structure
The dissertation consists of six sections. The first section is the Introduction which contains the background overview, the aim, objectives, questions and outline methodology. The second section is the literature review. This is followed by a methodology section. The next section is section four and contains the presentation of dat from the primary research. The fifth section is the discussion and analysis and the final section the conclusion which includes recommendations
2. Literature Review
2.2 Definition of Branding
2.2.1 The concept of branding
Ever since the history of business came about, the concept of branding has been adopted amongst producers, in order to differentiate their goods from one another (Keller et al., 2008). According to the American Marketing Association (AMA, 2014), “a brand is a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”. Another definition for brand is “a distinctive product offering created by the use of a name, symbol, design, packaging, or some combination of these, intended to differentiate it from its competitors” (Jobber and Ellis-Chadwick, 2013, p 308). Despite the wide academic and practitioner contributions in branding literature, a commonly accepted or a standard definition of the term “brand” continues to be unclear (Tynan et al. 2010). In consequence of the multidimensional form of the concept, varied range of definitions and understandings are available (Gabbott and Jevons, 2009). For that reason, Chernatony and Riley (1998) developed a theory for the “brand construct” through analyzing the definitions of the brand in literature and accordingly came up with twelve main themes that are divided between brand’s tangible elements such as name and logo and brand’s intangible elements such as personality and symbols. Despite some of the downfalls in their framework such as the overlapping of some elements in the themes, Chernatony and Riley (1998) undertook twenty focused interviews with prominent brand consultants on their interpretations of the brand term and were able to categorize the experts’ responses under the twelve themes and eventually proposed the following comprehensive concept of the brand , “as a multidimensional construct, matching a firm’s functional and emotional values with the performance and psychosocial needs of consumers.” However, recent researchers such as Stern (2006) attempted to conceptualize the brand through developing a quadripartite classification scheme using historical analysis technique to the various definitions of the term “brand”, the four main parts of the construct were presented according to:-
Gabbott and Jevons (2014) observed that the way the term ‘brand’ is currently defined is influenced by the brand researchers and practitioners’ common cultural understanding which is both contextual and dynamic. They concluded that a standard definition of the term does not and will never exist; instead there will always be a continual progression of frameworks towards a better understanding, and that this diversity of interpretations should be valued.
2.2.2 Definition of the luxury brand
The definition of the word “Luxury” in English language dictionary is presented as a hardly gained pleasure, a condition of excessive comfort or sophistication, and as an unnecessary yet expensive desirable item (Oxford Dictionaries, 2014). The current perception of “luxury” originates from the Latin “Luxuria”, which stands for “excess” the “extras of life” or (Danziger, 2005). In modern marketing practice, “Luxury” indicates to a particular level of offer that can be available in most types of products or services (Dubois et. al, 2005). However, in the academic literature, the term “luxury” is usually used to label high-end prestigious brands (Vigneron & Johnson, 2004), or those brands with low practical utility comparing to their price, and have high intangible and circumstantial value comparing to their price too (Nueno and Quelch, 1998).
Dubois and Czellar (2002) state that, “luxury” and “prestige” are the most commonly used terms to signify brands that have significant intangible value; their research has shown that consumers have different perceptions and expectations for each term which disagrees with the synonymous use of the terms by (1996). Others described luxury brands in somewhat unclear theoretical terms such as “dream value” (Dubois and Paternault, 1995). As per the economists’ perspective, luxury brands are viewed as those products for which demand elevates either in relation with income or in more preponderant proportion than income (Dubois and Duquesne, 1993).
Corresponding to the multiple definitions of ‘luxury brands’ found in the literature, many contributions were dedicated to create frameworks to identify the dimensions of ‘luxury brands’, for instance, Keller (2009) claims that luxury brands have ten characteristics such as the maintaining of premium image, premium pricing, intangible brand associations, and quality.
While other researchers base their study on the following key elements of ‘luxury brands’, (high quality, high price and non-necessary products and services that are considered as rare, exclusive, prestigious, and authentic and that are associated with high tiers of symbolic and emotional value (Tynan et al. , 2010). On the other hand, Fionda and Moore (2009) claim that the management of ‘luxury fashion brands’ is considered to be complicated and that it demands a constant and comprehensible practice. For that reason, Fionda and Moore (2009) proposed nine main correlated features for luxury fashion brand that are claimed to be essential in the building and sustaining a luxury brand’s offer and will contribute in successful management, some of these features are: brand identity, communications approach, prestige price, and exclusivity.
Furthermore, Miller and Mills (2012) argue that the lack of conformity in the diverse amount of frameworks and approaches of ‘luxury fashion brands’’ dimensions found in literature is not a consequence of the development of the concept, instead it is considered as a sign of persisting confusion in understanding the fundamental construct and associations determining the term. In order to achieve better clarity of the previous term, authors suggested a thorough examining of the related studies to find convergence points within the dimensions of the luxury brand, as well as analyzing their correlations in regards of antecedent and consequences, their research resulted in a precise yet comprehensive measurement model of the luxury brand that consists of the following five main key points (Miller and Mills, 2012):-
- brand leadership
- brand innovativeness
- brand user-fit
- brand value
- willingness to pay a premium price
2.3 Luxury product branding and buying behavior
2.4 The relationship between the demographics of age, gender, culture, social class and income; Demographics, culture, and luxury consumption
The four most frequently used demographic factors in local and international consumer segmentation are age, gender, income, and education level (Cleveland et al., 2011) where each of the factors has direct relation to buying decision (Blythe, 2013).
In regards to the age variable, a study showed that young consumers in six of the eight countries where the research was conducted had greater tendency to purchase global apparel (Cleveland et al., 2011), and that youth generation is considered the major market for publicly consumed luxury items (Eastman and Liu, 2012). Hauck and Stanforth,(2007) claim that there are significant differences among age groups in terms of their perception of luxury, frequency of buying luxury goods, and the reasons of their luxury purchases. For instance, researchers found that the oldest age groups of customers have a propensity to view more goods and services as luxuries than the youngest group do, and they have the greatest tendency opposing younger groups to purchase traditional luxury items and services such as gold jewelry and first class airline tickets. (Hauck and Stanforth, 2007). Moreover, in Hauck and Stanforth’s (2007) research, the reasons for purchasing luxuries items varied significantly between youngest and oldest groups of customers, the youngest group of customer were more likely than the oldest group to purchase luxuries for the following reasons: pleasure, status, emotional satisfaction, self-gift, and impulse buying.
Since luxury products are known to have superior prices comparing to other products, it would be more likely to view income as an influential variable in segmentation (Dubois and Duquesne, 1993). In addition, consumers’ income has strong connection with their product choice, as their income increases they are more able to buy high price luxury goods (De Mooij, 2004), yet a study found that only three of eight countries where the research was conducted exhibited a positive relationship between household income and luxury products consumption (Cleveland et al., 2011).
In terms of gender, Cleveland et al. (2011) assert that there are clear differences between genders regarding their luxury shopping behavior, the findings of their study showed that the larger purchase frequency of luxury items was by females, and this result was consistent in seven out of eight countries where the research was conducted. According to Wiedmann et al. (2009), luxury brands’ companies should take into consideration the different attitudes amongst genders, since female consumers asses multiple elements when buying luxury brands as they tend to be more interested in quality, uniqueness and social value of luxury items than men. Stokburger-Sauer and Teichmann (2013) also agree that women tend to show different response from men regarding luxury brands; their research showed that female consumers have a more positive attitude towards luxury brands than males.
In terms of education, Keillor et al. (2001) state that educated consumers irrespective of their background seem to be more open to different cultures which makes them less drawn by the local norms and more interested in the global trends when choosing products. In addition to this, Nwankwo, et al. (2014) found that higher educated consumers seem to be more rational and less impulsive when purchasing luxury products.
2.4.6 Social Class/ socio-cultural factors
Apparently the purchase of luxury branded products does not depend on economic influences only; instead, it is equally influenced by the socio-cultural factors (Dubois and Duquesne 1993). According to Hofstede, culture is considered as “the collective mental programming of the people in an environment. Culture is not a characteristic of individuals; in encompasses a number of people who were conditioned by the same education and life experience” (as cited in De Mooij, 2004). Hennigs, N. et al. (2012) state that differences in cultures frequently result in differences in consumer behavior in countries around the world. Several previous researches were conducted towards the understanding of cross-cultural segments (e.g., Hofstede, Steenkamp, & Wedel, 1999) though each research had different highlights (Hennigs, N. et al. (2012). Nevertheless, there seems to be an absence of a standard theoretical or empirical approach on the definition of cultural aspects and the overall impact of cultural factors on consumer behavior and its effects for marketing segmentation tactics (Dubois & Duquesne, 1993). On the other hand, in a recent study on ten different countries, Hennigs, N. et al. (2012) found that the motivational influences of luxury branded products consumption are generalizable across the countries and that only the individual perceptions of luxury products vary. In contrast, Bian and Forsythe (2012) believe that the driving forces of luxury brand consumption in western societies differ than eastern ones. In addition, their research results revealed within-country similarities and differences when comparing to other countries (Hennigs, N. et al., 2012). Furthermore, Dubois and Duquesne (1993) state that the greater positive consumer attitudes towards cultural change and following global trends, the higher the tendency to purchase luxury branded products.
2.5 Brand loyalty
2.6 Motivations for the purchase of luxury fashion brands; personal values, price, product, quality, exclusivity and social status
2.6.1 Personal Values,
2.6.2 Price, Product, Quality,
2.6.4 Social Status
2.7 The impact of emotional behaviour and purchasing of the of luxury brand product: necessity versus desire for luxury products.
2.8 Conceptual Model
Figure 2.1 conceptual model (adapted from reference date)
Write here about the model
3.2. The advantages and disadvantages of different research methods
3.3 Research Design chosen and reasons
3.4 Methods To Select A Sample.
3.5 Primary research context
3.5.1 Geographical location/ time period
3.6. Questionnaire Design and the method of analysis
3.6.1 Methods to Collect and Analyse Research data
3.6.2 Linking of Objectives to the Questionnaire Questions
|OBJECTIVES||LITERATURE REVIEW||QUESTIONS FROM SURVEY/QUESTIONNAIRE|
3.7 Limitations of Methodology
3.8 Validity, Reliability, Trustworthiness
3.9 Ethical Issues
Ethical issues in general relating to research
How ethical issues relate to your specific research
4. Presentation of the Data collected in Survey Results
4.2 Respondents profiles
4.3 Respondent’s replies to question 1
4.4 Respondent’s replies to question 2
4.5 Respondent’s replies to question 3
4.6 Respondent’s replies to question 4
4.7 Respondent’s replies to question 5
4.8 Respondent’s replies to question 6
5. Discussion, Analysis and Interpretation of findings
5.2 Theme 1
5.3 Theme 2
5.4 Theme 3
5.6 Theme 5
6. Conclusion and Recommendations
6.1 Overview summary
6.3 Limitations of the research
6.4 Suggestions for further research
6 .5 Recommendations
6.6 Concluding Summary
Ethical Issues in Research
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