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«LAWRENCE MANDHLAZI M Tech: Marketing Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Magister Technologiae in the ...»

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M Tech: Marketing

Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Magister Technologiae

in the Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management Sciences, Vaal University of


Supervisor: Prof. M. Dhurup The financial assistance of the Central Research Committee of the Vaal University of Technology towards this research is hereby acknowledged. Opinions expressed and conclusions arrived at are those of the author and are not necessarily to be attributed to the Central Research Committee.


This work has not previously been accepted in substance for any degree and is not being concurrently submitted in candidature for any degree.


Date ………………………………..

STATEMENT 1 This dissertation is being submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Magister Technologiae: Marketing STATEMENT 2 The dissertation is the result of my own independent work/ investigation, except where otherwise stated. Other sources are acknowledged by giving explicit references. A bibliography is appended.


Date ………………………………… STATEMENT 3 I hereby give consent for my dissertation, if accepted, to be available for photocopying and for interlibrary loans, and for the title and summary to be made available to outside organizations.

Signed………………………………… Date ………………………………… i


The following persons are acknowledged in for their support and encouragement during my studies.

I deeply appreciate the guidance and patience of Prof. M. Dhurup (Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences), my supervisor who consistently provided me with support, understanding and strong leadership to complete my studies.

I am especially grateful to Mrs Aldine Oosthuyzen for the statistical services (North-West University).

I would like to thank Dr.S. Nayimuli and Mr. S. Sandada, my colleagues for their unconditional assistance, support and encouragement throughout my studies.

Mrs. D. Maneschijn and Mr L Ndhlovu for their expertise and advice they have given.

Prof. P. Omara-Ojungu and Ms. H. Dube for their encouragement.

My friends J. Masoka and E. Quobo for their moral support.

I would like to thank Ms. V. Shikhwivulu and Mrs. K. Venter for their contributions in typing the manuscript.

I also like to thank Mr B. Record for his contribution in editing my project for language.

I would like to thank Prof. B. Surujlal for assisting me with the reference list.

–  –  –


This work is dedicated to My mother Margaret Monqwe for her encouragement and immeasurable support in all difficulties I went through. Special thanks to my fiancée Duduzile Khumalo, for her moral and unconditional support throughout my studies.

–  –  –

The underlying determinants of how and why people shop has been a topic of study for many years, when typologies of shopping styles were developed. These studies have been successful in demonstrating that some shoppers display consistent shopping orientations that can be diametrically opposed, for example, the functional shopper versus the recreational shopper. This study concentrates on purchasing patterns of consumers by examining the decision-making styles of Generation Y consumers with regard to fashion apparel.

The study reports on various stages that consumers undergo when confronted with a decision situation. These stages are outlined as need recognition, information search, pre-purchase evaluation, purchase, consumption and post-consumption. The buying behaviours influencing consumers were categorised into internal and external factors. The internal factor includes perception, motivation, learning, attitudes, personalities, self-concept, lifestyle and demography.

The external factors comprised the following variables, namely, cultural background, subculture, family influence, and the social factor.

The general characteristics of Generation Y were briefly discussed. Various dimensions used to measure consumer decision-making styles were reviewed in the study related to perfectionism, brand consciousness, novelty-fashion consciousness, recreational consciousness, price-andvalue-for-money consciousness, impulsiveness and confusion as a result of overchoice of brands.

The study adopted quantitative approach. A structured questionnaire was used to survey 230 students who were selected using non-probability convenience sampling. Seven dimensions measuring consumer decision-making styles were found to be applicable within the Generation Y context. These consumers were profiled as being quality conscious, brand conscious, noveltyseeking, hedonistic, confused by overchoice, habitual, brand loyal and fashion conscious.

iv Differences were found between consumers who are confused by overchoice and younger Generation Y consumers. Younger consumers were found to be more confused by overchoice compared to their older counterparts.

It is suggested that apparel retailers should try to use communication channels which will be more understandable by Generation Y consumers, and they should provide information that assists buyers to make a rational decision in the buying process. Differences were also confirmed between habitual, brand-loyal consumers and age. It was found that younger consumers are more likely to be loyal to specific brands as compared to their older counterparts. Differences were noted between brand conscious, confused by overchoice and gender. Brand consciousness was regarded as a reflection of men‟s desire to use shopping as a demonstration of their superiority, as well as being beneficial because they reduce search costs. It was revealed that males were more brand conscious than their female counterparts. It also highlighted that males were more confused by overchoice than females.

The study found that the majority of Generation Y does pursue quality, even if it means paying higher prices. It is recommended that retailers should continue to emphasise their well-known brand names and set prices at levels where consumers perceive the quality of the product by its price. Retailers should focus on diverse designs, sizes and colours in their product assortment and range. The introduction of new products through the use of fashion shows, fashion magazines and advertisements may provide added advantages in terms of brand awareness.

–  –  –

ANNEXURE A: Questionnaire (Main survey) ANNEXURE B: Declaration of data scoring and analysis ANNEXURE C: Map of Kempton Park ANNEXURE D: Certificate of language editing and proof reading

–  –  –



Generation Y comprises the population of a country born between 1977 and 1994 (Neal, Quester & Hawkins, 2004:393). Its members are born during the era when countries could easily communicate with one another, especially with the emergence of direct means of communication that are underlined by a powerful convergence towards materialism (Cant, Brink & Brijball, 2006:106). Generation Y can be further divided into three sub-segments, namely: adults of 18 to 27 years old, teenagers of 13 to 17 years old and children of 8 to 12 years old (Martin & Turley, 2004:464). The members are described as realistic, “savvy”, socially and environmentally aware and open to new experiences. They have moved some of their television viewing habits to the Internet and are less likely to read the newspaper compared to their parents (Cant et al., 2006:106-107). Moreover, they are generally inclined not to trust the stores that their parents shop in, for the sake of uniqueness.

Some Generation Y individuals are employed, while others are still at school, Further Education and Training (FET) colleges and universities (Martin & Turley, 2004:464). Those that are employed within the Generation Y sub-segment are financially active and they possess a high purchasing power in the economy of a country. In addition, they are well informed about any kind of fashion and tend to be independent buyers. These consumers may spend an average of R200 on every shopping trip and influence between R7 billion to R9 billion in families‟ purchasing expenditure per annum, with the wealthiest members between the ages of 19-24 years old (Steven, Lathrop & Bradish, 2005:255; Martin & Turley, 2004:464-465). Generation theorists propose that as the socio-environment changes, consumer needs will be more likely to change in the market and even their buying patterns of the various products will shift in order to suit their environment (Bakewell & Mitchell, 2003:95).

Chapter 1: Introduction and problem statement For example, if there is a novel apparel item or style introduced in a market, Generation Y is likely to purchase the product, as they aspire to be recognized and become known as fashion conscious, well informed about the external environment and become alert to whichever fashion prevails in the market.


The underlying determinants of how and why people shop has been a topic of study for many years when typologies of shopping styles were developed (Bakewell & Mitchell, 2003:96).

However, these studies have been successful in demonstrating that some shoppers display consistent shopping orientations that can be diametrically opposed. For example, the functional shopper versus the recreational shopper (Jin & Kim, 2003:407) does not explicitly address the question of how to measure consumer decision-making styles.

Specifically, Generation Y buyers have been brought up in an era when shopping is not regarded as a simple act of purchasing (Bakewell & Mitchell, 2003:95). Generation Y consumers are likely to have developed a different shopping style compared to previous generations, which is extremely sensitive to changes in fashion (Ma & Niehm, 2006:621; Bakewell & Mitchel, 2003:95). Despite such assertions, there have been very few studies which focused on the shopping styles of Generation Y consumers which offer guidelines to marketers and retailers on how these consumers make choices. Hence, the purpose of the study is to complement existing research on consumer decision-making styles in fashion apparel.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY The following objectives were formulated for the study.

1.3.1 Primary objective  The primary purpose of the study was to evaluate the purchasing decision-making styles of Generation Y consumers with regard to fashion apparel in Kempton Park.

Chapter 1: Introduction and problem statement 1.3.2 Theoretical objectives  To conduct an analysis of the consumer decision-making processes.

 To compile a synthesis of the literature on the purchase decision-making styles of Generation Y consumers.

 To conduct a literature review on Generation Y consumers.

1.3.3 Empirical objectives  To develop a typology of the decision-making styles of Generation Y consumers.

 To establish whether there are any differences with regard to the purchasing pattern in terms of consumer demographic variables among Generation Y consumers.


The following methods of research were undertaken:

1.4.1 Literature review A literature review on the purchasing pattern and decision-making processes of Generation Y fashion was undertaken. The characteristics of Generation Y were also highlighted. This included textbooks, journals, magazine, newspaper articles and the Internet to develop a theoretical background.

1.4.2 The empirical design

The following were used in the design of the empirical research:

Chapter 1: Introduction and problem statement The target population The target population was restricted to the Kempton Park area. Kempton Park is a hub for retail activities within the Ekurhuleni Municipal boundary and it was economical for the researcher to conduct research in this area. Kempton Park Mall is located in close proximity to OR Tambo Airport with easy access from the R21 and various other highways. The centre offers convenient shopping, quality merchandise and non-stop entertainment; it operates 7 days a week. For the purpose of the study, the population included both male and female, ranging between 16-27 years from the selected geographical area. Sampling technique and sample frame

The study made use of a combination of convenience and judgment sampling techniques. This sampling technique was chosen because a sampling frame was not available where the unit of analysis could be selected to conduct the study. Often the respondents are at the right place at the right time when the sample is drawn, making it convenient for the researcher to conduct the fieldwork.

Using the historical evidence approach (compared to similar studies) the sample size was set at 250 respondents. This figure is consistent with previous studies done on Generation Y consumers (Kwan, Yeung & Au, 2008:197; Bakewell & Mitchell, 2004:228). The measuring instrument The researcher used a quantitative research approach as elucidated by Schiffman and Kanuk (2004:35) to conduct the study. Quantitative research places emphasis on using formalised standard questions and predetermined response options in questionnaires or surveys administered to large numbers of respondents (Hair, Bush & Ortinau, 2000:216). A questionnaire was used to collect primary data from respondents with regard to their spending, purchasing pattern of fashion apparel in the target market.

Chapter 1: Introduction and problem statement1.5 STATISTICAL ANALYSIS

Descriptive and inferential statistics were undertaken to analyse the composition of the sample.

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