FASHION & LOYALTY: AN ANALYSIS OF CONSUMER LOYALTY IN THE CLOTHING INDUSTRY
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Competition amongst firms is intense within the fashion industry, with more options for the consumer than ever before. Firms are altering their brand strategies to adopt and manage this increase in competition with an apparent increase in effort to form a connection between brand and consumer. Cultivating a brand loyalty is more important than ever for fashion firms, to ensure that their brand has a stable sales basis and a positive image. There is a suggestion however that loyalty may be dissipating. With the emergence of fast-fashion brands who offer similar styles to more expensive brands but at a more affordable prices, it can be deemed that it is no longer enough to offer just a high quality product but to offer intangible benefits to the consumer such as an identification with the brands personality. This dissertation attempts to understand the reasons for brand loyalty or lack of brand loyalty amongst millennial consumers in this sector. Millennials are frequent consumers of clothing products, therefore attempting to understand their consumption activities is of real benefit to fashion firms. The first objective of this research is to identify the key brand characteristics which can spark brand loyalty. The second is to assess the effect a downgrading strategy can have on a fashion brands image and loyalty. Thirdly this dissertation aims to assess the view that loyalty is difficult to cultivate for brands operating in a fast-fashion system. An online survey was utilised to collect both quantitative and qualitative data from 43 respondents in the millennial age bracket in a mixed method approach. The research indicated that product quality above all else is the key to ensure that millennial consumers repurchase from brands. Based on results, fast-fashion brands do benefit from a behavioural loyalty of repeat purchases but appreciation of these brands is mostly associated with affordability rather than a deep attachment to the brand. Results also indicate that if the mass luxury brand maintains a high level of perceived product quality, there will be less severe dilution of brand image and loyalty when increasing accessibility.
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