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The Fashion Consumer and Organizational Buyer

Introduction

This chapter is concerned with the behaviour of fashion consumers and organizations that purchase fashion products and services. The relevance of fashion buyer behaviour is examined and links with marketing research, market segmentation and the marketing mix are established. An outline of consumers’ decision-making is given. The types of decision made by consumers are described and the stages in the decision process are discussed.

From the perspective of the buyer as a problem solver the chapter then focuses on the consumer as an individual. The main psychological variables relevant to fashion consumption are identifi ed and outlined. For example, an understanding of the perceptual process allows us to comprehend more easily why some fashion promotional messages are more effective than others. Fashion goods enable people to show identifi cation with, or separation from, certain social groups.

Clothing can be a symbol of belonging or alienation. To understand the fashion consumer, the broader social forces that help to shape individual buying behaviour are assessed. These social dimensions include the family, social stratifi cation, opinion leadership and cultural factors. Some people are more ready to adopt new fashions than others, and the study of diffusion and opinion leadership helps us to understand why this occurs and what may be done to facilitate the process.

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Fashion fi rms not only sell to fashion consumers, they also sell to other fi rms in the industry. An obvious form of organizational buying is sales within the fashion distribution channel and this is described in Chapter Eight.

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