This research aims at finding out the mechanism behind the selection of shoes and the reasons behind the selection made by them, when college students make purchase decisions. There are multiple factors that affect the decisions, which can be brand specific or individual specific. This study explores all those factors and the extent of their influence on their purchases. The study is based on a survey conducted through questionnaires circulated to collect responses randomly from students in a few major cities of india. it collected information on brand preference,normative influence,brand consciousness, purchasing attitude, brand expectations, brand loyalty and other psychological ,sentimental and economical factors which drive the selection of shoes among college students. The findings reveal the list of priorities of students that they look at while purchasing a shoe and their brand loyalty with the same brand , when there is change in student’s financial and mental status.
KEY WORDS:- Purchasing decisions, consumer behavior, shoe selection, brand influence, emotional values, brand consciousness, college students.
India’s increasing growth is evident of the the greater economic activity that exists in the country which is partly due to greater consumer spending, leading to increase in the standard of living. consumerism is now rapidly growing with easy options to shopping at anytime, anywhere and with ease of payment. This has led to easy access to shopping avenues, leading to a significant change in buying behaviors of people, especially young students.
young university students are argues to be one of the most significant markets for companies, because of it’s size and characteristics, as argued by wong and smith (2002). White (2001) also adds that many times in the duration of their college life , these students have to make many first time purchase decisions. Miller (1998) further suggests that , during this time, these students tend to establish certain buying patterns which stay with them throughout their life. Understanding the buying patterns and attitudes of these students could be important for shoe brands to examine the choices that influence the brand loyalty of this consumer segment.
There is a huge market of footwear in india with variety of shoes, which can be broadly divided into formal and athletic shoes. the buying behavior varies depending on which type of shoe one is willing to purchase. Chiu et al (2004) found supporting evidence of influences of various factors on the purchasing behavior where, in a study of university students, style and price were ranked as the most influential factors in the decision making act, when buying athletic footwear.
Apart from this,Kotler (1994) proposes a four steps model that contributes to influence consumers on their buying decisions. These four steps include types of consumer purchasing decision behaviour, complex buying behaviour, dissonance and variety. The influence of each step is depends upon the frequency of decisions,consumer involvement and brand perception.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:-
The multiple factors which affect the purchasing behavior of shoes among college students in a number of cities in India, based on product attributes, personal attitude and demographics. Also,the analysis of their future decision making and brand loyalty with change in these factors.
Inspite of India having a self sufficient footwear industry, the locals of india are more inclined towards foreign products, mainly the ones from the west. studies show that it is due to their wish of showcasing their social status and perceived quality of the product (Han, C.M., 1988: Zeithmal, 1988). Furthermore, study by Bake-well, C. & Mitchell, V. W., (2006) argue that, demographic variables such as age and gender have significantly affected brand preferences.
socialisation agents like peer group also influence individuals of this age, which is supported by a theory that proves a strong correlation between peer group influence and student buying decisions (Hsu and Chang, 2008; Mascarenhas and Higby, 1993).
The purpose of this study is to ascertain and analyze the factor which a college going student in a major city of india consciously or unconsciously takes into account while purchasing his\her shoes. The decisions may differ on their attitude ,personality, brand preferences, brand loyalty, shoe feel, look, gender, goal of the purchase, field of interest, brand association. all these broadly divided into product attributes, personal attitude and preferences, and demographics.
The aim is to determine what among these factors influences their purchasing behavior the most and why. also, how the topmost factors will affect their upcoming purchases.
The findings of this study will be beneficial to marketers, shoe companies and educators to understand this market segment of their product.
The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) ,by social psychologists suggest that individual beliefs and their corresponding attitudes , perceived behavioral control and subjective norms can control one’s actual behavior (Armitage & Conner, 2001). Out of these, the attitude of an individual is defined as his psychological emotion which can be positive or negative in evaluation of certain behaviors (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993). subjective norms are the opinions of those who are considered important or close to a person (Ajzen, 1991). Perceived behavioral control (BC) refers to an individual’s perception of the possible difficulties when performing aspecific behavior (Ajzen, 1991). TPB is considered as an explanation various consumer issues and helpful in understanding their behaviors. product appearance, past purchase behavior, value consciousness, and normative susceptibility are significant predictors of attitude toward buying fashion counterfeit goods.
The theory given by Lancaster on consumer choice (1996) suggests that the attributes of a good , out of which utility is derived by the consumer, determine their purchase decisions. a study by Forney, Park and Brandon (2005) revealed that color, image, quality and design of products are considered significant when purchasing casual apparel of extended brands. Saha, Dey, and Bhattacharaya (2010) discovered that he factors to be considered by shoes manufacturers and marketers are “quality, durability, right pricing, after sale service, and convenient location of the retail shops”
According to philip kotler, there are a number of personal factors that affect consumer behavior . Buyers’ might differ in behavior and choices due to their age or life cycle stage. In case of most college students in major cities, they are bachelors,single and not living home. Thus, they have lower financial burdens as compared to married couples and thus are free opinionated and recreation oriented,which is why the footwear purchases of this consumer segment are dominated by sports shoes, which is why it is estimated that with a projected compound annual growth rate of 1.8%, the global recreational footwear market (athletic) is estimated to be worth approximately $84.4 billion by 2018 (Transparency Market Research, 2012). kotler also suggests that the choices of this age group depend on their parent’s profession which define their economic circumstances, i.e. ,spendable income, savings, borrowing power,etc. A major role is played by the self concept or personality of an individual in his choices. The traits that are identified by kotler under self concept, that could affect purchasing decisions are Self confidence, dominance, autonomy, deference, sociability, defensiveness and adaptability.
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