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Essay: Consumer Behaviour in Fashion Retailing and 4P Analysis of Primark, M&S and H&M

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Introduction…………………………………. 3.

Consumer Behaviour in the

Fashion Retailing Sector……………….. 3-4.

4P Analysis

• Primark

1. Product.

2. Price.

3. Place.

4. Promotion.

• Mark & Spencer’s

1. Product.

2. Price.

3. Place.

4. Promotion.

• H&M

1. Product

2. Price

3. Place

4. Promotion


My Coursework 1 includes the use of secondary data to analyse the United Kingdom fashion retailing market, I am going to be focusing on 3 brands which are Marks & Spencer’s, Primark and H&M. I shall apply market research tactics and demonstrate and understanding between these brands. This assignment will consist of a 4P marketing mix analysis as well as a PEST analysis to help come up with a solution to a given marketing brief. An elaborated analysis of these brands and the United Kingdom fashion retailing industry will be done in this coursework.

Consumer Behaviour in the Fashion Retailing Sector.

(Fast Fashion and Consumer Behaviour, Becker-Leifhold, C. & Heuer, M.)

(Image -Marketing week, Statista)

We live in the day and age of fast fashion, where it changes very often, and we see that people want to live up and be part of the latest trends in the market. The global fashion industry is worth in excess of $1.5 trillion of global trade per year and employs more than 250 million people within its supply chains. ‘The growth of ethical consumerism has been predicted through numerous market research surveys and consumer questionnaires. However, it is well known that these surveys are a weak tool for predicting behaviour. Survey participants tend to either consciously or unconsciously attempt to align their views with the current social norms associated with the survey subject; they tend to declare ethical intentions to ensure they fit in with their group’ (Gastersleben, Steg, & Vlek, 2002). Consumers also tend to self-edit their personal beliefs to present themselves in positive light, this means if the company is unethical in the means of polluting the environment or other activities a consumer will automatically withdraw their choice in purchasing the product. ‘Fashion is a social process and involves individuals coming together in a collective as they negotiate their positions within the group’ (Kaiser, 2012, p. 12). Fashion has expanded into mass consumerism, we see that modern consumerism is now driven by the psychogenic desires for status and power. Consumers buy highly known and expensive brands for identity, it is an important tool for self-expression. Many models have been developed to show consumer behaviour, such as values, beliefs, individual attitudes, social norms etc. These help fashion retailers decide on how to sell their product and to which types of consumers will be ready to purchase it. Fashion retailing can be challenging because there are many consumers, finding the right consumer who can afford the brand is a task. Human Psychology plays an important role, the consumer is the ultimate decider, we can see that each consumer decides on a product by firstly seeing their income and then other factors such as the trends, company ethics etc. Consumers decide with the help of friends and family members, discussing about trends or even going shopping with them. The most research done by a consumer is online before confirming their purchase, social media is still not a huge contributor to making decisions but has risen up from the past (image 1). Personal interest in the product, Social Desirability factors, availability, quality are also a few things that affect consumer behaviour in the regards of fashion. A consumer has to be comfortable with the product and interested as well, the desire of purchasing the product whether it is for social status or meeting fashion trends, the consumer ultimately has to have the desire to purchase the product. In the United Kingdom the season influences the consumers decisions, they will choose more of winter wear since it is cold more than sunny. If a fashion retailer would want to target a market like the United Kingdom, they would have to meet current fashion trends of winter wear, therefore more consumers will be likely to purchase their brand since it meets the consumer’s needs and desirability.

4P Analysis.



   (Image- Primark Website, 2018)

Using the trickle-down effect (Posner, H., 2011), Primark takes the most fashionable trends and offers them at low prices. The company uses ‘wide and shallow’ ((Jackson and Shaw, 2009) consists of selling large amount of clothes to a tailored market. Women’s wear is a high priority for Primark, responding to the high percentage of women wanting to shop. Primark has also introduced a wide selection of sub brands such Atmosphere, Opia etc. Using the technique of ‘perceived value’ and exclusivity, Primark introduced their limited-edition products which skyrocketed their sales (Wood, M., 2013).


  (Image- Snowdown, H)

Primark Adheres to the ‘cost-based pricing’ strategy and have developed a cost-based architecture to appeal to a fashion-conscious crowd (Jackson and Shaw, 2009). Image 1 shows Primark’s famously low points that have been the key rationalisation for the company’s hesitance regarding the distribution of merchandise on- line. Primark is also able to justify by charging less by constructing simple designs and purchasing most popular sizes in massive volume (Reuters, 2014). They own up to the fact that their products are arguably lower quality as compared to other brands. Primark’s pricing strategy makes it a good value for money and satisfies the customers’ requirements.


The online channel would allow Primark to widen its global reach, boosting both brand awareness and sales – far beyond its stores’ ability’ –(Verdict, 2013)

There are over 275 stores in 9 countries all over Europe. Contradicting the recent prominence of technology in the retail world, it appears that satisfying the consumer’s desire for good customer service should be Primark’s fundamental priority (Rogers, C. 2014). They encourage their customers to stay in store longer, their non-transactional website offers limited amount of viewing. Primark has placed their stores in popular locations and with huge territory for the customer to notice the store while passing by.



Primark have acknowledged that social media plays a crucial role in enhancing the customer’s brand experience (Retailweek, 2014) including it as a core part of their promotional marketing strategy (Chaffey, D. 2012).  A fashion retailer’s website is acknowledged for executing a combination of direct selling and advertising features (Kent, T and Omar, O. 2003), however, Primark choose to use it specifically for promotional purposes. Primark uses these methods to attract customers to their stores, they also own a blog which shows off their product by people wearing them. The use LED screens in-store to show their products while customers are present.

Marks & Spencer’s.


   (Image- M&S Website)

The company’s strength throughout has been quality, as 87% of the customers demand for quality. The company has safeguarded itself in womenswear by stocking items that have been popular in previous years. (Ruddick, 2012). Products are sold in 766 stores across the UK, even though M&S have their priority set to an older generation, they have started targeting the younger generation as well. To attract more young customers, smaller specialist stores could be opened under new sub- fascia (Ruddick, 2012). M&S had downturns of business and brand image related to its apparel getting ‘old fashioned’.


  (Image – Value Spectrum, 2018)

Taking into account that the majority of the company’s customers are in the affluent ABC1 group, and M&S customers value quality of clothing over low price (Mintel, 2013). They have potential to create quality goods with higher prices compared to competitors such as Primark. If the company were to invest in bringing goods back into the UK, they would have the potential to be premium since 67.6% M&S customers and high spenders are in the ABC1 group. They have to manage prices because competitors are giving good quality for lower prices. The company has shown a downgrade in sales.



As mentioned above, M&S has 766 stores across the UK. Marks & Spencer is aiming for a multi-channel approach in its distribution strategy. People living in Inner and Greater London buy more clothes from mid-market high street fashion retailers (Mintel, 2013). M&S has placed stores in market targeting customers who would spend for good quality. It has been stated that M&S mainly open stores in busy town centres and within the city (Allon, 2006).


  (Image 6-Friedlein, A., 2017)

M&S had strong impact on sales through advertising autumn/winter wear. The company focuses a lot on online direct marketing in addition to using social media. M&S used celebrity endorsements to show that their products are not ‘old-fashioned’. (Hackley, 2009) considers engaging in celebrity endorsements an effective marketing strategy for M&S and informs about the positive contribution of this strategy for the company in terms of improving M&S image. They also introduced many discounts and promotions for their products.

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