Personal characteristics, perception of store image attributes and store choice of Black female clothing shoppers
Rikhotso, Tinyiko Virginia
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The South African consumer population is diverse and dynamic. Numerous sub-markets exist, populated by consumers with different sub-cultural characteristics. Marketers and retailers cannot ignore the emerging black market, of which the spending power is increasing steadily. Women often head black families and they frequently are the buying agents of households. The aim of this study was to investigate personal characteristics, perceptions of store image attributes and store choice of rural black female clothing shoppers. The study population consisted of black female public service employees based in Giyani (Mopani district offices). Structured questionnaires were used to gather data. Section A consisted of 10 questions to gather demographic information. Section B measured the respondents' perceptions of the importance of nine categories of clothing store image attributes. Section C investigated store choice behaviour. Factor analysis and Cronbach's alpha were used to test the questionnaire for validity and reliability. Frequency distributions of responses were tabled for sections A, B and C. Pearson's correlation coefficients were computed between the various variables. Cluster analyses, based on different variables, were performed to distinguish between consumer groups. The majority of the respondents were aged between 31 and 40. Most of them were single parents with one or two children, and had matric or a tertiary qualification. They used public transport, especially taxis. The majority of the respondents spent between R300 and R399 per month on clothing. The respondents indicated that most of the store image attribute factors listed in the questionnaire were important. Physical facilities, post-purchase satisfaction, merchandise in the store and promotions were ranked very important. The factor rated least important was service in the store, but certain items under this factor like ease of merchandise return and refunding of unsatisfactory clothing were regarded as important. When comparing the three store categories, none of the individual stores or store type categories was overwhelmingly popular, but discount stores were more popular than specialty stores. Statistically significant correlations existed among nearly all the various store image attribute factors mutually. All the correlations determined between store image attribute factors and store types, as well as between store image attribute factors and personal characteristics, were statistically insignificant. Two statistically significant relationships between personal characteristics and store type were found, namely between money spent on clothing and specialty stores (a positive relationship) and between discount stores (a negative relationship). Three distinct clusters could be identified with reference to store image attribute factors. Rural black female clothing shoppers in Giyani were segmented as follows: cluster 1 - relaxed practical shoppers; cluster 2 - highly store-involved shoppers; and cluster 3 - store conscious shoppers. Clusters with reference to store choice were also identified, namely cluster 1 - apathetic economical shoppers; cluster 2 - prestige-conscious shoppers; and cluster 3 - passive economical shoppers. Further research is necessary to assess the importance of store image attribute factors described in this study among other subcultures within the South African consumer population so as to have a well-structured knowledge of the local market.