Factors that affect buying decisions of customers in retail clothing industry
In financial downturn competition for ones' disposable income intensifies as consumption patterns change due to limited buying power. Customers are forced to change their lifestyles as the fight against impulsive buying and luxurious spending is diminished and suppressed by the need to focus mainly on essential or basic items. Job losses also spiral as companies continually face the challenge to keep the costs down which results in a situation where firms are unable to hold on to their staff. But in Lesotho, Chinese shops particularly clothing retailers seem to be defying the odds and flourishing at an alarming pace yet Chinese products are synonymous with poor quality. So the question is, are these Chinese products most affordable during these hard times? The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that affect buying decisions of customers in the retail clothing industry with a sample of 51 respondents aged 25 to 50 towards their buying decisions with regard to clothing. The data were collected using mall intercepts with a structured questionnaire. The subjects of the study were 32 male and 19 female respondents. A few questions were put forward and results were mostly supported. Descriptive analysis, was employed to answer the research questions on the similarities and differences among the variables. The results showed that buying clothes during financial crises is competing with basic items like food as people divert most of their money to food items. The results further showed that most of the factors are relevant in terms of swaying customers buying decisions to a certain direction. Price and prestige were very important although price had different meanings to different individuals. The aim was also to reveal critical elements that guide respondents' buying decisions. Cheap prices which favour Chinese clothing retails, image of the store and approval by others were articulated as most relevant guiding elements. Availability (convenience) and good service from clothing retail shops revealed that there was little difference with the other elements in terms of guiding decisions. Chinese shops were rated lowest in terms of overall service delivery while non-Chinese were highest. The frequency of buying clothes was high which implied that low quality clothes were the mostly bought items. The recommendations for improvement have been indicated and suggestions for further research.