Niyati Rana l Ahmedabad
That most women enjoy shopping is a given. But, what a study conducted by senior faculty at Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA) has revealed is that women, whether young or middle-aged, like shopping alone and taking their own decisions. They dislike interference whether from companions or store staff.
The study was on the buying habits and purchase decision behaviour of 58 luxury brand consumers. All respondents were apparel consumers who were found shopping in luxury stores in Mumbai city and belonged to the uppermost segment of the consuming class.
The study suggests that men in the age group 18-30 years cannot select garments on their own and rely on their companion for inputs, mainly male companions or store assistants. Also, male consumers are more influenced by suggestions of female staff. It seems this behaviour goes down as they mature. The study points out that men in the age group 31-45 years choose to shop alone.
Women seem to wish to adhere to their personal preferences. They like looking around on their own and picking items of their choice. They approach staff only to inquire about colour, size or design, states the paper. The study found that while men were brand conscious, price sensitive, require lots of assistance, are easy to convince and are less frequent buyers, women are style conscious, price sensitive, require less assistance, are difficult to convince and are frequent buyers.
It states that previous studies on buying behaviour of luxury consumers in India reported India to be a collectivist market. However, the present study differs with the view and suggests that Indian conventional values have been confronted and individualism has arisen as a consequence of material comfort and modernisation.
One important insight that store managers mentioned was that major sales of luxury brands happened during the discount season. This indicates that even though Indians are attracted to luxury brands, they are still price conscious and gave weightage to value for money.
The study titled: Understanding Indians Purchase Behaviour Process: Luxury Apparel Sector, is part of a research paper by Dr Varsha Jain, assistant professor at MICA, Sonal Pingle an alumnus and Aarzoo Daswani, former research associate at the institute.