The research study attempts to reveal new details about the generation of Millennials and their effect on the purchasing behavior of the fashion industry in the UK. In this instance, the central objectives are to not only discover the buying behavior of Millennials but also propose effective strategies to the marketers. This research is necessary since previous publications have insufficient methodologies and do not provide information about the situation in the UK.
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The main research question will be answered with the help of a mixed research methodology. To discover critical features of behavior, questionnaires are distributed among 20 Millennials for a preliminary trial. Participation is voluntary. Simultaneously, a semi-structured interview with one professional to discover the impact of Millennials on purchasing behavior of the fashion industry in the UK and propose effective marketing strategies for the companies is conducted. The finding indicates that Millennials are not loyal to brands, eager to discover novelties, and prefer online shopping more than a traditional type. Additionally, they share opinions with the representatives of other generations and change their attitudes. Thus, the professional mentions that Millennials require making marketing more digitalized and interactive while the products have to be unique and innovative (suggestions for strategies). Due to the nature of the research, potential ethical risks may be related to confidentiality, privacy, and researcher bias. Nonetheless, the study will be conducted within two months as it is planned.
The relevance of the Proposed Topic to the Business Field
Nowadays, the success of the business is highly dependent on various external factors, and consumer behavior is one of them. Being able to satisfy the needs of the target audience is one of the major challenges for modern companies, especially in the fashion industry. Today, Millennials dominate the market, and most of the fast-fashion companies consider them as desired customers (Fromm and Vidler 2015). This consumer group can be viewed as one of the opportunities for growth and expansion since they are eager to try something new and do not support conservativism in clothing (Fromm and Vidler 2015). Nonetheless, this trend can be viewed as one of the challenges at the same time, as Millennials’ purchasing behavior and values are different from the viewpoints of Generation X and Y. Failure to adapt to these changes and cater to the needs of this target audience may be regarded as a potential cause of the loss of the market share and unstable financial position. Consequently, discovering specifics of Millennials and their effect on buying behavior and trends will contribute to the development of effective marketing campaigns and the design of innovative products that will help survive in the competitive market.
Justification of the Chosen Topic
As was mentioned earlier, the fashion industry is vulnerable to changes, and Millennials are a consumer group that dominates the market. An extended variety of research studies was conducted to understand the role of the purchasing power, but only a limited number of them were devoted to Millennials in the business sphere. The majority of the publications highlighted only general characteristics of this generation, but they lacked profound details not only about this consumer group but also its impact on the purchasing behavior of the industry. At the same time, these generalized findings and domination of quantitative methods were the primary limitations of the research studies, as they did not allow discovering the insights of consumer behavior of this group, especially in the UK. This paper will attempt to fill these gaps by using a mixed research design. The quantitative survey will help collect information about the buying behavior of Millennials while semi-structured interviews will be conducted with industry professionals. Utilizing this strategy will not only cover the specifics of Millennials in the UK market but also will reveal new insights about the research topic and propose effective strategies to the fashion companies.
Value of the Research
The limitations of the previous publications underline the need to conduct profound research. A unique blend of quantitative and qualitative methods determines the high significance of this study. In the first place, this research will enhance the understanding of the behavior of Millennials with the help of a quantitative approach. Marketers can actively use these findings to design effective advertising campaigns. At the same time, consulting specialists from the industry will reveal the impact of Millennials on the purchasing power and develop strategies that are used to overcome these challenges. Executives can utilize these results to develop sufficient approaches to attract the representatives of this generation to their brands. Overall, it could be said that this research is valuable, as it not only fills the gaps of previous studies but also covers the topic from dissimilar angles and makes it applicable in the context of the UK fashion industry.
Research Questions and Objectives
Based on the analysis and justification of the topic conducted above, the central research question can be formulated as ‘How Do Millennials Influence Purchasing Behavior of the Fashion Industry in the UK?’. In this case, the research objectives are
- Reveal behavioral trends of Millennials in the fashion industry in the UK;
- Discover how Millennials affect purchasing behavior and other generations of the fashion industry in the UK;
- Introduce relevant strategies to the companies operating in this segment based on the findings.
Nowadays, the companies tend to change their attitudes towards customers and transfer their focus from the main features of products to consumer behavior and preferences (Scalera and Serra 2014). The main benefit of the trend is the fact that customer-centricity allows devoting more attention to the value-creation process (Scalera and Serra 2014). Consequently, this strategy helps develop not only effective solutions and comply with the expectations of the brand but also increases the company’s revenues and designs sufficient products to stay competitive.
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Unlike push sales strategy when the features of a product are marketed to the audience while forcefully creating demand, customer-centric enterprises have to employ a pull method (Jamali and Sidani 2012). In this instance, pull strategies have the required characteristics that support the concepts of the client-centric approach, as their primary goal is to cater to the existent needs of the market (Jamali and Sidani 2012). Using this model creates additional supply that attempts to satisfy the unnoticed demand while complying with the general principles of the supply-and-demand theoretical model. This source entirely explains the working mechanism of consumer behavior and provides a rationale for using a customer-centric approach with the need to evaluate consumer preferences carefully.
Nonetheless, when referring to the concepts of behavioral economics, some studies are claiming that various social groups have a critical impact on preferences and behavioral patterns. For example, Durmaz and Durmaz (2014) state that different social factors and entities such as family, reference group, and socio-economic status affect purchasing behavior. For instance, the family life cycle truly affects the decision-making of the individuals, as each stage defines the number of available financial resources that can be spent on clothing and entertainment (Durmaz and Durmaz 2014). In turn, researchers such as Khan (2012) claim that the main factors influencing consumer behavior can be divided into formal and informal. In this instance, apart from social factors mentioned previously, the author also shows the impact of various marketing tools such as advertising and PR on consumer decision-making (Khan 2012). Despite being highly generalized, these articles offer critical details about consumer actions and define the main social factors and values that can affect the behavior of Millennials.
Furthermore, some publications attempt to discover different social factors that define preferences of Millennials and, as a consequence the overall purchasing behavior in the industry. In the first place, Smith (2011) states that Millennials modified the overall concept of shopping by prioritizing online transactions. As a consequence, it leads to the rising popularity of social media marketing and e-commerce (Smith 2011). These matters make traditional advertising ineffective, as Millennials do not respond to it. Simultaneously, these behavioral trends of Millennials affect other generations while changing the buying behavior of the industry.
At the same time, Millennials are often referred to as young adults (15-30 years old), who are open to new opportunities and are motivated to discover something new. In this case, characteristics such as originality and authenticity define the desire of Millennials to buy a particular clothing item (Mandarino 2016). This aspect implies that this generation is less loyal to brands. One of the outcomes of this trend is the development of niche branding and the rise of the craft clothing industry (Mandarino 2016). Small clothing companies highly attract the attention of Millennials since the products are unique and authentic. At the same time, this tendency changes the purchasing behavior of other generations since the domination of Millennials and their strong influence on the clothing market shifts interest to niche producers. This factor implies that fast-fashion companies are required to modify their products to comply with the market demands for authentic clothing (Rigaud-Lacresse and Pini 2017).
Apart from being open to new opportunities and having their preferences regarding different social issues, Millennials are interested in resolving environmental problems. This concept revolutionizes the fashion industry, as this generation shows interest in sustainable brands that are eco-friendly and community-orientated (Rigaud-Lacresse and Pini 2017). This trend requires fast-fashion brands to modify their manufacturing concepts and marketing to gain the attention of Millennials (Rigaud-Lacresse and Pini 2017).
A combination of the aspects mentioned in the literature review clearly describes Millennials as a consumer group and its potential impact on the overall purchasing behavior in the fashion industry. These findings can be actively used to design questionnaires and develop semi-structured interviews to be conducted with specialists. Nonetheless, the information is generalized, and it is still impossible to define the impact of Millennials on buying behavior. Consequently, profound research is needed to answer the chosen research questions and suggest modifications to the companies.
To find the answers to the suggested research questions and meet the described objectives, it is essential to introduce an effective methodology that will reveal critical insights. Pragmatism can be discovered as the most suitable philosophy since it allows for combining different methods. As for the approach, pragmatism is often associated with using a blend of inductive and deductive strategies (Sekaran and Bougie 2016). This aspect applies to this study since to answer the research question it is necessary to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. Consequently, to reveal the important details of the consumer behavior of Millennials and propose effective strategies, it is necessary to employ mixed methods that include conducting semi-structured interviews and surveys to discover the preferences of the selected generation. Using this approach will help review the problem from different angles while the study will be cross-sectional, as the implementation of the project will be limited by time.
As it was stated earlier, the most appropriate methodology is a mixed approach that combines both quantitative and qualitative data collection instruments. In this case, a focus group is one of the common research tools. One of the advantages of this method is the fact that it allows seeing changes in behavior and evaluating the reaction of the individuals to a certain offering (Sekaran and Bougie 2016). Alas, the crucial disadvantages pertain to a limited number of participants and high implementation costs (Sekaran and Bougie 2016). Alternatively, using surveys is another method, and its main benefits are objectivity of collected information, low costs of implementation, statistical measurability, and a possibility to have a large sample size (Sekaran and Bougie 2016). Apart from the drawbacks such as the lack of flexibility, it is the most suitable method to discover the main features of Millennials, as this study will include a significant number of participants. The primary reason for that is the fact that it helps determine the preferences of this generation clearly and tries to evaluate their influence on the fashion industry and understand the specifics of this consumer group.
Lastly, one cannot underestimate the role of the interviews as one of the qualitative methods. The critical advantages of this approach are high flexibility and the ability to evaluate the emotional condition of the interviewee (Sekaran and Bougie 2016). Nonetheless, apart from the beneficial features mentioned above, this method has disadvantages such as high costs and time consumption, a dependence on the quality of the results on the skills of the interviewer, and a limited sample size (Sekaran and Bougie 2016). A combination of these factors implies that this method will be the most suitable in the context of this research study, as only several participants will take part in it. At the same time, using this approach will help acquire the required information while having a vivid conversation with the representatives of the industry.
20 representatives of the Millennial generation (8 females and 12 males of the age of 15-30 years old) participated in a pilot research study. All of them were given a right to answer the research questions presented in Appendix 1. In this case, 80% of the participants claimed that they are not loyal to brands and interested in discovering new offerings. In this case, only 20% stated that they have specific brand preferences. Alternatively, all participants showed interest in trying innovative products and services. A combination of these findings indicates that the companies have to consider these features of Millennials and focus on product rebranding and the development of unique goods. As for online shopping, 70% of the sample preferred online shopping while the rest liked both methods. This finding shows that companies in the fashion segment in the UK should work on the development of interesting and user-friendly websites that will attract the attention of Millennials and increase overall sales. When trying to understand the impact of this consumer group on the purchasing behavior in the UK, it was revealed that Millennials tended to share their opinions and inform others about new trends. It changes the buying behavior of other individuals while transferring the behavioral patterns of Millennials to other groups.
At the same time, it is necessary to consider the opinions of the representatives of the industry (see Appendix 2). In this case, one of the individuals, Jared Jameson (a brand manager in one of the fast-fashion companies), was eager to participate in the research study. During this conversation, it was revealed that Millennials had a critical impact on the fashion industry and could be defined as a generation of demanding individuals, who were eager to explore something new and expand their horizons, as Jameson stated during the interview. By sharing their opinions, they shift the popularity of trends such as online shopping and niche marketing.
Nonetheless, Jameson indicated that his company was able to take advantage of these tendencies by prioritizing R&D, digital marketing, and the development of innovative products and campaigns. He highly recommended that fast-fashion companies should focus on digital platforms and social media marketing while not underestimating continuous product development and branding. Overall, both qualitative and quantitative findings portray that Millennials can be discovered as a specific consumer group, and the companies have to pay vehement attention to their features as they dominate the market. As for the strategies, the enterprises have to pay attention to digital features and innovation to attract the attention of this generation.
Nonetheless, when conducting this research study, potential risks and ethical issues may be related to the problems of confidentiality, privacy, and a high possibility of researcher bias. In the first place, the participation in the survey is anonymous, and any leakage of personal data will be a violation of the privacy and confidentiality rules (Sekaran and Bougie 2016). This issue may lead to conflict while causing difficulties in continuing to work on this research study. In this instance, to avoid this matter, the questionnaires will be placed online. It will not only eliminate this risk but also will help monitor results and control the number of participants. Another matter that has to be taken into account is researcher bias. It implies that the scholar can interpret the findings by prioritizing his/her personal opinion (Wallace and Fleet 2012). Nonetheless, using a pragmatic approach will help minimize the consequences of these issues, as mixed research methods will be utilized.
The primary goal of this section is to present the overall timeframe of the study. It will provide information about each phase and its duration.
Durmaz, Y., and Durmaz, B. (2014) ‘The Impact of Social Factors on Consumer Buying Behavior and an Empirical Application in Turkey’. Journal of Social Science Research 3 (2), 257-263.
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Fromm, J., and Vidler, M. (2015) Millennials with Kids: Marketing to This Powerful and Surprisingly Different Generation of Parents. New York: AMACON.
Jamali, D., and Sidani, Y. (2012) CRS in the Middle East: Fresh Perspectives. London: Palgrave McMillan.
Khan, S. (2012) ‘The Influence of Informal and Formal Sources on Consumer Buying Behavior’. Global Journal of Management and Business Research 12 (12), 1-7.
Mandarino, K. (2016) Niche Brands: Understanding How Niche Fashion Startups Connect with Millennials [online]. Web.
Rigaud-Lacresse, E., and Pini, F. (2017) New Luxury Management: Creating and Managing Sustainable Value Across the Organization. New York: Springer.
Scalera, M., and Serra, A. (2014) ‘Customer-Centric Strategies for Value-Creation: Academic Experimentation’. Journal of E-Leaning and Knowledge Society 10 (2), 65-76.
Sekaran, U., and Bougie, R. (2016) Research Methods for Business: A Skill Building Approach. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Smith, K, (2011) ‘Digital Marketing Strategies That Millennials Find Appealing, Motivating, or Just Annoying’. Journal of Strategic Marketing 1 (1), 1-28.
Wallace, D., and Fleet, C. (2012) Knowledge into Action: Research and Evaluation in Library and Information Science. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, LLC.
Content of the Questionnaire
- Age: 15-30; 30-55; 55-65+ (In this case, only the participants, who select the first age group are able to participate in this research study);
- Gender: Male or Female;
- Do you think that you are a loyal customer? Or are you more eager to try products from new brands?
- I am a loyal consumer;
- I am only loyal to some brands;
- I am not loyal to specific brands, and I always want to try something new;
- Will you be interested in buying innovative and unique products?
- Do you like to buy products online or prefer traditional shopping?
- Online shopping;
- Do you share your opinions about shopping with older generation (30-65+ years old)? Do you help them learn about new trends such as niche brands and online shopping?
- Yes, I do;
- No, I do not find it necessary.
Content of Semi-Structured Interviews
- Do you think a generation of Millennials has a critical impact on the fashion industry in the UK? Why?
- How can you define the main features of Millennials? How are they different from other generations?
- Do you think that they affect the behavior of other generations and the overall industry?
- How do you take advantage of these trends?
- What can you recommend to other fast-fashion companies? What strategies should they use?
- How can marketing strategy be changed when considering Millennials as the main target audience?
- Lastly, what features and characteristics should products have to satisfy the needs of Millennials?
The purpose of the questionnaire is to collect information about the main features of Millennials and their impact on other consumer groups and generations. It will be targeted at them directly, as it may reveal valuable insights about their buying behavior that can be used by marketers to redesign and develop marketing strategies. These findings can help avoid researcher bias, as they will be presented in statistical form. As for semi-structured-interviews, they play a similar role but portray this matter from the viewpoint of professionals. The associated risks may be related to privacy, confidentiality, and researcher bias due to the nature of the study. However, they can be avoided by using a pragmatic method and mixed approach.