Chapter 2: Foreign Studies
Review of Related Literature and Studies
According to “Perceptions on Male Apparel Consumption” of Amanda Alison Conseur, although men have become more visible consumers in fashion and vanity markets, there is little research published in the area of male consumer behavior. Men have long been visible consumers in areas such as electronics and sports equipment, and are now entering the apparel market in large numbers. Thus, further research on this growing market is necessary.
Despite the lack of research on male apparel consumer behavior, there is a common perception of how men shop. Otnes and McGrath investigated the validity of male shopping stereotypes in their research titled, “Perceptions and realities of male shopping behavior”. They found that the males in their study did not follow the stereotypical behaviors and engaged in behaviors quite contrary. The men were active consumers rather than solely accompanying their partners. They were observed browsing, bargaining and shopping together. The authors explain this as a result of Pleck’s theory of gender transcendence as well as a, “venue for achievement”, in which the men achieve identity fulfilment. In other words, “identity is in large part created through his carefully chosen wardrobe” Thus, the new perceptions of male consumers are revealed in this study and insight is gained into the motivations of male apparel shoppers.13
In another study on male consumer behavior, Galilee researched middle class young men. He questioned whether men were really active consumers of fashion and set out to understand male apparel choices. His interviews with 35 young men led him to the conclusion that while men may be fashion conscious; they are reluctant to discuss fashion. The men interviewed were influenced by individuality, quality and fashion when choosing apparel, yet they were hesitant to talk about their fashion interest. Galilee found their knowledge came from forms of visual media, the Internet and street observations. Thus, although the men were choosing apparel based on its fashion ability; the men may be, “still lacking the rhetoric to discuss fashion and their bodies”.
In another study on young male shoppers, Torres, Summers and Belleau were interested in assessing the degree of satisfaction experienced by young men when shopping for apparel and to understand the store attributes that are important. They found that store attributes of quality, price and selection are important to all men and especially important to men aged 18- 25. They also found that employee knowledge was an important factor contributing to their level of satisfaction. This is important as, “males under 25, enjoy shopping, like to buy clothes, have money to spend on apparel, and think about and spend time on their wardrobes”. Therefore, sales associates that can offer information on current trends and different brands can better meet the needs of young male consumers.
The relationship with male apparel consumption and body satisfaction has also been explored in research of Shim, Kotsiopulos & Knoll, 1991. In their study, Shim, et al., studied the associations between clothing attitude, body satisfaction and shopping behavior. They found that males with the greatest body satisfaction and clothing attitudes appeared to have the most positive clothing and shopping behavior. Males with negative clothing attitudes and low body satisfaction were found to be the opposite with low interest in apparel shopping. Thus, this study indicated that males with greater clothing attitudes and body satisfaction “seem to be key consumers because they are more inclined to be fashion leaders, have a positive disposition to apparel retail products, and spend more on clothing”.
The above study, much like the related literature, gave the researchers a deeper knowledge about how the metrosexuals affect the society – one of the aims of the researchers. With this information, the researchers can safely conclude that the rise of these metrosexuals can bring a lot of good into our economy and environment.