Making sense of the market: An exploration of apparel consumption practices of the Russian consumer

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elena Karpova, Putman & Hayes Distinguished Professor (Creator)
Nancy J. Nelson Hodges, Burlington Industries Professor and Head (Creator)
William L. Tullar, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine and interpret post-socialist consumer experiences in relation to clothing consumption practices when consumers shop, acquire, and wear clothing and other fashion-related products. Design/methodology/approach: The in-depth interview was the primary data collection tool. Data collection was conducted during summer 2004 in St Petersburg, Russia. College students formed the sample for the study. In total, 17 students (four males and 13 females) were interviewed. The hermeneutic approach was used to interpret the meanings of the participant lived experiences. Findings: In comparison to consumers in an established market-based economy, consumers in this post-socialist market have unique perceptions of clothing attributes (quality, brand name, country of origin, retail channel) critical for buying decisions. Overall, appearance and clothing play a special role in the emerging Russian market as they help construct and communicate new identities more than any other product category. Research implications/implications: Identified challenges of the Russian apparel market indicate opportunities for domestic and foreign apparel businesses. The meanings Russian consumers attach to clothing attributes can be used to develop product positioning and promotional strategies. Discussed implications of the research findings can be extended to other post-socialist emerging markets. Originality/value: This study explored how Russian consumers have adjusted to the new economic reality after almost fifteen years of transition from a socialist to a capitalist society from the perspective of the consumer. Whereas previous research findings were confirmed, the present study provides rationale for perceived importance of quality and unimportance of brand name in the Russian apparel market.

Additional Information

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 11(1), 106-121
Language: English
Date: 2007
apparel, consumer behaviour, market economy, consumerism, Russia

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