Apparel is one of the basic necessities of human development along with food, water and shelter. The Garment Industry reflects people’s lifestyles and shows their social and economic status. The Apparel and Textile industry is India’s second largest industry after IT Industry. Recently, it is the fastest growing industry and is also the second largest foreign exchange breadwinner for the country. The apparel industry accounts for 26% of all Indian exports. The Indian government has targeted the apparel and textiles industry segments to reach $50 billion by the year 2015.
One of the most curious features of the apparel industry is that, it travels from high cost nations to the low cost nations. The growth of the domestic demand for apparel in India is connected with the success of the retailing sector. India currently has entered the second phase of growth and is witnessing a massive rise in the domestic demand. This is mainly due to the rise in the standard of living caused by the rise in the middle-income groups. In our present economic world of demand and supply, price and quality are the key factors, which determine the success of any business. The key element here though, is the cost of labour. India and China have a comparative advantage in this industry though, their vast labour forces and the relatively low cost of labour.
Since, India and China have the advantage of making textiles and so fabric costs are lower than in other countries, they have become the Apparel sourcing choice for many international companies. Sourcing choices arise from profitability. This includes considering costs, such as, buying factors of production, like land, buildings and machines versus factors affecting revenues, including pricing, marketing, and distribution. The issues of labour, material, shipping costs and tariffs structure also affect the sourcing choices. Since, garment production is a labour-intensive activity, wage rates are also a major factor in finding decisions. This gives direct competitive advantage to manufacturers in countries like India and China to export to more developed and high cost countries like the United States and the European Union.
Consumers shop for various reasons and occasions. Shopping has long been regarded as a risky activity as shoppers may be uncertain of a purchase decision and the consequences of a poor decision (Bauer 1960). Men prefer the brand in purchasing many things, one of the most dominant areas of branding preferred by men are garments. Consumers purchase a particular product, collect information for a next purchase decision or an overview of the latest trends. In addition, consumers may vary in how they shop, select products, or process information. Consumer research has identified purchasing behavior as an important construct. Consumer behavior is the process and activities people engage in when searching for selecting, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services so as to satisfy their needs and desires (Belch & Belch, 2010). A brand is a perceived image that resides in the minds of consumers. It is the aura that surrounds a product or service that communicates its benefits and differentiates it from its competitors for the consumer. Thus a brand is being defined as, “an identifiable product, service, person or place, augmented in such a way that the buyer or user perceives relevant unique added values that match their needs most closely” (Caldwell and Freire, 2004). The purchase of any product by an individual is influenced by several factors including high value towards the brands, information about the products, purchase out of habit, based on experiments with the products apart from this there are several internal and external factors that determine buying forces such as needs, past experiences, personality, learning and attitudes termed as internal factors and social, marketing, and situational influences are external factors. The behaviour of the consumers varies with respect to the products they are intended to purchase. In men’s wear, the market is now quite well developed, and many globally known brands have also attained what is commonly known as critical mass – or the minimum scale of operations required for sustainable growth and profitability. These include names like Allen Solly, Park Avenue, Van Heusen, Raymond and others.
India has been in the midst of a great social, political and economic change ever since
Reforms were introduced in various spheres of activity. The country has greater confidence to take on the competition from developed countries and has attracted global investors in ever increasing measure. Apparel industry is one of the oldest industries in India. This sector has made significant contributions in terms of forex and employment and is one of the backbones of the economy. The Indian textile industry is one of the largest in the world with a massive raw material and textiles manufacturing base. Our economy is mostly dependent on the textile manufacturing and trade in addition to other major industries. About 27% of the foreign exchange is on account of export of textiles and apparel alone. The textiles and apparel sector contributes about 14% to the industrial production and 3% to the gross product of the country. Around 8% of the total excise revenue collection is contributed by the textile industry. The textile industry accounts majorly 21% of the total employment generated in the economy. Around 35 million people are directly employed in the textile manufacturing activities.
India is changing with the latest fashions in apparels. India is also known for its fashion as well as. Ethnic and traditional apparels have been a uniqueness of India since long. But now-a-days fashion apparels have changed the situation of Indian market. Modern consumption patterns have changed and evolved where consumers are well aware of fashion trends and updates are easily available to consumers for all segment through different media channels. This has changed consumers motivation behind their fashion consumption as well, some uses fashion as a means of presenting themselves to the culture at large. Fashion is a dynamic phenomenon which changes with time; irrespective of whether it is a garment, cosmetics or jewellery, but to define how fashion has changed. Every year a confusing array of styles are prepared all over the world and replaced the year after with new ones. Fashion clothing industry is completely dependent on constant ideas and new expectations of the youth.
History of textiles
The history of textile is almost as old as that of human civilization and as time moves on the history of textile has further improved itself. In the 6th and 7th century BC, the oldest recorded suggestion of using fiber comes with the invention of flax and wool fabric at the excavation of Swiss lake people. In India the culture of silk was first introduced in 400AD, whereas spinning of cotton traces back to 3000BC. In China, the discovery and consequent development of sericulture and spin silk methods got initiated at 2640 BC while in Egypt the art of spinning linen and weaving developed in 3400 BC. The discovery of machines and their widespread application in processing natural fibers was a direct outcome of the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries. The discoveries of various synthetic fibers like nylon created a wider market for textile products and gradually led to the invention of new and improved sources of natural fiber. The development of transportation and communication facilities facilitated the path of transaction of localized skills and textile art among various countries.
Consumer purchase behavior:
The actions a person takes in purchasing and using products and services, including the mental and social processes that precede and follow these actions can be called as consumer behaviour.
It helps us to answer questions such as:
(i) Why people choose one product or brand over another?
(ii) How they make these choices, and
(iii) How companies use this knowledge to provide value to consumers
(iv) Consumer purchase decision process: Behind the visible act of making a purchase, lies a decision that must be investigated. The purchase decision process is the stages a buyer passes through in making choices about which products and services to buy.
There are five stages of consumer behaviour:
(i) problem recognition
(ii) information search
(iii) alternative evaluation
(iv) purchase decision
(v) post purchase behaviour
Types of consumer purchasing behavior are determined by the level of involvement in purchase decision. Importance of interest in a product at a particular situation. Buyer’s level of involvement determines who is motivated to seek information about a certain products and brands but virtually ignores others.
High involvements are high priced goods, products visible to others, and the higher the risk the higher the involvement and also include personal risk, social risk and economic risk.
The four type of consumer buying behavior are:
Routine Response/Programmed Behavior.
Limited Decision Making–buying product occasionally.
Extensive Decision Making/Complex high involvement.
High degree of economic/performance/psychological risk.
Impulse buying, no conscious planning.
Consumer purchase behaviour of apparel : The Indian economy has grown over the last 10 years with new jobs created in the ITES sector, Automotive engineering, Apparel manufacturing and Civil engineering. The development is strongly led by Information Technology Enabled Services; this is maintained by the education sector with increase in the number of students joining for higher education and large numbers of students graduating every year. The working class people sector has grown since the economic growth and it has benefited middle class and upper middle class people. Due to the increase in the number of working people and considerable raise in income, spending power has increased over the years, and particularly the young Indians in the age of 15 – 25 like to shop more.
Apparel is a highly symbolic product category due to its high visibility. Individuals will often make assumptions about a person’s self-concept simply on the basis of his/her clothing (Soloman & Rabolt, 1999). Self-concept is a dynamic structure that changes according to the nature of the social surroundings or situation (Banister & Hogg, 2006). Consumers will change their consumption behavior based on a current change in their self-concepts (Banister & Hogg, 2006). The symbolic nature of clothing as a visual expression of self-concept can incorporate various clothing styles, brands, retailer outlets and memberships in particular subcultures (Soloman & Rabolt, 1999).
Consumer purchase behavior of apparel among college going students: College students as a young consumer group have gained importance from marketers in current years because of their developing purchasing power. They have easy access to credit cards (Schor, 1998) and income from part-time jobs to spend. Students tend to spend money on clothing and beauty products, and find these items to be important. Therefore, college students apparel shopping positioning is important to research because it is an important sector of consumer behaviour.