Lizette Diedericks


Consumer and Food Sciences


PhD Consumer Science

The role of personal values in Millennial men’s perception of clothing store image and store choices

South African clothing retailers are currently struggling to obtain and retain market share as a result of the challenging economic climate, new international market entrants and changes in consumer behaviour (MarketLine, 2018). In particular, consumer behaviour relating to men’s clothing is changing and for the first time in decades, menswear is dominating the South African clothing retail industry (MarketLine, 2018; Hastreiter & Marchetti, 2016). A lucrative market segment is the Millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000 (Cham, Ng, Lim & Cheng, 2018; Cho, 2017).  Consequently, knowledge on the clothing consumer behaviour of specifically Millennial men is crucial and the topic is still under explored, resulting in a research gap, which inspired this study.  The store image perceived by the consumer has a direct influence on store choice and is important for retailer success. Since personal values ultimately drive consumer decision-making, an understanding of the personal values that motivate store choice may assist clothing retailers with their positioning (store image) to obtain customer loyalty and a sustainable competitive advantage. Gutman (1982) means-end chain (MEC) theory explains that consumers make choices based on the product/store attributes that they perceive as ultimately assisting them in reaching the desirable end-state (personal value). An MEC is a hierarchical structure that consists of three main interconnected levels, namely, attributes (means), consequences and personal values (ends), which are organised according to the level of abstraction. This study applied the MEC as a theoretical framework for exploring and understanding the role of Millennial men’s personal values in their perception of store image and their store choice.

Laddering is a probing technique that is used specifically in MEC studies to uncover underlying motivations for behaviour. This technique can be used in qualitative studies (where it is referred to as soft laddering) and also in quantitative studies (where it is referred to as hard laddering). This exploratory mixed-method study started with an initial qualitative phase and the findings were subsequently used to develop the measuring instrument for the second quantitative phase. The second quantitative phase specifically used the Association Pattern Technique (APT), a hard laddering technique developed by Ter Hofstede, Audenaert, Steenkamp and Wedel (1998). Using a series of matrices, the APT reveals how consumers link desirable attributes, sought-after consequences and personal values. Using non-probability sampling methods (i.e. convenience-, snowball and quota sampling), 25 participants were recruited in the first phase and 408 workable questionnaires were obtained during the second phase. The personal in-depth interviews conducted during phase 1 used soft laddering and elicited the attributes and consequences that are pivotal in clothing store choice. Together with these attributes and consequences, the ten basic personal values of Schwartz (1992) and colleagues (2001; 2014) were used to develop the matrices for the measuring instrument used in phase 2. During this phase, data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire that was completed online.

The findings of this study indicate that hedonism ultimately motivates store image and store choice. Although the personal values of “self-direction”, “achievement” and “power” were also indicated as motivational drivers within different demographic subsets and different types of clothing retailers, “hedonism” unequivocally was found to be the most relevant personal value. It is therefore hedonism that influences Millennial men’s clothing store image and store choice. From this study it is recommended that clothing retailers in South Africa, targeting the Millennial male, pay specific attention to hedonism in terms of the design and implementation of their marketing strategies to give credit to consumers’ need to associate with a store image that projects a pleasurable experience. Clothing retailers that can successfully position themselves accordingly, will most likely be favoured.


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  • Primary Supervisor: Prof AC Erasmus
  • Co-supervisor: Dr S Donoghue


  • International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA)


  • Diedericks, L., Erasmus, A.C. & Donoghue, S. Now is the time to embrace interactive electronic applications of Association Pattern Technique, based on 21 years of reviewed research. Submitted.


  • Diedericks, L & Erasmus, A.C. (2017) Elicitation of desirable clothing retailer attributes and subsequent consequences for Millennial men’s retailer choices in an emerging market context. Presented at EIRASS (European Institute for Retail and Service Management). Vancouver, Canada, July.
Published by Gertruida Erasmus

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