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Brand switching in clothing as a manifestation of variety-seeking behavior

Michaelidou, Nina; Dibb, Sally and Arnott, David (2005). Brand switching in clothing as a manifestation of variety-seeking behavior. Advances in Consumer Research: Asia Pacific Region, 6 pp. 79–85.

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The paper examines the relationship between consumers’ general need for variety in their lives and their brand switching behavior when shopping for clothes. A review of the various motivations of variety-seeking behavior is offered. However, the research described in the paper focuses solely on the consumers’ internal need for stimulation (optimal stimulation level) as an antecedent of variety-seeking behavior and brand switching. This relationship is tested in the context of consumer shopping for clothes, measuring variety seeking levels and investigating their effect on brand switching behavior. The findings indicate no relationship between VSB and brand switching; suggesting that brand switching in clothing purchases is likely to be driven by factors other than 'the need for variety’.

The underlying premise of variety-seeking behavior (VSB) is that 'under certain conditions we all need variety in our lives’ (Faison 1977). This conflicts with classical theories of learned behavior which describe consumer behavior as a series of needs which are met by activities which then become learned responses to be repeated as the needs recur. However, research suggests that variety-seeking is likely to account for brand switching in consumer choice (Bass, Pessemier, and Lehman 1972). Twenty years ago researchers were preoccupied with understanding VSB, resulting in a proliferation of explanations and models for the phenomenon, its antecedents and manifestations. In a recent resurgence in interest, researchers have been keen to synthesize the literature and further explore the VSB concept (Kahn 1995; Ratner, Kahn, and Kahneman 1999).

Although previous research indicates a relationship between the need for variety and brand switching behavior, these studies tend not to consider how product category affects the relationship. Yet brand switching is a situation and product-specific phenomenon; therefore its underlying motivations vary across situations and different product groups. What causes brand switching in one product class may not be the same as in another. More research is therefore needed to determine the impact of product class on brand switching behavior. This paper addresses this concern, examining the relationship between consumers’ need for variety in their lives and their brand switching behavior when shopping for clothes. The literature review considers various motivations for VSB, focusing on the consumers’ internal need for stimulation (Optimal Stimulation Level) as an antecedent of VSB and brand switching. Research findings are then presented which address the relationship between VSB and brand switching for clothing consumers.

Item Type: Journal Item
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 2049
Depositing User: Users 12 not found.
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 08:50
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