Saving Face: A Cross-Cultural Investigation of Retail Patronage in Consumers' Skincare Purchase Decisions

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The skincare sector is among the fastest growing consumer branded products, boasting unprecedented growth rates in emerging markets, as well as steady growth in developed and post-developed markets. Yet, a more relevant question to marketers of branded skincare products is what factors influence consumers’ decisions about where to buy such products, and whether or not to spread positive word-of-mouth (WOM) about products and store preferences. Sirgy’s (1982, 1985) self-congruence theory postulates that the greater the match between a consumer’s self-image and the image of a retailer’s typical patron, the greater the likelihood that the consumer will prefer and patronize that ... continued below

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viii, 109 pages : illustrations (some color)

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Dai, Bo August 2015.

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This dissertation is part of the collection entitled: UNT Theses and Dissertations and was provided by UNT Libraries to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 50 times . More information about this dissertation can be viewed below.

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  • Dai, Bo

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The skincare sector is among the fastest growing consumer branded products, boasting unprecedented growth rates in emerging markets, as well as steady growth in developed and post-developed markets. Yet, a more relevant question to marketers of branded skincare products is what factors influence consumers’ decisions about where to buy such products, and whether or not to spread positive word-of-mouth (WOM) about products and store preferences. Sirgy’s (1982, 1985) self-congruence theory postulates that the greater the match between a consumer’s self-image and the image of a retailer’s typical patron, the greater the likelihood that the consumer will prefer and patronize that retailer. However, a review of the literature on self-image congruence shows a lack of consensus with respect to: 1) the effect of self-image congruence on retail patronage, and 2) the relative strength of the four dimensions (i.e., actual/ideal self- and social/ideal social self-image) of self-image congruence on consumer preferences and choices (e.g., Ibrahim & Najjar, 2008; Kang, Tang, Lee, & Bosselma, 2012). Further, Sirgy, Grewal, and Mangleburg (2000) suggested that the more a consumer matches a retailer’s store attributes with those of an ideal store, the more likely the consumer will prefer and patronize the retailer. Thus, an integrative model (Sirgy et al., 2000) that captures the effects of retail environment and self-image congruence on retail patronage served as the theoretical foundation of this study. The purpose of this study was to examine interactively the effects of retail environment and self-image congruence on retail shopping experience and patronage behavior of Generation Y-aged (Gen Y) consumers with respect to skincare products (i.e., a sub-sector of cosmetics). Primary data were collected through online surveys from 336 American and 325 Chinese Gen Y consumers. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to test the hypothesized relationships between self-image congruence, functional congruence, retail shopping experience, and retail patronage behavior. The findings indicate that, across the two sample groups examined, both self-image and functional congruence are related positively to Gen Y consumers’ intentions to spread positive WOM about products and store preferences. In addition, functional, but not self-image congruence, is related positively to purchase intentions across the two groups. Importantly, shopping experience, including satisfaction and pleasure, mediates the relationships between self-image, functional congruence, and retail patronage. Finally, the results of multi-group comparisons show that culture moderates the relative strength of the effect of different dimensions of self-image congruence on Gen Y consumers’ evaluations of retail store attributes and their likelihood to disseminate positive WOM. Specifically, the social-domain of image congruence (e.g., how others see me) had a greater influence on WOM for consumers from a collectivistic culture than it did for those from an individualistic culture. In contrast, the self-domain of image congruence (e.g., how I see myself) had a greater effect on Gen Y consumers’ evaluations of store attributes among those from an individualistic culture than it did for those from a collectivistic culture. This study makes three major contributions to the literature. First, the findings confirm the role of self-image and functional congruence on retail shopping experience and patronage behavior. Second, by using two sample groups from vastly different cultures, the study cross-validates the integrative conceptual model that explains consumers’ retail patronage. Finally, the findings add depth to the original self-image congruence theory by identifying conditions in which the relative strength of the relationships differ.

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viii, 109 pages : illustrations (some color)

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • August 2015

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  • March 4, 2016, 4:14 p.m.

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  • May 2, 2017, 6:41 a.m.

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Dai, Bo. Saving Face: A Cross-Cultural Investigation of Retail Patronage in Consumers' Skincare Purchase Decisions, dissertation, August 2015; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc804894/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .