An evaluation of luxury consumers’ pre-purchase information search and shopping preference between physical and online stores: a Singapore study

Chen, Sabrina Hui Ping (2021) An evaluation of luxury consumers’ pre-purchase information search and shopping preference between physical and online stores: a Singapore study. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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The e-retail landscape has opened endless possibilities of virtual opportunities. Luxury brands have traditionally used physical stores to sell their luxury products but in a modernised world, e-commerce has demanded change in the commercial landscape. As consumers are the main drivers in the retail industry, luxury companies focus marketing strategies towards them. This study investigates the consumer’s pre-purchase information gathering and purchasing behaviours across online and physical stores for small luxury leather products such as wallets, handbags and belts in Singapore. With the findings, the author aims to identify how demographics impact online and offline channel shopping preferences to develop recommendations improving online and physical stores in accordance to consumer’s shopping expectations and preferences.

Firstly, the article explores e-retail and the luxury goods industry, before showcasing examples of what selected luxury companies are doing in this joint space, then narrowing down to the Singapore market to form the research question and objectives. In the literature review, definitions of physical retail stores, online stores and multi-channel retail were established, the stages of a consumer’s psychological decision making process was discussed, the purpose of performing pre-purchase information search and influences determining channel choice were identified and lastly, the linkage between a consumer’s perception of technology and the adoption of online shopping was reviewed.

A direct survey formed around eight hypotheses based on the research and gathered 183 responses, these respondents’ age and income level distribution closely matched that of the general demographics in Singapore. Statistical review of the findings showed that most consumers tend to perform pre-purchase information search on both platforms with an overall preference for purchasing their small luxury leather goods in physical stores. The respondents shared that were willing to spend more in physical stores as compared to online stores, where they were only comfortable spending up to S$500. Gender and highest education level did not show any significant impact towards the consumers’ preferred pre-purchase information search location and online shopping behaviour preferences. Different factors are valued by luxury consumers concerning online and physical stores channels, however both channels rated “Post Purchase Evaluation” as the most essential factor.

This led to the following recommendations for managers of luxury brands to:

1) retain physical luxury stores globally

2) prioritise customer service in both online and physical store channels

3) continuously monitor online feedback and maintain online presence

4) develop attractive online pricing strategies

5) familiarise and direct relevant marketing materials to the right target audience

This study was concluded with its objectives met, with topics identified for future research such as the elements of impulse buying, purchasing trends on third-party luxury goods websites and applications, comparison of target audience across different types of physical stores, drivers encouraging luxury goods purchase and the impact of a pandemic on the luxury goods industry.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: luxury goods, consumer behaviour, channel choice, online stores, physical stores
Depositing User: Chen, Hui
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2021 07:04
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2021 07:04

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