Female consumer choices in denim driven by national cultures

January 30th, 2011 - 5:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 30 (ANI): A study on the blue-jean preferences has revealed that female consumer choices depend on their national cultures.

The study, conducted on Canada and China, showed that Canadian women choose denim that makes them look good and expresses their personal style, while Chinese women base their decisions on social conformity.

The study ‘Evaluative Criteria of Denim Jeans: A Cross-National Study of Functional and Aesthetic Aspects’, was led by Osmud Rahman, director of Ryerson’s Fashion Communication program.

It’s the first study of its kind to quantify the blue-jean preferences of two different cultures: Canada and China.

The findings, Rahman says, can help manufacturers better understand consumers and modify garments to appeal to different markets.

“Chinese consumers are very concerned with being accepted and conforming to social norms. They won’t take fashion risks and don’t want to stand out,” Rahman said.

“In contrast, Canadians are more concerned with personal expression. As a result they are more likely than their Chinese counterparts to choose modern, innovative or unusual jean designs,” he stated.

The study, which was co-authored by Chinese researchers Yan Jiang of Zhejiang Sci-Tech University and Wing-sun Liu of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, surveyed the preferences of 247 Chinese women and 380 Canadian women.

All of the participants were university students, and most were between 18 and 24 years old. In addition, more than half of the respondents in both samples wore denim jeans almost every day.

On average, Chinese women owned five to six pairs of jeans while Canadian women owned nine to ten pairs.

While both groups are university students and therefore financially strapped, the Canadian women have more disposable income and can afford higher quality and more pairs of jeans.

Among Chinese consumers, the functional aspects of jeans (comfort, fit and quality) were cited as the most important criteria when purchasing jeans.

Among Canadian women, however, aesthetic aspects (visual appeal, trendiness and style) were perceived to be essential characteristics.

This cautious response to trends and “cutting-edge” styles, according to the researchers, speaks to the variances between collectivistic (Chinese) and individualistic (Canadian) cultures.

In the former, clothing is used to secure social acceptance, and in the latter, garments are used to convey distinctiveness.

Rahman hopes this study will help international manufacturers design jeans that consumers will enjoy more and as a result, wear longer.

‘Evaluative Criteria of Denim Jeans: A Cross-National Study of Functional and Aesthetic Aspects’ has been published in the November 2010 issue of The Design Journal.

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