Chapter 1 Introduction
Background of the research
A significant percentage of consumers around the world, especially females’ display a strong crave for luxury bags and shoes. They have psychological satisfaction behind this seemingly irrational consumer’s behaviour (Lacroix and Jolibert, 2017). Looking towards the market trends of London, UK, sales of accessories have rocketed in the past decade and today it account for almost 30% of the total global luxury market. It is also identified that mostly this growth has been driven by handbags. Females prefer to have branded handbags as this is a major source of them to depict their status and concern about their accessories. For brands, handbags offer attractive retail economics that is characterised by high sales productivity and strong full price sell through results. However, considering the importance of branded handbags; it can be said that most of the companies have come up fake brands and they use the name of original brands (Hau, 2003). This is a sort of conducting fraud with the customers; hence this has changed the perception of women towards branded handbags.
In this respect, several brands have lost their customer base because there are so many entities that have copied the brand names. They not only use the brand name; but also they bring improper quality products and services to the customers. The process is called as counterfeiting in which company uses luxury name to cheat the customers. However, there are various people who prefer to purchase fake handbags due to similarity and pricing factor. Thus, the study has been describing the factors that drives the women to purchase counterfeit handbags.
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Thus, the present research is being made on Michael Kors which is a luxury brand and which has many stores in UK that delivers different accessories to women. Since, the company has branded products; thus it has sufficient customer satisfaction which brings loyal customers to the company. Afterwards, getting licensing, Michael Kors has expanded the brand in different countries and the brand also has association with other companies that brings maximum number of customers.
The study has been focusing on opinion and preference of women regarding counterfeit handbags. Along with that, discussion has also been included regarding reasons that drives women to purchase counterfeit handbags. Due to development in technology, it is possible for the business entities to bring replicate products and services at market place. It is also difficult to analyse if the product is of original brand. Thus, similarity is the major factor that encourages women to purchase the counterfeit handbags (Halme and Rissanen, 2015). The issues related to counterfeit has been increasing; however then also women are purchasing it because some of them consider benefits related to bargaining and rest focus on purchasing capability. Thus, in this context the study has been highlighting the factors that drives women to purchase counterfeit and replica products. From various studies, it has been identified that students and females who are fond of luxury brands only purchase counterfeit products.
Earlier, watches were the only category that in which replica products were available; however due to changing time period, all the accessories are now available in counterfeit categories. However, instead of huge demand of counterfeit products, the main reason is still unidentified for which consumer prefer to purchase it (Goddard, 2014). Thus, the study has been analysing direct and indirect reasons that enhances the demand for counterfeit products. This usually happens in many areas; however the present study has been emphasizing only on the category of handbags. Therefore, it can be said that product availability and pricing aspects are the most important reasons that enhances the interest of customers towards counterfeit products.
Earlier a few reasons were identified in the previous literature; therefore other reason have been identified in the current study and this will show the research gap. Thus, for such purpose several literature will be accessed in terms of identifying the relevancy and accuracy of subject matter.
Aim and Objectives
The main aim of present research study is to analyse the perception and reasons that drives women to purchase counterfeit products: A case study on Michael Kors. Thus, in order to meet the aim, several objectives have been developed which are stated as follows:
- To analyse the perception of women towards branded handbags
- To ascertain the factors that drives women to purchase counterfeit products
- To explore the demand of counterfeit products in the luxury market place
Rationale of the study
The present research study has been conducted with the purpose of ascertaining the perception of women towards counterfeit products. Thus, in this respect researcher has been focusing on all those factors that drives women to purchase counterfeit products. Moreover, in this facet, discussion has also been included regarding the impact of countered products on company’s original products. It has been observed that due to due to lack of purchasing parity, some women are unable to purchase costly and branded handbags; hence this drives them to purchase counterfeit products.
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This usually is happened in the area of handbags; therefore focus has been laid on a specific brand “Michael Kors”. In this respect, researcher has also discussed the reasons that enhances the demand of fake and duplicate products in market place (Boyd Thomas, Okleshen Peters and Tolson, 2007). Moreover, in this context researcher has discussed consumer purchase behaviour towards counterfeit products. The study seems to be beneficial for other readers who aims to find out the reasons that increases the demand for counterfeit products and services. Along with this, researcher has also stated why women prefer to get counterfeit products.
Chapter 2 Literature Review
Literature Review seems to be the major chapter of the research work since it assists the researcher to develop valid and feasible conclusion for the subsequent study. This section has been prepared through analysing several literatures and research studies which are made on the same subject matter (Sandhu and Paim, 2016). Thus, in order to complete the section, researcher has accessed several studies, articles, journals and books which helped the researcher to borrow content from the most prominent and relevant research studies. Thus, in the below section, discussion has been made regarding purchase behaviour of women about counterfeit handbags.
Perception of Women Towards Branded Handbags
Batra and Gupta (2016), says that it is a well-known and apparent fact that women are highly persuaded towards branded accessories and chiefly this can be depicted in the purchase of handbags. Women get more pleasure while buying handbags; hence they emphasize on buying the most expensive items especially in their list of accessories. This enhances their satisfaction level and this also drives them to promote the brands to other consumers as well. Most of the women compromise on purchasing other things merely because they prefer to purchase branded handbags. One in a four women enjoy buying a smart bag to buying dressy shoes (Poortinga, Sautkina, Thomas and Wolstenholme, 2016).
However, Jain (2016), says that according to the perception of women, handbag is the most prominent accessory that go with every outfit women own; therefore there is a lot of satisfaction in finding the perfect bag. A major factor that contributes to the notion of luxury designer fashion is its ability to provide physical products along with an assortment of set representations (Kelemen, Nagy and Kemény, 2016). For instance- luxury designer product give tangible and intangible benefits to the consumers; hence this has become the major dimension that brings the need of branded products in the market place. However, the concept has been changing nowadays as counterfeit products are coming up in the market place (Getting carried away: Women get more pleasure from buying a handbag than any other item. 2011). Even though, there are various symbolic aspects that encourages women to buy counterfeit products.
Women are highly attracted towards branded products as this helps them to use it as a tool for showing their status. Moreover, through such thing women become popular in the lady gang. Therefore, according to Bhattacharya and Basak (2016), women always develop positive perception towards branded products because it gives them a sense of satisfaction. There exists a direct relationship between branded products and women’s purchase decision; hence this increases demand for branded products. Sometimes, women also skip buying other accessories just because they save money to buy that handbag which is on their wish list. However, Brochado, Teiga and Oliveira‐Brochado (2016), says that purchase behaviour of women gets changed when the number of brands come up in the market place. Further, it is also analysed that women also prefer trying new things coming up in the market; therefore this enhances demand for branded items. Women are much concerned about their status and personality; hence regardless of income, they get the same branded products.
Furthermore, women who are involved in any sort of profession always prefer to show more loyalty towards brands so that they can keep up their standard (Anuar and et.al., 2017). Similarly, peer pressure is one of the top reasons that drives women towards the purchase of fashionable handbags. In current scenario, women believe to get quality products as quality is the major dimension that amends demand of a product. For instance- while seeing any sort of new brand in the market, women always drive themselves to have a look on that and in case of luxury brand, they consider it worth purchasing. Handbags lies under those category which aids women to show their consciousness towards brands and women typically have this sense of attitude in them. Supporting the fact, Ndichu and Rittenburg (2016), says that women are the only customers who show greater loyalty towards branded handbags.
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Moreover, it is a common perception among people that branded prosecutes are quality associated; thus they always prefer to get the same sort of products. This is the reason women have also changed their perception regarding counterfeit products and as a result, they purchase fake branded handbags as well (Ryu and Ryu, 2016). They have a common perception that counterfeit products are not easily recognised; hence their purpose of using handbags can be met through the same. Contradicting to this, it can be said that counterfeit products sometimes come up with several defects; hence this can change the purchase behaviour of women on higher extent. Author says that, women typically have nature of trying different items; therefore they do not find any sort of issue in buying counterfeit handbags as well.
Articulating the study of Li (2016), it can be said that women who have less purchasing power generally prefer to get counterfeit products (which looks like the exact branded products). This factor changes the mind-set of women and encourages them as well. However, on the other hand Brochado, Teiga and Oliveira‐Brochado (2016), says that bringing counterfeit products in the market place can raise legal issues and this can also affect the sustainability opportunities of business. Therefore, it is evident that in order to maintain lifestyle, women prefer buying counterfeit products as well. It is also observed that women who are more attracted towards branded products buy such products in any type of category. It is also analysed that most of the people judge the level and standard of people with their lifestyle; hence this concern gives importance to branded products especially to handbags.
Anuar and et.al. (2017), says that fashion trends are becoming more popular which helps the women to categorize each other; therefore considering the same aspect, women prefer to get counterfeit products as well. In a recent research, it has been recorded that at the time of high demand tourism, brands introduce many new collections so as to attract broad spectrum of customers. People often prefer to identify the status of others through analysing the clothes, accessories and collection they wear and this is more common in women. Certainly fashion, especially in relation to handbags, shapes the relationship between self and society in unique ways. As fashion shapes the identity of people, therefore they desire more for latest collection being in nature of status and look conscious. This is one such aspect that drives women towards counterfeit products; hence as a result this increases demand for fake handbags as well (Luxury Designer Handbag or Counterfeit? An Investigation into the Antecedents Influencing Women’s Purchasing Behaviour of Luxury Designer and Counterfeit Brands. 2009). Therefore, concluding it can be said that fashion industry is the most demanding industry that requires frequent changes.
Factors that drives women to purchase counterfeit products
Jain (2016), says that women tend to purchase counterfeit products as they look exactly same; hence sometimes it does not show any difference; thus women consider this fact and purchase the same. Income is one of the most important factors that changes the purchase decision of women and this also affects women’s perception regarding different products and services. Due to lack of purchasing power, women prefer to get fake products as well and that typically enhances its demand. For instance- in UK, the level of income stability has been changing and due to less availability of finance, women prefer to get counterfeit handbags. However, Poortinga, Sautkina, Thomas and Wolstenholme (2016), says that most often women prefer counterfeit products because they look exact same and that does not depict any sort of difference between counterfeit and original product. This is one of the most important reasons that drives women to consider the purchase of duplicate branded (Why people buy counterfeit brands. 2008).
During the economic crisis, when income of consumer drops, a large proportion of consumers began to look for several other ways to obtain the same good at lower prices (Factors Influencing Consumer's Intention to Buy Counterfeit Products. 2015). Thus, during that period, demand for counterfeit products increases and women prefer to get the same products. Further, it is also analysed that women get influenced very easily; hence because of friends, family and peers they get ready to purchase the same sort of products and services. Sandhu and Paim (2016), here says that it is also hard to differentiate original products and replica products as both looks exact same. Design, colour, size and shape can be appropriately copied by any of the company; therefore considering these factors women purchase counterfeit products on higher extent (Batra and Gupta, 2016).
On the contrary, it is also analysed that most of the people have the opinion that if the same product is coming in low price, then they should buy it so as to save money. Since, they are not much quality conscious; therefore the attributes of counterfeit products drives them to purchase it. This usually enhances demand of the product and as a result, women come to know about counterfeit products available in the market place (Women may buy designer bags to protect their relationship, study suggests. 2013). At the same time, there are several women who are not quality conscious and who purchase products without analysing the brand value; thus this is one of the basic reasons that drives women to purchase counterfeit products. However, some women are much concerned about quality and rest are not; therefore this also differentiates the brand identity. Sandhu and Paim (2016), supports this by saying that young girls are much fond of branded products; thus they do not care if the product belongs to original products.
- Anuar, F. I. and et.al., 2017. Exploring the Rationales of Souvenir Purchase Behaviour and Roles of Behavioural Belief and Perceived Authenticity Among International Tourists in Malaysia. In Balancing Development and Sustainability in Tourism Destinations(pp. 79-87). Springer Singapore.
- Batra, J. K. and Gupta, T., 2016. A Study of The Female Buying Behaviour of Handbags Shopping in West Delhi Malls.South Asian Journal of Marketing & Management Research. 6(12). pp.62-79.
- Bhattacharya, S. and Basak, A., 2016. Compulsive Buying Behaviour, Attitude Towards Money, Satisfaction With Life and Self-Esteem–A Study on Single and Married Women. Indian Journal of Applied Research. 6(3).
- Boyd Thomas, J., Okleshen Peters, C. and Tolson, H., 2007. An exploratory investigation of the virtual community MySpace. com: What are consumers saying about fashion?.Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal.11(4). pp.587-603.