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Consumer responses to incomplete information in print apparel advertising

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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to examine how consumers perceive incomplete information in print apparel advertisements in magazines and whether incomplete information influences decisions. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A total of 239 examples of print apparel advertisements in fashion magazines were collected in 2006. Content analysis was utilised to code the types of information in print apparel advertisements prior to the design of the questionnaire in the consumer survey. In the questionnaire, attitudes toward incomplete information in print apparel advertisements, information search, involvement, purchasing intentions, and demographics were included. A consumer survey was administered in Taiwan using stratified sampling. The total number of completed, usable questionnaires returned was 304. Findings ‐ Consumers who thought missing information in print apparel advertising to be important tended to find missing information from other sources like media, word-of-mouth, salespersons, and in stores. Information search behaviour positively influenced purchasing intentions. Consumers with higher levels of involvement tended to pay more attention to missing information and were more likely to search information. Research limitations/implications ‐ Print apparel advertisements are presented not only in magazines, but on outdoor billboards, in catalogues, on the internet, in newspapers, and in buses. The restrictions of readers of fashion magazines as respondents in the study could limit the applicability of research findings of the study to attitudes toward incomplete information in print apparel advertisements of fashion magazine readers. Practical implications ‐ Print apparel advertisements are not a major source for consumers to obtain comprehensive fashion information. Simplified but clear design of print apparel advertising is acceptable for consumers who are prone to ignore missing information. Those who tend to notice missing information in print apparel advertisements would investigate other sources to obtain information for purchase decisions. Print apparel advertisements showing fashion clothing and brand names only are easy for browsing. The attractiveness of print apparel advertising design seems to be more important than detailed information included in advertisements. Originality/value ‐ The contribution of the study is to reveal attitudes toward incomplete information in print apparel advertising. The results of the study could be beneficial for apparel advertisers and could be valuable for marketers to realise the types of information consumers prefer while searching though the medium of fashion magazines.

Keywords: Advertising; Clothing; Decision making; Fashion; Individual perception

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 27, 2009

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