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Information overload in the context of apparel: Effects on confidence, shopper orientation and leadership

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Purpose ‐ This study aims to examine the nature and impact of information overload and related coping strategies in the context of apparel shopping. It also examines perceptions of overload and coping strategies as antecedents to consumer confidence, shopping orientation and leader/follower status. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Focus groups and previous literature are used to develop components for a survey of US consumer perceptions. The 205 valid responses were factor analyzed to identify components of information overload and coping strategies, and cluster analysis was used to identify groupings of consumers around those constructs. Findings ‐ Consumer segments that result from cluster analysis show meaningful descriptions regarding information flow, over-choice and coping strategies. Segments also differ on confidence level, shopping orientation and fashion leadership in ways that appear logically related to their information and coping strategy perspectives. Research limitations/implications ‐ The study does not explore the underlying psychological and intellectual processes that influence attitude toward information flow and coping strategies. Practical implications ‐ By categorizing consumer attitudes toward and strategies for coping with too much information, the study offers the industry insight into how modern marketing strategies may backfire rather than create knowledgeable consumers ready to adopt the latest products made available to them. Originality/value ‐ This study is the first to view information overload and coping strategies as antecedents to confidence, shopper orientation and fashion leadership.

Keywords: Choice; Consumer behaviour; Consumer confidence; Coping strategies; Fashion industry; Information management; Information overload; Leader/follower status; Shopper orientation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 14, 2012

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