Date of Graduation

7-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

General Human Environmental Sciences

Advisor

Eunjoo Cho

Committee Member

Kathleen R. Smith

Second Committee Member

M. E. Betsy Garrison

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to examine the effects of brand familiarity on reducing consumers’ perceived risks in intimate apparel shopping, which in turn influence consumers’ attitudes and purchase intentions toward intimate apparel brands. To predict relationships among perceptions of risk and consumer behaviors, the present study adopted the perceived risk theory (Cox, 1976) and a modified version of the theory of reasoned action (TRA; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975).

An online survey was conducted by recruiting adult females through a large Mid-Southern university in the U.S. Reliable and valid measures from previous research were adopted and modified to assess the four variables (i.e., brand familiarity, perceived risk, attitudes, and purchase intentions). A pre-survey of college students was conducted to find the most familiar intimate apparel brand: Victoria’s Secret. Then, throughout the final survey, participants were asked to think of their experiences (i.e. in-store, advertisements, purchase and use of products) and opinions about Victoria’s Secret brand.

There were 384 surveys received, but 16 surveys were removed for missing data. A total sample of 368 respondents, 18 years and older, participated in the study. A majority of respondents (85%) were young Caucasian or European women and all respondents were highly-educated women completing partial college degrees (60%) or higher education (30%). The mean age was 25 years old. Linear regression analysis was conducted to test six proposed hypotheses using SPSS 22.0. All hypothesized paths were found to be significant. Results from this study showed that brand familiarity helps consumers perceive less risk toward a known intimate apparel brand, while increasing attitudes and purchase intentions for that brand. Perceived risks had the strongest impact on attitudes and purchase intentions toward an intimate apparel brand. These findings suggested intimate apparel marketers targeting young female consumers should establish brand familiarity through marketing efforts to decrease consumers’ perceived risks and increase purchase intensions.

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