Department vs discount retail store patronage: effects of self-image congruence

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Purpose This paper explores the antecedents and consequences of consumers’ need for self-image congruence on their retail patronage of department (high-end) and discount (low-end) stores to purchase name-brand products in two product categories, apparel and home décor. It also compared online to offline shopping and considered two mediator variables, frugality and materialism. Design/methodology/approach The paper analyzed the hypothesized relationships using structural equation modeling (SEM) and MANOVA. Study 1 suggested the model using secondary data, and Study 2 measured and confirmed the relationships using scenario-based online survey data. An MANOVA test was used to compare the shopping behavior of consumers with high and low need for self-image congruence. Findings A strong causal link was found between concern with appearance and need for self-image congruence, and a positive relationship between need for self-image congruence and high- and low-end retail store patronage offline and online. While the group with high (vs low) need for self-image congruence was more likely to patronize department stores, unexpectedly, both the high and low self-image congruence groups were equally likely to shop at discount stores. Practical implications The findings suggest that marketing messages focusing on concern for appearance may succeed by tapping into consumers’ need for self-image congruence with brand product/retail store images. Results also showed that consumers with high self-image congruence often patronize discount retail stores, suggesting marketing opportunities for low-end retailers. Originality/value Because consumers with high need for self-image congruence patronize both department and discount stores, it is suggested that self-image congruity may be multi-dimensional. The current study is also the first to examine structural relationships to test patronage behavior between department and discount stores offline and online.




Sung, Christine (Eunyoung), and Patricia Huddleston. "Department vs discount retail store patronage: effects of self-image congruence." Journal of Consumer Marketing 35, no. 1 (May 2017): 64-78. DOI:10.1108/JCM-01-2016-1686.
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