The Effect of Current and Perceived Economic Conditions on Consumer Apparel Purchase Expenditures
Woods, Adria M
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Consumer spending accounts for over sixty-five percent of the Gross Domestic Product in the United States, greatly affecting the economy, as well as the retail sector. The consumer, rather than business or government, has become the dominant factor in shaping the course of the aggregate U.S. economy (Curtin, 1982). The purpose of this study is to examine whether the economy, as perceived by consumers, has any effect on the apparel purchase expenditures of consumers, and if so, how personal factors such as gender, age, income, educational attainment, race, and marital status contribute to their perceptions and decisions. A research model was created using consumers' current economic perceptions, future economic perceptions, and importance of fashion as predictors of apparel expenditures. Demographic variables were included to see if demographics had any significant influence on current and future perceptions, importance of fashion, and/or apparel expenditures. Data for this study was obtained by administering a paper and internet survey to 166 consumers in the stratified market of Roanoke, VA. One-way ANOVA analysis findings indicate that age had an influence on consumers' future economic expenditures. Age and education had an influence on consumers' importance of fashion, while marital status had an influence on apparel expenditures. Regression analysis indicated that consumers' perceptions of current and future economic conditions and importance of fashion were significant predictors of consumers' apparel expenditures. Recommendations include collecting real expenditure amounts, comparing perceived economic conditions data to real economic indicators, and comparing Consumer Expenditure Survey data with real economic indicators.
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