Exploring Generation Y Consumers’ Fitness Clothing Consumption: A Means-end Chain Approach

Katelyn Patrick, Yingjiao Xu

Abstract


Thanks to the growing health awareness and the trend of athleisure, the fitness clothing market has been substantially growing. Generation Y consumers are one of the major segments for the sportswear industry in the U.S. The purpose of this study is to identify preferred product attributes, perceived benefits/consequences and driving values related to Generation Y consumers’ fitness clothing consumption. The means-end chain (MEC) model was adopted to identify the underlying values related to Generation Y consumers’ fitness clothing consumption. Data were collected from 35 subjects via laddering interviews. A hierarchical value matrix (HVM) was structured following the means-end chain analysis. Results highlighted Gen Y consumers’ self-esteem, social recognition, and financial needs in their consumption of fitness clothing. Aesthetics and price seemed to be the most salient attributes identified by the subjects for fitness clothing, followed by durability, performance, fit, breathability and wick-ability. Connecting product attributes to consumer values, perceived consequences included economic value, comfort, image, efficiency, and avoiding embarrassment. This study revealed the major values underlying Generation Y consumers’ consumption of fitness clothing as well as preferred product attributes and perceived benefits/consequences. These findings could provide great implications to the fitness clothing companies in their product development and marketing communication.

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