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A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Hispanic American and White American Adolescents’ Use of Reference Agents for Apparel Shopping

Authors


  • Authors’ Note: Yoo-Kyoung Seock, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Interiors, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia. Jan M. Hathcote, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia. Please address correspondence to Yoo-Kyoung Seock, Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Interiors, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia; e-mail: yseock@fcs.uga.edu. This research was supported by a Family and Consumer Sciences Faculty Research Grant at the University of Georgia.

Abstract

Adapting reference group theory and distinctiveness theory, this study examined the influence of reference agents on adolescents’ apparel shopping and purchase decisions. A convenience sample of 184 Hispanic American and White American adolescents from the ages of 15–18 was developed. Regardless of ethnicity, positive word-of-mouth from friends or a boyfriend or a girlfriend and female family members greatly influenced the adolescents’ apparel choices. The results showed Hispanic adolescents’ dependency on a boyfriend or a girlfriend in clothing choices and the use of male family members as a reference source. Both Hispanic and White adolescents were most likely to gather information about clothing items from their physical surroundings. White adolescents used the Internet significantly more than Hispanic adolescents when gathering ideas about clothing items. Hispanic adolescents used department stores significantly more than White adolescents whereas White adolescents used specialty stores significantly more than Hispanic adolescents. The results offer insight on developing effective promotional and retail channel distribution strategies to target Hispanic and White adolescent apparel shoppers.

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