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A qualitative comparative study of Japanese fashion brands via profiling young shoppers

Miao Miao (College of Business Administration, Ritsumeikan University, Osaka, Japan)
Hideho Numata (Graduate School of Management, Kagawa University, Takamatsu, Japan)
Kayo Ikeda (School of Business Management, Tokai Gakuen University, Miyoshi, Japan)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 20 October 2022

Issue publication date: 31 January 2023




This study adopts complexity theory to explore behavioural brand loyalty (BBL) development by investigating brand perceptional components and loyalty programs (LPs) in the Japanese fashion market through a qualitative comparative study. The authors address two research questions: (1) Under the potential influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, do brand perceptions and LPs contribute to young generation's BBL toward three types of brands with different scales of store numbers and prices? (2) If so, under what conditions do these factors positively influence BBL?


This study considers the effects of complex factors and conditions on BBL formation by testing the asymmetric relationships that exist among brand perceptions, LPs, and BBL via fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). The authors surveyed 751 Japanese consumers (aged 18–25 years) who had chosen 26 Japanese fashion brands as their favourites and participated in the LPs of those brands. The use of fsQCA supplements the existing research by explaining how causal variables affect BBL both positively and negatively.


The results (1) present multiple causal solutions in predicting high BBL by profiling young shoppers based on their psychological and behavioural characteristics; (2) show how causal factors and consumer characteristics work differently when developing BBL for different types of brands. The findings established that brand perceptions and LPs could affect BBL positively and negatively, depending on the characteristics of fashion brands and shoppers.


This study offers theoretical and practical implications in two main aspects: (1) the authors adopted a mixed methodology with quantitative and qualitative analysis to propose an integrated model that connects perceptional brand loyalty and LPs with BBL, based on three types of Japanese fashion brands; (2) the results offer multiple solutions for predicting the high level of BBL by profiling shoppers' characteristics, considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.



Miao, M., Numata, H. and Ikeda, K. (2023), "A qualitative comparative study of Japanese fashion brands via profiling young shoppers", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 51 No. 2, pp. 170-189.



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