Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Volume 17, Issue 3
A brief review of British newspapers reveals three continuing news trends. First, consumers' continuing obsession with celebrities, what they are wearing and which high-street retailer has copied that look. Supporting this are contrasting commentaries between what the fashion industry says we should look like and the reality of our growing waist sizes. The size issue brings us to the next news trend – food. Food is making us obese, as we devour more calorie-laden foods, or we need to consume more super foods to prevent future ill health. Which brings us to the final news trend – health care issues and how society is expected to cover increasing health-burden costs arising from an aging population. Three news trends – fashion, food and health – that are all interrelated and unified by their need for and existence within the market. It is these three news trends that form the basis of the eight papers that are presented in this issue of Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal.
Our first paper, “Fashion globally: a cross-cultural and generational examination”, by Timothy Reisenwitz, Jie Fowler and Aubrey Fowler, looks at women’s representation in fashion advertisements. In particular by comparing differing North American and Chinese generational groups, they raise a number of important issues regarding how women’s fashion advertising communicates what women should aspire to look like and how they consume these images.
A key variable affecting our physical appearance and health is the issue of food, a topic that is covered in our next three papers, which all take differing perspectives towards food and how we engage with it.
Our second paper, and our first on food in this issue, is by André Richelieu and Bernard Korai, entitled “The consumption experience of Tim Hortons’ coffee fans”. The authors note how previous research into food consumption has focussed on either the brand or the food consumption experience as key to understanding the consumer’s mindset. In this paper, they take an alternative perspective, arguing that central to understanding food consumption is the retail environment itself. They explore this environment through fans of the North American coffee shop retailer – Tim Hortons – revealing how consumers predominantly associate the consumption of coffee with ritual, happiness, joy, travel companionship and extended relationships.
The focus on the retail experience in food retailing is also explored in our next, and third paper, by Daniela Spanjaard, Louise Young and Lynne Freeman, entitled “Emotions in supermarket brand choice: a multi-method approach”. In a similar vein to our previous paper, these authors argue that grocery purchases are less motivated by the store’s environment, but by the consumers' emotional attachments to specific brands. A finding they argue should encourage market researchers to move away from behavioural and attitudinal surveys to alternative methods offering shoppers the freedom to discuss what is important to them in terms of their product selection.
In our final paper on food by Alexandra Vignolles and Paul-Emmanuel Pichon, entitled “A taste of nostalgia: links between nostalgia and food consumption”, the authors challenge previous research perspectives. In particular how these perspectives have viewed nostalgia as a negative or ambivalent emotion, a perspective they challenge through their findings revealing six positive nostalgia themes: childhood, yearning, substitute, homesickness, special occasions and rediscovery.
Our final three papers see us returning to the last of news trends – health care.
The first of the three health-related papers explores how consumers decided to purchase foreign medical services. Entitled “Social marketing to improve healthy dietary decisions: insights from a qualitative study in Mexico”, this paper’s authors – Lorena Carrete and Pilar Arroyo – draw upon the theory of planned behaviour and the protection motivation theory to provide a theoretical background to understand the drivers and inhibitors of healthy diet behaviours in the context of an emerging economy.
In our second health-related paper, and the seventh paper in this issue, entitled “Purchasing behaviour of consumers for foreign medical services: an approach using the soft-laddering method”, the authors – William Menvielle, Loick Menvielle and Nadine Tournois – explore the notion of risk inherent within medical procedures among health consumers in Canada and France who seek out and purchase their own medical treatment from developing countries. The results, derived from using the laddering technique, offer interesting insights and implications for the rapidly increasing health tourism market.
In “Social media for developing health services”, the eighth and last paper in this issue, the authors Nick Hajlo, Hatem Bugshan, Xiaolin Lin and Mauricio Featherman explore how social media offers better communication channels with health patients, channels that enable greater sharing of information, support and assistance between medical service providers and patients.
On behalf of the team here at Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal and the authors of the papers presented here, we hope that you find this issue both stimulating and a rewarding read.