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Factors Contributing to the Formation of Customer Loyalty (the Case of the Russian Sportswear Market)

Student: Anastasia Popelysheva

Supervisor: Efim Galitsky

Faculty: Graduate School of Business

Educational Programme: Marketing (Master)

Final Grade: 10

Year of Graduation: 2019

In 2018, according to Euromonitor International, sportswear is one of the most successful categories in the apparel and footwear industry. From 2013 to 2018, the sportswear segment showed a record growth relative to other categories of the clothing and footwear market as a whole, amounting to 35.5%. Such a dynamic growth was promoted by the growing interest in a healthy lifestyle, fitness and physical exercises, as well as the holding of major sporting events in Russia. Despite the already existing high competition among sportswear brands, unfavorable economic conditions and a reduction in real disposable incomes of the population of the Russian Federation, the observed growth of the market in both monetary and quantitative terms, as well as its great potential attracts new players. Under these conditions, the problem of customer loyalty for representatives of sportswear brands is of particular importance. The purpose of this master's thesis is to identify the factors contributing to the formation of customer loyalty in the Russian sportswear market. During the analysis of the literature, it was found that the formation of loyalty can affect both the internal qualities of the buyer, and the attributes of the brand and its products. Based on a theoretical review, the factors that formed the basis of practical research were identified, namely: “Brand name”, “Quality”, “Style”, “Brand Stores”, “Service”, “Price”, “Promotion” and “Involvement”. The model of the complex assessment of loyalty by J.-J. Lamben was modified, supplemented and concretized, based on the specifics of the market. On its basis, a questionnaire of 50 questions was developed, posted on the Qualtrics resource and distributed through the Vkontakte social network. 392 respondents participated in the study. The key data analysis method used was Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). The results of the study showed that "Quality", "Style", “Service” and "Price” had a statistically significant and positive influence on satisfaction; Emotional loyalty is positively influenced by “Brand Name” and “Satisfaction” constructs. Finally, behavioral loyalty is formed under the influence of “Emotional loyalty” and “Satisfaction”, as well as under the influence of the latent variable “Promotion”. We recommend managers of sportswear brands to pay attention to the quality of goods by observing the optimal balance between durability and comfort of materials, as well as the use of fast-drying, waterproof and odor-resistant materials and smart technologies; the managers should make sure that the style of goods produced by the brand reflects current fashion trends; they should also introduce trainings for the stores’ sellers, distribute training materials among them, and introduce a system of material and non-material motivation to improve the quality of service in brand stores; brand managers should also consider introducing measures to build a strong brand image, organizing marketing campaigns that find a response from the buyer and motivate them to more frequent purchases, and paying close attention to the choice of athletes and sports teams for sponsorship.

Full text (added May 22, 2019)

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