Master of Science (MS)


Human Ecology

Document Type



Internet users in China increased to 210 million with an annual growth rate of 53.3 percent in 2007 (CNNIC, 2008). This dramatic increase of Internet usage in China provides numerous opportunities for online marketers. Thirty-eight percent of Chinese netizens are 18 to 24 years old, among whom college netizens account for a large proportion in China (CNNIC, 2008). Given the market potential of targeting this group, research is needed to understand Chinese college students’ online shopping behavior. The purpose of this research was to better understand Chinese college student online apparel shoppers by investigating their decision-making style and explore the relationships between their decision-making characteristics and related online apparel shopping behavior and consumption. Consumer Style Inventory (CSI) developed by Sproles and Kendall (1986) was adopted as a theoretical framework to guide this study. CSI has been recognized as a useful tool to understand consumers’ shopping orientation. This market tool has been applied to effectively understand consumers from different countries and cultures (Lysonski, Srini, & Zotos, 1996). However, no research has been done to apply this tool to understanding Chinese college students as online apparel shoppers. This research intends to fill the identified gap. This empirical study employed an online survey for data collection. A questionnaire was developed and administered to students at five universities from different cities in China. This study found that Chinese college students spent more time online on pre-purchase decision-making activities. Most of the respondents spent time looking for interesting apparel products and evaluating different apparel products online, but not on ordering the selected products. The results demonstrated that some of the characteristics of the CSI are related to the frequency of buying apparel online, and the dollar amount spent online for apparel purchasing. The findings show that recreational consciousness, hedonistic consciousness, brand consciousness, habitual consciousness, and brand-loyalty consciousness have significant correlations with the frequency of online apparel purchases. However, only brand conscious and habitual conscious, brand-loyalty conscious are significantly correlated with the amount of money spent online for apparel purchases by Chinese college students.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Chuanlan Liu



Included in

Human Ecology Commons