The study is an exploratory investigation of early adolescents’ buying patterns with regards to clothing using social identity theory. Interviews were conducted with six early adolescents in Attridgeville suburb located in Tshwane (then called Pretoria) in South Africa. This research was prompted by insufficient archived studies which focus on black adolescents in South Africa. Early adolescents are conscious of the youth culture and utilities that are significant to them. The early adolescent stage construes young people as seeking an own identity both individually and within the group. Clothing apparel plays a significant role in the projection of adolescents’ identity in the peer group, and they participate in consumer behaviour that is influenced through socialization. Among others, peers and family circumstances play a central role as socialisation agents for the buying patterns of clothing during adolescence. In this study the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) was used to explore the processes involved in the buying patterns of clothing during early adolescence, particularly for black adolescents in an urban environment. Pictures, compiled in the format of a collage, were used as a projective technique to probe respondents’ constructions of their preferred buying patterns and consumer behaviour. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis as a procedure of qualitative research. Verification of transcripts and themes by an independent third party enhanced validity and reliability of findings. Themes indicate that early adolescents are quite involved in consumer behaviour and make decisions based on lifestyle, consumer socialisation, purchasing styles and filters. Both peers and family act as socialisation agents, and socio-structural factors such as birth order, financial aspects, attitudes, and retail outlets have an impact on the actual buying patterns of clothing. Further study is needed to determine the effect of media and learning styles on the consumer behaviour of black adolescents in a South African context.
Dissertation (MA (Research Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.