Apparel purchase is an everyday decision process for consumers and the decision is motivated by various
consumer needs. As an important aspect in the study of consumer behaviour, the link between South African
young adult male consumers’ perception of apparel quality, use of informational cues, and apparel
evaluation criteria needs to be established. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the role of
intrinsic and extrinsic apparel features as informational cues on young adult males’ assessment of apparel
quality during purchase decision-making.
The quantitative research approach involved a structured questionnaire with Likert-type four-point scales to
measure the importance of informational cues in the quality assessment of smart casual wear. This study
involved a non-probability purposive sample of 330 young adult males between the ages of 24 and 36 living
in Pretoria and Johannesburg, Gauteng. The study included purposive and snowball sampling techniques.
Descriptive analyses were used to determine the importance of apparel features in the assessment of
apparel. Correlation analyses were conducted to explore relationships among the quality dimensions. Lastly,
exploratory analyses were done to measure the interaction of demographics and shopping behaviour with
the importance of apparel quality dimensions.
Results showed that South African young adult male consumers rank comfort most important in their quality
assessment criteria, next to durability, in assessment of smart casual apparel. The country where garments
are manufactured or assembled is the least important to the young adult South African males. The strongest
relationship among the various apparel dimensions existed between extrinsic features and aesthetic performance. The weakest relationship, although positively significant, existed between the extrinsic
features and functional performance. This suggests that to some extent, male apparel consumers form links
between apparel features as each feature to some extent influences the importance placed on other apparel
Furthermore, findings suggest that male consumers differ in their apparel assessment criteria based on how
much money they have for apparel, and that income is an important socio-economic variable in apparel
purchase decision-making. Most of these male consumers, although not experts in the field of apparel
quality, considered it important to assess apparel for perceived quality during the pre-purchase phase of
consumer decision-making. In all, informational cues, although varying in importance, play a role in the
young adult male’s quality assessment of smart casual wear.