• Eman Saleh A Alkhalifah

Student thesis: Phd


Saudi Arabia enforces certain restrictions on human freedom in general and on women in particular. From a fashion industry perspective, it imposes many restrictions on females' freedom to buy fashion items. This research aims to understand how these restrictions affect Saudi women's behaviour when shopping online for fashion. Two phases of research were conducted: first, 23 Saudi women were interviewed to clarify and understand the factors affecting their online fashion shopping in general, then 34 Saudi women were interviewed to understand the impact of these factors on their online shopping for fashion in the context of the various restrictions.Three theories were used in order to understand their fashion shopping behaviour. System justification theory was applied to women who justified the restrictions, and psychological reactance theory to those who expressed their rejection of the restrictions. Cultural identity theory was applied to discover how living abroad affected the perceptions and attitudes of women in each group regarding online shopping.A framework for online fashion shopping behaviour in a restrictive environment was developed to understand the motivations and approaches to buying fashion online both of those who justify and of those who react against the restrictions. Whereas the justifiers tend to seek to accommodate and rationalise the restrictions (mainly utilitarian motivations), those who use online shopping as a way of reacting against the restrictions do so in order to follow their fashion icons in the West and to distinguish themselves from others (mainly hedonic motivations).The different motivations lead to different approaches to purchasing. Those who justified the restrictions bought mainly via social media (buying from Islamic e-shops, or customising-before or after purchase-goods from Western e-shops), while those who reacted against the restrictions bought mainly from Western e-shops offering modest fashions. Those with higher cultural identity scores were more likely to buy online from e-shops and social media, whereas those with low cultural identity who justified the restrictions bought from e-shops, social media and Western e-shops, but with a strong tendency to customise, before or after purchase. Finally, those with low cultural identity and high psychological reactance would buy directly from Western e-shops.This research offers a new segmentation strategy for entering markets with restrictions (e.g. legal, religious or social), especially in fashion, which requires entrants to consider several new variables: level of belief in restrictions, religiousness of dress and justification of or reaction against such restrictions.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorStuart Roper (Supervisor) & Nitin Sanghavi (Supervisor)


  • online shopping - consumer behaviour - women - restrictive environment - Saudi Arabia

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