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Title: Increasing the Economic Competitiveness of the U.S. Textile Industry: An Investigation of Niche Market Strategies
Authors: Allen, Ronald Maurice
Advisors: Dr. Michelle R. Jones, Committee Member
Dr. Nancy L. Cassill, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. William Oxenham, Committee Co-Chair
Keywords: competitive strategy
economic competitiveness
niche marketing
textile and apparel industry
Issue Date: 10-May-2007
Degree: MS
Discipline: Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to examine companies in the bottomweights market who have identified niche products⁄markets for use in testing the Parrish Niche Strategy Model (2003). Another purpose of this research study was to analyze factors that contribute to the establishment of niche marketing strategies within the bottomweights market, as well as issues that arise when implementing a niche strategy. The conceptual model for this research is the Parrish Niche Strategy Model (2003). The Parrish Niche Strategy Model (2003) is the only niche model that is specific to the textile and apparel industries. This model encompasses the sectors within the textile complex (fiber and yarn producers, mill producers, sewn goods producers, and auxiliary companies) and identifies two approaches to a niche strategy: product (push marketing) and market (pull marketing). The Parrish Niche Strategy Model (2003) was developed utilizing trade theories that predict specialization as a result of trade. In addition, Parrish utilized Porter's (1980) Generic Competitive Strategies — Differentiation Strategy — in developing the Parrish Niche Strategy Model (2003). One aspect of Porter's premise is that a differentiation strategy serves as a way to increase competitiveness. This research used a two-phase methodology. The first phase was exploratory in nature and identified niche bottomweight markets and companies competing in these markets with niche bottomweight products. Secondary data were used conduct competitive analyses on the companies to develop an understanding of the current state of the companies and to assess current strategies used by the companies. The second phase of the research used a concurrent triangulation strategy to gather primary qualitative and quantitative data through an interview methodology. The interview was conducted using a researcher developed interview instrument which focused on five areas: current state of the company, factors that influence the development of niche strategies, market potential strategies, issues that arise during the implementation of niche strategies, and success variables for niche strategies. Information collected during Phases I and II was used to refine the Parrish Niche Strategy Model (2003). Results indicated that the Parrish Niche Strategy Model (2003) was useful for guiding the development of niche strategies, in terms of both product and market. In addition, the model was useful in assessing variables that are important to the success of a niche strategy, in terms of both product and market. The research added to the previous findings of Parrish (2003) by identifying factors that influence the development of niche strategies and issues that arise during the implementation of niche strategies. Sector specific niche strategy models were tested and refined, in addition to an overall industry model. The Parrish Allen Niche Strategy Model can be used by industry as a benchmarking tool in order to determine strategies that can be used to serve niche markets or develop niche products.
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