The use of clothing labels by female black low–literate consumers
Van Staden, Johanna Johanna
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Low-literate consumers display distinctive behaviour in the marketplace, and in the first phase of a mixed method study, the aim was to explore the challenges and coping strategies of low-literate clothing consumers. Due to fairly high levels of low-literacy in South Africa and limited research, this research was undertaken to better understand the behaviour of low-literate clothing consumers in the marketplace. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather data, and through inductive, interpretative data analysis three broad themes were identified, namely personal (cognitive, social, financial and affective), product (types and format of product information, evaluative criteria) and store-related (store assistants’ behaviour, store selection and in-store information) challenges and associated coping strategies. The results of this study can be used to advise marketers regarding the needs of these consumers, and were also used to develop a quantitative measuring instrument to investigate low-literate consumers’ use of clothing labels in the retail setting. In the second quantitative phase of the study, the use of clothing label information amidst low-literate respondents’ personal- (reading and numeracy skills, concrete and pictographic thinking) and product-related challenges (the format of labels, care-label knowledge and evaluating clothing products’ quality) were investigated. The study sample consisted of 450 black female consumers with literacy levels between Grades 5 and 8, residing in the Emfuleni Local Municipality area, in the southern part of Gauteng, South Africa. Interviewer administered questionnaires were filled out, and it was examined for validity and reliability. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and correlations were drawn between reliable factors, and practical significant correlations were reported. ANOVA’s indicated statistically significant differences with mostly medium effect sizes between the occupation of respondents and selected factors. Respondents indicated that they do read and understand clothing labels, but results revealed that they did experience problems when using information on labels. Their numeracy skills were average, and abstract thinking related to numeracy, were fair. Pictographic thinking was evident in their preference for symbolic and graphic presentation of size format, but not when they were presented altered store logos. Care label knowledge was poor, and clothing products were evaluated concretely. Some of the respondents, especially the older respondents were inclined to follow the peripheral route of elaboration when reading clothing label information.
- Health Sciences