Challenges and coping strategies of employed female consumers during household purchase decisions
Sousa, Nastasha Verenise
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Women are increasingly entering the workplace and consequently their responsibilities have increased including decisions and purchases regarding household consumer products, which are mainly still performed by females. In addition, employed female consumers (E-FCs) who have multiple roles to fulfil during their day-to-day lives, make these household purchase decisions and experience various challenges that they have to cope with around these. Seeing that there is limited research in this field of study, the aim of the present study was to explore the challenges experienced by E-FCs in the North West province, specifically Potchefstroom, around household purchase decisions as well as the coping strategies they made use of to make informed decisions. To reach this aim three objectives guided this study, namely (1) to explore and describe the challenges E-FCs experience around household purchase decisions, (2) to explore how the challenges experienced influenced the manner in which E-FCs made household purchase decisions and (3) to explore and describe the coping strategies E-FCs utilised when they made household purchase decisions, thus to deal with the challenges experienced. For the purpose of this study the focus was on low-risk, low-involvement household purchases such as food, beverages, clothing and personal care items. A qualitative descriptive approach was used where focus group discussions were conducted among 26 E-FCs in Potchefstroom. A short demographic questionnaire was used to ensure that the sample population was diverse regarding certain demographic parameters. Several challenges were experienced by E-FCs such as time limitations, challenging work hours, children challenging their decisions, insufficient support, the challenge of the cost of living as well as a variety of in-store challenges. It was noted that time limitations, children and finances were main influences on the ways in which they made household purchase decisions. In order to cope with the challenges experienced, various strategies were used by participants which included asking for support from family and friends, planning purchases, rewarding themselves in order to feel better, shopping at specific stores, being willing to pay more for certain products and making use of different meal options to help them deal with the challenges experienced. Participants also cope by shopping online as well as manage their attitudes by creating a mental shift and deciding when to make purchases based on their moods. The findings therefore affirm that E-FCs experienced challenges when making household purchase decisions and although these challenges indeed influenced their decisions, there were a variety of coping strategies they resorted to in order to lessen the pressure experienced with the challenges. This relevant topic has not been sufficiently researched in South Africa and therefore this study can significantly contribute to both the consumer sciences field and ultimately could contribute to the well-being of E-FCs. In conclusion, it is important to highlight that the demanding roles E-FCs have to fulfil on a day-to-day basis do indeed make their household purchase decisions challenging. Some even tend to eliminate some of their roles and responsibilities in order to cope with the challenges they experience. In addition, these challenges do influence their decisions as well as the ways in which they make decisions and therefore E-FCs make use of a variety of coping strategies that assist them in managing these challenges.
- Health Sciences