Consumer sciences in a health context : a shift in traditional thought / Daleen (M) van der Merwe
Van Der Merwe, Magdalena
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Access to information, products and services − considered a basic human right − is universally important to all consumers. Consumers are constantly in a conscious or subconscious way engaging in a process of acquiring information, products and services to fulfil human needs. According to The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), the discipline of (family and) consumer sciences entails the skills, research and knowledge about people (consumers) to assist them in making informed decisions about their “well-being, relationships, and resources to achieve optimal quality of life” (Kabaci, 2013). The vehicle used to gain an understanding of consumers’ needs or desires is a study of consumer behaviour, which involves the behaviour or processes that consumers (individuals, groups or organisations) engage in when they are searching for, selecting, buying, securing, using, evaluating and disposing of mainly products, services, ideas and experiences (Hawkins et al., 2010; Schiffman & Kanuk, 2010; Solomon, 2009). The consumer society has been shaped since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (Jansson-Boyd, 2010); therefore consumer behaviour takes into account the continuously changing environment and influences that consumers are exposed to and function in.