Consumer perceptions regarding labels on clothing and household textile products : a study in Gauteng
Textile product labels are provided on the clothing and household textile products to assist consumers with important product information. However, the assumption cannot be made that because the label is available on these products it will be used by consumers. Consumers do not base their pre– and post–purchasing decisions on reality but rather on what they perceive to be the reality. Thus consumers’ perceptions of textile product labels need to be studied as it influences their pre– and post–purchasing decisions and use of these labels. Consumers use their perceptions as a frame of reference for making purchasing decisions. This study determined consumers’ perceptions, in order to form a better understanding of their textile pre– and post–purchasing decisions. However, perception is not a singular concept but an interactive process. Therefore, the present study, done in the Gauteng Province, aimed to determine consumers’ perceptions of clothing and household textile labels, by focusing on the perceptual process of consumers. The first objective was to determine consumers’ awareness of labels on clothing and household textile products. Secondly, it was determined whether consumers’ attention is drawn to labels of clothing and household textile products. Thirdly it was determined whether labels on textile products are important to consumers and finally, whether consumers interpret labels on textile products. An interviewer–administered questionnaire was used as the data collection technique. A total of 411 questionnaires were administered by trained fieldworkers. The study location was three different regions in Gauteng Province, namely: Pretoria, Vereeniging and the West Rand. Public locations were used for the recruitment of respondents selected within the three regions, which included: schools, retirement villages, parking areas and government institutions. This contributed to the probability that a diverse group of respondents participated. The study population consisted of 44.5% males and 55.5% females. The home languages most spoken among the respondents were English (20.9%), Afrikaans (21.1%) or isiZulu (16.5%). Respondents generally tended to have a positive perception regarding textile product labels. The results illustrated that respondents tended to agree to be aware of label information and that the front and back panels of the label draw their attention. However respondents tended to be neutral as to whether the information is important enough to read. Respondents mostly agreed that they interpret the symbols on textile product labels. Although respondents tended to perceive textile product labels positively, it still remains unclear whether it is important enough for consumers to use these labels found on textile products. By striving to improve consumers’ perceptions regarding textile product labels through better labelling initiatives and consumer education on labels, consumers might view labels as important and use them before and after purchasing a textile product. This will in effect teach consumers how to clean and maintain textile products to extend the product’s lifespan. This would in turn contribute to the consumer’s pre– and post–purchasing satisfaction. This study additionally found that respondents’ perceptions of textile product labels were influenced by some of their demographic characteristics. Although there were no large effect sizes which illustrated practical significance, there were some small to medium tendencies regarding respondents’ perceptions of textile product labels and their demographic characteristics. Different tendencies were especially found when analysing the relationships between respondents’ perceptions and age or language. Older respondents (60 and older) tended to have a more positive perception of textile product labels than younger respondents (18 to 29 years). In addition, respondents with an African language as their home language seemed to differ from Afrikaans and English respondents. To understand South African consumers fully, researchers should understand the diversity and political history of South Africa, by focusing on cultural differences and reasons thereof. Different age generations need to be examined in further South African studies in order to determine the perceptions of consumers from different age groups regarding textile product labels.
- ETD@PUK