A study of students' perceptions of textile labels and their consequent purchasing behaviour
Ndwandwe, Ngwanamoelo Kate
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All people are consumers of various textile products. In the process of obtaining these products, consumers are subjected to a consumer decision making process of realising a need, searching for a suitable product, evaluating alternatives, and eventually choosing and purchasing a product to their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Besides the obvious characteristics of a textile product such as colour, size and style, the fabric label attached to the product is one of the stimuli which helps the consumer to make a decision to purchase or not. The label is the only source of information about the fibre content, size and care of the product: As very little is known about South African students' perception of textile product labels and their consequent purchasing behaviour, the aim of this study was to explore this phenomenon. The study was done amongst both male and female students between the age of 18 and 30 years at the University of Zululand. Several focus group discussions were held. The data were analysed by making use of thematic content analysis. The study found that students were aware of textile product labels and of most of the information that is generally displayed on such labels, such as fibre content, care instructions and brand name. It was found that participants had strong opinions about the location of the label. The display of labels with a brand name on textile products was perceived as both a status symbol associated with the class level of the user and also as a preference for quality. Labels with a well-known brand name have the most influence on the purchasing decision, while it was found that the care instructions on labels have very little or no influence. The size indication on a label influences the purchasing decision dramatically. Participants who do not find the right size become frustrated because they experience this as bad service from the retailer. Packaging labels and tags influence purchasing behaviour like any other labels. The difference however, is that these are generally not kept by consumers for later reference.
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