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Re-thinking the motives of do-it-yourself (DIY) consumers

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This paper evaluates critically the competing theories that variously depict DIY consumers either as rational economic actors, dupes, seekers of self-identity, or simply as conducting such endeavour out of economic necessity or choice. Drawing upon evidence from a study of 350 households in rural England which finds that all sometimes apply, a typology is constructed that recognises the heterogeneity of consumers' motives and differentiates between 'willing' DIYers who choose to do DIY either to improve the value of their home, for pleasure or to seek self-identity from the end-product, and 'reluctant' DIYers forced into DIY for economic reasons or due to problems with finding and using trades-people. The paper concludes by calling for an evaluation of the wider validity of this taxonomy of consumers' motives.

Keywords: England; consumer motives; consumption; do-it-yourself; home improvement; retail industry

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593960802113885

Affiliations: School of Management, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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