The pertinence of status factors in consumers’ consideration of major household appliances

  • AC Erasmus
  • S Donoghue
  • NC Sonnenberg


Household appliances are important for their functional utility and have become very important time- and labour-saving devices in modern households. However, through branding, design and incorporation of sophisticated technology they have also become semiotic markers of fortune. This exploratory study was designed in the form of a survey and was done in 2010 to investigate consumers’ regard for the expressive dimension of appliances in the context of an emerging economy. Data was collected across Tshwane and 446 useful questionnaires were analysed quantitatively. Exploratory factor analysis differentiated seven pertinent factors that influence consumers’ buying decisions, of which four were status bearing. Typical aspiring consumer groups, i.e. younger consumers and those with higher education levels were significantly more concerned about the “impressiveness” of appliances, a factor that explicitly inferred social significance and appliances’ potential to enhance self-expression. The persuasive influence of ”aesthetic attributes” and the “reputation” of appliances, however, seemed a universal concern. Findings provide useful evidence to retail and industry on how their service offering could be augmented to reduce consumers’ risk perception and enhance post-purchase satisfaction.


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eISSN: 0378-5254