Hammonds, Katie (2020) Sustainability, Three Generations of Consumer Psyche and “Fast-Homeware”. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Fast-homeware, akin to fast-fashion, is an emerging sector which this study argues is largely under-researched. Similar to other sectors of the textile industry, fast-homeware has a devastating impact on the environment and is in dire need of study. In turn, this would prevent fast-homeware from becoming normalised and entrenched into consumer psyche. “43% of consumers like their favourite fashion retailer to offer a wide range of products” (Mintel Group Ltd., 2018) and as seen in many UK fast-fashion stores, this now includes homeware. Consumers primarily care “about price, quality and value” (Bucic et al. 2012), above sustainability or ethicality, and coincides with the over-saturation of fast-homeware at cheap, affordable prices. Through focus groups, the intention of this study is to explore consumers understanding of ethicality and sustainability in relation to homeware. Moreover, this study explores consumer responses to other fast-homeware related areas, internet, social-media, and the housing market. In particular, the consumers who had taken part represent three different generations. This is fundamental as too much focus is given to younger generations creating problems such as fast-fashion or fast-homeware. Regardless of how the textiles industry conducted itself fifty or sixty years prior, all generations interact with its current form. All generations have a responsibility to ensure they are practicing sustainable/ethical consumerism.

This study is particularly pertinent as there are no found, comparable studies in this area. Further still, there was very little literature that alluded to fast-homeware, instead the majority of academic research concentrates on fast-fashion. In turn, this potentially makes this study the first to research into the sector of fast-homeware and identifying as a current and growing issue. The research highlighted many areas of further research, amongst those were some key findings that will be briefly established here. Participants did not consume homeware in accordance with how sustainable or ethical it was, instead ‘value for money’ was the central theme of consumer behaviour. Furthermore, there is a gap in consumer knowledge in all generations interviewed. Whilst literature has focused on the Millennial generation consumption, it has overlooked other generational consumer behaviour and attitude. Finally, this research discusses the link between fast-homeware and social media influence, finding an inherent connection through both their target demographics.

Short term beneficiaries of this research include be other academics who wish to research into an untapped, unexplored, and current field. In the long term, benefits of this research extend to consumers of homeware and the environmental state of the planet.

FINAL THESIS - Hammonds.pdf - Accepted Version
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