Developing a socioecological model for tweens’ consumption of branded apparel

B.C. Senooane and M.A. Phiri

Vol 16 | Issue 1, pp. 84-99


Much of the research into children and their consumer behaviour has been predicated on theories of cognitive development. Developmental approaches have been criticised for focusing primarily on cognitive development and neglecting other factors  that may significantly influence  a child’s consumption  behaviour. This study proposes Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological  Framework  for Human  Development  (1979) as an alternative method  for understanding the environmental  factors that influence tweens’ consumer behaviour. Ecological models emphasize the social context of behaviour and seek to discover and understand the process and conditions that ultimately shape human behaviour. Theories of consumer culture and the sociology of consumption are largely silent when it comes to African children. The  purpose of this study  was  to develop  a  socioecological model  to understand tweens’  consumer behaviour in the apparel industry. This was achieved by way of a convergent parallel mixed-method study which included 192 respondents and  60 focus  group  participants.  The findings suggest that there  are  a myriad of environmental factors that  influence  branded  apparel  consumption in tweens. The  results  may  assist  marketers and  practitioners  alike to understand the South African tween consumer.

Keywords:       ecological models, tweens, environmental factors, consumer culture, materialism, brands, apparel

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