A Lifestyle Choice? Evaluating the Motives of Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Consumers

International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 2004, Vol 31, No. 5, pp. 270-278.

9 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

Reflecting the broader ‘cultural turn’ in retail studies, recent surveys of do-it-yourself (DIY) consumers have emphasised human agency rather than economic constraints when explaining their motives for purchasing DIY products. The aim of this paper however, is to evaluate critically this agency-orientated interpretation of the DIY retail market. Analysing evidence from English urban areas, it is shown that consumers’ reasons for acquiring DIY products can be neither reduced simply to a lifestyle choice and nor can their behaviour be explained merely in terms of economic constraints. Such either/or thinking obfuscates how both co-exist in people’s motives and combine in contrasting ways in different populations. To transcend and reconcile these contrasting explanations, a both/and approach is thus here adopted that recognises how economic necessity and choice are entangled in rationales for participation in DIY. The paper concludes by exploring the wider implications of this finding for the economy/culture debates in retail studies.

Keywords: Informal sector, household work practices, livelihoods, economic development, England

JEL Classification: H26, J46, J48, K34, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin, A Lifestyle Choice? Evaluating the Motives of Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Consumers (2004). International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 2004, Vol 31, No. 5, pp. 270-278., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2708213

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

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