What is it about?

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-oriented interpretation of the DIY retail market.

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Why is it important?

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 adopted here 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.


Questions the assumption that do-it-yourself consumers are always economically motivated.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A lifestyle choice? Evaluating the motives of do‐it‐yourself (DIY) consumers, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, May 2004, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/09590550410534613.
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