Study finds that home is where the money goes

26 October 2004

Sixty nine percent of urban and 75% of rural South Africans agree that when they have extra money they spend it on buying things for their homes.

The UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing's latest research initiative also reveals that being house-proud is not exclusively the domain of women, with men expressing similar sentiments.

My Home: Shelter, Shack or Showroom? is an extensive exploration of the home space and all it means to the South African marketer and consumer.

Whether respondents inhabited a shack in a township or a mansion in a leafy suburb, they all strove to make their homes as attractive and welcoming as possible.

The study showed that even those who cannot afford to improve their house structures or basic facilities invest a significant amount of time, energy and whatever money they can afford into creating an attractive home space.

The project used innovative qualitative research tools in the form of 12 dinner party focus groups, as well as 25 filmed, informal conversations with people in and about their homes. The findings were quantified using Research Surveys' Omnichek survey of 2 000 urban and 1 500 rural participants of all races, genders and age groups.

The fact that 88% said it is important that their home creates the best possible impression, and 76% said they can tell a lot about a person when they walk into their home, indicates that dwellings are central to people's identities as these represents who they are. They also tend to judge others by their homes.

Seventy six percent also noted that their home reflects their standing in society and as such some respondents said they felt exhausted by the pressures of trying to keep up with the Khumalos or the Jones'.

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