Research focus: CON-WELL

Research in consumer sciences focuses on a programme entitled: enhancing consumer interests and well-being in South Africa (CON-WELL). The diversity of the South African consumer population and the functioning of these consumers in an emerging economy motivate research that aims to ensure their well-being with regard to their most basic needs. Consumer well-being and interests are addressed by empowering them to maintain or increase their quality of life in an unique multicultural environment. Research in this project is undertaken from a consumer perspective with consumer behaviour being the keystone of all research.


Scope of CON-WELL

The aim of CON-WELL as a research focus is to assist consumers to effectively and optimally use their resources on a daily basis. These resources include, but are not limited to:

  • external resources (e.g. food, clothing, financial resources, information sources); and
  • internal sources (e.g. education, knowledge, time/financial management).


The target population relevant to our focus is:

  • consumers in the North-West Province of South Africa;
  • consumers from both a rural and an urban context; and
  • consumers from different demographic subgroups with regard to gender, age, level of education, income and ethnicity. 

Consumer behaviour research is used as a vehicle to reach the above aim. By investigating consumers’ behaviour with regard to their use of available resources and employing intervention strategies regarding this behaviour, we are striving towards the following outcomes:

  • Enhancing consumers’ well-being with regard to the optimisation of available resources;
  • enhancing consumers’ well-being by assisting them to employ suitable coping strategies with regard to their available resources; and
  • achieving sustainability in our efforts to enhance consumers’ interests and well-being through consumer education and policy change efforts.

Consumers’ behaviour in a household, working and retail setting is investigated.

CON-WELL is approached by means of refined projects within this research focus whereby consumers’ effective resource management is investigated from the perspectives of different consumer problems structured as projects within CON-WELL. These problems are timely and relevant to the South African context that consumers have to cope with on a daily basis with the resources that they have available.

A research problem or project is approached by the team of researchers with expertise in different areas of consumer behaviour research, working as a team to enhance consumers’ interests and well-being in the context of the project.


Title of current research project.

Consumer Health Resources (COHERE): “Jointly with the consumer towards better resource management in a health context”.


Aim of current research project

To assist consumers to effectively and optimally use their resources in the context of consumer health from a holistic point of view to enhance their interests and well-being.


Postgraduate students within the current research project

Master’s and doctoral students are currently accommodated within the COHERE project. Students who are interested in taking up master’s or doctoral studies are invited to contact Prof Daleen van der Merwe.