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Does it need to be a sex thing at all?: The effects of identity, self-congruity, and product design on preference formation towards gender-based product design of beauty and personal care products
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Business Studies.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Our consumption has been gendered for decades. Design is a powerful tool which can be used to dress products in a feminine or masculine identity to match the self-image of the consumers. It is suggested that we now live in a post-gender period where men’s and women’s consumption patterns are blurring and the traditional gender boundaries are being erased.  Some researchers have called a time-out for designing products based on the sex of the target group. Instead, they suggest that unisex labelling of products is superior to sex-typed labelling. Based on these notions, we could expect a shift towards more inclusive product assortments that are not limited to gender-appropriate use. Interestingly, the majority of marketers continue to believe in the superiority of sex-typed labelling of products.

This study investigates how consumer preference for products compare with gender-based product design theories presented in recent research. The purpose of this study is to contribute to a deeper understanding of consumer preference for sex-typed versus unisex product design and investigate how the preferences, and eventually purchase intention, compare to the central claims presented in recent research. The theoretical framework of the study is based on secondary data gathered from articles, and the primary research data is collected from ten semi-structured interviews. The aim of the study was reached by testing the interview results against the three central claims based on recent research. In the study and interpretation, we discover how the results compare to gender-based theories of sex-typed product labelling versus unisex product labelling.

The results of this study suggest that consumer preference for gender-based products design is quite well in line with the suggestions presented in recent research. Based on the findings and the theoretical framework of this study, the conclusion is that the consumer decision process and preference formation are complicated processes and that there are several factors affecting the consumer preference and eventually purchase intention. If unisex or sex-typed labelling is superior, is a complicated question and both ways of designing products have their perks and disadvantages. Overall, the results of this study show that functionality and personal values are more important factors affecting product preference than gender-linked self-congruity. This implies that there is a contrast of some degree between consumer preferences and the actual marketing efforts based on the belief that sex-typed product labelling is superior to unisex labelling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 65
Keywords [en]
product design, gender identity, self-congruity, preference formation
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38381OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-38381DiVA, id: diva2:1326068
Subject / course
Business Studies
Uppsok
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-06-18 Created: 2019-06-17 Last updated: 2019-06-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf