Does country of origin matter? Qualitative analysis of young

Previous studies on wooden furniture have examined the effect of tangible and intangible product attributes and the role of forest certification on the consumer’s furniture choice. However, in the comparative European context there is a research gap in studying furniture consumption from the viewpoint of young consumers. This paper examines young consumers’ experiences of wooden furniture in Germany and Finland. Qualitative data was gathered in 2013 with ethnographic field work and 22 guided interviews conducted among consumers between 23-34 years of age. The data was content analysed using thematisation. Based on the results appearance, price and quality are found to be three main attributes in both countries, followed by functionality and ecological aspects. From the marketing point of view, (domestic) country of origin was emphasized as an essential attribute among young Finnish consumers, whereas for German consumers domestic origin did not play a role. However, in both countries, the use of tropical wood species was criticized. Although the immediate furniture choices of young consumers may be dictated by budgetary reason and target towards lowend mass-produced market, these individuals may have high respect for handicraft skills associated with traditional wooden furniture and the value of embedded national heritage. In addition, our interviewees expressed a degree of cynicism towards current eco-labels in use, suggesting a need to deepen their information content and accountability in terms of communicating product sustainability. Further research is called for to analyze, among other things, the symbolic value of Ikea for the young generation European consumers.


Editor(s):
Roos, A.
Lönnstedt, L.
Nord, T.
Gong, T.
Stendahl, M.
Subject(s):
Issue Date:
Dec 31 2014
Publication Type:
Journal Article
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/199184
Published in:
Scandinavian Forest Economics: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Scandinavian Society of Forest Economics, 2014
Scandinavian Forest Economics: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Scandinavian Society of Forest Economics
Number 45
Page range:
103-110
Total Pages:
8

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