Idiosyncratic use of credit facilities by consumers in an emerging economy

  • Erasmus A
  • Mathunjwa G
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Abstract

A worldwide increase in household debt since the turn of the century has created considerable concern about the indebtedness of households, especially those in emerging economies that have been hit particularly hard by the global economic slump. In this study, the credit consumption of consumers in Swaziland ( N = 264) was investigated by means of a survey that aimed to identify and describe factors that encouraged consumers' use of credit, the influence of credit on their buying behaviour when choosing major household appliances or furniture as well as consumers' knowledge of the conditions of credit facilities that were available for their use in retail. Findings revealed that consumers unequivocally appreciate the convenience that is associated with credit, specifically to cope with unexpected purchases, to benefit from special offers and opportunity to afford expensive goods. These advantages apparently negate the negative consequences such as high interest rates and strain on household budgets. Mean scores that were obtained in the knowledge test that only reflected upon credit agreements that respondents have actually entered into in the past, confirmed their ignorance pertaining to their contractual obligations and their consequent vulnerability. Consumers' age and gender seem to have noteworthy consequences for efforts to enhance informed consumer decision-making. Younger females were significantly better informed that their older counterpart while the reverse was true for males, although differences were not significant. The significant inverse relationship between income and the LS-means for the credit knowledge test differ from findings in developed countries and provide valuable opportunity for further investigation. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Consumer protection
  • Credit consumption in Swaziland
  • Credit delinquency
  • Credit facilities
  • Credit use
  • Use of credit in emerging economies

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Authors

  • Alet C. Erasmus

  • Gugu Q. Mathunjwa

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