Research Sustainability and Consumer Behaviour Header



The recycling of materials have gained importance during the last decade. Consumers are becoming more aware of environmental issues and many are willing to adopt recycling behaviour, but are not always knowledgeable concerning the different forms it takes on. To this end, clusters of research projects focusing on the recycling of materials are introduced. 
Slow Fashion UFS
One such project investigates aspects related to the recycling of clothing articles. It has been found that very few consumers recycle items of unused clothing and they do not have adequate knowledge regarding the recycling process, neither about the difference it can make on the environment. However, many of those interviewed indicated a willingness to donate items if they knew about opportunities. Further this research study will investigate donation needs and the possibility of creating collaboration between those in need and consumer donations.
Other recycling-related projects include buying behaviour and barriers preventing consumers from purchasing so-called ‘green’ products, and textile recycling (reclaiming the fibres from e.g. school uniforms) and creating new items. 

For more information about Recycling research, please contact Dr Jana Vermaas.


The bio-fabrication of bacterial cellulose as a bio-textile has gained tremendous momentum to avert interest from degradative practices to sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives. In the textile industry, particularly, bacterial cellulose is deemed as a potential green textile, given the tremendous properties it imparts. Also, it is biocompatible and biodegradable; perhaps the most crucial properties. 

Another field of exploration is in wool processing. The current processes used for the scouring of raw wool utilises tremendous amounts of water. The detergents and chemicals used prevent the water from being reused. Alternative, environmentally friendly and water-saving methods, such as the application of natural dyes in the form of vegetable peels, are being investigated.

A further project will investigate how wool from Dorper sheep (which is considered unsuitable for the wool market), can be used to create window covers to provide insulation from extreme winter weather conditions. This project has the potential to contribute to community empowerment. 

For more information about textile research, please contact Dr Jana Vermaas.



The world has progressively changed in the last century, and the internet has rapidly become an important channel for purchasing of products and services in the past years. Even though the internet is being utilised by millions across the world, it is possible to open a retail business and not have a physical
 presence. South Africa is aspiring to reach out in terms of technology and it will be interesting to know just how consumers perceive online shopping environments. Every individual‘s consumer buying behaviour varies from another, this is why there are many people ready to convert towards online shopping, whilst others are not ready. The study aims to explore how consumers perceive online shopping environments and the factors affecting online purchases in Mangaung, Bloemfontein. The findings of this research study will assist retailers, marketers and consumer protection bodies in the formulation of policies and frameworks that will enhance online shopping and its effectiveness.


Consumer decision making
Over the years, generations have evolved and interests changed from context, behaviour and consumption. Consumers of these generations are shaped by the times in which they were born. Ultimately, their choices and influences surrounding their lifestyles will differ. This is no strange concept to the Generation Z (consumers born between 1996-2010) students of the University of the Free State, who will be the subject of this study. 

Youth globally, communicates their stature through the clothes they buy and wear, as well as the accessories they use. However, limited research has been done in the South African context on factors that influence the clothing and accessory purchasing behaviour among Generation Z students of the University of the Free State. With the realisation of this gap, this study aims to determine internal and external factors that influence the clothing and accessory purchasing behaviour of generation Z students of the University of the Free State. The results will contribute to the understanding of factors that influence the purchasing behaviour of clothing and accessories by this group. 

This will assist marketers in knowing how to position their products in order to attract specifically generation Z students as consumers. It will also assist the entrepreneurs to progress in enduring the competing world of business by identifying and understanding the student’s consumer behaviour.

For more information about the Consumer Behaviour research, please contact Dr Thuli Tinta.


Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531


Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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