Illiteracy continues to be a major problem in developing countries. Botswana as an emerging economy with consumers of different literacy levels has no escape for this problem. This study puts the spotlight on consumer illiteracy in Botswana focusing specificallyon purchasing behaviour of functionally illiterate consumers; the problems encountered in the market place and coping strategies used when purchasing food.
To elicit relevant information a quantitative research design and survey techniques using a structured questionnaire was used to gather information. Potential respondents were conveniently sampled in Gaborone and surrounding areas in Botswana (N=200) and women aged between 25 and 65 years formed the sample group. Data analysis involved descriptive statistics and inferential analysis.
From the discussion and the interpretation of the results of the sample of the survey it became clear that certain elements of retailers‟ marketing mix product, price, place, promotion and processes were the most important factors that influenced younger women‟s‟food purchases. Salespeople are apparently of lesser importance to influence consumers. The results indicated that functionally illiterate consumers mainly purchased food products from supermarkets and informal traders but also patronised other retail outlets occasionally. The study further revealed that consumers are vulnerable in the market place as they encountered problems during market place navigation, specifically in terms of too much information; difficulties in computing prices reduced by percentages; crowded places, and advertisements tempting them to buy. These problems seemed to negate the use of coping strategies.
The study has contributed to the limited literature on the food purchasing behaviour of functionally illiterate consumers. Retailers will gain insight on how to deal with functionally illiterate consumers in the market place and find ways of making the market place more consumer friendly.
Dissertation (MConsumer Science)--University of Pretoria, 2014.