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Abstract and Figures

Do-it-yourself (DIY) is an increasingly popular consumer behavior, but little is known about this large consumer segment. We undertake a depth interview study and review diverse literatures to develop a conceptual model of DIY behavior that explores the reasons why consumers DIY and the benefits they receive. The purpose of the model is to improve our understanding of a consumer segment that, in many ways, behaves differently from typical consumers. Research propositions are derived and discussions of implications and ideas for future research follow.
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Understanding the do-it-yourself consumer: DIY motivations
and outcomes
Marco Wolf &Shaun McQuitty
Received: 15 November 2010 /Accepted: 2 December 2011 /Published online: 13 December 2011
#Academy of Marketing Science 2011
Abstract Do-it-yourself (DIY) is an increasingly popular
consumer behavior, but little is known about this large
consumer segment. We undertake a depth interview study
and review diverse literatures to develop a conceptual model
of DIY behavior that explores the reasons why consumers
DIY and the benefits they receive. The purpose of the model
is to improve our understanding of a consumer segment that,
in many ways, behaves differently from typical consumers.
Research propositions are derived and discussions of impli-
cations and ideas for future research follow.
Keywords Do-it-yourself (DIY) .Consumer behavior .
Motivations .Outcomes .Prosumption
Marketing theory recognizes the importance of consumer
involvement in the co-creation of value (Vargo and Lusch
2004), but the consumer typically is viewed only as the
passive buyer of what others produce and not as the active
producer of goods or services (Xie et al. 2008). An excep-
tion is Kotler (1986a), who forecast that a new type of
consumer, the prosumer, would emerge from the sociocul-
tural environment of modern society. Consistent with the
notion of value co-creation(Lusch and Vargo 2006,p.
284), prosumption activities are defined as consumers pro-
ducing products for their own consumption (Xie et al.
2008). Consumers increasingly will be drawn toward pro-
sumption and Marketers must find methods to facilitate
prosumption activity(Kotler 1986a, p. 511). We focus on
a specific form of prosumption known as Do-It-Yourself
(DIY), which we define as activities in which individuals
engage raw and semi-raw materials and component parts to
produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions, in-
cluding those drawn from the natural environment (e.g.,
DIY consumer products sold by the home improvement
industry typically are unfinished and designed for use in
different formats (e.g., pieces of lumber). Thus, people who
undertake DIY projects (DIYers) go beyond the construction
of meaning of a commodity because these consumers are
both the designer of the functional specifications and the
builder. They choose among available materials and tools,
engineer the work process to complete the project, and act as
inspectors and evaluators when deciding whether the product
has achieved the desired value. The degree of involvement in
DIY behaviors distinguishes it from other self-servicing forms
of do-it-yourself where the focal benefit is time and the
convenience of service delivery (e.g., ATM, fast food, and
gasoline) (Bateson 1985; Dabholkar 1996). Self-servicing
during gasoline, fast food, and banking transactions is
a convenience for delivering the final product directly to the
consumer. A distinction that can be made between self-
service and DIY is that there is nothing convenient about
remodeling ones home or landscaping onesyard.Self-
servicing also is distinguishable from DIY by the acceler-
ated speed of product delivery. Unlike self-service banking
and gas stations, DIY home improvement projects typically
are labor intensive.
M. Wolf (*)
Department of Marketing, University of Southern Mississippi,
730 East Beach Blvd,
Long Beach, MS 39560, USA
S. McQuitty
Faculty of Business, Athabasca University,
1 University Drive,
Athabasca, AB T9S 3A3, Canada
AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170
DOI 10.1007/s13162-011-0021-2
DIY also can be distinguished from Arts & Crafts activ-
ities by the types of projects, tools and materials involved,
amount of labor, and the money spent on projects. DIY
projects typically consume greater resources than Arts &
Crafts projects. The retail industry differentiates between
Arts & Crafts and DIY by providing different retail outlets
that separate the types of items sold in stores (e.g., Home
Depot vs. Michaels). The home improvement industrys
focus resides with building materials, home improvement,
and garden products, whereas Arts & Crafts retailers mostly
carry home décor products (framed art, baskets, potpourri,
etc.) and supplies (e.g., for jewelry making, needlecraft,
knitting, soap and candle making, and plush toys). There
is little overlap in product assortments between the two
retail segments.
The retail home improvement industry has grown
steadily, with 2011 U.S.-based sales forecast to be $267
billion (Home Improvement Research Institute 2011).
Despite the size and growth of the industry, DIY behav-
iors have prompted few academic studies. Early DIY-
related research typically profiles the DIY segment rela-
tive to a non-DIY segment (Bush et al. 1987; Hornik and
Feldman 1982; Schwartzlander and Bowers 1989),
whereas the more recent work explores motives for
DIY behavior (Watson and Shove 2008; Williams
2008). In contrast, our goal is to examine consumers
DIY behaviors and develop a conceptual model that considers
the motivators and the outcomes of DIY behaviors. The model
shown in Fig. 1gives insights regarding consumersDIY
behaviors and offers marketers ideas for improving their
value propositions (Gebhardt et al. 2006).
Because there is little existing theory associated with
DIY behavior, we conduct a study of DIYers using depth
interviews to gain insights. We integrate the discussion of
our interview data with a multidisciplinary review of rele-
vant literature that informs the development of a grounded
theory of the motivations and outcomes of DIY behavior.
The multidisciplinary review highlights the importance of
DIY behavior for extending and identifying gaps in the
existing consumer behavior literature (Crittenden et al.
2011). Specifically, DIY is a consumer activity that, among
other properties, offers consumers the make-or-buy deci-
sion, extends strategies for circumventing dissatisfactory
product experiences beyond negative word-of-mouth and
complaining, enables the redistribution of household budget
items, allows individuals to build and enhance identities,
and broadens notions of material values by suggesting that
new values can be derived through crafting material goods.
Co-creation, co-production, prosumption and DIY:
consumers doing it for themselves
Marketers once assumed that a product was consumed only
after the value adding process was complete, but a shift from
a goods-centered logic to a more reciprocal service-centered
logic views producers and consumers as collaborators who
co-create and co-produce (Vargo and Lusch 2004). Co-
Preconditions for
Discretionary Time
Prior DIY Experience
DIY Project Planning
Browsing at Retailers
Sharing ideas
DIY Behaviors
DIY Outcomes
Lack of Product
Lack of Product
Economic Benefits
Need for
Fulfillment of
Need for
DIY Motivations
Consumer Purchase
(DIY related products)
Fig. 1 A conceptual model of the motivations and outcomes of DIY behaviors
AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170 155
creation is closely tied to usage, consumption, value in use,
and the premise that value can be determined only by the
customer. For a product to be useful, individuals have to
learn and apply skills and knowledge that create value-in-
use. Examples of such value creating activities are driving
an automobile and charging and answering a cell phone
(Humphreys and Grayson 2008). Co-production, on the
other hand, means the customer participates in creating the
core offering through shared inventiveness and co-design
(Lusch et al. 2007, p. 11), and customers are engaged as
active participants in the organizations work to provide a
better core product to consumers (Auh et al. 2007). Con-
sumers become co-producers when they perform activities
traditionally overseen by company employees. Self-serve
gas and fast food restaurants are examples of co-production.
Integrating customers in the production of goods and services
can enhance an organizations ability to compete by meeting
customersdesires (Lusch et al. 2007).
Similar to co-creation and co-production is the notion of
prosumption, a term first coined by culture critic and futurist
Alvin Toffler (1980) to emphasize the novelty of people
simultaneously playing the roles of consumer and producer.
Prosumption can be defined as a value creation activity
undertaken by the consumer that results in the production of
products they eventually consume and that becomes their
consumption experience(Xie et al. 2008,p.110).Pro-
sumption is a process that integrates physical activities,
mental effort, and socio-psychological experiences (Xie et
al. 2008) and is similar to co-creation and co-production
because consumers become participants in producing and
creating goods.
If these forms of consumer production of goods and
services are ordered in terms of their requirements for con-
sumer involvement and effort, then co-creation requires the
least from consumers, followed by co-production, and then
prosumption (which includes DIY). Co-creation assumes
consumer involvement is limited to using the product and
learning how it operates, co-production assumes consumers
take over functions previously performed by the company
(e.g., assembly of parts), and prosumption assumes that
consumers produce their own products for consumption
(Xie et al. 2008). This ordering is consistent with our defi-
nition of DIY behaviorsactivities in which individuals
engage raw and semi-raw materials and component parts
to produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions,
including those drawn from the natural environmentthat
exemplify prosumption and are at the highest level of co-
production due to the typically considerable involvement
required from the DIY consumer.
Of course, there can be overlap among co-creation, co-
production, and prosumption activities in terms of a con-
sumers involvement and the effort required to produce a
good or service. The self-servicing, Arts & Crafts, and DIY
behaviors described earlier also can overlap, as these all are
forms of co-production and prosumption. As evidence for
the overlap among these behaviors, some supplies for Arts
& Crafts activities can be found at home improvement
retailers (e.g., various forms of fasteners or glues), and the
reverse also is true (e.g., mirrors at Arts & Crafts retailers).
However, DIY projects typically have the highest material
costs and require greater levels of innovation, design,
knowledge, skills, and time than other forms of prosump-
tion. These requirements set DIY apart from traditional
prosumption activities like home food production and Arts
& Crafts.
Developing and informing a conceptual model of DIY
We use a grounded theory approach to develop a conceptual
model of the motivators and outcomes of DIY behavior that
describes the underlying consumer processes involved when
creating a DIY consumption experience. Grounded theory
seeks to build theories from qualitative field data that can be
tested or extended by others (Strauss and Corbin 1998). The
purpose of the model and the discussion is to improve the
understanding of a large and important consumer market.
Because few studies have been published in this area, more
information is needed to inform the development of a mod-
el. Therefore, we conducted both formal and informal depth
interviews with DIYers to gain insights into their DIY expe-
riences (Weaven and Herington 2006). Following several
dozen informal interviews with DIYers at DIY retail estab-
lishments, we conducted 16 formal interviews with self-
professed DIYers (summary in Table 1).
Depth interview participants resided in the southern Unit-
ed States and were selected to vary the type and difficulty of
their DIY projects (Glaser and Strauss 1967). The formal
interviews ranged in length from 45 to 75 min and took
place in participantshomes and garages, i.e., the places
where their DIY activities took place. One exception was
an interview held in a coffee shop, where the participant was
the owner who remodeled the shop as a DIY project. Par-
ticipants were asked to tell stories about their most recent
DIY project and about projects deemed to result in positive
or less-than-positive experiences. The interviews were dig-
itally recorded and transcribed by the authors resulting in
178 single-spaced typed pages.
The transcribed interviews served as text for a grounded
theory of consumersDIY behaviors (Strauss and Corbin
1998). Themes, categories, and relationships emerged
throughout the interview process, and we continued collect-
ing interviews until our themes were saturated and no addi-
tional refinements emerged from the addition of more
participants (Glaser and Strauss 1967). Data were analyzed
156 AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170
using open coding, which begins with creating abstract
representations of important events, happenings, objects,
and actions and interactions(Strauss and Corbin 1998,p.
102). The next step in the open coding process involves
grouping concepts into categories (Strauss and Corbin
1998). During this phase, theory began to emerge with the
identification of the motivations and outcomes that form
dominant themes in the data.
The process of alternating between reviewing relevant
literature and collecting data is a part of the immersion
process indicative of grounded theory design (Strauss and
Corbin 1998), so the literature associated with consumer
behavior, retailing, services, consumer psychology, sociolo-
gy, leisure, and gender was reviewed for reports of DIY
behaviors. For example, the literature alerted us to the
possibility of economic motivations for DIY on the basis
of income (Bush et al. 1987; Hornik and Feldman 1982;
Schwartzlander and Bowers 1989), and we found that eco-
nomic savings were important for our participantsdecisions
to engage in DIY activities. We also noted contradictory
findings regarding consumersincome and their DIY behav-
ior, which pointed us towards the possibility of additional
motivational forces. During the process of reading the inter-
view data closely we encountered themes not addressed in
the literature, which resulted in iterative revisions and exten-
sions to our conceptual model (Close and Zinkhan 2009).
An example of a new theme was that study participants
indicated that, when inside retail store environments, they
began to imagine solutions to their current and future proj-
ects. This was surprising to us because typical home im-
provement retailerswarehouse-like product displays give
little attention to finished DIY projects. Insights into themes
also emerged from the authorsparticipation in the DIY
community, such as participation in online communities
where we offered and received advice on DIY projects (e.g.,;;; homede-;
Motivators and outcomes of DIY behavior: the conceptual
model and propositions
Our depth interview study and literature review found mul-
tiple motivations for undertaking DIY projects and several
outcomes of such behavior. The motivations for DIY behav-
ior fall into two categories and arise from (1) marketplace
evaluations of goods and services and (2) identity enhance-
ment. Certain conditions render these motivations more
likely to emerge: DIYersdiscretionary time and their prior
Table 1 Characteristics of participant do-it-yourselfers
Participant Gender Age Occupation Years of DIY
Last Project Type Duration of
last Project
1 Jeremy Male 28 IT Specialist 10 Remodel home (flooring, tiling, fixtures) 5 months
2 Sam Male 43 Self-Employed 18 Remodel home/workplace (flooring, tiling,
walls, facade, plumbing)
2 years
3 Simon Male 34 Hairstylist 9 Trailer remodeling (woodwork, mechanical) 4 weeks
4 Tommy Male 41 Academic 22 Deck, car repair (woodwork, mechanical) 3 weeks
5 Jim Male 57 TV Network
40 Remodel home (walls, flooring, tiling,
mechanical, plumbing)
1 year
6 Linda Female 42 Hairstylist 10 Remodel home/workplace (flooring, piping,
window treatment)
2 years
7 Bert Male 31 Delivery Service 15 Remodel bathroom (tiling, fixtures,
2 weeks
8 Bob Male 24 Mechanic 10 Add rooms (stairs, woodwork, plumbing,
6 months
9 Charles Male 62 Retired 40 Build Tiki-Bar (tiling, woodwork), 2 months
10 Judy Female 52 Business
22 Remodel bathroom, demo, flooring, walls,
3 months
11 Steve Male 39 Cable Technician 21 Garage (woodwork, brick work) 1 week
12 Walter Male 26 Student/Sales Clerk 4 Fix closet doors (mechanical) 1 day
13 Lora Female 48 Office Manager 5 Kitchen Remodeling (sink, ceiling, counter
top, appliances)
4 weeks
14 Pat Female 45 Marketing
7 Bathroom remodeling (tiling, flooring,
1 months
15 Beth Female 43 Education
10 Light fixtures, appliance repair 1 week
16 Carmen Female 40 Administrative
6 Painting ex/interior, kitchen remodeling 3 months
AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170 157
DIY experience. Once evoked, the motivations to undergo
DIY behavior typically result in the purchase of DIY related
materials and products. However, this relationship is mod-
erated by the retail environment because it can enhance the
visualizing of projects and the sharing of ideas with others,
both of which can cause DIYers to revise their project plans
and purchase decisions. We also found that engaging in and
completing DIY projects result in outcomes beyond the direct
benefits provided by the project; these include feelings of
accomplishment, control, and enjoyment that may affect the
motivationto undertake future DIYprojects. In the subsequent
sections we elaborate on the constructs and linkages in our
model and ground these relationships in comments from study
participants. Propositions are formulated to emphasize the
relationships between constructs (Bacharach 1989).
Antecedent conditions for motivations to DIY: consumer
Two consumer characteristics are antecedent conditions for
consumersmotivations to DIY: their amount of discretion-
ary time and their prior DIY experience. The following
quotes from interviews illustrate these conditions.
Well, time is definitely an issue. It depends if there is a
time crunch. If I have time issues then I might look
into other resources. But if it is something I have time
for I probably do it myself. Sometimes I start some-
thing knowing I will encounter time issues in the
future, like crunch time at work or school, but
then it just takes longer to finish. But thatsokay.
(Judy, age 52)
As a child I hung out with my dad a lot but didnt learn
a whole bunch. He already knew how to do all
those things and just wanted to get it done. Now
that Im older he is showing me how to do things.
So, now Im catching up with the experience. It
may take me two times to get it right, but Ill get it
done. (Simon, age 34)
Discretionary time for DIY behavior is related to the antic-
ipated time needed to complete a DIY project. Experience
informs these expectations as illustrated by the quote above
from Simon, which suggests he knows that he may have to
do it twice to get it right. When estimated time requirements
do not match discretionary time, people may abstain from or
delay DIY behavior. Judy, for example, may consider other
resources if time is unavailable. However, some DIYers also
commence projects knowing that the likelihood of delay
exists, accepting an uncertain completion date and planning
their projects accordingly. DIY experience (skills and mate-
rials knowledge) also influences the decision to undertake a
DIY project. Individuals without such experience are less
likely to engage in DIY behavior. For example, Simon
reports that he feels challenged by DIY projects because
he did not learn much from his fathers DIY projects. Simon
realizes that he missed out on opportunities to experience
DIY at an early age and relies on his father for DIY advice.
DIY experience can arise from an individuals socialization
(John 1999; Moschis 1981), through which the skills and
materials knowledge needed for DIY behaviors are
Motivations to DIY: marketplace evaluations
Our study participantsdata suggest that DIY behavior is
driven by four types of marketplace evaluations: (1) the
relative economic benefits of DIY, (2) a perceived lack of
quality from available offerings, (3) a lack of product avail-
ability, and (4) the need for customization. DIYers carry out
marketplace evaluations by examining offerings in stores,
examining work completed by professionals, and obtaining
estimates. We describe these marketplace evaluations and
provide some examples.
Relative economic benefits
The need for saving and being better off economically is a
strong motivator for undertaking DIY activities, and we
assume that many DIYers are attempting to save money
over purchasing professional goods and services. DIYers
compare the expected economic value with the purchase of
a marketplace option for similar goods and services to assess
the relative economic benefits of DIY projects. A number of
our interview participants stated that the money saved by
doing a project themselves could be used to acquire addi-
tional or upgraded items for their projects (e.g., better fix-
tures or higher quality wood) or would allow them to
purchase material for future projects.
We actually prefer to do it ourselves. It may be a trust
issue but also a money issue, you know. The estimate
for the bathroom was between $3000 and $4000, but
we did it for less than a $1000. The money we saved
we can use for something else like upgraded applian-
ces or fixtures we wouldnt have money for otherwise.
(Bert, age 31)
The DIY market effectively offers consumers the equiv-
alent of the make-or-buy decision faced by manufacturers,
whose decisions to produce their own products becomes
practical if it results in savings relative to purchasing goods
or services. It might be expected, therefore, that individuals
with lesser incomes are more likely to engage in DIY
activities than individuals with higher incomes. However,
where some studies find a positive relationship between
income and DIY activities (Bogdon 1996;Bushetal.
158 AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170
1987), others find a negative relationship (Pollakowski
1988; Schwartzlander and Bowers 1989; Williams 2004).
The conflicting findings suggest that the economic need
deriving from income status may be an insufficient and
overly simplistic view of how consumers weigh the
economics of the DIY decision. Our study participants
have a wide range of incomes and their reports chal-
lenge the notion of income as a motivator for DIY.
Rather, participants describe their motivations to DIY
in terms of spending money wisely and not in terms
of income. The desire to save money in one place and
spend it elsewhere is not a motivation exclusively for
those of lower socioeconomic status, because frugality
cuts across individuals from different economic back-
grounds (Lastovicka et al. 1999). Although DIY activi-
ties do not increase household income, the ability to
repair and maintain the household by saving on profes-
sional help enables individuals to budget for other needs
and desires, thus enhancing their overall standard of
living (Hornik and Feldman 1982).
Lack of product quality in the professional sector
Another motivation to undertake DIY projects is the percep-
tion that professional services may not achieve sufficient
quality; this possibility can influence DIYersdecisions to
make the good or perform the service themselves (Brown et
al. 2005; Lusch et al. 1992).
I have seen the work some professionals have done at
my moms house and I just shook my head. See, they
may not care much about the detail, but when you do
something yourself you really take pride in it. More so
than paying somebody to do it. I always took more
pride in what I was doing when it is mine, and tried to
do the job the best. Somebody else may not care as
much and pays less attention to details like grouts and
edges. (Jeremy, age 28)
Jeremy concluded that DIY behavior was the better option
given his experience with professionals, whom he believes
lack the pride and quality of workmanship to which he
aspires in his own projects. A German study found that
60% of DIYers perceive their own production quality as
superior to professionals, thus poor quality is a motivation
for DIY behavior (Institut für Freizeitwirtschaft 1999).
Complaining behavior, avoidance, negative word of mouth,
and boycotts are the typical responses consumers make
when product quality is perceived as lacking (Blodgett et
al. 1995; Sen et al. 2001; Voorhees et al. 2006; Yuksel and
Mryteza 2009), but DIY offers consumers another strategy
for circumventing dissatisfactory experiences that largely
has been ignored by previous research.
Lack of product availability
The absence of product availability is another marketplace
evaluation that can motivate DIY behavior and has an effect
similar to the perception of insufficient quality, i.e., it
encourages consumers to perform DIY activities for goods,
repairs, and maintenance.
I guess we could have gotten it done. If you put money
on the table you can get anything done. But they [the
builder] said they cant find anybody they trust to do
the stairs. He had issues with quality, reliability before.
Some were not insured, so he said we just dontdo
stairs. So, you have to come up with something.
(Charles, age 62)
For example, a lack of product availability can occur when
the housing industry experiences high demand and a short-
age of qualified home repair and renovation professionals.
This can be a problem for individuals who require service
for a relatively small job such as one broken tile or a leaking
faucet because professional repair services may view small
home repair jobs as less profitable and not worth servicing.
In addition, if the scheduling of the service professional
does not meet consumersneeds, then they may be more
inclined to do the job themselves rather than wait.
Although reactions to inadequate product availability are
described in prior research, a consumers decision to con-
struct, modify or repair a product him or herself has not been
studied. A lack of product availability (temporary or perma-
nent) can cause consumers to switch to another product,
purchase from competing stores, defer the purchase to the
next shopping occasion, or completely give up the purchase
(Campo et al. 2004; Corstjens and Corstjens 1995). Geo-
graphical and cyclical unavailability and the elimination of
brands or product categories can cause consumers to switch
to other brands or cycle between brands (Martin 2002).
Unavailable products can motivate consumers to find a
competitors product or switch to a different product cate-
gory (Min and West 2003; Sloot and Verhoef 2008). Studies
of out-of-stock situations and discontinued products point
toward a variety of consumer reactions such as switching
stores and brands, not returning to the same store on the next
shopping trip, spending less, or postponing the purchase
(Fitzsimons 2000; Martin 2002; Emmelhainz et al. 1991;
Sloot et al. 2005). However, although customer reactions to
product unavailability have been widely examined, the DIY
response offers another alternative to consumers and
deserves consideration by researchers.
The need for customization
A motivation closely related to a lack of product availability is
the need to customize ones products, and study participants
AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170 159
clearly indicated that they can satisfy their specific product
needs through DIY behaviors. With its infinite product appli-
cations and combinations of raw and semi raw materials, the
DIY market provides opportunities for consumers to create
their own customized products. In one example, Bert told us
about a project where market options did not satisfy his needs,
resulting in his planning, designing, and constructing a kayak.
When I built my kayak I designed it on the computer
as a hybrid wood and fiberglass structure. The design
is somewhat special, but the ideas came from fishing
and outdoor magazines. I wanted to build it according
to what I needed my kayak to do, and because I could
not get anything like that in stores. They offer either
fishing or leisure kayaks, but not both. Fishing
kayaks have a wider hull, sit-on-top, are flatter,
thus slower in the water. Leisure kayaks have more
of a V-hull and are sit-in. I combined the two structures
to use the kayak for both, fishing and river paddling.
(Bert, age 31)
The primary motivation for Bert to develop and construct
his own kayak was to ensure that the kayak would serve his
particular needs. The fact that the marketplace did not offer
a suitable alternative motivated Bert to consider building his
own. In a second example, Bob explains why he decided to
build custom shelving.
My built-in shelving for example. I have looked at a
number of samples in magazines and then built it
according to the size of the bed. Putting K-Mart
shelves up was not an optionI wanted something
that goes along with the finish of the furniture and
looks like it was part of it. I built in the nightstands
with a type of book shelf across the headboard. It was
meant to look like part of the bed. It took longer
than I thought but was worth it. (Bob, age 24)
A positive benefit provided to DIYers is control over the
customization process, and the ability to implement changes
without going through a second party.
Firms that offer customization of their products typically
give customers few options or permit customers only limited
involvement in the customization of the firmsproducts.
Customized products can generate greater benefits for cus-
tomers than mass marketed products because they deliver a
better fit to customerspreferences (Franke et al. 2009;
Simonson 2005;Schreier2006), although customization
still is traded off against quality and price (Valenzuela et
al. 2009). The benefits of customization require that cus-
tomers are aware of their preferences and can communicate
them to professionals (Franke et al. 2009; Tuli et al. 2007).
However, little is known about consumerswillingness to
produce and customize their own products given their indi-
vidual needs and preferences.
It cannot be assumed that all consumers who cannot find
acceptable market offerings will engage in DIY activities to
satisfy their needs, but DIY provides options for consumers
who expect economic benefits arising from DIY behaviors,
perceive a lack of product quality or availability in the
marketplace, or need customized products. Therefore, we
suggest that:
Proposition 1 Consumers who engage in DIY behavior are
motivated by marketplace evaluations that include the
a) relative economic benefits
b) lack of product quality
c) lack of product availability
d) need for customization
Motivations to DIY: identity enhancement
An important category of motivators that emerged from
participantsDIY activities involved identity enhancement
and maintenance. Four sources of identity enhancement
were described as meaningful by our DIY participants,
including: (1) a sense of empowerment; (2) an identity as
a craftsman; (3) membership in a community of DIY enthu-
siasts; and (4) the need to be unique or different from others.
Interestingly, the salience of these motivations differed
across genders.
Achieving an enhanced sense of empowerment
Study participants felt empowered by prior DIY behavior
and motivated to undertake further DIY projects, particular-
ly the female DIYers we interviewed. For example, while
telling a story of how she used heavy tools to create a
bathroom completely from scratch, Judy shared the
It is also a very empowering and independent feel-
ingwhenever tearing down a wall or putting up a
wall using a big hammer and crowbar, gloves and
goggles. And either breaking through a wall or con-
crete makes you feel pretty strong. Dont get to do this
every day. (Judy, age 52)
Judy described knocking down a wall, breaking through a
concrete floor, moving a water heater, and putting up walls
and doorframes as empowering. Walls and concrete can
symbolize lasting boundaries, and tearing down those
boundaries may instill the sense of empowerment Judy
experienced. Her remarks reveal that completing DIY tasks
can create feelings of physical strength, authority, and inde-
pendence. Similarly, but less focused on physical strength,
Linda states that continually having to prove herself to Joe,
160 AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170
the contractorwas frustrating, but her DIY experiences
provided reassurance of her capabilities.
It makes you feel independent, but the matter of fact is
that I may feel stronger as a female. I still have to go
against Joe, the contractor, and convince him that I know
what Im doing. It may be a disadvantage at times
because you are so frustrated to make your point. Itsa
constant reassuring yourself you know what you are
talking about, because they are going to counter with a
different way to do it. They constantly try to sell you on
the up-scale product assuming you dont know what you
are talking about. However, knowing what I know adds
a lot of confidence in dealing with that. (Linda, age 42)
By recognizing her knowledge of various DIY tasks, Linda
was able to boost her confidence when taking on professio-
nals in their territory. Our female participantsstatements are
consistent with leisure and gender theory that suggests
womens empowerment is related to self-expression, self-
esteem, and self-determination (Freysinger and Flannery
1992), increased physical strength (Brace-Govan 2004),
the acquisition and mastery of specific skills (Wheaton and
Tomlinson 1998), and the pleasure of defying gendered
expectations about appropriate leisure pursuits (Auster 2001).
Empowerment is a central characteristic of resistance that ena-
bles women to create new opportunities and identities that are
not automatically assigned by traditional gender norms (Shaw
2001). This was true for our female DIYers who stated that DIY
activities enhanced their feelings of authority in a domain
mostly occupied by men. Empowerment as a motivational
force has received scant attention in the marketing literature,
but could offer insights into DIYersmake or buy decisions.
Constructing an identity as a craftsman
Female participants emphasized their achieving a sense of
empowerment through various DIY tasks, but our male par-
ticipants did not mention empowerment. Instead, some men,
like Bob, felt personal fulfillment and viewed their completed
DIY projects as a reflection of their ability as craftsmen,
whereas others, like Bert, enjoyed the fact that a completed
DIY project called attention to their craftsmanship.
Its creating something, seeing the finished product.
Doing something what most people cant do. Most
people would rather pay someone to do it. And it is
involving some special skills and tools most people
dont have. It took me a while to build my stairs, but it
was cool to walk on it after it was done. (Bob, age 24)
The cool thing is that I can say that I built this with my
own hands. Part of it is also pride in the ability of
building something like that. A project like that
attracts a lot of attention and acts as a conversation
starter; it shows what you can do. (Bert, age 31)
Craftsmanship provides men with the opportunity to recap-
ture the pride that went along with doing a task from start to
finish with ones own hands(Gelber 1997,p.68).Theideal
of a craftsman is popularized in television shows such as Tim
AllensHome Improvement, which emphasizes the impor-
tance of doing construction tasks to earn acknowledgment
from friends, neighbors, and family members. The lead char-
acters obsession with power tools reflects a desire for power
and status through crafting. Tools symbolize crafting ability
and autonomy in a setting where a man can distinguish him-
self from other men (Bridenbaugh 1950). Mechanized tools
and machines form a contemporary version of the craftsman
archetype, and people who identify with this archetype may
search for ways to establish themselves as someone who
exercises personal influence over all the processes involved
in the manufacture of goods by choosing the design, selecting
the materials, and then making the product (Campbell 2005).
Being part of a DIY community
Another reason that people engage in DIY behavior is
because it connects them with others. A number of our
interview participants report ed that they started DIY projects
to be with family, friends, or loved ones.
I built the deck during the summer. I was outside with
some friends who helped me at various points. I ended
up going back and redoing some of their work, but it
was fun. (Tommy, age 41)
See, Im also doing things in the neighborhood like
mowing lawns and keeping things nice. We only
charge cost because we use our lawn mowers and
gas and tools. Im retired and can be active and be
outside. My wife is at work during the day so I get to
do stuff and I get to be around people. Often we tell
each other things that bring up new ideas. Oh yeah, we
always share ideas (Charles, age 62)
Another participant reported that remodeling a room in the
house counts as family time that includes husband, wife, and
their five-year-old daughter. Charles (above) stated that he
engaged in small projects in the neighborhood to communi-
cate and spend time with neighbors while his wife was at
work. An additional benefit he derives from meeting people
through DIY is to share ideas with others about DIY projects.
The need for uniqueness
A fourth way for consumers to enhance and maintain their
identity is by reducing the threat of being similar to others
AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170 161
by creating unique items. The desire to be unique motivated
I had this idea of building a Tiki bar. For months I
have been eyeballing it and seen some of my neigh-
bors putting up outside bars for entertaining family
and friends. But see, theirs looked all nice and cookie
cutter. I didnt want that. I didnt want the same thing
everybody has. I wanted it different, not too perfect, and
a little rough on the edges. Dont get me wrong, I
wanted it to be nice, just, not the same old stuff every-
body has in their yard. And mine is different, because I
used wood and logs that I fished out of the water. It does
not get any more different. (Charles, age 62)
Conceptual models of social nonconformity recognize
behaviors that make a person different relative to other
people (Lynn and Harris 1997; Nail 1986). The motivation
for counter-conformity arises when an individual perceives
that they are very similar to others and their personal iden-
tity is threatened (Snyder and Fromkin 1977). People can
distinguish themselves from others through their behaviors,
but also through products that offer symbolic meaning be-
yond their functional benefits (Ligas 2000). Because pos-
sessions can act as extensions of the self, one way that
consumers satisfy their need for uniqueness is by acquiring
and possessing unique consumer products (Belk 1988).
Uniqueness can be achieved not only by acquiring and
displaying novelty and handcrafted goods, but also by per-
sonalizing items through the personal design and alteration
of common products (Tian et al. 2001; Johnson and Wilson
No matter what the project, DIY offers tremendous op-
portunities to personalize self-made products. For example,
by collecting building materials from the nearby river,
Charles increased the uniqueness of his project and made
imitation difficult. An interesting aspect derived from this
observation is that DIYers deliberately may choose alterna-
tive materials and designs for their projects, including mate-
rials that might otherwise be described as junk or trash.
Studying DIY behavior based on using old or used materials
could generate new insights regarding consumersinnovative
behavior, sustainable consumption, and even new product
ideas and designs. Based on the information related to identity
enhancement and maintenance drawn from our literature re-
view and depth interviews, we propose that:
Proposition 2 Consumers who engage in DIY behavior are
motivated by a desire to enhance aspects of their identity,
a) achieving a sense of empowerment
b) constructing an identity as a craftsman
c) being a part of a community
d) a need for uniqueness
DIY purchases
After DIYers weigh the benefits and decide to undertake a
DIY project, they typically must purchase materials for their
projects. Purchase decisions for larger projects can be com-
plex, and it can be difficult to know exactly what kinds of
materials and what quantities are needed. This is particularly
evident when projects evolve over time due to issues such as
unforeseen circumstances (e.g., more material must be
replaced or repaired than initially expected), changes in
plans or the scope of the project, or changes in the methods
used to complete a project. Multiple visits to home improve-
ment retailers may be required, both to procure materials
and to obtain ideas for what materials are available and how
they might fit into a project. This purchase process is unlike
most traditional purchases due to the degree of consumer
involvement and the evolving nature of the project and the
materials required.
Few of our study participants reported that they finalized
plans or made purchases without first shopping at home
improvement retailers to help with plan visualization, and
nearly all reported browsing at retailers repeatedly before a
purchase was made. DIYers may need to see or feel the
actual product (Peck and Wiggins 2006)orevaluatethe
sizes and types of materials. Consequently, DIY project-
related purchases likely are moderated by a DIYers ability
to use the retail environment to stimulate ideas and project
plans, which has implications for home improvement and
other DIY retailers.
Between the decision to DIY and materials purchase:
the moderating role of project planning and visualizing
Planning the project
Media such as the Internet, books, and TV shows are used
by our DIY study participants to obtain information for
project planning. However, and as described above, during
our interviews we became aware that interactions with retail
environments also play an important role for planning DIY
projects. Customers may visit DIY retailers repeatedly to
help plan their projects, e.g., to determine available options
regarding colors, styles, materials, and measurements.
I know I have an idea but need more details. Im
limited in planning my project when Im standing in
my bathroom looking around. I might picture a new
vanity but have no clue whether other accessories fit
the style and size. I need to see whats available in
162 AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170
color, size and style. I went to three different places
[home improvement retailers] to verify that I can do all
the things I had in mind. (Bert, age 31)
Most of our participants said that visiting DIY retail envi-
ronments, examining home improvement products closely,
and imagining the appearance of their DIY projects with
these products helped to focus plans.
The best ideas come from walking and looking around
in those stores. I can show you so many things in the
coffee shop [I own] and the kitchen that [resulted]
from me browsing: this countertop, the rod for the
coffee roaster, etc. I have something in my head and
dont know how to approach it. Then I just browse
through the aisles and if I see something that fits my
project, it may click. (Sam, age 43)
As other examples, Bob reported that browsing at Home
Depot makes him think about future projects in his house.
Judy states that whenever I walk into LowesIm like a kid
in the candy storetoo many ideas come into my head for
things I want to do.Steve disclosed that
I go to Home Depot all the time and lay out a plan with
what I need and what is available. I look at all those
things and place them in my house, at least in my
head. I think this would look good here and that would
look good there. (Steve, age 39)
For our study participants, visits to home improvement
retailers are not merely for seeking information about new
products and trends (Bloch et al. 1986), nor is it merely
hedonic satisfaction, i.e., shopping as a pleasurable experi-
ence in its own right (Arnold and Reynolds 2003). Rather,
DIY retail environments offer a context for consumers to
formulate ideas about their projects. The products (raw
materials and manufactured products) available at DIY
retailers appear to encourage shoppers to visualize their
DIY projects while they are in the store. Because DIYers
often are seeking the solution to an existing problem, the
sight of specific items while browsing appears to help generate
plausible solutions, both for current and future projects.
Browsing at DIY retailers
Specialty stores often serve as a place for consumers with
similar interests to interact, and this also appears true for
DIYers in home improvement retailers. Our interview par-
ticipants reported that the retail environment offered a way
to share projects and ideas with knowledgeable store per-
sonnel and other DIYers. Participants stated that their
encounters with store personnel in hardware stores often
go beyond the typical questions about finding a certain item.
Store personnel would engage in conversations by asking
for details about the customers project and then using their
own problem-solving experience to give advice. Such
encounters represent processes where both parties interact
and mutually co-create experiences (Payne et al. 2009).
Just the other day I went into ACE Hardware. The guy
there had a similar project as mine. So we talked about
all the troubles we were running into. The time I spent
talking I probably should have used on my project
[laughter]. (Simon, age 34)
Several interviewees told stories where, following the
exchange of ideas with store personnel or other customers,
they left the store without a purchase and postponed pur-
chases until they could incorporate ideas from their recent
exchange. Judy for example was looking for a corner mold-
ing piece for her shower project. After retail staff suggested
a ceramic instead of a wood solution, she left the store to
consider the new information. Bert indicated that his few
first visits rarely end in a purchase. Visits to retail stores can
take place at various stages of a DIY project but are most
frequent during a projects initial stage when multiple
assessments of product options, prices, availability, and
measurements are required. These visits are shown in
Fig. 1by a two-way arrow that reflects the sequence of
visiting a DIY retailer, obtaining information, considering
that information, making a plan, and then returning to the
retailer. This form of iterative problem solving appears to
promote consumersemotional engagement with the retail
environment and embeds the retail space into the consump-
tion experience (Payne et al. 2009). The back and forth
interaction between retailers and consumers is a key element
of service-dominant logic that enhances co-creation and
dialog within the relationship (Ballantyne and Varey
2008). The complex nature of typical DIY projects often
create the need for numerous purchase decisions, and visits
to retail stores offer a necessary context for the interplay of
project planning, idea generation, and visualization. The
role of DIY retailers for consumersDIY projects suggests
the following proposition:
Proposition 3 The relationship between the decision to DIY
and purchases of DIY project materials is moderated by
a) project planning
b) browsing at DIY retailers
The outcomes of DIY behaviors
Consumers can create valuable experiences beyond the con-
sumption of a tangible product by learning how to use,
maintain, and adapt the product to their unique needs and
usage situations (Vargo and Lusch 2004). All study
AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170 163
participants communicated strong emotions about complet-
ed DIY projects; it was particularly interesting that the
majority did not elaborate on the utility of the finished
product, but rather the excitement and passion they derived
from completing the project. Therefore, Fig. 1shows that
DIY behavior is related to higher-order values that go be-
yond the creation of physical or monetary value (Holbrook
2006). These outcomes can be described as desired end-
states such as happiness, security, and pleasure (Rokeach
1973), which are powerful forces that govern the behaviors
of individuals in all aspects of their lives (Kahle 1983).
More specifically, the DIYers in our study reported elevated
senses of accomplishment, control, and enjoyment derived
from their DIY activities. We designate these as DIY Out-
comes and describe them below.
Sense of accomplishment
Each participants reaction to the finished project was an
elevated sense of accomplishment. Despite planning, design-
ing, and constructing projects from the beginning, the com-
plexity of their projects did not strike the DIYers until arriving
at the final stage, at which time every participant reported
feeling a sense of accomplishment due to a raised awareness
about their potential and capabilities for further DIY projects.
You feel a sense of achievement. Also, and this con-
tinues to this day, sometimes you go out and think
wow, I built this! It is something that may not outlast
me, but its certainly something thats gonna be around
for 10 or 20 years. It will probably last longer than Ill
own the house. Doing these kinds of things always
make me realize the things one can do. (Tommy, age 41)
People who seek a sense of accomplishment place themselves
in situations where this value can be attained (Kahle 1983;
Rokeach 1973) and carry an elevated sense of accomplish-
ment and self-worth arising from the realization of ones
talents, capabilities, and potentials (Freitas and Higgins 2002).
A second outcome that informants reported concerned the
mastery of their projects. By facing new projects and un-
foreseen difficulties without involving marketplace profes-
sionals, study participants said that DIY gave them control
of their living spaces and lives.
When I start something new, it is like climbing a hill. I
want to do this. I want to say that I did it. I think it is
more like I want to say with confidence that I did that,
that I can do that. Because some people make claims
of things they have never done. I like the idea of
having the confidence and knowing that I can do it
by myself. (Jim, age 57)
Control most often is associated with personal mastery of
situations, which means that one is effective at fulfilling
goals (Lusch et al. 1992,2007). DIY allows people to take
charge of a part of their environment that typically is con-
trolled by others. Not only does DIY imply a physical
solution to a problem within ones home, it also becomes a
part of the extended self (Belk 1988). An individual who
finishes a DIY project has affirmed mastery of the task
similar to when a mountain climber in reaching a peak
has asserted control of the mountain and the panorama it
affords(Belk 1988, p. 150).
Another outcome identified by all interview participants was
that their DIY projects were enjoyable in some way, regard-
less of any disappointment or unexpected problem encoun-
tered during projects. Although it seemed difficult for our
participants to pinpoint specifics, enjoyment arose when the
task was completed without pressure, different from the
everyday work routine, and perceived as relaxing.
I really enjoyed every bit of it, but I wish I wasnt
under the gun to get it done so fast. Having to live in it
[the house] while you are remodeling was tough but
doable. I was trying to get the business going at the
time, but if I could do it on my terms Id enjoy it even
more. (Sam, age 43)
If occupational work becomes increasingly desk oriented
and monotonous, then people are more likely to engage in
physical activities such as the self-production that character-
izes prosumers (Toffler 1980). Activities such as gardening,
gourmet cooking, personal fitness training, education, and
learning new skills offer psychic benefits that are associated
with enjoyment (Lusch et al. 2007). Consumers who engage
in DIY behavior often do so for enjoyment rather than for
receiving an external reward such as money (Deci et al.
1999; Holbrook 2006; Lepper and Henderlong 2000).
Kotler (1986a,b) describes consumersincreasing their par-
ticipation in the production process but does not advance the
outcomes of such engagement beyond a physical product. Xie
et al. (2008) explore the antecedents of the decision to engage in
production, but do not consider the outcomes. Therefore, we
consider the outcomes of DIY behavior and propose that:
Proposition 4 Consumers who engage in DIY behavior
obtain outcomes that include senses of
a) accomplishment
b) control
c) enjoyment
164 AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170
Between DIY behavior and outcomes: the mediating role
of project satisfaction
In a DIY context, project satisfaction can be defined as
the degree to which a completed project meets a
DIYers expectations and is predicted to mediate the
relationship between DIY behaviors and outcomes (see
Fig. 1). Participants who had their expectations for the
project confirmed tended to evaluate their experience
complishment. DIY projects that did not meet DIYers
expectations resulted in a less positive evaluation and
reduced satisfaction with the project. Less satisfied indi-
viduals did not count their experience as a great accom-
plishment but still were eager to undertake future
projects. A less satisfying experience was viewed as a
learning experience and simply a part of the DIY process. In
the following quote, Jim expressed his frustration about some
DIY projects and his realization that he had reached his limits
and might have to consult a professional. While it has not
prevented him from working on other projects, he evaluated
such projects as just not the sameas if he had done it
I have messed up plenty of timesI accept that. I say
alright.When I was younger I threw a wrench at the
car. I would be so frustrated with not making this
happen. I would scream and blame the metal and get
angry at the screws. But thats the time when you have
to realize that you may want to get someone [a pro-
fessional]. It is just not the same as if I had finished it,
though. (Jim, age 57)
Carmen shared a similar experience and stated that overly
high expectations can lead to disappointment about the
project, yet add to the experience in the long run.
I regretted that I had started a project. When I painted
the outside of my house I was much more involved
than I thought. It took much longer, was more expen-
sive, and didnt come out as I thought it would. I
totally miscalculated it, but Ill be smarter next time.
(Carmen, age 40)
People typically use expectations regarding characteristics
such as quality and value to evaluate their satisfaction with
purchased products (Zeithaml 1988; Fornell et al. 1996),
and it is important to note that, despite producing their
own goods and services, respondents use the same evalua-
tions for determining satisfaction with their own projects.
This observation suggests that:
Proposition 5 DIYersperceptions of project satisfaction
mediates the relationship between DIY behaviors and DIY
DIY behavior has become an important part of many con-
sumerslives thatbecause it offers consumers make or
buy decisionsexpands the meaning of consumerism, so
there is value to understanding what motivates consumers to
undertake DIY projects and what benefits they obtain. We
develop a model of the motivators and outcomes of DIY
behavior that is informed by a depth interview study and,
where it exists, linked to the appropriate literature. The
purpose of developing this model is to improve our under-
standing of a large consumer segment that behaves differ-
ently than typical consumers in many ways. In addition to
the model, this article offers further contributions to con-
sumer theory including a definition of DIY behavior and a
depth interview study and multidisciplinary literature review
that inform an exploration of the motivators and outcomes
of DIY behaviors.
Our study of DIY behavior calls attention to an underde-
veloped and understudied domain where consumers add
value to a product. DIY behavior goes beyond the interpre-
tive process of consumer value creation that occurs when
consuming works of art, books, and films, because such
behavior involves consumersmental and physical engage-
ment in acts of planning, designing, and fabricating for self
consumption. By physically making things, a DIYer
becomes the designer, builder, and evaluator of a project
that is experientially consumed both during production and
after its completion. Given the focal role of products for
consumer behavior, DIY behavior takes on greater meaning
than the functional value of the project and derives from a
more complex set of motivations than is recognized in
previous literature.
The conceptual framework developed in this article also
adds to the existing discussion of the co-production and co-
creation of value. It confirms the central idea that exchange
is not about goods and services but rather the competencies
of the parties involved (Lusch et al. 2007). DIY behaviors
and products should be viewed as mechanisms for transfer-
ring and applying competencies. Service dominant logic
argues that value only can be determined by the user in
the consumption process (Vargo and Lusch 2004). The
DIY marketplace makes a value proposition that, when
accepted, can result in a value framework that goes beyond
material values, and thereby offers an opportunity to study
alternative consumer motivations and goals. Specifically,
the marketplace derived motivations for DIY suggested by
our study and literature review are the economic benefits, a
lack of product quality, a lack of product availability, and a
need for customization. Motivations that derive from identity
enhancement include fulfillment of craftsmanship, empower-
ment, community seeking, and the need for uniqueness. These
motivations present a range of reasons for DIY that go beyond
AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170 165
the notion that such behaviors arise strictly from economic
necessity. Similarly, the outcomes of DIY behavior (a sense of
accomplishment, control, and enjoyment) also extend notions
of typical consumer values.
Implications for future research
Our study and propositions suggest numerous opportunities
for future research. Because the theory associated with DIY
behavior is not well developed, our model considers only
the motivators and outcomes of DIY behaviors described
either by our depth interview study or in the scant previous
literature. Future studies could both validate the motivations
and outcomes we propose and search for additional motiva-
tions and outcomes to better understand DIY behaviors.
Similarly, the effects on purchasing patterns due to segmen-
tation variables such as the degree of consumer engagement
with DIY activities (e.g., building furniture from scratch vs.
assembly from a kit), demographic and psychographic var-
iables, and personal values also could be studied. Individu-
als may value their own products more highly than
traditional marketplace offerings due to the effort required
to build them (cf., Festinger 1957;Nortonetal.2011).
Consequently, when projects are too complicated and pro-
fessionals must be hired, DIYers may be willing to pay a
premium so that they can contribute to the work on projects.
Another idea is studying trends in DIY behavior, such as
whether the DIY industry grows during periods when the
economy is weak, and the factors that encourage consumers
to continue being DIYers once they engage in these behav-
iors. Lastly, some of the constructs we describe are new to
consumer behavior and require the development of original
measurement scales for empirical relationship testing. This
may be challenging for DIY-related constructs because con-
sideration must be given to consumers planning, designing,
and fabricating their own products, rather than purchasing
traditional marketplace offerings.
To expand on the idea that other variables could be used
to segment DIYers, one of the more useful examples of such
variables may be gender. For example, the female study
participants indicated that they were motivated by empow-
erment whereas males focused on their identities as crafts-
men, which suggests gender differences in DIY outcomes
that could have implications for DIY-related consumption.
As a specific instance, viewing empowerment as a force that
guides female consumersdecision making behavior has not
received attention in the business literature. Their current
role as wage earners and consumers has American women
responsible for purchase decisions worth over $4.3 trillion
annually (Silverstein and Sayre 2009). Further exploration
may reveal other consumer decisions that are based on
seeking an enhanced sense of empowerment. Similarly,
some DIYers produce their own products to differentiate
themselves from others, and our findings suggest that indi-
viduals may go much further when seeking uniqueness than
previously anticipated. Consumer use-innovativeness also
may be relevant for DIY, such as when DIYers who seek
high levels of uniqueness use materials that others reject to
increase the likelihood of differentiation.
The propositions we forward to describe DIYers suggest
various behavioral differences when compared to consumers
in the traditional marketplace and provide a starting point
for researchers to revisit traditional consumption models.
For example, we propose that DIYers are motivated by
market related factors, two of which are a lack of product
quality and a lack of availability in the marketplace. Con-
sumer responses to poor quality and unavailable products
are well documented in the retailing, consumer behavior,
and operations literatures (e.g., Sloot and Verhoef 2008;
Voorhees et al. 2006), but DIY behavior is an alternative
consumer response to marketplace shortcomings that is un-
explored in existing literature. The preference for custom-
ized products also is an important motivator for our depth-
interview participants, yet the customization literature typi-
cally focuses exclusively on firmsopportunities to provide
customized products to customers rather than their prefer-
ences. There can be a disconnect between the customers
ability to communicate preferences and the firm that pro-
vides those customized offerings (Franke et al. 2009).
Studying self-customization efforts may help marketers un-
derstand the underlying mechanisms that prevent or encour-
age DIYers from seeking marketplace offerings for meeting
custom needs.
Our conceptual model incorporates the proposition that
the relationship between a decision to undertake a DIY
project and subsequent purchase decisions is moderated by
planning and visualization in retail environments. Many of
our sample of DIYers browsed at retail environments prior
to beginning a project, but they rarely purchased anything
on their first visit. The visits to DIY retailers suggest that
consumers can develop an emotional engagement with the
retail environment that embeds the retail space into the co-
creation experience and also may have implications for
customer engagement.
DIYers appear to create value through both the creation
and consumption of their self-production. Therefore, value
creation is not limited to consumers learning to use, main-
tain, and adapt goods (Vargo and Lusch 2004) but moves to
consumers learning how to produce and consume their own
products. However, other forms of value are interwoven
throughout our model and discussion. For example, we
propose a few DIY outcomes (a sense of accomplishment,
control, and enjoyment) that are not typical consumer values
but instead are higher-order outcomes (Holbrook 2006).
Economic value is a DIY motivator that also could be an
outcome of such behavior, althoughconsistent with Xie et
166 AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170
al. (2008)our study participants focused primarily on the
process of DIY projects and the higher-order outcomes
rather than the economic value and physical product. None-
theless, the various forms of values justify further study to
better understand which motivate DIY behaviors and which
are the outcomes, and under what circumstances.
Lastly, the concept of the prosumer deserves further
attention. More than 20 years have passed since Kotler
(1986a,b) published his ideas on prosumption, yet previous
research has contributed little to understanding prosumers'
behaviors, motivations, and outcomes. Our research sug-
gests that prosumption activities such as DIY projects have
roots beyond the traditional economic motivations, and un-
derstanding these motivations may have important implica-
tions for DIY retailers who can emphasize alternative
benefits from DIY behavior. Toffler (1980) presents several
arguments that prophesy future prosumption growth, includ-
ing a decline in the workweek, scarcity of jobs, the rising
cost of skilled labor, routinized work, poor quality work-
manship, and individuation of ones own products. This
growing segment deserves further study and marketing
researchers and managers should prepare for trends that
reflect shifts from purchasing goods and services to DIYing
Managerial implications
Our study and model have several important implications
for marketing managers, most of which concern DIY
retailers and traditional service providers. The first implica-
tion is that consumers who produce their own goods and
services extend the traditional view of consumers as the
buyers and users of products. This suggests a range of co-
production options, such as retailers who inform and edu-
cate customers about DIY skills and home improvement
materials. Home Depot, for example, offers demonstrations
that show customers how to lay tiles or build a deck.
Another example is that contractors could work with DIYers
who want professional advice rather than having the project
done for them. Such a service would be invaluable for
DIYers because they could learn new DIY skills and attempt
more complicated projects than they might otherwise, with
the knowledge that they can hire someone to oversee a
project and give advice where needed.
Second, a trend that has consumers shifting from con-
ventional consumption to self-production should concern
many traditional retailers and service professionals. Typical
consumer responses to stock-outs, unavailability, poor qual-
ity, and overly standardized goods and services are assumed
to include negative word of mouth, boycotts, or switching
behavior. Largely ignored is consumersability to create
their own goods and services through DIY behaviors, and
retailers and service providers need to be aware that
consumers can be motivated to DIY by marketplace con-
ditions. Although the direct loss to a firms profits may not
be serious in the short term, managers should understand
that as DIYers gain experience, they also may be more likely
to consider the DIY option for other products, so the loss to
sales could be wide spread and long term.
Third, the finding that DIYers also engage in self produc-
tion for identity enhancement reasons may not be surprising.
However, current DIY marketing strategies typically focus
solely on the economic benefits of DIY projects and not
consumersidentities. Marketers should consider strategies
that emphasize customers enhancing their identities through
DIY projects. For example, by outlining the characteristics
of a craftsman, retailers such as Home Depot and Lowes
may encourage customers to seek challenges in home im-
provement projects. The different motivations for DIY
behaviors indicate the possibility of a variety of DIYer seg-
ments. For example, marketers may find it useful to know
that our female study participants felt empowered while
doing DIY tasks. Given the central role of empowerment
and the rising trend of single female home ownership,
marketers who target women DIYers may offer new oppor-
tunities to those who seek self empowering projects. Mar-
keting managers also could examine whether women have
different DIY product and retailing preferences (e.g., tool
sizes and brands such as Martha Stewart).
Fourth, the study results indicate that viewing the goods
and raw materials in DIY stores supports the development of
current and future DIY projects and provides solutions to
existing DIY problems. Visits to DIY retailers are important
for understanding what is possible for DIY projects. DIY
retail environments can offer consumers a place to engage
their imaginations, conceive new projects, and to visualize
the specifications and work processes needed to complete
these projects. This means that product displays are impor-
tant, and partially- and fully-assembled portions of typical
DIY projects could serve to stimulate DIYersthought pro-
cesses and purchase decisions. Although DIYers may not
make a purchase every visit, we expect that the more often
they visit a retailer, the more they will purchase when
project decisions are made. The interaction between DIY
customers and retailers appears unlike typical customer-
retailer relationships.
The DIY retail environment also provides a meeting
place for like-minded consumers to share project ideas and
experiences, and DIY retail spaces can serve as a commu-
nity center for DIY enthusiasts. Store personnel, as part of
the retail environment, can engage patrons in conversations
about their projects. Both parties can exchange their ideas
and offer project-specific knowledge and solutions. That
DIYers seek out store staff with whom they can share ideas
and projects emphasizes the need to hire personnel with
DIY experience. Retail person nel who share their experi ence
AMS Rev (2011) 1:154170 167
and give advice can contribute to the positive completion of
and experience with DIY projects. Such interactions can
strengthen ties to the retailer and enhance loyalty and word
of mouth to create a competitive advantage (Brown et al.
2005; Lusch et al. 2007). In turn, DIYers who communicate
frequently with retail personnel can offer ideas that may
improve the retailers offerings.
A finding from our depth interviews is that DIY behavior
can take on greater meaning than the functional or aesthetic
value of the project. Study participants voiced feelings of
accomplishment, control, and enjoyment when completing
their projects. By producing their own products, DIYers
move from a concrete level of product attributes to the
positive benefits provided by co-producing and consuming
the product, and then on to a higher level of abstraction that
is personal value (Reynolds 1985). Important for the devel-
opment of these outcomes is the satisfaction from complet-
ing a DIY project successfully. This suggests that managers
in the DIY industry should attend carefully to strategies for
managing customersperceptions of project satisfaction,
perhaps by emphasizing outcomes that encourage DIY
behaviors in marketing communications.
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... The kit comes with an oat powder mix, a sustainable glass bottle, and a wooden spoon (Unmilk, 2022.). Wolf and McQuitty (2011) found that do-it-yourself consumers are motivated by marketplace evaluations of goods and identity enhancement. The authors found that engaging in DIY projects, consumers benefit from a feeling of accomplishment, control, and enjoyment (Wolf and McQuitty, 2011). ...
... Wolf and McQuitty (2011) found that do-it-yourself consumers are motivated by marketplace evaluations of goods and identity enhancement. The authors found that engaging in DIY projects, consumers benefit from a feeling of accomplishment, control, and enjoyment (Wolf and McQuitty, 2011). -Based Food Consumption Products, Consumers and Strategies, Elsevier, London, pp. ...
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... Souvent reliée aux notions de co-création ou encore de co-production de valeur, la prosommation se distingue de ces modes alternatifs par l'effort et l'expertise impliqués (Alhashem et al., 2021 ;Wolf & McQuitty, 2011) et par un niveau plus élevé d'implication, d'engagement et de créativité (Seran et Izversian, 2014). La prosommation ne se limite pas au simple échange de ressources pour créer de la valeur mais nécessite une participation plus élaborée de la part du prosommateur. ...
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The purpose of this paper was threefold: 1) to describe past methodological approaches to the study of leisure constraints and evaluate the impact of these approaches on theoretical development, 2) to provide the results of a survey of individuals who have transcended potential antecedent leisure constraints in order to evaluate the applicability of the "enrichment hypothesis", and 3) to discuss the implications of these findings for future research on leisure constraints. The "enrichment hypothesis" suggests that those making nontraditional leisure choices would need exposure to a special social environment that would provide an awareness of and support for such a choice. The findings from this survey of 453 women who are motorcycle operators, a statistically maleklominated and stereotypically masculine leisure activity, lend support to the "enrichment hypothesis"; most women had been passengers, knew someone close to them who was a motorcyclist, and were taught to ride by a family member, thus emphasizing the importance of significant others. The impact of these findings on the theoretical constructs associated with the literature on leisure constraints is also discussed.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is a new type of market-based performance measure for firms, industries, economic sectors, and national economies. The authors discuss the nature and purpose of ACSI and explain the theory underlying the ACSI model, the nation-wide survey methodology used to collect the data, and the econometric approach employed to estimate the indices. They also illustrate the use of ACSI in conducting benchmarking studies, both cross-sectionally and over time. The authors find customer satisfaction to be greater for goods than for services and, in turn, greater for services than for government agencies, as well as find cause for concern in the observation that customer satisfaction in the United States is declining, primarily because of decreasing satisfaction with services. The authors estimate the model for the seven major economic sectors for which data are collected. Highlights of the findings include that (1) customization is more important than reliability in determining customer satisfaction, (2) customer expectations play a greater role in sectors in which variance in production and consumption is relatively low, and (3) customer satisfaction is more quality-driven than value- or price-driven. The authors conclude with a discussion of the implications of ACSI for public policymakers, managers, consumers, and marketing in general.
This article proposes that social scientists should explicitly recognize the existence of consumers who engage in ‘craft consumption’ and, hence, of an additional image of the consumer to set alongside those of ‘the dupe’,‘the rational hero’ and the ‘postmodern identity-seeker’. The term ‘craft’ is used to refer to consumption activity in which the ‘product’ concerned is essentially both ‘made and designed by the same person’ and to which the consumer typically brings skill, knowledge, judgement and passion while being motivated by a desire for self-expression. Such genuine craft consumption is then distinguished from such closely associated practices as ‘personalization’ and ‘customization’ and identified as typically encountered in such fields as interior decorating, gardening, cooking and the selection of clothing ‘outfits’. Finally, after noting that craft consumers are more likely to be people with both wealth and cultural capital, Kopytoff’s suggestion that progressive commodification might prompt a ‘decommodifying reaction’ is taken as a starting point for some speculations concerning the reasons for the recent rise of craft consumption.
The idea of leisure as resistance focuses attention on the political nature of leisure, and specifically on the potential for leisure to enhance individual empowerment and to bring about positive social change. In this paper, the different theoretical perspectives that have led researchers to the idea of leisure as resistance, including structuralism, post-structuralism, and interactionism, are discussed. Using insights from these perspectives, three issues related to the conceptualization of resistance are examined: the collective versus individual nature of resistance; the question of outcomes of resistance; and the issue of intentionality. It is argued that resistance is, by definition, both individual and collective, and that research on resistance needs to focus on the specific types of oppression and constraint being resisted through leisure. However, while intentionality and outcome are also important aspects of resistance, they should not be seen as defining characteristics. Intentional acts to resist may be more or less successful, and successful resistance may occur without prior intent. Although the focus of this analysis is on women's leisure, the framework developed here can be applied to all forms of resistance, and hopefully can be used to enhance our understanding of leisure as political practice.