Vulnerable consumers and debt: Can social marketing assist?

Publication year: 2011
Source: Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 12 June 2011

Linda, Brennan , Zuleyka, Zevallos , Wayne, Binney

There has been an increase in consumers’ reliance on credit and rising consumer debt. The increase is especially problematic for those least able to afford debt of any kind – welfare recipients. This qualitative study reports on 120 Australian welfare recipients’ attitudes towards debt, their understanding about what constitutes acceptable debt and the debt-management strategies they adopt. The results of this research show that welfare recipients see debt as a way of life and as a means of survival in a society where a core value appears (to them) to be the acquisition of material wealth. Their status as income…

 Highlights: ► Australian welfare recipients’ ideas about debt, acceptable debt and debt management. ► Welfare recipients see debt as a way of life and as a means of survival. ► A core value appears (to them) to be the acquisition of material goods. ► Little understanding of long term consequences of debt and many were deeply in debt. ► Social marketing could assist this vulnerable consumer group and the wider community.