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Voluntary simplicity: a content analysis of consumer comments

Petek Tosun (Department of Business Administration, MEF University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Selime Sezgin (Department of Business Administration, Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 9 June 2021

Issue publication date: 2 September 2021




The voluntary simplification (VS) movement has stemmed from Western societies and gained momentum in the 1980s, but the trend has failed to become a primary perspective for most consumers. The accompanying concepts of conscious consumption, minimalism and accepting that sometimes “less is more” are still vivid in the digital era. The purpose of this study is to provide a deep and recent understanding of the consumer comments about minimalism in Turkey and examine their associations with the prominent themes in the VS literature.


Consumer comments posted on online platforms were analyzed by content analysis and word frequency analysis.


Consumer comments were in parallel to the themes in the VS literature and were classified under personal growth, material simplicity, sustainability, proper technology usage and self-sufficiency categories. Personal growth, material simplicity and sustainability were the first three dimensions mentioned. The prominent sub-themes that emerge from data were psychological well-being, inner peace, freedom, meaningful experiences and getting rid of belongings. A word frequency analysis pointed out that “life” and “owning” were the evident words in the personal growth category, “purchasing things” were mostly mentioned in the material simplicity category and “plastic litter” and “excessive consumption” were the prominent concerns in the sustainability category.


VS required further research in different national contexts. Besides, an analysis of the dimensions of VS was needed. This study contributes by providing recent and rich findings from a developing country, connecting them with the VS themes in the literature and suggesting a conceptual framework enriched by sub-themes that emerged from data.



Tosun, P. and Sezgin, S. (2021), "Voluntary simplicity: a content analysis of consumer comments", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 484-494.



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