The Importance of Social Product Attributes in Consumer Purchasing Decisions: A Multi-Country Comparative Study
57 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2008 Last revised: 12 Nov 2015
Date Written: June 15, 2009
This paper examines the role that social attributes — environmental and labour conditions — play in product choice across a range of developed and emerging economies. We use a multi-attribute design to force consumers to not only trade-off social attributes with tangible attributes but also make trade-offs with other intangible attributes, namely brand and country of origin. Our results show that: 1) social attributes are generally more influential in developed than in emerging economies, 2) the importance of social attributes holds across high and low involvement products, and 3) social attributes can influence product choice even when other intangible attributes are included in the design. We believe that our results offer a more accurate picture of the role of social attributes since they are based on a multi-cue, multi-product design that forced consumers to make tradeoffs between tangible and intangible attributes.
Keywords: Consumption ethics, Environmentalism, Labor rights, Country of origin, Brand evaluation, Choice modelling
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