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

See all articles by Pat Auger

Pat Auger

University of Melbourne Business School

Timothy M. Devinney

University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School

Jordan J. Louviere

University of South Australia - Institute for Choice

Paul F. Burke

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) - School of Marketing

Date Written: June 15, 2009

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Auger, Pat and Devinney, Timothy M. and Louviere, Jordan J. and Burke, Paul F., The Importance of Social Product Attributes in Consumer Purchasing Decisions: A Multi-Country Comparative Study (June 15, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1270474 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1270474

Pat Auger

University of Melbourne Business School ( email )

200 Leicester Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053 3186
Australia
+61 3 9349 8194 (Phone)
+61 3 9349 8133 (Fax)

Timothy M. Devinney (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom

Jordan J. Louviere

University of South Australia - Institute for Choice ( email )

Level 13
140 Arthur Street
North Sydney, New South Wales 2060
Australia

Paul F. Burke

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) - School of Marketing ( email )

P.O. Box 123
Broadway, NSW 2007
Australia

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