Do reputational concerns influence intentions to purchase Fair trade products?
2015 02 04
Research shows that consumers are willing to pay more for Fair Trade products, even knowing that this is only an altruistic support of producers, rather than a specific benefit for consumer himself. However, this leads to the assumption that the socially responsible choice of products may be affected by the surrounding people and the potential opinion about us.
Japanese scientists (Kimura et al. 2012) analysed how consumer habits differentiate in observable conditions (purchase behaviour may be observed by others) and anonymous conditions (purchase behaviour could not be observed by others). Under these conditions, researchers examined the influence on purchase of factors like price, producer and also fair trade in case of chocolate.
The study revealed that consumers in observable conditions more often chose fair trade chocolate than those who had made purchase choice anonymously. In the first case, 20.7% of the respondents were intending to buy Fair Trade chocolate and only 13.3% in the second case (difference statistically significant). Thus it can be stated that not only intrinsic factors, but also external factors – reputation – has an impact on consumers’ choices for purchasing fair trade food.
Kimura A., Mukawa N., Yamamoto M., Masuda T., Yuasa M., Goto Sh., Oka T., Wada Y. 2012. The influence of reputational concerns on purchase intention of fair-trade foods among young Japanese adults. Food Quality and Preference, 26, p. 204–210