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Factors affecting consumers’ green product purchase decisions


Prashant Kumar Bhimrao M Ghodeswar
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Prashant Kumar Bhimrao M Ghodeswar , (2015),"Factors affecting consumers’ green product
purchase decisions", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 33 Iss 3 pp. 330 - 347
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MIP
33,3
Factors affecting consumers’
green product purchase decisions
Prashant Kumar
330 Department of General Management,
National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India, and
Received 31 March 2014 Bhimrao M. Ghodeswar
Revised 28 June 2014 Department of Marketing, National Institute of Industrial Engineering,
Accepted 10 September 2014
Mumbai, India

Abstract
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Purpose – The literature on green consumer behaviour recently focuses upon the Asian markets.
Though environmental consciousness in Indian consumers is observed in the literature, their purchase
behaviour towards green products is not yet clearly understood. So, the purpose of this paper is to
study the factors affecting consumers’ green product purchase decisions in India.
Design/methodology/approach – The research employs a survey-based method to test a
theoretically grounded set of hypotheses. Using a 38-item questionnaire and snowball sampling
method, the data were collected from 403 working Indian respondents in Mumbai. The data were
analysed using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Structural equation modelling was used
to test the proposed hypotheses.
Findings – The results witnessed that the respondents possess willingness to support environmental
protection, realization of environmental responsibilities, and inclination towards searching green
product-related information and learning about green products. Supporting environmental protection,
drive for environmental responsibility, green product experience, environmental friendliness of
companies and social appeal are identified as important factors affecting green product purchase
decisions.
Research limitations/implications – Results of the research are useful for marketing professionals
for green products to develop effective green marketing strategies emphasizing personal relevance,
social importance and environmental significance of purchasing, using and disposing green products
that produce increased levels of satisfaction for customers and influence their decisions to buy green
products.
Originality/value – This research provides valuable insights into green consumer behaviour in
Indian context by examining the factors that influence their purchase decisions towards green
products.
Keywords India, Consumer behaviour, Green issues, Green marketing, Market research
Paper type Research paper

1. Introduction
Awareness of the destruction of natural resources resulting from human activities has
raised the issue of environmental protection and environmental consciousness in
consumer behaviour. This, in turn, has increased the demand for green products in the
market worldwide. A green product is defined as “a product that was manufactured
using toxic-free ingredients and environmentally-friendly procedures, and which is
certified as such by a recognized organization” (Gurau and Ranchhod, 2005). Greening
Marketing Intelligence & Planning of a product takes place over its complete life-cycle from product design and raw
Vol. 33 No. 3, 2015
pp. 330-347
material procurement to manufacturing, storage, transportation, usage and post-usage
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited activities. Many of the researchers like D’Souza et al. (2006) have addressed
0263-4503
DOI 10.1108/MIP-03-2014-0068 consumption aspects of green products across their life-cycles.
Since the knowledge of the consumer market and the variables motivating green Green product
purchase behaviour are found to have important implications (Medeiros and Ribeiro, purchase
2013), researchers have been attempting to understand the nature of green consumers
in different markets. Rooted in consumer behaviour theories and models, the literature
decisions
addresses environmental aspects of consumption patterns, elaborates upon demand of
eco-friendly products and motivates business organizations to behave environmentally
favourable to survive in the market (Hansen, 2009). Using and testing samples from 331
several cities, countries and cross-countries, studies on green consumer behaviour have
witnessed the increasing environmental consciousness in the consumers. The studies
have investigated how consumers make informed choices about green products,
and have attempted to develop an understanding of the determinants of their
behaviour and purchase habits. These behavioural studies have focused on
determinants of environmentally friendly purchase behaviour such as purchase
intentions, purchase decisions, actual purchase behaviour and willingness-to-pay.
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Though most of the studies on green consumer behaviour are based in Europe and
American contexts, constant attempts are being made to expand these concepts
universally to understand the similarities and differences that may exist between
cultures in an environmentally conscious setting. The way green consumerism is found
gradually moving to Asian regions (Lee, 2008, 2009; Gurau and Ranchhod, 2005;
Yam-Tang and Chan, 1998), India is found to be a potential market of green products
(Singh, 2004, 2013). The studies in Indian context, so far, have focused on consumer
attitude towards green practices in lodging industry (Manaktola and Jauhari, 2007),
and determinants of consumer food choices and purchase behaviour for products
such as genetically modified food and organic food (Anand, 2011; Chakrabarti, 2010;
Knight and Paradkar, 2008). Findings of the studies reveal that Indian consumers
prioritize products and services from environmentally friendly companies (Nath et al.,
2012; Knight and Paradkar, 2008), and are becoming choosy in their purchase
behaviour in terms of preference for green products, product quality, their competitive
prices and their accountability in the retail stores (Singh et al., 2012; Manaktola and
Jauhari, 2007). Since improved environmental consciousness is observed in the Indian
market (Singh et al., 2012; Singh, 2009), there is a need to understand the factors
affecting environmentally friendly purchase decision making. So, the purpose of the
study is to explore dimensions of environmental consciousness in Indian consumers,
and to test their relationships with green product purchase decisions.

2. Green product purchase decisions


For the purpose of this study, green consumers are described as the ones who take into
consideration the environmental consequences of their consumption patterns,
and intend to modify their purchase and consumption behaviour for reducing the
environmental impact. Purchase decisions of green consumers are found to be the
central theme in the present state of research on green consumer behaviour. The
purchase decisions are described in forms of supporting green companies, purchasing
green products (Albayrak et al., 2013; Schlegelmilch et al., 1996), adopting sustainable
consumption practices (Gadenne et al., 2011) and likely to spend more for green
products (Essoussi and Linton, 2010). The purchase decisions of green consumers are
influenced by broadly two factors. One set of factors are intrinsic to the consumers
such as realization of their environmental responsibilities, quest for gaining knowledge,
self-interest and willingness to act for resource conservation and reduced impact on the
environment. And, the others are extrinsic to the consumers which are related to, for
MIP example, social image of consumers and product characteristics (such as product
33,3 quality, safety, performance, price, promotion and impact on human health).
The actual behaviour is a result of consumers’ regular habits, their product
knowledge and the situational factors such as promotional campaign (Vermeir
and Verbeke, 2004). This study identifies variables from the literature (Figure 1) and
describes them as follows.
332
2.1 Supporting environmental protection
Supporting environmental protection is one of the key reasons for consumers to behave
environmentally friendly in their purchase decisions (Gadenne et al., 2011). They look
for environmentally beneficial attributes related to product design and product usage
cause lesser impact on the environment and create meaningful difference in
environmental protection (Lee, 1990). They search for products which are not harmful
to the animals and nature, their ingredients are recyclable and produce lesser
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environmental pollution during their usage. Thus, they recognize the role of green
products in improving the quality of environment and they exhibit support for
environmental protection by purchasing and owning green products (Escalas and
Bettman, 2005). They are also able to relate appropriateness of higher prices of green
products with environmental benefits offered by them. This way, green products add
relevance to their environmentally friendly lifestyle (Pickett-Baker and Ozaki, 2008)
and develop positive predisposition in the minds of consumers. Thus, consumers
prefer green products over non-green products and translate their positive
predisposition into actual purchase of environmentally friendly products (Han et al.,
2010). Hence, following hypothesis is proposed:
H1. Supporting environmental protection significantly affects green product
purchase decisions of consumers.
2.2 Drive for environmental responsibility
Drive for environmental responsibility is related to consumers’ personal commitment
towards environmental protection issues and their individual-level activities
intended to improve the quality of the environment. Realizing the adverse impact of
environment on human and other living-beings, consumers understand their individual
responsibilities towards environmental protection (Gadenne et al., 2011). They feel
emotionally involved with environmental protection issues (Lee, 2008, 2009) and believe
that they can individually contribute towards environmental protection by adopting
environmentally favourable activities at individual levels. They are inspired by
intrinsic care about the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants, and are found to
be primarily engaged in environmental conservation (Griskevicius et al., 2010). Their

Supporting environmental
Social appeal
protection
Green product purchase
decisions
Drive for environmental Environment friendliness
responsibility of companies
Figure 1.
Conceptual
framework Green product experience
environmental concern, compassion and belief in the existence of environmental Green product
problems at individual level lead them to behave environmentally friendly (Kilbourne purchase
and Pickett, 2008; Zuraidah et al., 2012) and they shift their purchase patterns towards
green products. Hence, following hypothesis is proposed:
decisions
H2. Drive for environmental responsibility significantly affects green product
purchase decisions of consumers.
333
2.3 Green product experience
Consumers’ experience with green products is another influential variable to influence
their green product purchase decisions. It is related to consumers’ inquisitiveness to
gain knowledge about environmental aspects of green products. For this, they strive
to learn about green products at their own and gain knowledge related to ingredients of
green products, impact of products on the environment and product functionality, etc.
(Laroche et al., 2001). Also, they share knowledge and information about green products
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with their friends and learn from each other (Khare, 2014; Cheah and Phau, 2011).
As consequences of learning process, product evaluation enables them to understand
environmental benefits of green products and results in effectively developing
predisposition towards green products (Cegarra-Navarro and Martinez, 2010). It further
influences their purchase decisions, enables them to make the right choices in their
purchase decisions and develops their willingness-to-pay higher for green products
(Zhao et al., 2014; Barber et al., 2009). Hence, following hypothesis is proposed:
H3. Green product experience significantly affects green product purchase
decisions of consumers.
2.4 Environmental friendliness of companies
Since last many decades, environmentally conscious consumers have been demanding
companies to address environmental issues, and to design their products and
processes with lesser impact on the environment (Gadenne et al., 2011). So, companies
design products which are less harmful to the environment, adopt environmentally
friendly manufacturing practices and operations and comply with the national and
international regulations (Papadopoulos et al., 2010). For example, a product is
designed environmentally friendly by reducing the amount of harmful ingredients
without affecting its overall performance, or the harmful ingredient is replaced by
an eco-friendly or eco-safe ingredient. Recognition, appreciation and promotion
of environmentally friendly companies are exhibited in purchase decisions of
environmentally conscious consumers. While making their purchase decisions, green
consumers read the ingredient label of the products to check the impact of the product
on the environment. Also, they look for whether a green product consumes less
input in terms of energy and resources during its usage. They are more likely to refuse
buying products from companies accused of being polluters, and to boycott the
companies who do not follow environmental regulations or who ridiculously take
advantage of the green movement to increase sales (Laroche et al., 2001). Hence,
following hypothesis is proposed:
H4. Environmental friendliness of companies significantly affects green product
purchase decisions of consumers.
2.5 Social appeal
Consumer behaviour is highly influenced by the opinion of others for their product
choices and usage (Bearden and Rose, 1990). Consumers develop and realize the
MIP importance of products when they interact with others and gather related information
33,3 (Oliver and Lee, 2010). Consumers, as a part of a community or a social group, receive
and share information, and know what others think for a particular product (Dholakia
et al., 2004) and evaluate the products based on the comments and opinions of others
(Escalas and Bettman, 2005). This way, they form, clearly define and elaborate on
their own preferences and tastes (Dholakia et al., 2004). Besides, consumers are
334 generally attracted towards a product that develops a sense of self for them (Kleine
et al., 1993) and the way they want to be perceived by others. Thus, social appeal is also
found influential in developing their product preferences (Lee, 2008). So, they intend to
buy products that follow the perceptions of the society (Sen et al., 2001) as well as
construct their social-identities (Ozaki and Sevastyanova, 2011).
In an environmentally friendly society, consumers widely perceive that it is
reputational and modern way of lifestyle to behave environmentally friendly (Grier and
Deshpande, 2001). And, if they do not behave so, they will be perceived as out-dated
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in the society. It has symbolic meaning of morality, unselfishness, nature-orientation


and eco-aspirations. It leads to important functional consequences for consumers such
as pro-social reputation of being trustworthy, valuable companion and status (prestige)
(Griskevicius et al., 2010). So green products purchase decisions communicate
eco-friendliness of consumers (self-image) and exhibits their concerns for
environmental conservation so as to comply with social pressure (social image)
(Park and Ha, 2012; Oliver and Lee, 2010). Thus, they understand the benefits
of choosing “green” (Nyborg et al., 2006) which increases their desirability of
high-priced green products (van Dam and Fischer, 2013) and strongly influences their
buying decisions of green products (Griskevicius et al., 2010). Hence, following
hypothesis is proposed:
H5. Social appeal significantly affects green product purchase decisions of
consumers.
Thus, the hypotheses developed from the literature are further tested from a sample of
Indian consumers. Methodology for testing the hypotheses and their results are
explained in the subsequent sections.

3. Methodology
Most of the studies on green consumer behaviour have evaluated environmental
behaviour based on the self-reported claims in response to the questionnaire items (Steg
and Vlek, 2009). Though a large number of studies have found a difference between
behaviour intentions of environmentally conscious consumers and their actual
behaviour, Dijksterhuis et al. (2005) conceptualized the influence of perception
on behaviour and advocated strong linkage between perception and behaviour. Hence,
the approach of self-reported claims in response to the questionnaire items seems to be
effective for such studies. Also, the questionnaire method is preferred because it allows
collecting many responses in a short period of time (Ozaki and Sevastyanova, 2011),
hence is suitable for market research. Thus, in order to test and quantify the
relationships hypothesized, a questionnaire-based survey approach was adopted. The
38 items questionnaire was composed of two sections. In first part, it examined
the environmental dimensions of consumer behaviour and the items were adopted from
the literature based on New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) scale. Designed by Dunlap
and Van Liere (1978), NEP scale is a widely used scale for measuring environmental
dimensions of consumers. This scale was developed with the aim of investigating
whether a more general position about society and the environment existed among the Green product
public. It measures a spectrum of attitude related to three main dimensions, i.e. human purchase
as a part of nature, limited carrying capacity of ecosystem and technological ability to
solve environmental problems. This multidimensionality is the main issue with NEP
decisions
scale (Roberts and Bacon, 1997) which develops relationship between the scales and
other variables of environmentally conscious consumer behaviours. Thus, a clear
measure of a specific variable to measure environmentally conscious consumer 335
behaviour is difficult. Still NEP scales are constantly found reliable and valid through a
number of empirical studies across different samples. All measurements in the study
were subjective assessments by the respondents using a five-point Likert-type scale
(with end-points 1 strongly disagree and 5 strongly agree). The second part collected
data about the demographic characteristics of respondents. Demographic measures
such as age, gender, educational qualification, status of employment and sector of
employment were included.
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The sample in the study was selected mainly by using a snowball sampling
technique which relied on chain referrals to recruit eligible participants. The candidates
were contacted by telephone or personally and they were asked if they were
willing to participate in the study. The study was conducted in Mumbai, India. The
respondents were selected irrespective of their education, profession, income,
origin and other demographic characteristics. Data collection took place from
November 2011 to August 2012. Consumers were approached in different parts of
the city.
The selection of respondents was carried out in two stages. First, seed informants
were identified in which personal, family and professional networks were
accessed. This stage can be seen as using convenient sampling. The second stage
used snowball sampling technique to recruit the rest of the respondents. Once the
data were collected from the seed informants, they were asked to provide the names
of individuals who may be willing to participate in the study. Through personal
and/or telephonic conversation, they were persuaded to participate in the study.
Those who agreed to participate, a suitable time and place was decided with an
appointment (where appropriate) for data collection. All measurements were
subjective assessments by the respondents using a five-point Likert-type scale
(Wrenn, 1997).
Out of 1,200 consumers contacted, a total of 403 valid responses were obtained.
The demographic characteristics are mentioned in Table I. The data were
analysed using exploratory factor analysis to identify and validate the items
contributing to each component. Model fit was also estimated using confirmatory
factor analysis. Further, hypotheses testing using structural equation modelling
were carried out to test the relationships of variables identified with the green product
purchase decisions of consumers. These tests were then interpreted based on the
support from the literature.
A total of 403 valid responses were collected. Out of these, 202 (50.1 per cent) were
male and 201 (49.9 per cent) were female. The demographic characteristics are
mentioned in Table II. The data were analysed using exploratory factor analysis to
identify and validate the items contributing to each component. Model fit was also
estimated using confirmatory factor analysis. Further, hypotheses testing were carried
out to understand the relationship of variables identified with the green product
purchase decisions of consumers. These tests were then interpreted based on the
support from the literature.
MIP Frequency (%)
33,3
Gender (n ¼ 403)
Male 202 (50.1)
Female 201 (49.9)
Age (n ¼ 403)
336 20-25 80 (19.6)
26-30 98 (24.3)
31-35 90 (22.3)
36-40 86 (21.6)
41-45 49 (12.2)
Academic qualification (n ¼ 403)
High school or less 9 (2.2)
Bachelor 186 (46.2)
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Post-graduate or above 208 (51.6)


Professional status (n ¼ 403)
Student 12 (3.0)
Self-employed 140 (34.7)
Employed 251 (62.3)
Table I.
Demographic Sector of employment (n ¼ 403)
characteristics of the Public 102 (25.3)
sample Private 301 (74.7)

4. Analyses and findings


The analyses were started by tabulating the data collected in a MS excel sheet. The
reliability of the questionnaire was calculated which was followed by factor analyses
and hypotheses testing. The findings are then elaborated in the subsequently.

4.1 Reliability and factor analyses


The data collected from 403 respondents was tabulated in MS excel sheet. Reliability
analysis revealed Cronbach’s α value for the questionnaire as 0.804 and is comparable
with the reliabilities reported in Laroche et al. (2001). The scale was factor analysed
using principal component analysis and varimax rotation. The result for Bartlett’s test
of sphericity was 0.000 and the KMO value 0.783, meeting the assumption for
factorability. In the exploratory factor analysis, the items having factor loading more
than 0.4 were retained. This is in line with earlier studies in the domain (Kucukusta
et al., 2013; Gregory and Leo, 2003). The variables were grouped in six factors (Table II)
and all together accounted for 64.059 per cent of the total variance.
To test the stability of the scale, confirmatory factor analysis was employed on the
sample using structural equation modelling. It is popular as a versatile statistical
technique to analyse non-experimental data and to test relationships and interaction
effects. Structural equation modelling effectively accesses the relationships between
observed and latent factors, and the strength of relationships amongst them. Using the
values of fit indices, researchers can compare competing conceptual models and reject
alternative models. A measurement model was developed using AMOS V20.0 and
maximum likelihood method was chosen for confirmatory factor analysis. While
conducting confirmatory factor analysis, item i25 was removed to achieve a better
model fit. A range of indices were used to assess the model fit. The analysis
Factor
Green product
Items loading purchase
decisions
F1: supporting environmental protection (ά ¼ 0.623)
i11. Supporting environmental protection makes me feel meaningful 0.715
i12. The price for green products should be appropriate in relation to the value for
money 0.712
i13. I think environmental protection is meaningless −0.710 337
i14. Ingredients of an environmentally friendly product are not harmful to the animals
and nature 0.624
i15. For a green product, good value for money exists in its features 0.577
i16. Ingredients of an environmentally friendly product are recyclable 0.552
i17. I find green products really relevant to my lifestyle 0.488
i18. An environmentally friendly product produces the least amount of pollution in its
usage 0.420
i19. I prefer green products over non-green products when their product qualities are
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similar 0.539
F2: drive for environmental responsibility (ά ¼ 0.822)
i21. Supporting environmental protection makes me feel as an environmentally
responsible person 0.917
i22. I should be responsible for protecting our environment 0.902
i23. Environmental protection starts with me 0.749
i24. I would say I am emotionally involved in environmental protection issues 0.575
i25. Supporting environmental protection makes me special 0.477
F3: green product experience (ά ¼ 0.667)
i31. I share my green products experiences and information with my friends 0.798
i32. I buy green products even if they are more expensive than non-green products 0.695
i33. I strive to learn as much as possible about environmental issues 0.518
i34. I learn about environmental products from my friends 0.458
F4: environmental friendliness of companies (ά ¼ 0.988)
i41. I feel good about buying brands which are less damaging to the environment 0.962
i42. I refuse to buy products from companies accused of being polluters 0.958
F5: green product purchase decisions (ά ¼ 0.609)
i51. I often buy products that use recycled/recyclable packaging 0.789
i52. Even if I trust the performance of a green product, I will not pay above a certain
price level 0.619
i53. I choose to buy products that are environmentally friendly 0.589
F6: social appeal (ά ¼ 0.977)
i61. I will be perceived by others as “out-dated” if I do not support environmental Table II.
protection 0.951 Exploratory factor
i62. Supporting environmental issues makes me more socially attractive 0.947 analysis

demonstrated broadly satisfactory levels of fit (Browne and Cudeck, 1993) as CFI was
obtained 0.918; the RMSEA was obtained 0.078. The six-factor model had the best
overall fit to the data with a χ2 statistic of 688.626, goodness of fit index (GFI) of 0.890
and an adjusted goodness of fit index (AGFI) of 0.834. Thus, it can be inferred that
green consumer behaviour are best identified along six dimensions.
Composite reliabilities varied between 0.609 and 0.988; which exceeded the
recommended level of 0.6. Further, convergent validity was checked by ensuring all
MIP average variance extracted values W 0.5 and the smallest item test statistic was W 1.96
33,3 (α ¼ 0.001) (Anderson and Gerbing, 1988; Fornell and Larcker, 1981).
The variables identified from the literature review hold support in the empirical
analysis. First factor “Supporting environmental protection” explains consumer
perceptions for green products and their contribution towards protecting the
environment. It elaborates on consumers’ choice of green products which is influenced
338 by the product quality, product attributes, value for money and their relevance to
consumers’ lifestyles. Second factor “Drive for environmental responsibility” is related
to consumers’ understanding of significance of human activities having impact on the
environment and the realization of their responsibilities towards environmental
protection. Third factor “Green product experience” elaborates upon consumers’
experience of green products from self-learning and experience-sharing with friends.
Fourth factor “Environmentally friendliness of companies” is related to consumers’
concern towards the impact of company actions on the environment and their
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judgement of buying products based on environmental performance of companies.


Fifth factor “Green product purchase decision” is related to consumers’ purchase
decisions of green products. The sixth factor “Social appeal” describes social
sentiments of environmentally friendly consumer behaviour for their willingness to be
accepted and recognized in the society.

4.2 Hypotheses testing


To test proposed hypotheses, the measurement model was converted to structural
model in AMOS (Figure 2). Using regression weight table, the results are interpreted
and discussed. First, the relationship between supporting environmental protection and
green product purchase decisions is found statistically significant (p o 0.05). This
supports H1; indicating that, individuals with positive predisposition towards green
products are more likely to purchase green products. They also understand the fact
that it is worth paying higher prices for green products that contribute towards
improving the quality of environment. This finding is consistent to those of Follows
and Jobber (2000); who tested positive that consumers who understand environmental
consequences of their consumption patterns have environmentally responsible
purchase intentions.
The relationship between drive for environmental responsibility and green product
purchase decisions of consumers is found statistically significant (p o 0.05). This
supports H2; indicating that, individuals having awareness of their individual
responsibilities towards the environment are more likely to purchase green products.
This finding is consistent to those of Lee (2009), who tested positive that consumers
who understand significant role of individual actions in making a difference in
environmental quality have environmentally responsible purchase intentions.
The relationship between consumers’ experience with green products and green
product purchase decisions of consumers (H3) is also supported (p o 0.001) in the
study. This finding is consistent to those of D’Souza et al. (2006) and Kim and Chung
(2011) who found positive influence of consumers’ experience with green products
on environmentally friendly purchase behaviour. Oliver and Lee (2010) also
found propensity to seek information about green products positively related with
environmentally friendly purchase behaviour.
Also, the study supports relationship between environmental friendliness of
companies and green product purchase decisions of consumers (H4) (p o 0.001), which
is consistent to those of Laroche et al. (2002) who found the two positively related.
0.65
Green product
e9 i11
0.48 purchase
e8 i12
0.14
decisions
0.81
e7 i13 0.32 0.69
0.37

e6 i14 0.21 0.56

0.45
339
e5 i15 0.07 0.42
F1
0.47
e4 i16 0.07 0.50

0.46
e3 i17 0.25 0.33

e2 i18 0.21 0.40


e26 0.19

e1 i19
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0.31 0.69 0.44 i51 e21


0.35

e14 i21 0.72 0.59


0.56
–0.29
0.61 F5 i52 e22
0.68 0.46
0.85
e13 i22 0.34
0.58
F2 i53 e25
0.51
e12 i23 0.68 0.82

0.82
e11 i24 –0.30
0.31
0.75

e18 i31 0.40 –0.26


0.56

e17 i32 0.23 0.63 0.13


–0.19
0.48
F3
e16 i33 0.48 0.69 –0.19

e15 i34 0.29


0.98

0.99
e20 i41 0.97 0.28

0.99
F4
e19 i42 0.93
0.08
Figure 2.
e24 i61 0.99 0.96

0.99
Output of structural
F6 model using AMOS
e23 i62

It indicates that consumers buy products from those companies who behave
environmentally friendly and on the contrary, penalize those who do not.
Further, the relationship between social appeal and green product purchase
decisions is found statistically significant (H5) (p o 0.05). This indicates that
individuals who wish to be a part of an environmentally friendly society, and to
develop and maintain environmentally friendly standards of living are more likely to
purchase green products. This result is consistent to those of Lee (2009), Oliver and Lee
(2010) and Ozaki and Sevastyanova (2011).
Thus, green product purchase decisions (F5) was significantly determined by explicit
support to environmental protection (F1), Drive for environmental responsibility (F2),
green product experience (F3), environmental friendliness of companies (F4) and social
appeal (F6), resulting in an R2 ¼ 0.69. In other words, the variables described above
explained 69 per cent of the variance of green product purchase behaviour. A summary
of the hypotheses testing results is shown in the Table III.
MIP Sl.
33,3 no. Hypotheses Findings

H1 Supporting environmental protection significantly affects green product Supported


purchase decisions of consumers (p o0.05)
H2 Drive for environmental responsibility significantly affects green product Supported
purchase decisions of consumers (p o0.05)
340 H3 Green product experience significantly affects green product purchase Supported
decisions of consumers (p o0.001)
H4 Environmental friendliness of companies significantly affects green product Supported
Table III. purchase decisions of consumers (p o0.001)
Results of H5 Social appeal significantly affects green product purchase decisions of Supported
hypotheses testing consumers (p o0.05)
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5. Discussion and implications


Increasing environmental consciousness of consumers has prompted marketing
managers of green products to seek information concerning environmentally friendly
purchase behaviour of consumers. So, with gradual progress in the green consumer
research domain, recent studies have focused on consumption based studies so that
purchase behaviour of green products can be examined. In this direction, this study has
attempted to develop an understanding on consumers’ perceptions of green products in
reducing the impact of their consumption patterns on the environment. Findings of this
study indicate that Indian consumers have level of environmentally consciousness
which is exhibited in their green product purchase decisions. They are concerned with
environmental protection issues, realize their responsibilities towards environmental
protection, believe in existence of environmental problems and their solutions at
individual levels, extensively search for product-related environmental information and
make environmentally friendly purchase decisions. They examine and evaluate green
products against their expectations to make their purchase decisions. So, it can be
inferred that acceptance of green products depends upon the products’ environmental
characteristics demanded by the consumers.
The study tested relationship of several variables for their impact on green
product purchase decisions which have significant theoretical contribution and
managerial implications. First, the significant relationship of supporting environmental
protection and drive for environmental responsibility with green product purchase
decisions confirm that the decision to purchase a green product requires a deliberate
conscious evaluation of environmental, individual and social consequences
associated with green products. It further indicates that consumers look for
fulfillment of their functional, emotional and experiential needs which influence
their purchase decisions. This reflects environmentally friendly lifestyle in their
consumption patterns and relevance of green products to them. So, marketing
professionals for green products should communicate how consumers’ concern of
environmental protection and their individual responsibilities towards the environment
are addressed by purchasing, using and disposing green products. They should
analyse environmental characteristics of green products and understand how
they can be marketed so as to meet with specific desires of the target segments.
Such consumer-oriented approaches seem meaningful for converting consumers’
support for environmental protection and drive for environmental responsibility into
green product purchase decisions.
Further, significant relationship between green product experience of consumers Green product
and their purchase decisions has a distinct interpretation. Green product experience is purchase
determined by physical actions, and perceptual and cognitive processes (e.g.
perceiving, exploring, using, remembering, comparing and understanding) (Desmet
decisions
and Hekkert, 2007). The study witnessed that it ranges from gaining specific
knowledge about the product, its attributes and features to product-related memorial
experiences and product involvement. It exists in forms of information search and 341
information sharing; and product usage and/or ownership. Product experience
related to information search and sharing explains products’ unique environmental
attributes and features. And, product experience related to usage and/or ownership
explains consumers’ broad understanding about the product and its characteristics.
The study observes that the experience is facilitated either by self-experience of
consumers or by gaining from experiences of others which develops consumer
perceptions about green products. The significant relationship between green product
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experience and green product purchase decisions signifies the role of functional,
emotional and experiential benefits of green products in the green product experience
process in green product purchase-related decision making. So, marketing
professionals should promote green products in a way that offers learning about
green products and facilitate sharing information about green products.
Also, the relationship between environmental friendliness of companies and
environmentally friendly consumer decisions is found significant in the study. The way
firms’ environmental friendliness influences consumers’ green product purchase
behaviour comes from the literature examining how information about companies’
environmental behaviour influences consumers’ evaluations and perceptions for firms’
behaviour towards the environment and environmental performance of their
products. According to social psychology literature, like individuals, organizations
are also perceived as having dispositional qualities or characteristics of being good or
bad as individuals are (Hamilton and Sherman, 1996). So, environmentally conscious
consumers demand companies to behave in environmentally responsible manner. They
prefer to buy products from companies behaving in environmentally responsible
manner and on the contrary, they refuse to buy products from those who are found
accused of being polluters. This has implications for marketing professionals to realize
the significance of environmental impact of their business activities over green
consumers’ purchase behaviour. This has further implications for companies to comply
with environmental regulations so that consumers accept their products in the market.
Another relationship was studied between social appeal and green product purchase
decisions. The significant relationship suggests that others’ perceptions about one’s
behaviour have considerable influence on consumers’ purchase behaviour for green
products. Consumers buy green products if they are publically recognized symbols
of supporting environmental protection, convey self-concept of consumers and
communicate desirable social meaning. Those who wish to attain social status of being
a moral, ideologically driven, and environmentally responsible person, adopt
eco-friendly lifestyle, purchase green products and consume them. So, when
marketers launch a green product in Indian market, this finding can be useful to
them in developing advertising campaigns and promotions. Marketing managers for
green products in Indian market should focus on attaching improved self-importance
with environmentally friendly products in advertising of green products.
Thus, this study theoretically contributes towards understanding factors affecting
green product purchase decisions in Indian context. The study distinctly elaborates
MIP upon the relevance of green product experience and environment friendliness of
33,3 companies in making green product purchase decisions by Indian consumers.
Compared to earlier studies, this study more prominently address the two factors and
their relationships with green product purchase decisions. In other words, green
product experience and environment friendliness of companies are more important for
Indian consumers to make green product purchase decisions rather than simply
342 greenness in the product or their environmental consciousness. Further, the study
recognizes the role of supporting environmental protection and drive for environmental
responsibility in making green product purchase decisions. This is in line with the
findings from the literature that explains the roles of environmental concern,
environmental activism and perceived environmental responsibility in determining
green consumer behaviour. And, this study is different than earlier studies on green
consumer behaviour in explaining the relevance of social appeal rather than social
identity in making green product purchase decisions.
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6. Conclusion
The findings of the study can be summarized as follows. First, Indian consumers
possess environmental consciousness and are concerned for environmental protection.
They actively support the environment by purchasing and consuming products
which are known to be environmentally friendly. Also, they derive individual and
social meaning in their environmentally favourable activities and are willing to adopt
environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Second, supporting environmental protection and drive for environmental
responsibility, green product experience, environmental friendliness of companies
and social appeal significantly influence Indian consumers’ purchase decisions for
green products. Indian consumers make their attempts to learn about green products,
gain green product-related knowledge and experience them. For this, they search
information about green products on their own as well as enquire from their friends.
Further, they prefer to buy products from companies behaving in environmentally
responsible manner and on the contrary, they refuse to buy products from those
who are found accused of being polluters. They also share their experiences with
green products and thus, observe social attractiveness in supporting environmental
protection issues.
Third, this study has implications for marketing professionals in developing
marketing strategies for green products in Indian market. It is obvious from findings
of the study that mere existence of environmental consciousness in consumers does not
lead to green product purchase decisions. The study concludes that marketing
professionals need to relate green products with functional, emotional and experiential
needs of consumers. Also, marketing of green products should offer consumers facts
related to environmental performance of the companies, information related to green
products, congruence with their desirable social image and relevance to their lifestyles.
Thus, they should carefully understand needs of their consumer segments, and
accordingly position products green products to them.
Thus, this study enhances understanding of green purchasers in Indian context and
offers insights to understand consumer demand for green products in Indian market.
The findings can be used by the managers of green products who are interested to
know the underlying behaviour of prospective green purchasers of their green
products. Thus, marketers can use them to effectively communicate with consumers so
that they can maintain or grow their market shares. As well, foreign companies who
intend to launch their green products in India may use the findings to draw up their Green product
marketing strategies. purchase
decisions
6.1 Limitations
This study has certain limitations. The sample data are collected from the metropolitan
region of Mumbai and it may not represent the Indian population per se. The study has
limitations in terms of sampling bias due to snowball sampling. It is a cross-sectional 343
study rather than a longitudinal in approach which could have measured changes in
behaviour. Also, it is based on self-reports of past behaviours of consumers or
predicting future actions which may suffer from over-reporting or under-reporting.
Though the study suffers from such limitations, it has sought analytical generalization
rather than statistical generalization.

6.2 Direction for future research


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Future research on green consumerism can focus on capturing actual behaviour,


and the motives behind green consumer purchase behaviour, such as for environmental
benefits, personal benefits, health benefits and social benefits. It would be interesting to
consider the attitudes of customers across a range of locations and cultures in a diverse
country like India. Cross-country analysis of green consumer behaviour can be an
interesting aspect to study. Practitioners and academics alike would benefit from more
focused research in this area.
Further, future research should also focus on conditions and situations under which
consumers change their behaviour towards the environment. Examining cross-cultural
similarities and differences in green consumers in a diversified country like India is a
domain of challenge. Methodologically, in-depth interviews with individual consumers
can lead to enriched understanding of green consumer behaviour. Kreidler and Joseph-
Mathews (2009) mention that the number of consumers who are interested in buying
green products, using sustainable products and being socially responsible are ever
increasing and is no more limited. So, the researchers can also focus on testing
contemporary marketing in environmental perspective.

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About the authors Green product
Prashant Kumar is presently enrolled in Doctoral Programme at the National Institute of purchase
Industrial Engineering, Mumbai. He holds a Master in Business Administration and Bachelor in
Electrical Engineering from the Indian universities. His research papers are accepted in reputed decisions
international journals for publication and he has presented papers in several international
conferences. He is actively engaged in research in green marketing with green retailing an area
of expertise. Prashant Kumar is the corresponding author and can be contacted at:
ctech.prashant@gmail.com 347
Bhimrao M. Ghodeswar is currently working as a Professor of Marketing in the National
Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India. Dr Ghodeswar has an MBA and PhD in
Marketing from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. Dr Ghodeswar has published papers in
reputed journals including paper presentations in prestigious international conferences. He is
actively engaged in research in customer relationship management, strategic marketing, service
quality and brand management.
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