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Consumers Purchase Behavior towards Green Products

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Abstract

There has been a rapid growth in economy with the increase in the consumption across the world. This over consumption has resulted in the deterioration of the environment. The consequences of this environmental degradation has resulted in pollution, global warming etc which has become a cause of public concern which in turn lead to the green movement for the preservation of environment. The purpose of this paper was to understand the variables affecting the consumer buying behavior of green products. The study revealed the demographic factors don't influence the purchasing behavior of green products. A consumer's purchase behavior depends on the consumer's level of satisfaction towards the product. Purchasing behavior and customer satisfaction is mostly influenced by the attributes of the green products.
1
Consumers Purchase Behavior towards Green Products
Ursil Makhdoomi1 Ulfat Nazir2
Research Scholar Research Scholar
Department Of Management Studies, Department Of Management Studies,
Central University of Kashmir Central University of Kashmir
ursil.makhdoomi@cukashmir.ac.in ulfat.nazir@cukashmir.ac.in
Abstract- There has been a rapid growth in economy with the increase in the consumption
across the world. This over consumption has resulted in the deterioration of the environment.
The consequences of this environmental degradation has resulted in pollution, global warming
etc which has become a cause of public concern which in turn lead to the green movement for
the preservation of environment. The purpose of this paper was to understand the variables
affecting the consumer buying behavior of green products. The study revealed the demographic
factors don’t influence the purchasing behavior of green products. A consumer’s purchase
behavior depends on the consumer’s level of satisfaction towards the product. Purchasing
behavior and customer satisfaction is mostly influenced by the attributes of the green products.
Keyword: Green Product, Buying Behavior and Environment
1.0 Introduction
With the increase in the technologies there has been an increase in the industrial activities which
has affected the environment adversely. The environment has been exploited extensively; this
over exploitation of environment has resulted in climate change, global warming, pollution,
depletion of the ozone layer etc. These issues have raised concerns to protect our environment
which has led to the concept of going green. Government has introduced policies to save the
environment from further degradation and so has the corporations opted for environmentally
friendly practices. One of the earliest steps that were taken regarding this environmental concern
was to introduce products that were supposed to environmental friendly and had utilitarian status
for consumers (D’Souza et al., 2006). These products have positive effects on the environment as
they are less toxic, biodegradable, recyclable, energy efficient, renewable due to which they are
termed as “Green Products”. Because of the negative effects on environment, green marketing
activities have been a major tool that is utilized by various organizations, which have brought
about a change in buyers' purchasing approach towards green items (Cohen, 1973).
Green behavior is the choice made by the consumers whether to buy an eco- friendly product or
not. A consumers concern towards a safe environment has been frequently increasing. Nowadays
the market contains a wide variety of products that are environmentally safe. The purchase
behavior of the consumers depends on the beliefs and the consciousness of the consumer towards
environmental concerns. If a consumer opts for a green product it not only has personal benefits
for the consumer but also many long term environmental benefits. The decision to purchase these
products depends on the behavior which the consumer might adopt towards these products.
2
However, it is likely that many customers, who are environmentally conscious, are not routinely
making these eco friendly purchases as the result of what has been called the “value-action gap”
(Blake, 1999). The value action gap is the disparity between the knowledge of consumer about
the environment and the behavior he adopts towards such products. A study was conducted in
2004 in Canada which showed that there is gap between acceptance and adoption of green
products (Kennedy, Beckley, McFarlane, & Nadeau, 2009).
The process of selling products and/or services based on their environmental benefits is called
Green marketing. A lot of companies promote their products by enhancing the consciousness of
the consumers towards the environmental issues which makes a consumer move from a
convectional product to a green product (Golkanda, 2013). This helps the firms to not only
market their products but also increase the awareness of the consumers.
Green lifestyle has become common in developed countries than in developing countries. Many
firms have started green marketing and strategies for the development of green products to save
the environment and to gain long term profits. Nowadays, we have lot of green products in the
market e.g. CFL bulbs, Electric home appliances, jute bags, rechargeable batteries, solar
chargers.
2.0 Literature Review
Green marketing is nowadays considered to be one of the fast growing trends in business. It
involves activities taken by the organizations related to environmental problems by providing
services and products which are eco-friendly and do not degrade the environment in any way.
Now both marketers and consumers are opting for the products that are green.
2.1 Environmental Awareness
The awareness about the issues of the environment can determine the behavior of the individuals
towards environment. The awareness and attitude have a positive effect on the purchasing
behavior of the consumers (Roberts, 1996). The more the individual is aware about the
environmental concerns, it could the create favorable behavior towards the same. The increased
knowledge about the environmental issues creates positive attitudes (Arcury, 1990). The
knowledge about the environment is correlated with the attitude and behavior towards the
environment (Laroche et al., 2001). Proper knowledge about environmental problems can make
individuals more responsible towards the environment (Schahn & Holzer, 1990). Consumers
who are more aware and conscious about the environment make more green choices (Birgelen et
al.2009) An individual’s positive environmental behavior doesn’t not necessarily guarantee his
involvement or participation towards the environment. The individual involvement is very
important, and the strength of motivation on the processing of information depends on one’s
degree of involvement (Petty & Cacioppo 1990). Based on these findings it can be assumed that
the consumers who have knowledge and are aware about the environmental issues are more
likely to go for green purchases.
3
2.2 Purchase Behavior
Behavioral intentions can indicate the actual future behaviors of individuals (Azjen & Fishbein,
1980). Intentions can change over a period of time. The longer the time interval the less accurate
will be the predicted behavior from intentions (Azjen & Fishbein, 1980). There can be a number
of events and consequences which can alter the intentions of an individual (Azjen & Fishbein,
1980). Alwitt, L.F. & Berger, I.E. (1993) examined the structure of attitude strength and its
relationship with purchase intentions. It revealed that the general attitude towards environment of
a consumer does affect his purchase behavior but the attitude towards the product affects the
purchase intentions of a consumer.
2.3 Willingness to pay
Many consumers are concerned about environmental safety and some are concerned about their
health and also about cost. Cost is a crucial factor when the willingness to pay a premium for
green products is concerned and there is a lesser brand awareness of eco-friendly (Shukla et al,
1998). Thus, the intentions of a consumer to purchase green products can be dependent on
certain factors like price of the product and availability of the product. The intentions to purchase
green products can also change if the consumer realizes that the green advertising done for the
product has been misleading or vague or false claims have been made about the product been
green.
It has also been found that those customers, who are concerned about ecological problems, are
also willing to pay more to be eco-responsible but companies need to enhance the performance
of their products and make them more environment friendly, even if they need to increase the
price of their products (Syeda Shazia Bukhari, 2011). Thus the quality and performance of a
green product can also be considered as a factor which affects the intentions of consumers to
purchase a particular green product.
2.4 Customer Satisfaction
As the quality and the performance of the product are the major reasons for the customer to be
satisfied with the product. A customer’s satisfaction towards the particular product will influence
the future purchase decisions of consumers and form customer loyalty but also spread a positive
word of mouth about the product. Satisfaction is usually interpreted as a means of predicting
customer's future purchase (Oliver, 1999). A satisfied consumer is going to repeat his purchase
in future (Zeithaml et al., 1996). A satisfied consumer is more likely to recommend the preferred
product to others (Reynolds and Arnold, 2000).
3.0 Objectives of Study
1. To study the buying behavior of the respondents towards green products.
2. To examine the buying motives and the level of awareness of the consumers towards green
products.
3. To study the factors that influences the willingness of consumers in the purchase of green
products and their level of satisfaction towards the green products.
4
4.0 Research Methodology
The area of study is confined to Srinagar city. The data collected for the study through a
structured questionnaire adapted from a previous research. The study consists of both primary
and secondary data. Convenient random sampling technique was adopted to determine the
sample size. The data for the study were collected from 80 respondents.
4.1 Research Framework
5.0 Data Analysis and Results
5.1 Descriptive Statistics
The Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) VERSION 16.0 was used to analyze the
data. The Age, Gender, Qualification and Income classification, giving an overview of the
research sample is presented as follows:
As shown in the table below, age group 20-30 was the largest group representing 90% of the
respondents, followed by 7.5% of respondents who belonged to the age group less than 20 years.
On the other hand, the smallest number of respondents (2.5%) was 30-40 years age group.
Willingness to pay
Environmental
Awareness
Customer Satisfaction
Consumer Purchase
Behavior Towards
Green Products
5
Age-wise distribution
Frequency
Percent
Valid Percent
Cumulative Percent
Valid
6
7.5
7.5
7.5
72
90.0
90.0
97.5
2
2.5
2.5
100.0
80
100.0
100.0
Out of 80 respondents, 56 are male respondents (70%) and 24 are female respondents (30%).
Gender-wise distribution
Frequency
Percent
Valid Percent
Cumulative Percent
Valid
56
70.0
70.0
70.0
24
30.0
30.0
100.0
80
100.0
100.0
The Literacy wise distribution reveals that 8(10%) respondents are graduates, 56(70%)
respondents fall under Masters Category and 12(15%) respondents fall under UG level while
remaining respondents (4) fall under higher secondary level.
Qualification-wise distribution
Frequency
Percent
Valid Percent
Cumulative Percent
Valid
Higher Secondary
4
5.0
5.0
5.0
UG
12
15.0
15.0
20.0
Graduate
8
10.0
10.0
30.0
PG
56
70.0
70.0
100.0
Total
80
100.0
100.0
The monthly income distribution reveals that out of sample of 80 respondents,6 respondents
were having income upto 25000, 36 respondents were having income between 25000-50000,14
between 50000-75000,12 respondents between 75000-100000 and 10 respondents were having
income of above 125000.
6
Monthly Income-wise distribution
Frequency
Percent
Valid Percent
Cumulative Percent
Valid
upto 25000
6
7.5
7.5
7.5
25000-50000
36
45.0
45.0
52.5
50000-75000
14
17.5
17.5
70.0
75000-100000
12
15.0
15.0
85.0
100000-125000
2
2.5
2.5
87.5
Abv 125000
10
12.5
12.5
100.0
Total
80
100.0
100.0
5.2 Means of various dimensions under study
For every individual item, mean was calculated and then finally the total mean of every
dimension was calculated in order to know the most important factor which affects Consumers
Purchase Behavior towards Green/Eco-Friendly Products.
N
Minimum
Maximum
Mean
Std Deviation
Awareness
80
1
5
3.39
.701
Concern For Environment
80
1
5
3.32
.781
Customer Satisfaction
80
1
5
3.68
.717
The total mean for factor Awareness was found to be 3.39 which indicates that
Awareness regarding green products strongly influences the attitude of customers.
The total mean for factor Concern for environment was found to be 3.32 which indicate
that customer’s behavior towards green products is also strongly influenced by concern
for environment.
The total mean for factor purchase behavior was found to be 3.68 and for customer
satisfaction it was found to be 3.58. Out of all the factors the highest mean was for
customer satisfaction (3.68) which indicates that customer satisfaction is the major factor
that affects the consumer’s behavior towards green products. In other words, we can say
satisfaction was rated as the most important factor for purchasing green products.
7
5.3 Calculation of the Impact of Demographic Factors on Different Factors under Study
In order to compare means of different factors with demographic factors t-test and Anova was
used. For gender t-test was used and for the demographic factors like age, education and Income,
one way Anova test was used.
The (p) significance value for knowledge with age was found to be .609 which is more than .05.
Hence age does not have any significant impact on Environmental Awareness.
Environmental Awareness with Age
Awareness
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Between Groups
.560
2
.280
.500
.609
Within Groups
43.177
77
.561
Total
43.737
79
The (p) significance value for knowledge with education was found to be .579 which is more
than .05. Hence education does not have any significant impact on Environmental Awareness.
Environmental Awareness with Education
Awareness
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Between Groups
1.111
3
.370
.660
.579
Within Groups
42.626
76
.561
Total
43.738
79
The (p) significance value for knowledge with Income was found to be .006 which is less than
.05. Hence income does have significant impact on Environmental Awareness.
Environmental Awareness with Income
Awareness
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Between Groups
8.508
5
1.702
3.574
.006
Within Groups
35.229
74
.476
Total
43.738
79
8
The (p) significance value for concern with environment with age was found to be .032 which is
less than .05. Hence age does have significant impact on concern for environment.
Concern for environment with Age
Concern_for_environment
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Between Groups
4.209
2
2.104
3.618
.032
Within Groups
44.788
77
.582
Total
48.997
79
The (p) significance value for concern for environment with education was found to be .614
which is more than .05. Hence education does not have any significant impact on concern for
environment.
Concern for environment with Education
Concern_for_environment
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Between Groups
1.143
3
.381
.605
.614
Within Groups
47.854
76
.630
Total
48.997
79
The (p) significance value for concern for environment with income was found to be .626 which
is more than .05. Hence income does not have any significant impact on concern for
environment.
Concern for environment with Income
Concern_for_environment
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Between Groups
2.208
5
.442
.698
.626
Within Groups
46.789
74
.632
Total
48.997
79
9
The (p) significance value for satisfaction with age was found to be .935 which is more than .05.
Hence age does not have any significant impact on satisfaction.
Satisfaction with Age
satisfaction
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Between Groups
.059
2
.029
.067
.935
Within Groups
33.726
77
.438
Total
33.784
79
The (p) significance value for satisfaction with education was found to be .059 which is more
than .05. Hence education does not have any significant impact on satisfaction.
Satisfaction with Education
satisfaction
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Between Groups
3.133
3
1.044
2.589
.059
Within Groups
30.652
76
.403
Total
33.784
79
The (p) significance value for satisfaction with income was found to be .567 which is more than
.05. Hence income does not have any significant impact on satisfaction.
Satisfaction with Income
satisfaction
Sum of Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Between Groups
1.692
5
.338
.780
.567
Within Groups
32.092
74
.434
Total
33.784
79
10
Assuming equal variances, the p value in all the dimensions under study comes out to be more
than .05. Thereby, indicating that the gender has no impact on customer’s purchasing behavior
towards green products.
Independent Samples Test
Levene's Test for
Equality of Variances
t-test for Equality of Means
F
Sig.
t
df
Sig. (2-
tailed)
Mean
Difference
Std. Error
Difference
Knowledge
Equal variances
assumed
1.023
.315
-.716
76
.476
-.22917
.32028
Concern for
environment
Equal variances
assumed
.269
.606
-.106
76
.916
-.03472
.32620
Purchase
behaviour
Equal variances
assumed
.062
.804
-.955
76
.343
-.90972
.95290
Satisfaction
Equal variances
assumed
.015
.902
.319
76
.751
.09028
.28306
32
6
10
42
16
4
0
6
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
No. of Respondents
Factor taken in consideration while buying
11
32 respondents were such who considered product attributes as the most important factor while
buying goods. The second most important factor while buying products was brand equity.
Out of the total 80 respondents, 54 respondents were willing to pay 5%-10% extra while buying
environment friendly products. 6 respondents were such who were not willing to pay anything
extra.
6
54
10 10
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Nothing Extra 5% 10% extra 15-20 % extra Above 20%
No. of Respondents
Willing to pay extra
42
10 8
4 4
12
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
Higher price of
eco-friendly
products
Non availability
of eco-friendly
products
Limited range Confusing
variety of eco-
labels
Obtaining
information
regarding eco-
friendliness of
the products
Lower quality of
eco-friendly
products
No. of respondents
Preventing factors
12
Out of the total sample, 42 respondents were of the view that higher price of eco-friendly
products prevents them from buying these products. The second most important factor that
prevents them from buying is lower quality.
40 respondents were of the view that they buy eco-friendly/green products because they believe it
is a healthier for them, their families and community. 18 respondents said that they go for eco-
friendly products because they want to preserve environment. Few focused on time or money,
others on product attributes while some of the respondents focused on to show care to others
about environment.
6.0 Conclusion
The paper was mainly focused to study the purchasing approach of consumers towards green
products. It is evident that the purchase behavior and customer satisfaction towards green
products is not influenced by age, gender, income or educational qualifications of the consumers.
Purchasing behavior of consumers depends on their level of satisfaction towards the products.
The concern for environment has been found to be more among the young consumers.
Consumers regard the features of the green products to be most important while purchasing
them. They are even willing to pay more for the green products to protect their environment.
Consumers are motivated to buy green products not only because of their concern for the
environment but also because they believe these can be healthier option for them. Thus
organizations need to focus more on improving the quality of green products and also need to
provide high quality green products at genuine prices. As the high price and low quality of the
green products are the two most important factors that prevent and demotivate the consumers
while thinking about purchasing such products.
10
40
18
48
It will save me time or money in the
long run.
I believe it’s healthier for myself, my
family or my community.
I want to preserve the environment
for future generations.
I believe it’s a better product (e.g.,
better design, higher quality).
It’s a way for me to show others that I
care about the environment.
13
7.0 Limitations of Study
The sample size of the study was restricted to Srinagar city and to a limited number of
consumers. The data for the present study were collected through questionnaire. As a result
generalization of the finding is not applicable to any similar situation.
7.1 Future Study
A lot of efforts need to be done in order to improve awareness and availability of the green
products among Indian consumers. Studies can be done to figure out various other factors that
can influence that environmental consciousness and purchasing decisions of consumers.
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