Attitudes, Buyer Behaviour, Cultural Intelligence, TORA/TOPB, Fair Trade, SEM,
The purpose of this research was to determine which attitudes predict the propensity of individual consumers in the United States to purchase fair trade products. In doing so, drivers of fair-trade growth and implications for marketing strategy were identified.
Previous research regarding attitudes that predict fair trade consumption had been conducted primarily in Europe. In contrast, few attitudinal studies utilizing a probability sample had been conducted within the context of the United States. This effort replicated a study previously conducted in Belgium in 2007 by De Pelsmacker and Janssens utilizing their model for fair trade buying behavior, which found a connection between positive attitudes and level of fair trade knowledge, perception of fair trade information quality, degree of product interest, degree of product likeability, and price perception. Similar empirical studies conducted in the United States have been limited (particularly those involving a probability sample), providing marketers with little understanding of the American fair-trade consumer (Pharr, 2011). In addition, few studies have been replicated in multiple markets, limiting an understanding of the global fair-trade consumer.
Using an online survey facilitated by a panel provider, data was collected from consumers in the United States ages 18 and older. Structural equation modeling was employed to examine attitudes and their relationship to fair trade purchase levels. Results indicated that knowledge of fair trade, skepticism, information quality, and product likeability are important attitudes when considering fair trade buying behavior of consumers in the United States. Knowledge levels of fair trade and information about fair trade that is of high quality had a direct impact on fair trade buying behavior. While reduced levels of skepticism impacted attitudes toward fair trade products, positive attitudes toward fair trade products did not produce fair trade buying behavior.
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