Green appliances; theory of consumption values; theory of planned behaviour; black middle class; attitudes; adoption behaviour.


The rapid growth of middle-class consumers in emerging markets like South Africa is often characterised by high energy consumption, driven by demand for household appliances. As green appliances can reduce energy consumption, this study (1) examined South African black middle class consumers’ attitudes and adoption behaviour of green appliances; (2) integrated the theories of consumption value and planned behaviour for a richer explanation of attitudes and behavioural intention (BI) regarding green appliances; and (3) assessed whether BI and perceived behavioural control (PBC) translate into actual adoption. Data was quantitatively gathered from 500 respondents who were aware of green appliances, displayed the intention to buy green appliances and had bought green appliances. Data was analysed using partial least squares structural equation modelling.

Findings showed that respondents hold a strong positive attitude towards green appliances (M=5.8), which was significantly driven by functional, emotional, and epistemic values. Attitude, social value and PBC drove BI which, with PBC, influenced adoption. The integrated model explained far greater percentage of attitude (81%) and BI (83.4%) compared to studies applying only one theory.

The original value lies in the sampling of consumers, who are working and capable of buying green appliances. Previous studies have mainly used students, who lack purchasing power.

The integrated model makes theoretical implication by providing greater explanatory power of green product adoption. Practically, from their positive attitudes towards green appliances and adoption behaviour, governmental/environmental interest groups can use the large and influential black middleclass as opinion leaders to promote green product use.

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