Ethical Products and Consumer Involvement: What's New?
Valéry Bezençon and Sam Blili
This paper aims to provide an adequate instrument to measure involvement, its antecedents and its impact on behaviours relating to ethical product consumption, using the case of fair trade.
• Design/methodology/approach – Based on an in-depth analysis of the involvement literature and the specificities of ethical products, a model is derived using a hypothetico-deductive approach. It is then analysed using structural equation modelling.
• Findings – The new construct specific to ethical products is a strong predictor of involvement. In addition, the involvement in the ethical aspect of products is much stronger than the involvement in the product category to explain selected consumer behaviours.
• Research limitations/implications – It is likely that highly involved consumers are more prone to participate in such a survey, which limits the representativeness of the sample.
• Practical implications – Beyond the theoretical contribution for ethical consumption analysis, practical implications for fair trade marketing can be derived. A section of the article discusses how to improve fair trade products' communication, how to make those products more competitive, and who should distribute them.
• Originality/value – Current generic involvement models are insufficient to apprehend ethical consumers, who constitute a market in constant expansion. This research fills this gap by providing an original instrument which distinguishes the product-specific involvement from the involvement in the ethical values carried by the product.