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Consumers' reaction to fair trade motivated price increases

Colin L. Campbell, Daniel Heinrich and Schoenmüller, Verena

Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 2015, vol. 24, issue C, 79-84

Abstract: Consumer perception of price increases and their reactions are a topic of great relevance for marketing research and practice. We investigate consumers' acceptance of price increases justified by higher costs due to company's corporate socially responsible activities by conducting two experimental studies. In the first study we examine perceived fairness and intentions following a price increase justified by a fair trade commitment. To assess the green attitude–behavior gap in consumer behavior our second study incorporates a real world experiment to explore actual consumer behavior against stated intentions. Our investigation adds nuance to our understanding of the effects of corporate social responsibility on consumer response to price increases. Our results reveal that a price increase due to a fair trade commitment is perceived as fair and does not have a negative impact on purchase behavior. We contrast our findings with a price increase due to higher taxes and due to profit increase. Our results demonstrate that fair trade justified price increases can skim twice the amount compared to tax justified increases. Furthermore, consumers' actual buying behavior reveals no difference to their stated intentions. Hence, prior research proclaiming an attitude–behavior gap in the context of consumers' socially responsible buying behavior has to be called into question.

Keywords: Price fairness; Price increase; Fair trade commitment; Attitude–behavior gap; Corporate social responsibility; Experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jretconser.2015.02.005

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