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Revisiting the phenomenon of "going green to be seen" with actual consumption

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This research empirically reanalyses lab findings by Griskevicius, Tybur and Van den Bergh (2010) that activating status motives evokes increased desire for green products.
The researchers conduct an online and a field experiment with actual consumption. They compare the results of intended versus actual green consumption.
The results reveal a significantly reduced preference for green products in public settings that require actual consumption, compared with privately stated choice intentions.
This study is limited to ice cream as a typical hedonic product. Future studies should investigate for further product categories (e. g., utilitarian, more expensive products) whether the difference between hypothetical and actual behaviour can also be confirmed there.
Marketers can use the insights of this study to define their strategy to approach potential customers who may have a true desire for green consumption or sustainability, but also those who mainly seek social status, because they can link sustainability to status.
Contribution This study extends the original study by investigating actual instead of hypothetical consumption decisions, as well as addressing food instead of durable product choices. These studies take place about ten years later and in a different country than the original study.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2020

This article was made available online on March 30, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Revisiting the phenomenon of “going green to be seen” with actual consumption".

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