“Green” segmentation: an application to the Portuguese consumer market

Arminda do Paço (Research Unit NECE, Department of Business and Economics, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal)
Mário Raposo (Research Unit NECE, Department of Business and Economics, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Publication date: 8 May 2009

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify distinct market segments based on several environmental variables. Given the complexity and the range of variables that may determine the characterisation of these groups, as was made evident in the literature review, it was decided to focus this research mainly on analysing the environmental and demographic criteria.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected through a survey of Portuguese consumers, aged over 18. The model of data collection was a survey conducted by self‐administered questionnaire. A total of 887 were considered valid (the final sample). The questionnaire is composed of two sections. In the first part, data are collected about the demographic characteristics of respondents. The second part examines the environmental dimension (concern, affect, knowledge, environmentally friendly behaviours, information search, activism, green products buying behaviour, sensitivity to price, waste separation/recycling, perceived efficiency, scepticism, etc.). After collection, the data were statistically analysed and interpreted using the statistical software Statistical Package for Social Sciences 15.0. The data obtained were submitted to a multivariate statistical analysis, which included the following sequence of statistical treatment: factor analysis, cluster analysis and discriminant analysis. After this, a characterisation was made of the segments found.

Findings

The results of this study show that there are consumers who buy green products and that certain environmental and demographic variables are significant for differentiating between the “greener” segment and the other segments. Yet, generally speaking, one is left with the impression that the Portuguese, despite their support for policies designed to improve the environment, do not translate their concerns into actions: they rarely join environmentalist associations and they do not take part in policy making. Their participation is often based on protecting the environment by saving electricity and water, which shows that these concerns may be more closely related with economic factors than with an environmental consciousness. It can be concluded that Portuguese consumers understand the challenges currently placed before the environment, and that they are aware of the existence of environmental problems, even though their concerns are not always translated into environmentally friendly behaviour. It was also noted that there are consumers who are prepared to base their buying decisions on purchasing products that do not harm the environment. In fact, it was seen that there is a segment of “greener” consumers in the sample that differs significantly in some aspects from the other market segments.

Originality/value

The importance of market segmentation is highlighted, together with a presentation of the most relevant criteria for differentiating individuals in terms of their environmental behaviour. The results of this study show that there are consumers who buy green products and that certain environmental and demographic variables are significant for differentiating between the “greener” segment and the other segments.

Keywords

Citation

do Paço, A. and Raposo, M. (2009), "“Green” segmentation: an application to the Portuguese consumer market", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 364-379. https://doi.org/10.1108/02634500910955245

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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