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Making the world a better place by making better products: Eco-friendly consumer innovativeness and the adoption of eco-innovations

Nicholas G. Paparoidamis (Léonard-de-Vinci Pôle Universitaire, Research Center, Paris La Défense, France)
Huong Thi Thanh Tran (Department of Marketing and Negotiation, IESEG School of Management, Lille, France)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 25 February 2019

Issue publication date: 12 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine whether consumers respond differently to different types of eco-innovations and to explore how and under what conditions eco-friendly consumer innovativeness (ECI) impacts consumers’ perception and adoption intentions.

Design/methodology/approach

Two online experiments with real consumers in the USA were conducted to test the hypothesized relationships. Two eco-innovation products were examined: a connected vacuum cleaner (Study 1) and an innovative smartphone (Study 2).

Findings

First, consumers tend to express more positive product beliefs, higher preferences and stronger adoption intentions toward resource use elimination innovations compared with the other types of eco-innovations across two product categories. Although consumers are not willing to pay more, they would adjust their payment equity by increasing consumption levels for resource use elimination innovations. Second, this research demonstrates ECI affects adoption intentions via formulating consumer perceptions of product eco-friendliness. Perceived trade-offs between eco-friendly benefits and product effectiveness strengthens the positive effect of ECI while weakening the impact of perceived product eco-friendliness on adoption intentions.

Research limitations/implications

Future studies may validate and extend the results for marketing communication to different types of eco-friendly innovative consumers to determine which marketing messages best match the perceptions and preferences of certain eco-friendly innovative consumers.

Practical implications

This study offers useful insights for strategic research-and-development investment and decision-making processes in selecting the best-suited approaches to developing eco-innovations and maximizing their success in the commercialization phase. Specifically, firms should place greater emphasis on resource use elimination innovation, which could evoke more positive consumer responses than resource use efficiency innovations and resource use substitution innovations. Moreover, it is important to improve the segmentation of the early adopters in the eco-innovation market with respect to specific types of eco-innovations so that marketers can distinctively address eco-friendly innovative consumers that best fit the potential user profile of their products.

Originality/value

The current research is novel as neither an empirically nor a theoretically founded framework has been suggested to examine how and why consumers respond differently to different types of eco-innovations. The findings shine new lights on eco-innovation research by providing useful insights into the underlying mechanisms and the conditions under which ECI affects consumers’ responses.

Keywords

Citation

Paparoidamis, N.G. and Tran, H.T.T. (2019), "Making the world a better place by making better products: Eco-friendly consumer innovativeness and the adoption of eco-innovations", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 53 No. 8, pp. 1546-1584. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-11-2017-0888

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited