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Explaining socially responsible consumption

Gerard Paul Prendergast (Department of Marketing, School of Business, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)
Alex S.L. Tsang (Department of Marketing, School of Business, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 23 January 2019

Issue publication date: 8 February 2019




Consumers are becoming increasingly socially conscious when making their purchasing decisions, which in turn is providing an incentive for firms to integrate social responsibility considerations into their product offerings. Explaining the various categories of socially responsible consumption (SRC) is therefore important. The purpose of this paper is to explain the various categories of socially responsible consumption.


Grounded in the theory of planned behavior (TPB), this paper surveyed a sample of 1,202 Hong Kong consumers.


The findings indicate that attitude towards the behavior, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control are all significant predictors of three categories of SRC (i.e. intention to purchase from firms based on their CSR performance, intention to practice recycling and intention to try to avoid or minimize their use of products based on their environmental impact). Intention to engage in SRC was then shown to be a significant predictor of SRC behavior.

Research limitations/implications

This paper relied on only the single-factor test as a measure of socially desirable responding. Furthermore, while the quota sampling was designed for broad representativeness, it is difficult to verify if the well-controlled quota controls entirely removed the possibility of a biased selection of respondents within each cell.

Practical implications

Recommendations are made for public policy-makers and marketers to devise ways to shape consumer behavior to facilitate more responsible consumption.


Previous research relating to SRC has not explained the various categories of SRC and often failed to test the relationship between intention and behavior, representing a considerable gap in the literature. This paper applied the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to explain intention and behavior with regards to the various categories of SRC.



Prendergast, G.P. and Tsang, A.S.L. (2019), "Explaining socially responsible consumption", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 146-154.



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