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Spanning the gap: an examination of the factors leading to the green gap

Mark Gleim (Department of Marketing and International Business, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Stephanie J. Lawson (Department of Management and Marketing, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




This research aims to explore the factors that lead to the prevalence of the green gap. Currently, an overwhelming majority of consumers voice concern about the state of the environment; however, only a select few mirror their intentions with actual green behaviors.


A critical incident technique is utilized in the first study, followed by a quantitative study analyzed via cluster analysis for the second study.


Results suggest the green gap exists for several reasons, of which price is most commonly noted. However, factors such as poor perceptions of quality, lack of green product availability and brand loyalty to conventional products appear to be important issues leading to the gap as well. Additionally, the type of product sought for purchase appears to impact the prevalence of the green gap.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should seek to extend the present study by monitoring actual usage rather than intentions, as well as an examination of strategies that may help to minimize the green gap.

Practical implications

Consumers need to understand why green products are priced higher, the benefits they offer and the impact they can make as an individual. Additionally, firms competing in specific product categories can alter their strategies to better capitalize on the motivations of their target markets.


Past research has focused on why consumers buy green, but there is a lack of research on why consumers fall into the green gap – that is they have the intention of going green, but don’t. This research examines factors surrounding the green gap and the role of product type in the prevalence of the green gap.



Gleim, M. and J. Lawson, S. (2014), "Spanning the gap: an examination of the factors leading to the green gap", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 6/7, pp. 503-514.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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