The hybrid consumer: exploring hybrid consumption behaviour

Hanna Ehrnrooth (Department of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Christian Gronroos (Department of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The article aims to explore hybrid consumption behaviour as an emergent consumption pattern that may make conventional consumer stereotypes outdated.


The study is an exploratory study in urban environments using qualitative, semi-structured and semi-structured interviews.


It is found that a continuum of hybrid consumption types exists, which includes both omnivorous and polarised behaviour. Hybrid consumers opt for both premium and budget alternatives but ignore midrange alternatives. Both trading-up and trading-down categories and situations are identified. While in previous studies trading up and trading down have been considered product category specific, the results of this study imply that hybrid consumption transcends product category boundaries. Four key themes characterizing hybrid consumption are identified.

Research limitations/implications

The study is explorative. However, as the phenomenon of hybrid consumption behaviour is insufficiently studied in previous research, the article reveals underpinning drivers of such behaviour and suggests directions of further research into the phenomenon.

Practical implications

There are many practical implications of the study. As hybrid consumers do not fall into distinct and stable categories, traditional marketing and segmentation strategies may need to be rethought. Consumers cannot be categorised in such a straightforward manner as conventional segmentation practices suggest.


The authors are not aware of hybrid consumption having been studied and categorised in this way before in academic research. New approaches to studying consumer behaviour, segmentation and marketing are implied.



Ehrnrooth, H. and Gronroos, C. (2013), "The hybrid consumer: exploring hybrid consumption behaviour", Management Decision, Vol. 51 No. 9, pp. 1793-1820.

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