Environmental Concern on Green Products Purchase: Empirical Study of German Retailers
Evaluation of results
The analysis exhibits various results about the perceptions of German consumers with reference to green products. The findings have been able to achieve the research objectives and test the hypothesis based on the demographic characteristics of the sample population. The results reveal that all the sample population is well educated with 84% of participants have completed the graduate programs. Thus, the participant has advanced knowledge of health benefits of green products. They also have knowledge about the impact of conventional products on the environment, which influences consumer buying decisions of sustainable products. Larsson, & Arif Khan (2011) argue that green awareness motivates consumer’s choice of pursuing the green criteria, and consumer’s choice of product is also influenced by earlier purchases experience. When informed consumers decide to purchase sustainable products, they search for both primary and secondary information to make a wise choice. For example, informed consumers search for information from the internet or ask family and friends about the sustainability of products before making a buying decision.
Thus, the findings support that consumers have been influenced by their ability to identify sustainable products and their previous awareness of the environmental problems. Thus, it has been revealed that the perceived knowledge of consumer influences their buying decisions of green products, which has assisted in increasing the sales of eco-friendly products in German. For example, there has been 15% annual increase of consumption of the sustainable product in German in the last few years. Larsson, & Arif Khan (2011) argue that Europe and North America form 96% of eco-market globally and consumers in German are among the largest consumers of eco-products since eco-knowledge and eco-motivation influence a green purchase.
According to Triebswetter, & Hitchens, (2005) “the stringency of environmental regulations in Germany has been evaluated in cross-national comparisons to be above average in comparison to other industrialized countries. This is also reflected in the environmental expenditure which reaches about 3% of German GDP.” (Triebswetter, & Hitchens, 2005 p 734).
Thus, the findings reveal that consumers in Germans put high emphasizes in buying the eco-friendly electronic products because the electronic sector has initiated several green initiatives to reduce the impact of manufacturing on the environment, enhancing energy efficiency, implementing clean delivery systems and product design. In this regards, prices of items are not the issues with reference to the buying decisions because consumers are ready to pay more in order to buy the environmentally friendly products since consumers have already acquired knowledge about the impact of conventional products on the environment. In this regards, the findings show that consumer Purchase Intention is 15 out of 17 items where Declared Intention is 13 items out of 17 items. Thus, the results confirm that consumer will prefer paying the environmentally friendly products for the high prices rather than buying non-environmentally friendly products at cheap prices. Moser, (2016) argues that consumers pay more emphasize on the environmentally friendly products in German. While “price is one of the most important attributes when buying products” (Moser, 2016 p 391), nevertheless, consumers are still willing to buy eco-friendly at high prices to enjoy sustainability of green products. While consumers may perceive eco-friendly products more expensive than conventional products, nevertheless, high prices are not a barrier to making a buying decision because consumer justifies their buying decision based on other gains they will derive from paying the eco-friendly products. (Olson, 2013).
Parsa, et al. (2015) confirm that consumers are less price sensitive when they have formed a high intention in paying the premium products, thus, most consumers are willing to pay premium prices for the environmentally friendly green products. Sammer and Wustenhagen, (2006) also declare that consumers are willing to pay 30% more than the normal prices for the energy efficient electronic appliance revealing that WTP (willingness to pay) is the major perceived driver for a consumption of green products. While green products may be expensive, however, consumers are still willing to trade off higher prices for environmental benefits.
Since the findings have confirmed that increasing number of consumers in German are ready to pay high prices to enjoy environmental benefits, business organizations could generate more revenue by offering competitive prices for green products. However, some small percentages of consumers may still be hesitant to trade high prices for environmental benefits, thus, businesses should offer discounted prices for a green product to achieve more competitive market advantages. Presently, awareness of environmental consciousness is high in Germany and businesses can take advantages of the present environmental consciousness to achieve competitive market advantages. Stolz, Molina, Ramirez, et al. (2013) point out there is a steady increase of environmental consciousness among German consumers in the last few years. The authors argue that perception of the green product is more advanced in German than many other European countries where consumers play emphasize on green products than conventional products. Thus, businesses should take advantages of high awareness of green products to launch marketing programs to make an increasing number of consumers to be aware of the health benefits of sustainable products. Moreover, business organizations can take advantages of the high level of awareness about green products to design effective communication that can dismantle the barriers to the sales of green products to achieve competitive market forces, which will assist in boosting sales. Typically, advertising and promotion strategies are the effective instruments to address the egoistic motives of some consumers and facilitating conditions that will assist consumers to purchase green products without additional efforts. Essentially, increased visibility, attractiveness, and conveniences can assist organizations to improve business images and make consumers to perceive an organization as a responsible business organization.
implications for Business Practice
The implication of the business practice is that it is high time for businesses globally to shift from manufacturing of a conventional product to the eco-green products because consumers are increasingly sophisticated in German and other European countries. Similarly, increasing number of consumers are shifting to green products based on the perceived benefits that can be derived from consuming the products. Thus, business organizations should make a sound business decision by focusing on producing green products and desist from producing products that may be harmful to the environment. Since consumers in Europe and North America are becoming sophisticated, thus, businesses should implement the eco-labelling program to achieve sustainable marketing objective, which will help in increasing consumer awareness about the sustainability of the product. Larsson et al. (2011) argue that eco-labelling is the effective marketing tool that can assist in increasing consumer awareness. For example, business organizations can produce products that satisfy the ISO (international standards organization) requirements to promote the identification of products. Delafrooz, Taleghani, & Nouri, (2013) identify eco-labelling as an effective marketing tool, which can assist in promoting green products identifications. The benefit of eco-labelling is that it facilitates consumer’s buying decisions of the environmentally friendly products. (Andrea, 2016).
Thus, the retail stores can apply the findings of this study to improve consumers’ buying decision. (Stolz, Molina, Ramirez, et al. (2013) point out “the importance of environmental protection is steadily increasing due to the consumer’s growing concern about the environment in retailing.” (p 394). Retailers should choose an option of displaying the products that have sustainable values. Since large retailers have the capacity to influence the supply chain, they can differentiate themselves by sourcing for environmentally friendly products through environmental labels to improve consumer’s awareness. Thus, “retailers have various options to convince consumers about their sustainable products, such as improving the environmental quality of products, using environmental labels and banning products from the shelves that have a clear environmental impact.” (Molina, Ramirez, et al. 2013 p 394).
Shortcomings of th Chosen Methodology
Despite the positive contribution of the research findings, the choosing methodology to complete the research has some shortcoming. The research lays more emphasizes on the quantitative research to generate the research findings. The shortcoming of the quantitative research is that it may not be applicable to describe the complex phenomena since the researcher uses the survey method collect data from the participants, thus, the researcher may not be able to immense into the phenomena to answer complex research questions. Additionally, the quantitative research is not applicable in studying the research in depth because the survey method does not allow consumers to express their opinion about the issues, thus, it may not be applicable deliver rich details about the phenomena. Another issue that can affect the validity and reliability of the research finding is a lack of ethical consideration in the research. Since the researcher collects data from human subjects, it is critical to understand that a protection of private information of participants is very critical in quantitative research. Since researcher may collect some identifiable information of each participant, the researcher ought to have discussed the strategy to protect the personal information of the participants. However, the researcher has been able to achieve the research objectives despite these shortcomings.
The study demonstrates that consumer ability to identify environmental friendly commodities and previous awareness of environmental problems affect consumer green buying activity. The research also reveals that customers prefer buying the environmentally friendly commodities at higher prices to enjoy the benefits associated with the environmentally friendly products. The study uses the quantitative technique to collect data from 270 respondents, and the findings reveal that the intention to buy a green product is high among German consumers because most consumers have advanced knowledge of benefits associated with buying green products. In this case, consumers are ready to trade the high prices to enjoy the benefits of the sustainable environmental products. The study also hypothesizes that the environmental consciousness influences the buying objectives of consumers. The research findings are able to support this hypothesis because increasing number of German consumers have understood the benefits of buying the green products, and they are willing to purchase these products at premium prices to enjoy environmental benefits rather than purchasing the conventional products that do not offer any green benefit. The finding also confirms that the level of environment consciousness is high in German than many European countries, thus, larger percentages of buyers have advanced knowledge of the green products, and they are conscious about the impact of conventional manufacturing and benefits of green manufacturing on the environment, which influence their buying behaviors. Thus, consumer buying objective has led to an increased acquisition of green products since they have formed the habit of buying green products, and they will continue buying these products because they have formed the habits of buying them. The findings also reveal that consumers’ knowledge of green products has been converted into actual shopping of the environmentally friendly product. This is the case in Germany where an increasing number of consumers prefer the environmentally friendly products to conventional products. Moreover, an increased awareness of environmental regulation has enhanced a greater understanding of consumers about the green products. In this sense, the study confirms that there is a higher number of green products in German than many countries in Europe because consumers have formed the habits of buying these products. The results emphasize an increased environmental awareness in German. Compared to other European countries where green markets have not well developed, German ethical markets have advanced, which have enhanced sustainable consumption.
This study enhances the greater understanding of the academic community about the impact of environmental awareness on the purchase of green products in German with special emphasize of German retailers. The study also contributes to the body of knowledge of business community about the influence of environmental consciousness on consumers’ buying decision. The findings assist business organizations to tailor their marketing and promotion towards green concerns since it has been demonstrated that businesses will derive competitive market advantages by designing their marketing objectives towards environmental concerns.
Interpreting the results, the research suggests that the retailers should focus on a promotion of their products towards eco-labelling to increase consumer awareness. This strategy will assist the retailers in Germany and other countries to boost sales of green products. Since consumers have formed the habits of purchasing the eco-friendly products, and they are willing to pay premium prices for green products, retailers can take this advantage to increase their revenues. Additionally, retailers should focus on the social impact of their products during a product advert by educating consumers about the benefits that they will derive from buying the product. The promotion strategy will assist in breaking barriers that will prevent some consumers from buying green products. Moreover, the retailers should focus on special adverts such as health benefits of green products to improve more awareness of consumers. The finding has revealed that consumers have formed the opinion that they have to pay the premium prices to enjoy green benefits, retailers can change this opinion and offer competitive prices for their products to assist the organizations to boost sales. The study believes that there is a need for further research that should focus on consumption motives with reference to the socio-demographic characteristics and personality traits. A further research in these areas will assist retailers to segment their customers, and help in marketing their sustainable products.
Andrea K. M. (2016). Buying organic — decision-making heuristics and empirical evidence from Germany, Journal of Consumer Marketing, 33(7): 552 — 561.
Delafrooz, N. Taleghani, M. & Nouri, B. (2013). Effect of green marketing on consumer purchase behaviour. QScience Connect:5.
Larsson, S. & Arif Khan, M. (2011). A Study of Factors That Influence Green Purchase. Umea School of Business and Economics.
Moser, A.K. (2016). Consumers’ purchasing decisions regarding environmentally friendly products: An empirical analysis of German consumers. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. 31: 389 — 397.
Olson, E., (2013). It’s not easy being green: the effects of attribute tradeoffs on green product preference and choice. J. Acad. Mark. Sci. 41 (2), 171 — 184.
Parsa, H.G., Lord, K.R., Putrevu, S., Kreeger, J., 2015. Corporate social and environmental responsibility in services: will consumers pay for it? J. Retail. Consum. Serv. 22, 250 — 260.
Sammer, K., Wustenhagen, R., 2006. The influence of eco-labelling on consumer behaviour — results of a discrete choice analysis for washing machines. Bus.Strategy Environ. 15 (3), 185 — 199.
Stolz, J. Molina, H. Ramirez, J. et al. (2013). Consumers’ perception of the environmental performance in retail stores: an analysis of the German and the Spanish consumer. International Journal of Consumer Studies. 37: 394 — 399.
Triebswetter, U. & Hitchens, D. (2005). The impact of environmental regulation on competitiveness in the German manufacturing industry -a comparison with other countries of the European Union. Journal of Cleaner Production. 13: 733-745.
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