What are the dimensions of consumer behavior

Environmentally conscious consumer behavior

As is customary in the theory of buyer behavior, the term includes not only “external” actions of people in the consumer sector, but also “internal” behavioral processes that precede such actions, i.e., in a positive sense, environmentally-oriented buying and consuming activities as well as an environmental awareness that may be responsible for this of consumers. Both dimensions and in particular the question of their connection are addressed below.
(1) Environmental awareness "Environmental awareness" is usually Usually understood as an element of the individual persuasive system (especially of social consciousness) and in turn seen as a complex system of values ​​and attitudes. It results from the individual's perception of the real natural and civilized environment and thus includes their knowledge of ecological issues as well as their evaluation in terms of feelings, values, ideas, hopes, fears and the resulting preferences and willingness to act. “Environmental awareness” is a multidimensional construct of cognitive (knowledge, self-awareness), affective-evaluative (feelings, ideas, fears, etc.) and also conative (behavioral intentions) components. Of course, its characteristics are also subject to adopted social norms in the individual. In addition, “environmental awareness” can be identified within the comprehensive system of values ​​and attitudes of people on different hierarchical levels. If, for example, citizens see the environment as one of the most important problems and goals in our society, then it is a question of environmental awareness on the very general, society-related level of “terminal” values ​​and goals. If these citizens, as consumers, are fundamentally environmentally sensitive with regard to purchase and consumption, one can speak, one level deeper and more specifically, of environmental awareness in the sense of a basic consumption-related attitude. If these consumers ultimately have a negative attitude towards phosphate-containing detergent brands or products in disposable packaging, then there is an even more concrete level of product-related attitudes towards the environment (see figure). Empirical approaches to recording the environmental awareness of consumers accordingly differ, on the one hand, according to which and how many sub-dimensions are recorded, and on the other hand, according to which hierarchy or concretization level is measured. Various results for the Federal Republic of Germany (old federal states) consistently demonstrate a significant increase in environmental awareness since the mid-1980s, even if one takes into account the social desirability of the corresponding survey results. Environmentally conscious purchasing and consumption The operationalization and measurement of the environmental awareness of consumers is just as important for the marketing of companies as it is for the strategies of environmental initiatives and state environmental policy. The environmental awareness of actual and potential customers (groups) is an important determinant of demand for marketing (ecological marketing); But also for the environment itself it is crucial that the environmental awareness of the consumer is also manifested in appropriate actions, because the marketing of the providers and the buying and consuming activities of the consumers have considerable environmental effects. Therefore, the connection between environmental awareness and actual behavior must be of particular interest. It should not be overlooked that objectively environmentally friendly action does not inevitably require environmental awareness, but can primarily be based on financial incentives or legal regulations, for example. Consumers have opportunities for environmentally conscious behavior in and outside the market, starting with information and buying behavior through to usage and recycling behavior. Even if it is often enough controversial what the objectively most environmentally friendly behavior actually consists of in individual cases, environmentally conscious behavior can usually be defined quite clearly in distinction to not or little environmentally conscious behavior: for example, via the preference or rejection of corresponding product categories and products (e.g. in with regard to disposable bottles, CFC-containing sprays, etc.) or about the practice of corresponding consumer activities (e.g. driving a car, sorting waste, etc.). In academic consumer research, most of the empirical studies on environmental action are devoted to the areas of energy-saving behavior and the recycling behavior of consumers; Studies on the purchase and use of more environmentally friendly products, on the other hand, were v. a. carried out in commercial market research and are therefore often not published. The figure shows some central determining factors for the increasing concretization and thus also the behavioral relevance of environmental awareness. Consumers' environmental awareness is likely to be more concrete and behavioral, the stronger, among other things. the following factors are pronounced: Personal impact by environmental problems; experienced personal responsibility for their emergence or prevention; Conviction that you can make an efficient contribution yourself; Willingness to pay and willingness to accept certain disadvantages in product functions, convenience; etc. Nevertheless, there are discrepancies between (pronounced) environmental awareness and actual buying and consumption behavior. This is due to the fact that consumer behavior - for example the purchase of a certain product - depends on a large number of other factors in a specific case; In particular, of other motives and attitudes towards the products that are often more decisive for the consumer, but also, for example, the question of whether there are any more environmentally friendly product or action alternatives. The household panel institute GfK / G & I Nuremberg regularly publishes empirical results on the relationship between the environmental awareness of consumers and their actual purchasing and consumption behavior. For the methodological approach chosen here, see Adlwarth / Wimmer (1986) and Wimmer (1988); on the approach to a causal analysis of the connection see Balderjahn (1988). M.-B.; Rohwer, D., Environmental behavior and nutritional behavior, Hamburg 1988. Wimmer F., Environmental awareness and consumption-relevant attitudes and behavior, in: Brandt; Hansen; Beauty; Werner (Ed.), Ecological Marketing, Frankfurt a. M., New York 1988, pp. 44-85. Literature-.Adlwarth, W .; Wimmer, F., Environmental Awareness and Purchasing Behavior. Results of a consumer panel study, in: Yearbook of Sales and Consumption Research, Issue 2 (1986), pp. 166 - 192. Balderjahn, /., Das Environmentally Conscious Consumer Behavior, Berlin 1986. Piorkowsky,

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