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The Fair Trade Consumer: Attitudes, Behaviors, and Knowledge of Fair Trade Products
Keywords:fair trade consumption
fair trade attitudes
fair trade knowledge
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Consumer Sciences Honors Theses; 2013
Fair trade products have increased in popularity in many developing countries, as social responsibility has become a relevant issue for retail businesses and consumers. Numerous fair trade organizations have emerged, nationally and locally, with the goal of improving the lives of producers in developing countries by creating sustainable businesses and improving the quality of working conditions. Sales of fair trade products have increased in the United States, especially by mainstream retailers. The sales volume of fair trade products continues to increase throughout various retail channels, however, the profile of the fair trade consumer remains unclear. This study focuses on two research questions: What is the relationship between consumer attitudes towards fair trade and consumer psychographics, demographics, and the level of fair trade knowledge? How do consumer attitudes towards fair trade affect consumer purchase intentions? Consumers who demonstrate positive attitudes about fair trade are hypothesized to have an increased likelihood of purchasing fair trade products. A sample of customers of a local fair trade retailer was invited to participate in a web based survey. The data from survey results suggested that attitudes and fair trade knowledge were the strongest influencers of consumer purchase intentions. By examining consumer psychographics, demographics, and level of fair trade knowledge, the results of this research will help retailers and fair trade organizations understand the profile characteristics of fair trade consumers, determine correlations with consumer buying behavior, and enable them to more effectively educate and target fair trade customers. Conclusions related to the profile of the US fair trade consumer will allow retailers to expand their businesses and better predict which fair trade product offerings will resonate best with consumers.
Academic Major: Fashion and Retail Studies
Department of Human Sciences: Henderson Scholarship
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