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Influences on Consumer Purchase Intentions for Organic

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Various studies have shown that exposure to environmental messages through media positively affects young consumers’ environmental concerns (Good, 2006; Holbert et al., 2003). The media is very influential and can raise important environmental issues which can affect the thinking process of consumers (Holbert et al., 2003); it possesses the power to influence social norm (McQuail, 1987). Communication campaigns run through various media sources have been found to positively influence recycling behaviour of consumers (Mee and Clewes, 2004). Mass media was found to affect perception and preference of young consumers towards various products (McNeal and Ji, 1999). Recently, Lee (2014) found that environmental messages disseminated through the media influenced consumers’ purchase behaviour towards sustainable products.

Social influence.

Social influence can be explained as a state where someone complies with the expectations of another or considers the information acquired from another as a sign of reality (Deutsch and Gerard, 1955). Gupta and Ogden (2009) found that most of the green consumers had a high level of trust in others, and they expected that others will also engage in green behaviour. Thus, consumers often purchase green products to show their ecological concern to the society. In many studies, social groups and subjective or social norms were found to have a positive correlation with purchase intention and actual purchasing of green and other ethically produced products (Eze and Ndubisi, 2013; Vermeir and Verbeke, 2006).


Ecolabelling informs consumers about the green characteristics of the product and builds confidence in the product’s environmental claims (Rios et al., 2006; Ip, 2003). Ecolabelling can help marketers differentiate their offerings in the mind of the consumer and have a positive effect on consumers’ decision making regarding the purchase of the product, thereby increasing the sale of the company’s offerings (Bougherara and Piguet, 2009). It has been found that environmentally conscious customers prefer ecolabelled products (Mohan Das Gandhi et al., 2006). Previous studies suggest that an ecolabel motivates the consumer to purchase green products (Harris, 2007; Rahbar and Wahid, 2011; Young et al., 2010).


Parental influence is seen as a socialization factor in adolescent stage. The parents’ consumption habits, attitudes and their intentions to buy product strongly influence the consumption pattern of young people. In addition, parents who hold strong desire to consume material goods, their children also value material goods in a similar way like their parents do (Chaplin & John, 2010, p. 176).

In a study of Caruana & Vassallo (2003, pp. 55,61) have found parental influence on purchasing behavior acts as a main role for children. They also found that family members with one child or more have different levels of parental influence on their purchase decisions. Cotte & Wood, (2004, p. 84) found parental influences not only exist in the purchase decision making process, but it is also shaping the behavior of young children. For example, parents’ creativity and their innovativeness also encourage their children to think creatively. The study also found that a young adult adopts the same and similar behavior that their parents maintain in their style and socialization process.


Peer relationship is a dominant factor for adolescents’ decision making. Relationship among adolescents that formed in early childhood considered as weak. The relationships in adolescent stage become more influential, intimate, and strong (Berndt, 1982). A study conducted by Gavin & Furman in 1989 found people assign more value in adolescent period. In the early and middle adolescent period, people emphasize to become a member of popular group that maintain similar opinion and thinking than different adolescent stage.

Moschis & Churchill (1979, p. 45) have found different findings in their study. They found that older adolescents’ are more knowledgeable about products and services, and they can independently able to differentiate positive and negative information from advertisements.

In a study between younger teenage girls and peer influence on fashion products purchasing decision have found a strong correlation between these two. Peer influence plays a key role for choosing fashion products especially for teenage girls. These teenage girls also value the opinions of their elder sisters who are very intimate with them. Teenage younger people even don’t bother about to pay premium prices if their peer certify the fashion products as cool (Grant & Stephen, 2006, p. 110). Another study of young consumers’ consumption pattern towards snacks and soft drinks shows positive relationships between peer influence and their purchasing behavior (Wouters et al., 2010). A study by about young adolescents’ motivation and achievement in the context of peer influence found similar to other studies. He found a young adolescent become affected with their peers’ beliefs and behaviors in their development stage (Ryan, 2001, p. 1145).

Perceived Price

Pricing is a significant variable that can be used to predict consumer purchase intentions for organic. Consistent with Magnusson et al. (2001)’s claim, organic produces are charged at a slightly higher price. This has been deemed the greatest cause of consumers’ failure to develop positive purchase intentions toward organic foodstuffs (Magnusson et al., 2001; Al-Sabbahy et al., 2004). Further research suggests that consumers tend have positive purchase intentions for the produces that they can derive value for their money (Padel & Foster, 2005). Interestingly, Lockie et al. (2002) stated that the price cue is often in conflict with other drives, for example, environmental concern – a consumer may be willing to show that they care about the environment, but price premium may discourage them from developing positive purchase intentions for organic food (Effendi, Ginting, Lubis & Fachruddin, 2015; Gan, Wee, Ozanne & Kao, 2008). Noteworthy, premium pricing for organic food does not always lead to negative purchase intentions. Evidence exists to support the notion that a number of consumers tend to use price as a sign to indicate higher product quality. Consumers can use the price cue to differentiate whether the produce is organic or conventional. However, it is counter-intuitive for organic food to be priced lower or the same as conventional food (Byrne, Toensmeyer, German & Muller, 1991). It can thus be expected that higher prices may positively influence purchase likelihoods for organic food (Lichtenstein et al., 1988; Erickson & Johansson, 1985; Zeithaml, 1988; Tellis & Gaeth, 1990).

Pricing can thus have two functions and this dual was modeled by Erickson and Johansson (1985) where price had a direct negative effect on purchase intentions while at the same time it can also had an indirect positive effect on purchase intentions when using perceptions on product quality. Therefore, price can play a negative or positive role in influencing consumers’ purchase intention for organic food. Based on the fact that organic food is frequently priced higher than conventional food and also premised on the fact that a higher price raises the ‘affordability issue’, which ultimately results in a negative effect on price sensitive consumer.

Perceived availability and purchase intention

Perceived availability of organic food is an important variable due to the fact that it may also predict consumers’ purchase intention for organic food. As stated by Saunders (1999) and Thompson (2000), perceived availability is the main purchasing criteria, as if consumers ‘waste’ their time and effort trying to find organic food, their purchase intentions may end up being negatively affected. In contrast, other studies have found that limited perceived availability is not a key impediment to positive purchase intentions (Magnusson et al., 2001). Research further suggests that consumers do not switch to organic food owing to availability reasons (Gofton, 1995; Brunsø et al., 2002). Actually, Tarkiainen and Sundqvist (2005) found that the perceived availability of organic foodstuffs has no influence on consumer’s intention to purchase such produces. For the most part, perceived availability of organic food can play a role in shaping positive purchase intentions for organic food, while the reverse may hold for unavailability (Olivová, 2011).

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