Consumer attitude and behavior in the ethical fashion industry

Consumer attitude and behavior in the ethical fashion industry Exposé _ _ Submitted by Marlène Favier European Master in Business Studies University of Kassel Kassel, Germany 21st October 2013

Abstract Title: Consumer attitude and behavior in the ethical fashion industry Keywords: Consumer, attitude, behavior, ethical fashion, attitudebehavior gap, France Background: Over the last few years, increasing awareness and concerns in the ethical industry have been experienced. After a particular attention has been paid to the food industry, this understanding started to be expanded to the fashion Indeed, the study of ethical apparel industry is gaining more and more stature on the literature as its impacts on environment are steadily increasing.

To understand this industry, a special focus on the attitude and behavior of ethical fashion consumers is also given. However, a problem is raised: even if people are much more concerned about ethical fashion than it used to be, an attitudebehavior gap is noticed as people do not transform this consciousness into purchase.

Purpose: Therefore, the aim of the study is to provide a better knowledge of the ethical fashion consumption in the French market. The latter is done through an analysis o f the different drivers and barriers that influence the attitude-behavior gap in the ethical apparel industry. Method: The collection of qualitative information will be done through sent to the French market. The respondents will be between 18 and 30 years old.

Consumer attitude and behavior in the ethical fashion industry Table of contents ABSTRACT ___ 2
1. INTRODUCTION ___ 3
2.

PROBLEM STATEMENT AND RESEARCH QUESTION ___ 4
2.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT ___ 4
2.2 RESEARCH QUESTION ___ 5
2.3 HYPOTHESES ___ 5
3. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND ___ 6
4. REVIEW OF LITERATURE ___ 7
4.1 APPAREL INDUSTRY ___ 7
4.1.1 Fashion industry ___ 7
4.1.2 Theory of reasoned action/planned behavior ___ 8
4.2 ETHICAL APPAREL INDUSTRY ___ 9
4.2.1 Ethical fashion ___ 9
4.2.2 Modified theory of planned behavior ___ 13
4.2.3 Attitude-Intention-Behavior gap ___ 15
5. METHODOLOGY: QUESTIONNAIRE ___ 17
6. OVERVIEW OF CHAPTERS ___ 18
7. WORK PLAN . .

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 1. Introduction Nowadays, one can observe that there is a global growth of people’s concerns regarding the environment. Individuals recognize the need to act differently in a world that suffers from the overconsumption of the human beings. This consciousness is noticeable with the purchases’ increase of ethical products, especially in the food industry. However, this trend is also gaining ground in the apparel industry. The ethical purchase of garments is predicted to rise in the mainstream society like the growth already experienced by the “green food and green cosmetics” industries (Cervellon & Wernerfelt, 2012, p.177).

The mass consumption in the apparel industry has a crucial impact on environment. Bray (2009) stated that “European Union and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have highlighted that clothing are high impact accounting for 5-10% of the EUs total environmental impact”. The major effects on the environment are related to the use of pesticides that infects other products such as food for instance. Chemicals are also used in an extensive way which might have some repercussions on environment and human health. Furthermore, a lot of clothes are discarded as soon as people consider them too old or not trendy anymore.

This increases the number of textiles wastes and damages the environment. The intense usage of machines and natural resources also causes noise, sound and air pollution (Challa, 2010).

In order to fight against these environmental impacts, there is a substantial development of the ethical fashion. According to Joergens, ethical fashion is defined as “fashionable clothes that incorporate fair trade principles with sweatshopfree labor conditions while not harming the environment or workers by using biodegradable and organic cotton” (2006, p.361). Nevertheless, it seems to be controversial to bind ethical and fashion since fashion is a fast-moving good. Indeed, the apparel industry is distinguished by “rapid changes in styles, novelty and mass consumption” (Shaw et al., 2006, p.430).

Therefore, this notion appears to be conflicting to the ethical idea of consumption. In order to understand the ethical fashion consumption, it is undeniable that a study of buyers’ attitude and behavior is required. The theories of reasoned action and planned behavior help to acquire a better knowledge of consumer behavior. However, a “gap between what consumers say about the importance of ethical issues and what they do at the checkout counter” has been identified during the

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 4 purchase of ethical products (Auger and Devinney, 2007, p.361). Therefore, this paper aims to analyze the attitude-behavior gap in the fashion clothing industry with a special focus on the French market. While French consumers declare that they are enticed to buy products with the label “Made In France”, a better quality and less impact on environment, the ranking of the top three companies in France indicates the opposite. Vivarte, KIABI Europe and Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) do represent the rapidly changes of collections at a reasonable price which points the paradox (Euromonitor International, 2013).

In order to reach the goal of the paper, a review of the previous literature is done. First of all, the attention is placed on a brief understanding of the fashion industry and consumers’ attitudes and behavior when purchasing garments. Then, an analysis of the so-called theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behavior is given. Afterwards, an examination of the factors that influence behavior when buying an ethical cloth is proceeded with the help of the modified theory of planned behavior. Subsequently, an evaluation of the gap that occurs between the attitude and behavior is made.

Finally, a deep study of the French consumers’ attitude and behavior is made through questionnaire. According to the results, some conclusions are provided as well as tactics in order to develop the consumption. 2. Problem statement and research question 2.1 Problem statement As previously mentioned, the attention is given to the French market as the latter lacks studies in the field. Indeed, the ethical apparel industry is a quite new phenomenon in France and only a small number of sources are available. Besides, as formerly discussed, an attitude-behavior gap in the ethical fashion French market is also identifiable.

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 5 2.2 Research question The following research question was designed: “What are the main drivers and barriers influencing the attitude-behavior gap in the ethical fashion in the French market?” 2.3 Hypotheses In order to answer the research question, the following hypotheses should be verified thanks to the methodology. Before going in depth in the attitude-behavior gap, a focus on one element which influences the intention is required. When analyzing British and German consumers, Joergens discovered that ethical awareness and concerns do not “significantly affect their purchase decisions” (2006, p.369).

However it seems interesting to find out if this statement can be validated with the French population. Therefore the following hypotheses were designed: H1a: Ethical awareness does not have a significant influence on the intention in the ethical fashion purchasing process.

H1b: Ethical concerns do not have a significant influence on the intention in the ethical fashion purchasing process. Thanks to the theory of planned behavior, one is aware that attitude influences intention and then behavior (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). However according to Shaw, Shiu, Hassan, Bekin, and Hogg (2007), the “attitude does not directly impact intention but rather required the motivational stage of desire” when it comes to the apparel industry (p.34). Niinimäki, (2010) confirmed that desire is a driver to reach the purchase. Thus, the following hypothesis was created: H2: The presence of desire has a positive impact on the attitude-behavior gap in the ethical fashion purchasing process According to Niinimäki (2010), ethical consumer commitment is a driver that leads to the purchase of eco-clothes.

Gupta and Ogden (2006) added that the level of consumer involvement is a way to consolidate the attitude-behavior gap. As a

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 6 consequence, the following hypothesis was designed: H3: A high level of consumer involvement has a positive impact on the attitude-behavior gap in the ethical fashion purchasing process. As reported by Jägel, Keeling, Reppel, and Gruber (2012), individual values such as “value for money, image and well-being” are purchasing drivers in the ethical clothing industry (p.373). Moreover, thanks to the interviews realized by Sudbury and Böltner (2011) on young urban adults in United Kingdom and Germany, it has been found out that individuality maintains the attitude-behavior gap.

Therefore, the hypothesis is: H4: Individual values maintain the attitude-behavior gap in the ethical fashion purchasing process.

According to Hassan, Shaw, Shiu, Walsh, and Parry (2013), uncertainty plays a major role in the ethical consumption process. The more uncertainty is present the more difficult the purchase is. Thus, the following hypothesis was conceived: H5: Uncertainty has a negative impact on the attitude-behavior gap in the ethical fashion purchasing process. Many studies mentioned the fact that ethical consumption is influenced by the price (Chan & W.Y. Wong, 2012; Joergens, 2006). Therefore, the hypothesis is: H6: Price has a negative influence on the attitude-behavior gap in the ethical fashion purchasing process.

3. Theoretical background The theories of reasoned action and planned behavior were adopted in order to analyze and explain consumer behaviors in ethical contexts. The theory of reasoned action was designed for behavior under volitional control. It relies on the fact that the behavior results from the intention. The latter is then influenced, on one side by the attitude and on the other side, by the subjective norm. The behavioral beliefs and the outcome evaluation impact the attitude. Regarding the subjective norm, it is determined by the normative beliefs and the motivation to comply. The theory of planned behavior is an extension of the theory of reasoned action that is applied for non-volitional behaviors.

It also differs from the theory of reasoned action in the addition of the notion of perceived behavioral control as a driver of both the intention and the behavior.

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 7 4. Review of literature 4.1 Apparel industry 4.1.1 Fashion industry TOPIC TITLE / SOURCE REFERENCE CONTENT Fashion definition – Psychologica l motives and behavior in fashion consumption A theory on fashion consumption / Journal of Management & Strategy (Ma, Shi, Chen, and Luo, 2012) A definition of fashion is provided as well as an analysis of the relationship between innovation, classic and prevalence. It is noticed that fashion consumption can be segmented into two categories: social consumption motives and individual motives.

Regarding the psychological motives, they can be divided into two groups: rational motives and perceptual motives. Besides, the buying process decision in fashion can be categorized into three categories: high, medium and low influence purchasing. They are all linked to perceived risks and habits (cognitive resistance). Influencing variables on apparel shopping behavior Apparel shopping behavior – Part 1: Towards the development of a conceptual theoretical model / SA Journal of Industrial Psychology (Du Preez, 2003) A theoretical model with a macroapproach of factors impacting the apparel shopping behavior is developed.

It includes the marketdominated variables (product, promotion, price, place) and the consumer dominated variables (demographics, social-cultural influences and the psychological fields).

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 8 4.1.2 Theory of reasoned action/planned behavior TOPIC TITLE / SOURCE REFERENCE CONTENT Theory of reasoned action Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) The theory of reasoned action emerges. The latter relies on the fact that attitude and subjective norm lead to the intention and then, behavior. Theory of planned behavior From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior / Action control: From cognition to behavior (Ajzen, 1985) The author improves the theory of reasoned action with the introduction of the perceived behavioral control as another influence variable on the intention.

This theory is named theory of planned behavior.

Theory of planned behavior The theory of planned behavior / Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (Ajzen, 1991) The theory of planned behavior receives further research in order to confirm the utility of the model. Influence of desire and plan on the variables of the theory of planned behavior Intending to be ethical: An examination of consumer choice in sweatshop avoidance / Advances in Consumer Research (Shaw, Shiu, Hassan, Bekin, and Hogg, 2007) Two other variables are added to the theory of planned behavior when testing in the apparel industry: the desire and the plan. The first one occurs between the attitude and the intention and the second one has, between the intention and the behavior.

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 9 4.2 Ethical apparel industry 4.2.1 Ethical fashion TOPIC TITLE / SOURCE REFERENCE CONTENT Ethical fashion definition – Awareness, behavior, attitudes towards ethical fashion Ethical fashion: myth or future trend? / Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management (Joergens, 2006) First of all, the author provides a definition of ethical fashion. Then she evaluates the awareness of ethical issues on fashion consumers (in United Kingdom and Germany), its resulting behavior and effects on purchase. Finally she analyses consumer’s attitudes towards ethical fashion.

Price, style and quality seem to be the main drivers when buying an ethical garment.

Ethical consumers’ intentions, behaviors and constraints Fashion victim: The impact of fair trade concerns on clothing choice / Journal of Strategic Marketing (Shaw, Hogg, Wilson, Shui, and Hassan, 2006) The authors study consumers’ ethical intentions to avoid sweatshop purchases, their actual behaviors and constraints when purchasing an ethical garment. Consumers’ purchasing behavior in the French market Mode et consummation responsible: Regards des consommateurs / Institut français de la mode (Chaballier & Ruelle, 2009) The results after the diffusion of a survey are discussed. The latter aims to understand consumers’ purchasing behavior in the ethical fashion industry in the French market.

The following points are studied: awareness, purchasing criteria, barriers and expectations. Analysis of the ethical purchasing Eco-clothing, consumer identity and ideology / (Niinimäki, 2010) The ethical purchasing decisions process is analyzed. The latter relies on the construction of self

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 10 process Sustainable Development and the ongoing change process people are confronted to. Consumer commitment, wishes, needs, values, desires, aesthetic and emotions are drivers to the reaching point of purchase. Y consumers’ perceptions Young generation Y consumers’ perceptions of sustainability in the apparel industry / Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management (Hill & Lee, 2012) A special focus on Y consumers is given with the aim to analyze their awareness and concerns about sustainability in the fashion industry. It results that they lack knowledge and need to be educated.

Attributes and values relationship Individual values and motivational complexities in ethical consumption: A means-end approach / Journal of Marketing Management (Jägel, Keeling, Reppel, and Gruber, 2012) The relation between attributes and values when purchasing an ethical product is analyzed. Five patterns emerge after conducting a semiqualitative laddering approach based on environmental and altruist ethical concerns, individual motives of value for money, personal image and well-being. Eco-fashion consumption impacted by productrelated attributes, store-related attributes and premium The consumption side of sustainable fashion supplyUnderstanding fashion consumer eco-fashion consumption decision / Journal (Chan & W.Y.

Wong, 2012) The eco-fashion consumption decision process is affected by three variables: product-related attributes, store-related attributes and premium price. Some tactics should be employed in order to develop a good perception around these variables.

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 11 price of Fashion Marketing & Management Policies – Focus on the Gap company The influence of ethical trading policies on consumer apparel purchase decisions-A focus on the gap Inc. / International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management (Iwanow, McEachern, and Jeffrey, 2005) An overview of different policies (corporate codes of conduct, conventions...) that have been implemented to deal with ethical issues is described. Then, a special attention on the gap company is given.

Guarantees for an ethical product Memento de la mode éthique / Sicom 06071, Parimage (Délégation interministériell e à l'innovation, à l'expérimentati on sociale et à l'économie sociale, 2006) In order to guarantee the reliability of an ethical product, some guarantees are presented which include the involvement of public authorities, work of associations, manifestations organization and label creation.

Tactics to increase consumer value and avoid green marketing myopia Avoiding green marketing myopia-Ways to improve consumer appeal for environmentally preferable products / Environment (Ottman, Stafford, and Hartman, 2006) The authors mention some strategies that could be employed to increase ethical products’ perception with the green marketing. The latter should be based on five criteria to raise a green consumer value: efficiency and cost effectiveness; health and safety; performance; symbolism and status; and convenience. To avoid green marketing myopia,

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 12 three principals should be employed: consumer value positioning, calibration of consumer knowledge and credibility of products claims. Information impact when buying a cloth The influence of information about labor abuses on consumer choice of clothes: A grounded theory approach / Journal of Marketing Management (Valor, 2007) The author studies the influence of information when buying a garment. Some differences in cognition, motivation and behavior are noticed due to the interdependent link between ethical obligation, conflicting identities and personal action to change.

Label proposal Labeling fashion markets / International Journal of Consumer Studies (Aspers, 2008) The author proposes a label for fashion garments to inform consumers about the ethical aspects of the products. Consumers’ willingness to pay for a premium price for added information Effects of social responsibility labeling and brand willingness to pay for apparel / International of Consumer Studies (Hustvedt & Bernard, 2010) Some impacts on attitude are revealed when information on an ethical product are added for instance labor information. It is noticed that consumers are willing to pay a higher price when this information is mentioned.

Knowledge and support relationship The impact of ethical fashion on consumer purchase behavior / Journal (Shen, Wang, Lo, and Shum 2012) A research model of consumer purchase behavior on ethical fashion is given. It emerges that concerns, knowledge and beliefs about sweatshops and eco-fashion

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 13 of Fashion Marketing & Management lead to a higher degree of willingness to pay for ethical products. Consumer education, advertisements with social and messages and participation of consumers, designers and retailers are mentioned as crucial points to increase ethical fashion purchases. Important role of online communities Knowledge sharing among green fashion communities online / Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management (Cervellon & Wernerfelt, 2012) The article proves that the role of online communities can be considered as a useful way that spreads knowledge among customers.

4.2.2 Modified theory of planned behavior TOPIC TITLE / SOURCE REFERENCE CONTENT Impact of self-identity and ethical obligation on intention in the theory of planned behavior The contribution of ethical obligation and self-identity to the theory of planned behavior: An exploration of ethical consumers / Journal of Marketing Management (Shaw, Shiu, and Clarke, 2000) The authors study the impact of ethical obligation and self-identity on the theory of planned behavior and more precisely on the intention. Impact of self-identity and ethical In search of fair trade: Ethical consumer (OzcaglarToulouse, Shiu, and An analysis of the two variable, self-identity and ethical obligation, is evaluated in the ethical decisions

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 14 obligation on intention in the theory of planned behavior decision making in France / International Journal of Consumer Studies Shaw, 2006) in the French market Influence of social norms and perceived unfairness on intention - Criticism of ethical judgment What we believe is not always what we do: An empirical investigation into ethically questionable behavior in consumption / Journal of Business Ethics (Fukukawa & Ennew, 2010) The authors report that questionable behavior in ethical contexts cannot be explained by the ethical judgment.

Thus, they recommend the addition of social norm (instead subjective norm) and perceived unfairness as impacts variables on intention to purchase. Introduction of the ethical judgment in the theory of reasoned action An extension of the theory of reasoned action in ethical decision contexts: The role of normative influence and ethical judgment / Journal of Education for Business (Celuch & Dill, 2011) The theory of reasoned action is extended with the addition of the ethical judgment as an impact variable on the intention. This study is realized in the ethical decisionmaking process.

Uncertainty: definition, causes, outcomes and solutions Uncertainty in the ethical consumer choice: A conceptual model / Journal of Consumer (Hassan, Shaw, Shiu, Walsh, and Parry, 2013) Firstly, a definition of the uncertainty is developed. Then, the causes of the uncertainty and outcomes of the uncertainty are mentioned. Some solutions are finally provided in order to avoid

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 15 Behaviors the uncertainty. 4.2.3 Attitude-Intention-Behavior gap TOPIC TITLE / SOURCE REFERENCE CONTENT Definition of a gap - Ways to fortify the gap The attitudebehavior gap in environmental consumerism / APUBEF Proceedings (Gupta & Ogden, 2006) A definition of the gap is given.

Besides, the level of consumer involvement and the perceived consumer effectiveness are provided as ways to consolidate the attitude-behavior gap that exists in the ethical consumption. Explanation of the intentionbehavior gap with the role of three other variables Why ethical consumers don’t walk their talk: Towards a framework for understanding the gap between the ethical purchase intentions and actual buying behavior of ethically minded consumers / Journal of Business Ethics (Carrington, Neville, and Whitwell, 2010) A special focus on the intentionbehavior gap is made in the ethical purchase process.

Three variables take part in this gap: the added implementation intentions, the actual behavioral control and the situational context. They all play a crucial role between the intention and the behavior that leads to the purchase.

Attitudebehavior held by the Individualism Fashion marketing and the ethical movement versus individualistic consumption: Analyzing the (Sudbury & Böltner, 2011) Young urban adults in United Kingdom and Germany have been interviewed in order to evaluate the attitude-behavior gap. It appears that individuality plays a major role in maintaining of this gap.

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 16 attitude behavior gap / Advances in Consumer Research – European Conference Proceedings Behavior affected by demographic , external and internal factors Mind the gap: Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to proenvironmental behavior? / Environmental Education Research (Kollmuss & Agyeman, 2002) Some theoretical frameworks are reviewed in order to analyze the gap.

It appears that demographic, external and internal factors affect the behavior. Finally a model proenvironmental behavior is provided with the different barriers that obstruct the achievement of a concerned behavior.

Measures to reduce the gap Sustainable consumption: Green consumer behavior when purchasing products / Sustainable Development (Young, Hwang, McDonald, and Oates, 2010) The authors provide some criteria in order to close the gap between attitudes and behavior: consumer value, purchase experience, time for research, knowledge, availability of ethical products and affordable price.

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 17 5. Methodology: Questionnaire Setting: The questionnaire will be spread online in January 2014. Participants: The sample of the questionnaire will be composed by French people between 18 and 30 years.

The respondents are chosen first of all because they will represent the consumer of tomorrow. Young people are also more interested in fashion and more educated than older ones. They will be selected through online platforms and personal contacts.

Measurement instruments: Software for online survey: Sphinx. Data analysis: Qualitative, open questions, and quantitative techniques, mainly Likert scale questions, will be employed. Content: As mentioned in the section 2.1, very few studies have been designed and allow a deep analysis of the French market patterns. Therefore, it is necessary to employ different techniques through a questionnaire in order to cover a large geographical area: France. Thanks to the survey, the behaviors, opinions, motives, expectations and profile of the sample will be discovered and the hypotheses would be confirmed or disconfirmed.

The sample is estimated through Raosoft, an online sample size calculator. Taking into account that the age of the respondents should be between 18 and 30 years old, the total sample amounts 10,300,859 people (Institut national de la statistique et des etudes économiques, 2013). According to Raosoft, with an error margin of 5%, a confidence level of 95% and a response distribution of 50%, the approximate number of people to reach is 385.

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 18 6. Overview of chapters Abstract List of content List of tables List of abbreviations 1. Introduction 1.1 Research problem 1.2 Topic importance 1.3 Contributions 1.4 Thesis structure 2. Research question and hypotheses 2.1 Problem statement 2.2 Research question 2.3 Hypotheses 3. Literature review and theoretical background 3.1 Fashion industry 3.1.1 Definition of fashion 3.1.2 Theory of planned action 3.1.3 Theory of planned behavior 3.2 Ethical apparel industry 3.2.1 Ethical fashion definition 3.2.2 Modified theory of reasoned action/plan 3.2.3 Attitude-intention-behavior gap 4.

Research methodology 4.1 Method: Questionnaire 4.1.1 Setup 4.1.2 Execution 4.1.3 Results 4.2 Summary of results 4.3 Concerns for validity 5. Conclusion 5.1 Implications for companies 5.2 Limitations of the study 5.3 Suggestions for further researchers 6. Bibliography 7. Appendix

Consumer attitude and behaviour in the ethical fashion industry 19 7. Work plan PERIOD OF TIME PHASE OBJECTIVE 01.10.13 – 11.11.13 Research phase Elaboration and adjustment of the exposé 12.11.13 – 09.12.13 Theory phase Literature review and development of the theoretical section of the master thesis 10.12.13 – 31.12.13 Methodology phase Development of the survey 10.12.13 – 23.01.14 Intermediate presentation Elaboration of the presentation and the intermediate report 01.01.14 – 31.01.14 Analysis phase Focus groups and spread of the questionnaire 01.02.14 – 28.02.14 Evaluation phase Evaluation of the results 01.03.14 – deadline Finalization phase Finalization of the master thesis: review, adjustment, preparation of the final report and presentation

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(2009). Ethical dimensions in clothing purchase. In: First Annual Ethics in Everyday Life Conference, 17/19 March 2009, Salzburg.

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Young,W., Hwang, K., McDonald, S., Oates, C.J. (2010). Sustainable consumption: Green consumer behavior when purchasing products. Sustainable Development, 18(1), 20-31. doi: 10.1002/sd.394

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