An analysis of consumer intention to purchase green vehicles in the South African market : a theory of planned behaviour perspective

Hamilton, Brett Joseph (2014-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: For companies, merely offering green products does not guarantee long-term market success (Hansen, Risborg & Steen, 2012). In many cases, consumers fail to act green despite stating that they intend to do so and having a positive attitude towards green behaviour. This is referred to as the attitude-action gap (Lane & Potter, 2007; Eckhardt, Belk & Devinney, 2010). What is required is a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for green consumer behaviour, such as consumer values, in order to develop effective green marketing strategies (Hansen, 2008; Kim & Chung, 2011). The purpose of the research was to use Ajzen’s theory of planned behaviour (TPB) (1985) to study the link between the personal values of consumers and their attitudes and behaviour toward purchasing green vehicles in the South African market. It focused on alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and, more specifically, hybrid and electric-drive vehicles (HEVs and EVs), since these are the only type of AFV currently available in the South African market. In addition, it investigated the role that subjective norm (SN) and perceived behavioural control (PBC) has on the intention to purchase AFVs. The analysis failed to find a significant relationship between the four higher-order values (self-enhancement, self-transcendence, openness to change and conservation) and attitude. In the case of openness to change and conservation, this was not entirely unexpected, but a lack of a significant relationship between self-enhancement, self-transcendence and attitude was an interesting result, which warrants further investigation, as the use of the ESS Human Value Scale as measurement instrument could be brought into question. The analysis also found significant relationships between attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control and behavioural intention. Of the three constructs, attitude was found to have the most significant impact on behavioural intention. These findings are in support of modern literature and emphasise: 1. that consumers do not rely on their values when forming an attitude towards AFVs and, thus, the marketing of AFVs should not rely on value-driven marketing, 2. that attitudinal factors has the biggest influence on intention, 3. that the perceived support and encouragement of referent others are important considerations for individuals, and 3. that control factors also play a critical role when consumers decide whether to purchase an AFV or not. The marketing of AFVs should thus focus on these three factors, including shaping attitudes, emphasising the role of referent others and informing consumers about control factors.

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