Co-creating a sustainable world. How the use of co-creation claims influence consumers’ evaluation of sustainable products
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While the attitude towards sustainable products has improved considerably over the past years, this positive attitude does not yet translate into a significant growth in the purchase of sustainable products. In other words: there is an attitude-behavior gap in sustainable consumption. Past research emphasizes that the main reasons for the existence of this gap are a lack of trust in sustainable products and the higher price they often carry while consumers are not (yet) willing to pay more. In an attempt to close this attitude-behavior gap, this research broadens the horizon of current research in the sustainability area by incorporating another popular concept in contemporary marketing research: co-creation. More specifically, the primary objective of this research is to explore the effects of a co-creation claim (a claim that states that a product has been made together with consumers) on trust in, intention to buy and willingness to pay more for sustainable products. In addition, it researches if and how these effects differ for low- versus high-involvement products. An online experimental between-subjects study is conducted with four research conditions. Data of 194 respondents show that the use of a co-creation claim increases the trust in and willingness to pay more for the sustainable product. These effects are, however, only present for respondents older than 25. Findings also indicate that for those respondents, the effect of a co-creation claim on intention to buy is fully mediated by trust in the sustainable product. This underlines the importance of trust in the area of sustainable products. Finally, results show that the effects do not differ for low- versus high-involvement products. The present study contributes to the understanding of both sustainable consumption behavior as the use of co-creation claims. Findings implicate that, for consumers over 25, the use of a co-creation claim in the area of sustainable products is a potent means to create more trust and willingness to pay more directly, as well as a higher purchase intention through trust indirectly. It is thereby a powerful marketing tool that can contribute to closing the attitude-behavior gap in sustainable consumption.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen