Absolute or relative labelling? A research into different types of ecolabels

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Most of the ecolabels that are currently used are absolute labels and there is very little known about relative labels. This study investigated how the type of labelling (absolute vs. relative labelling) influences purchase intention and satisfaction with choice. It was expected that the influence of absolute and relative labelling on purchase intention and satisfaction with choice was mediated through perceived claim credibility and information overload. An online experiment with 143 participants was conducted among Dutch consumers to test the hypotheses. The study had a between subject design with two levels (absolute ecolabel vs. relative ecolabel). The manipulation check showed that a relative label can be perceived as more specific than an absolute label. The results show that the influence of the type of ecolabel on purchase intention and satisfaction with choice is fully mediated through perceived claim credibility. Relative labels can lead to more perceived claim credibility, and this leads to a higher purchase intention and satisfaction with choice. However, relative labelling can also lead to more information overload. This research confirms that relative labelling is a field worth investigating further, because it might help consumers to move towards more sustainable consumption.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen