Barriers of the second-hand consumption: Consumer attitude, behavior and the green gap
Merkulova, Elana (2019)
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Environmentalism is a trending subject that causes a growing interest worldwide. However, the number of people engaging in any environmentally-friendly activities is not equivalent to the amount of discussions about them. There is a clear inconsistency between the claimed attitudes and the subsequent behaviors, which can be referred to as the green gap. This thesis aims at determining why such discrepancy occurs, focusing on the case of second-hand consumption. The target is chosen as it proves to be a good example of environmentally-friendly behavior. For the purposes of research, the theoretical basis is compounded of two academic fields: the consumer attitude theories and the environmental studies. Their perspectives on the link between consumer attitudes and behaviors are examined and combined by developing a new framework to be used during the empirical study. The initial theoretical research is followed with five focus group interviews conducted as a way to expand the knowledge on practical barriers consumers face. The results of the study indicate that 1) attitudes are composed of cognitive and emotional reactions, therefore consumer barriers are related to their beliefs, feelings and/or their intentional responses; 2) these barriers can be caused by three factors, such as an individual oneself, a society around, and a surrounding situation. The barriers revealed during the interviews are classified along these categories in order to build a ground for creating practical solutions on how to seal the gap between attitude and behavior in the field of second-hand consumption.