Sustainable Development as a Factor Differentiating Consumer Behavior: The Case of Poland

Grzegorz Maciejewski, Mirosława Malinowska, Barbara Kucharska, Michał Kucia, Beata Kolny
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXIV, Issue 3, 934-948, 2021
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/2392


Purpose: The aim of the paper is to diagnose consumer behavior in the context of the sustainable development concept and to answer the question to what extent this concept differentiates consumer behavior. Design/Methodology/Approach: The conducted analysis was based on the authors’ original empirical research. The research was conducted in November 2020 on a sample of 1,045 adult consumers from all over Poland. The study employed the online survey technique. In order to determine the types of consumers, 18 diagnostic variables characterizing consumer behavior in the context of sustainable development, including sustainable consumption, were used. The type extraction was carried out in two steps. The first was a cluster analysis conducted with the hierarchical Ward method with the square of the Euclidean distance, and the second was a non-hierarchical cluster analysis adopting the k-means method. Findings: As a result of the conducted analyses, four relatively homogeneous types of consumers were distinguished based on their behaviors that fit into the concept of sustainable development, including consumption. The types are: Apologists, Hedonists, Active when necessary, Moderately involved. Practical Implications: The types of consumers identified and described in the paper may constitute the basis for market segmentation for firms offering consumer goods and services. In addition, the presented results of research conducted in Poland may constitute the basis for carrying out similar research in other European countries. Originality/value: In the case of Poland, there is a lack of knowledge about the types of consumers as regards their behavior in the context of sustainable development, including sustainable consumption, it can therefore be assumed that the research results contribute to the theory of consumer behavior.

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