Consumer Convergence and Collective Motivations for Purchasing Ethical Products

Michael Long, Douglas Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A robust literature has developed that demonstrates that ethical consumption, particularly “buycotts,” is on the rise. However, not much is known about (1) consumer convergence: do consumers who purchase one “ethical” product also purchase others, and (2) the degree to which ethical consumers make their purchasing decisions for collective reasons. We attempt to fill this lacuna in the literature. This study uses results from a mail survey of a random sample of 500 Colorado residents to examine the degree of convergence between consumers of organic, fair trade, locally grown, animal friendly, made in the United States, and union made products with tetrachoric correlations coefficients and binary logistic regression models. We also investigate the degree of convergence between consumers who report holding collective motivations for purchasing ethical products through these same methods. Our findings indicate strong support for convergence between ethical consumers and consumers who believe they are acting collectively. The results suggest that many ethical consumers believe they are part of an “imagined community” of citizen–consumers who through their joint purchasing decisions are critiquing and hopefully changing traditional production–consumption commodity networks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-207
JournalResearch in Rural Sociology and Development
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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