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Comparing sustainable consumption patterns across product sectors.

McDonald, Seonaidh; Oates, Caroline; Thyne, Maree; Alevizou, Panayiota; McMorland, Leigh-Ann


Seonaidh McDonald

Caroline Oates

Maree Thyne

Panayiota Alevizou

Leigh-Ann McMorland


In this paper, we present findings from two qualitative studies where we explored sustainable consumption practices through examining consumers' information search and decision-making processes for recent purchases of five categories of goods/services: fast moving consumer goods (such as foodstuffs and household products), white goods (such as fridges and washing machines), small electrical products (such as TVs and computers), green energy tariffs (such as electricity from renewable sources) and tourism (such as flights). This research has provided us with a set of rich data which explores the nature and extent of sustainable consumption practices across different product sectors. A comparative analysis has allowed us to draw out patterns of consumer behaviour for different product and service types. Our findings suggest that even the same green consumer will not use the same information sources or decision-making criteria, consider the same options or focus on the same industry actors, for products in different sectors. However, we have identified some degree of consistency in purchases within sectors. We present these sector-specific patterns of consumer behaviour and highlight differences in the criteria utilized and the research norms in each sector.


MCDONALD, S., OATES, C., THYNE, M., ALEVIZOU, P. and MCMORLAND, L. 2009. Comparing sustainable consumption patterns across product sectors. International journal of consumer studies [online], 33(2), pages 137-145. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 31, 2009
Online Publication Date Apr 6, 2009
Publication Date Mar 31, 2009
Deposit Date Aug 11, 2014
Publicly Available Date Aug 11, 2014
Journal International journal of consumer studies
Print ISSN 1470-6423
Electronic ISSN 1470-6431
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 2
Pages 137-145
Keywords Consumer behaviour; Cross sector comparison; Green consumers; Purchase decisions; Sustainable consumption
Public URL


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