Overcoming barriers to ethical clothing consumption: a conjoint analysis approach
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
In recent years, especially with the rise of fast fashion, the unsustainable and unethical nature of the clothing industry has come to light. Despite many consumers expressing concern and an intention to avoid unethical clothing consumption, this is often not reflected in their purchasing behaviour. To successfully understand how ethical clothing consumption can be encouraged, it is vital to first recognise the perceived barriers to this behaviour and to identify the key attributes which hold most importance to the consumer. To do so, this research defines major hindrances to ethical clothing consumption and subsequent solutions. The most prevalent barriers in the literature were identified as perceived cost, lack of information such as country of origin, lack of availability and attainability, lack of style and fashion, and unknown or undesirable brands. These formed the basis for the conjoint analysis which consequently determined what attributes and attribute levels were most important to, and preferred by, the participants. This survey was administered online on the Qualtrics platform and produced a total of 381 responses through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. The responses were then analysed using descriptive statistics, ANOVA and correlation testing. The results indicated that overall, price and style were the most important attributes, followed by availability, information, country of origin and brand. Additionally, apathy, clothing involvement and purchase frequency were all tested to discover the relationship between these behavioural and psychographic traits and preferred attributes. Demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity, education and income were also tested. The theoretical and managerial implications of these findings, and the direction for future research are also discussed. This research provides an understanding of what attribute combinations or bundles can overcome the major perceived barriers to ethical clothing consumption. In doing so, this thesis creates an understanding of the ways in which ethical clothing consumption can be encouraged and consumer apathy towards this issue can be reduced.
Keywords: ethical consumption, ethical clothing, conjoint analysis, consumer apathy