Journal of Consumer Behaviour

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Goal activation for sustainable consumer choices: A comparative study of Denmark and Brazil

Abstract To study the context dependence of the impact of goal activation on sustainable consumer choices in an online survey, 1,031 participants in Denmark and 1,028 in Brazil were randomly allocated to three different goal‐activation manipulations, which were set up to activate a normative goal, a hedonic goal, and a gain goal, respectively. Goal‐activation impacts were measured with a choice experiment consisting of six repeated choices of tomatoes. The importance for consumer choices of each of the varied product attributes for consumer choices can be linked to characteristics that differ between countries. Therefore, it was predicted that the importance of attributes differs between Denmark and Brazil. This was confirmed for one of the three attributes (appearance), but not for the other two (organic and price). Still, as predicted, the goal‐activation manipulation influenced the impact of varied product attributes (two out of three) on choices. The activation of a normative goal made participants in both countries more likely to choose organic tomatoes and less focused on the appearance of the tomatoes. However, the goal‐activation manipulation did not influence the importance of the price. The findings suggest that the situational activation of a normative goal can be an effective means to promote sustainable consumer choices in very different national contexts.

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