Worth It? A quantitative study on the value for discount retailers to communicate sustainability
Abstract: Sustainability and discount retailing are two fields growing in parallel in the Swedish market. A debate on whether sustainability and low prices are a possible combination or a trade-off has emerged among stakeholders including business leaders, consumers and trade organisations. This debate creates uncertainties of whether there is a value, or a risk, for discount retailers to communicate their sustainability work. The results of this quantitative consumer study indicates that communicating sustainability initiatives generates a perception of the discounter as being more sustainable, as well as more favourable brand attitudes. However, no significant differences could be identified in terms of purchase intentions or price perceptions between communicating sustainability actions or not as a discount retailer. Furthermore, consumers with a stronger price-sustainability schema demonstrated more favourable attitudes and higher purchase intentions towards the discount retailer in comparison to those with a weaker schema. Concluding, these findings together indicate that it is of value for discount retailers to communicate sustainability initiatives, and that fears of changed price perceptions and greenwashing are to some extent unjustified.
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