Personal Networks as a Precursor to a Green Future: A Study of "Green" Consumer Socialization Among Young Millennials From India and China

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Mass Communication and Journalism




Purpose: Millennials, an understudied segment of the sustainable market, are enthusiastic about adopting greener lifestyles but fail to translate pro-environmental attitudes to actual behavior, thus understanding factors that motivate their actual purchase of green products is imperative. Using the consumer socialization framework, the researchers studied the impacts of social structural variables (i.e. age, gender, education and family structure), socialization agents (i.e. family, peers and mass media) and environmental concern on the buying behaviors of millennials from two of the world’s most populous nations: India and China.

Design/methodology/approach: Using online panels (Amazon M-Turk and sojump.com), online surveys were administered to an online sample of millennials aged 18-24 years from India (n = 253) and China (n = 255).

Findings: Hierarchical regressions showed that peer communication predominantly influenced green buying behavior of millennials from India, while family communication was most important to Chinese millennials. Environmental concern, an attitudinal outcome, directly impacted behavior and also mediated the relationship between significant socialization agents and buying behavior in both countries.

Practical implications: Considering the importance given to peers (India) and family (China), green marketers have to use specialized strategies when marketing their products to millennials in India and China. Instead of focusing on mass media campaigns, the study highlights the importance of “personal” social networks to curb the environmental issues plaguing their respective countries

Originality/value: The current study extends the literature on millennials’ green consumer behavior by exploring millennials in India and China. The consumer socialization framework has not been applied to countries like India and China, and to understand green consumerism, the role played by influential agents such as family and peers in these collectivistic cultures and their potential to change green attitudes and behavior warrants further exploration. The possibility of mediating effects has been represented by weak correlations between socio-demographic and psychological factors. Using the consumer socialization framework, the current study explores environmental concern (EC) as a mediator in the model.

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Young Consumers





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