The study of consumer behaviour is a dynamic and longstanding challenge to continuously understand the factors which influence consumers’ buying behaviour. Though internal (for example attitude, motivation and learning) and external factors (marketing stimuli) are equally important, the focus of this study is on external influences and market trends.
Consumer markets around the world have recently seen the increase of ethical products. Those products that are differentiated by their moral or sustainable values and attributes, for example environmentally friendly products or body lotions not tested on animals. The provision of these products is a result of organisations’ realisation that in order to increase their customer base, their values must be centred on doing good for the community as well as the environment and should be visible to consumers. For a number of organisations this means marketing the ethical values and attributes of the products they provide so that consumers will ultimately choose their products. However, in order to understand consumers’ willingness to pay for these products, marketers need to understand the price perceptions consumers have towards these products.
The purpose of this study relates to this and aims to determine the influence that the marketing of ethically framed personal care products, as an external influence, has on consumers’ willingness to pay for these products. More specifically, this study aims to determine whether South African females are willing to pay more for ethically framed personal care products than for ordinary personal care products. This will be done by specifically assessing their reference, fair and reservation price perceptions.