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The Attitude of Young Saudi Consumers to Green Products

Info: 7483 words (30 pages) Dissertation
Published: 16th Dec 2019

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Tagged: International Studies

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
    1. Background
    2. Structure of the Study
    3. Research Aims & Objectives
    4. Contextual Rationale for Research
  2. Literature Review
    1. Green Products
      1.    Green Products & Marketing
    2. Consumer Behaviour
      1.    Young Consumer Behaviour
    3. Islamic Perspective of Sustainability
    4. Consumer Attitudes towards Green Products
    5. Research Gap
  3. Research Methodology
    1. Research Philosophy
    2. Hypotheses
    3. Research Design
    4. Data Sources
    5. Data Analysis
    6. Time Frame
    7. Pilot Test
    8. Ethical Issues
  4. Results
    1. Responses
    2. Analyses
  5. Discussion
    1. Interpretation of Findings
    2. Practical implications
    3. Limitations & Future Research
    4. Conclusion








The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitude of the Young Saudi Arabian population towards ecologically friendly or green products. In addition, it was examined whether this attitude impacts on their purchasing behaviour, as well as which factors or motivators drive young Saudi’s to purchase green products. Furthermore, the research aims to elucidate whether environmental awareness has an effect on green purchasing behaviour and finally, whether various demographic factors, such as age, gender, social status, education level and annual income have an impact on Saudi consumer attitude towards green products. This was investigated by means of an online survey to which there were 167 respondents. The results concluded that there was indeed a positive correlation between the young Saudi consumer’s attitude and their purchasing behaviour. In addition it was shown that price, packaging and certification play an important role in the motivations behind green purchases. It was also shown that awareness has a positive effect on consumer attitude toward green products. Furthermore it was revealed during this study that demographic factors did not affect consumer attitude significantly. The research can be leveraged to optimize marketing and focus campaigns on the correct motivators and cultivate a positive attitude within their customer base as this concept results in positive purchasing behaviour.







Chapter 1: Introduction

  1. Background

The past decades have seen a global shift in priorities. From indiscriminate manufacture to the detriment of the environment, the world is shifting towards a more sustainable way of living. Rapid economic growth has escalated the needs of the consumer, but pollution, ozone depletion and desertification are the results. (Chai and Chen, 2010 p.28). Grunert (1993, p.428) states that 40% of all environmental degradation is directly associated with private household consumption. This has awakened a public concern and perhaps even so in emerging nations with businesses embracing green marketing objectives to maintain customer relationships. This may even prove a competitive edge for organizations to leverage to demonstrate a commitment to the environment and hence a tacit commitment of consumers to the environment. Thus, businesses are increasingly taking steps towards being more environmentally and socially responsible by addressing pollution problem in order to attract customers for whom this is a priority. (Chai and Chen, 2010 p.28)

Generally speaking, In general, “green product is known as an ecological product or environmental friendly product” as it does not pollute or deplete natural resources and is generally touted for its sustainability with regard to the product itself and the packaging and processing protocol. (Chai and Chen, 2010 p.28)

These products have gained popularity in recent years as citizen responsibility and awareness of the environment has burgeoned and advertisers have taken advantage of that by promoting products based on their ecological impact, for example, recyclable packaging or sustainably sourced foodstuffs. This is known as green Marketing and it is the promotion of environmentally friendly products or the marketing of the products in a way that prevents environmental degradation. (Chai and Chen, 2010 p.28) According to Polonosky (1994), “Green or environmental marketing consists of all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchange intended to satisfy human needs or wants, such that the satisfaction of these needs and wants occurs with minimal detrimental impact on the natural environment”. (Polonosky, M. J, 1994. p 2)

The United Nations has expressed concern regarding environmental issues and the Secretary General stated that environmental change is necessary but poses the greatest problem currently. It is suggested that citizens can take the environmental crisis and turn it around with responsible consumer behaviour. By utilizing environmentally friendly energy sources and purchasing sustainably produced products, people can effectively reduce the environmental worries. Climate change has brought the environmental issues to the fore and made the population aware of the problems and what can be done to remedy the situation before it is too late, by changing their consumer behaviour. UNEP (2013)

Environmental groups and organizations are labouring to disseminate the environmental message to promote consumer awareness and necessity to purchase environmentally friendly products (Jain and Kaur, 2004. p. 187). It has taken some time for the message to distribute effectively. European consumers showed signs of environmental consciousness as early as the mid-1980s and the concept spread from there touting the value of green consumerism and its impact on the environment. (Fotopoulos and Krystallis, 2002. p.730). The last two decades have seen increased consumer concerns. Initially regarding the environment and solutions for those problems, but more recently becoming aware of their individual responsibility to the environment by way of green product purchasing. (Fraj and Martinez, 2007. p.26).

The question then remains, how do young consumers in Saudi Arabia view green products? And does their attitude affect the purchasing, and consequently the marketing of these products? This dissertation serves to reveal whether the Saudi Arabian consumer will intentionally choose green products over others, at a premium, to preserve the environment. Secondly, to demonstrate if there are demographic factors at work which affect the attitudes towards environmentally friendly products. And finally, if improved environmental awareness has an effect on the purchasing patterns of young Saudis.

Saudi Arabia is a unique country, judiciously governed by its religion and concept of Islamic sustainability. In theory, this should correspond with environmentally friendly choices, but does it? Literature does reveal that religion does in fact play a role in green purchasing behaviour and this can be attributed to the Islamic perspective of sustainability that endeavours to protect the earth and uphold ecological concerns. This essentially corresponds with green purchase intention and needs to be investigated further.  (Ariswibowo and Ghazali, 2016).

The Saudi government’s programme of “National Transformation” intends to shift the investment source of the country from oil to other foreign investment and economic sources. The campaign is designed to attract foreign investment by facilitating the business environment and changing legislation governing international investments and taxation of tobacco and other unhealthy products. This will potentially result in international companies investing directly in the market and effectively raising the level of the competition, which is a positive driver of the economy. The impact of this particular research will help understand the attitude of young Saudi Arabian consumers towards green products, which will improve and target marketing campaigns to the benefit of both organisations and society as a whole. (Alshuwaikhat and Mohammed, 2017, p.5)

A case study into the buying behaviour of Saudi Arabians found that customer satisfaction and retention hinged considerably on pricing. This has an implication for the current study, as investigation needs to be done into whether or not the Saudi Arabian youth are prepared to spend more for green products. (Al-Hassan and Hussain, 2016. p 62) The research concluded a positive relationship between pricing and consumer buying behaviour. Additionally, the study found that there were no significant differences in the responses from respondents of different demographic groups (age, gender, marital status, qualification and salary). (Al-Hassan and Hussain, 2016. p 72)

  1. Structure of the Study

The study comprises six sections. Chapter one includes the background information, research aims and context, and lastly a literature review. This chapter serves to set the scene for the research including previous research, gaps in the research and what the current study serves to prove.  Chapter two explains the research methodology with regard to philosophy, hypotheses and design of the investigations along with all implications. Chapter three comprises the responses and analyses thereof and Chapter four discusses the findings and the analysis thereof. Chapter five comprises the discussion and the implications of the results of the study, draws conclusions, as well as discussing future research possibilities. Lastly, there are the references and appendices respectively.

  1. Research Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research is to establish a link between the attitude of the Saudi youth and the purchasing of green environmentally friendly products. To establish that, the motivation for young Saudi consumers to purchase green products needs to be elucidated, as will the relationship between consumer demographics and their attitude towards green products.

Once this relationship can be effectively established, it is necessary to put forward recommendations to raise environmental awareness and the impact consumers can have on the environment, by purchasing sustainable products.

The research should answer the following questions:

  1. What is the young Saudi population’s attitude toward green products?
  2. What are the motivations driving young Saudi consumers to purchase green products?
  3. Is the young Saudi consumer’s purchasing decision of green products based on awareness?
  4. Is there statistical significance between consumer attitude towards green products and demographic factors such as age, gender, social status, education level and annual income?
  1. Contextual Rationale for Research

The research intends to elucidate whether the attitude of young Saudi consumers affects green purchasing behaviour, additionally what are the motivating factors behind this attitude towards green products. This information can be used to optimize the marketing perspective and target the specific markets for green products. Furthermore, investigation into whether eco-friendly awareness promotes a positive attitude will provide useful information to advertising agencies as to the content of marketing materials as well as the channels it should be exploiting.

Furthermore, knowing what drives the positive attitude to green products will enable environmentalists to promote environmental sustainability by appealing to the consumers in the correct ways. This will lead to increased consumption of ecologically friendly products which consume fewer resources, are sustainable and have a smaller environmental footprint.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

  1.     Green Products

Recently, there has been much movement towards the environmentally friendly way of life. Industrialisation and the manufacturing industry in the last few decades have left a great carbon footprint on the earth with regard to waste disposal, ozone depletion, global warming and pollution. People are generally becoming more aware of the effect they have on the environment due to mass media and educational programmes which have embraced the subject. With this increasing environmental concern, there is increasing occurrences of ecologically educated culture that live with their ecological impact in mind. This includes purchasing products that have minimal environmental impact, that are packaged in recycled materials or are sourced sustainably. According to Sachitra (2017), citizens are increasingly taking environmental responsibility in lieu of government action in the belief that their actions will increase their prospective futures (Sachitra, 2017). Sarigöllü (2009) stated that “Consumers are becoming more sensitive in their environmental attitudes, preferences and purchases” (Sarigöllü, 2009. P.25).

Thus the evolution of the “green consumer” arose, whereby individuals purchase green products in order to reduce their environmental impact. This trend has been gaining momentum throughout the world and thus this study serves to elucidate whether this eco-friendly inclination has expanded to include the Saudi youth, as it has customarily been a Western tendency (Sachitra, 2017).

As discussed, green products are said to contain attributes that promote a healthy environment with the least amount of impact. This can be with regard to recycled resources, which reduces environmental impact or toxic damage from the product. From a supply chain point of view, a green product is one that respects the “3 R’s” of “reduce, reuse and recycle” that is certified by an authority, as opposed to consumers who did not require certification according to the results of the study by Boivin, et al (2010), and that has not been tested on animals. For consumers it was revealed that biodegradability of products were important according to the same survey, for example a household cleaning agent would need to be non-toxic, good for health, socially responsible and good for the planet. Thus is can be correlated with the fact that consumers are concerned with the tangible attributes of the product whereas suppliers and manufacturers require certification (Boivin et al, 2010. p 31). Further consequences of the green product supply chain, is that suppliers need to be more aware and require environmental training to source sustainable, eco-friendly products that are in fact green and not just “green washing” as some suggest. This occurs when a product is marketed as green but does not comply with any of the existing standards or definitions of green products. Suppliers may find that sourcing green products from legitimate sources difficult, especially in areas where the eco-friendly way of life is not yet mainstream, and more expensive.

2.1.1. Green Products & Marketing

Fatima and Yusuf (2015) conducted a study to explore the concept of green marketing in relation to consumer behaviour. The sample was 70 college students from a single Indian university. The outcomes were that the population deems eco-friendly products good for the environment and healthy for consumers and overall had a positive attitude that related directly to their consumer behaviour. The problem with this research is the relatively small and closed off sample size. The sample was from educated individuals ostensibly from the same feeder schools and exposed to the same media and educational campaigns within the university, which may have entrenched certain biases toward green products and environmental stances which may or may not be extrapolated to the general population (Fatima and Yusuf 2015).

Perception is another concept that needs discussion. A study investigating brand image and the association of products with eco-friendly brands revealed that consumers were more likely to purchase green products from a known brand as there was a perceived quality difference. Thus consumers brand knowledge had an effect on their purchasing behaviour as there was an increased perceived quality of the green products. Although brand image and quality were seen to be interlinked, as the influence of the brand was only deemed significant when the perceived quality appeared to have had a positive effect on purchasing behaviour. It was further elucidated that global brand names trump more eco-friendly products from a smaller company, inferring that trust in brand names and their particular green marketing campaigns influenced behaviour rather than the environmentally friendliness of the product itself (Yang, 2017).

Further studies show that consumers are being more educated about environmental issues and how their choices affect the environment, as well as a consequent willingness to choose green products over conventional ones. A Malaysian study has revealed that the marketing of packaging can play as an important role in consumer purchasing intent than the products themselves. In developing countries, like Malaysia, which are not yet seeing the environmental degradation resultant of vast consumerism that many other countries are facing, there has been little attention paid to environmental concerns. The study revealed that 45.5 percent of the respondents agreed that green packaging would positively affect their purchase. This demonstrated the rise in environmental education and awareness that is being seen in emerging countries, as well as documenting the expansion of market offerings to fulfil the growing need to “go green”. The findings link the attitude and behaviour of consumers as a major deciding factor in the purchasing decision. Thus, should consumers feel positive towards eco-friendly products, they are more likely to purchase them. This attitude is subsequently influenced by education and awareness, as well as packaging and the concept as a whole. Thus it can be deduced that education, awareness and green packaging positively affects purchasing of green products in Malaysia (Zakersalehi and Zakersalehi).

Taking into consideration Malaysia is also a Muslim country of similar economic growth and circumstances, it could possibly hold true for Saudi Arabia and requires further investigation.

Further studies into the relationship between green brand positioning (GBP), green brand knowledge (GBK), attitude towards green brand (AGB) and green purchase intention (GPI) was conducted in Taiwan. It was revealed that GBP and GBK influence attitudes separately, and green brand attitudes influence GPI. Findings indicate that a mediating effect exists between all facets and this can be effectively leveraged by marketing personnel to improve GBK in order to form positive green brand attitudes and thus enhance green purchasing intent (Huang et al., 2014). Although positive correlations were found, the questionnaires were circulated among members of Taiwan’s Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) which are educated and have documented environmental concerns and preconceived ecological attitudes thus could have prejudiced results. The study focussed on a single brand in one product category which might be misleading and further research into green products as a whole needs to be conducted.

  1.     Consumer Behaviour

Consumer behaviour is often governed by consumer attitudes. In order to effectively investigate the attitudes, it is necessary to discuss how these attitudes are defined and what they represent. According to Al-Shaaba et al (2014, p 13) attitude is defined as a “psychological path of evaluating a specific object with favour or disfavour”. Attitude, once established, tends to endure over time and govern behaviour thereafter. It develops as a result of experiences and can evolve with new experiences and a positive attitude towards a particular behaviour results in a categorically stronger intention of the person to actually perform the behaviour. Chen (2007. p 1010) stated that consumer attitude towards the purchase of particular products are based on the attitude and personal allure towards performing that particular behaviour, as is based on the expectations of consequences of that behaviour. Thus, this can be applied to this study, as the attitudes towards green products needs to be investigated, as well whether this attitudes relates to the actual purchasing behaviour.

A study conducted in 2013 on Saudi Arabian consumer behaviours revealed that ecological consciousness does indeed affect purchasing intent. The study also examined the willingness to pay more for green products and found a high level of environmental consciousness among Saudi consumers as well as a willingness to pay more for eco-friendly products in order to reduce the harm of consumption on the environment (Ali et al, 2013). The limitations of this study is that the data was collected from university students which is difficult to generalize to the broad population, therefore it is necessary to examine the ecological conscious behaviour and purchasing behaviours among ordinary consumers in Saudi Arabia.

An extensive literature review of 53 empirical articles by Joshi and Rahman (2015) regarding consumer green purchase behaviour revealed that the studies failed to identify the determinants or drivers of green purchase behaviour. There were, however, studies that elucidated individual and situational factors when influence the green purchasing decision. Individual factors are a result of life experiences and affect how an individual makes a purchase decision. They include the emotional response to ecological concerns and how they influence green purchase intention. Consumer guilt and generativity were found to have a significant effect on consumer green purchasing behaviour. Habitual behaviour has also been identified as a negative influential factor in green purchase intention as consumers were seen to be governed by past behaviours rendering it difficult to change but there are limited studies in this area and further investigation is indicated. According to the literature review, some studies found a positive correlation between perceived consumer effectiveness and green purchase intention, as well as being associated with positive attitudes toward green products which in turn affects purchase intention. It therefore has a direct and indirect effect on green purchase behaviour (Yang, 2017. p 161).

The same study investigated the effect of perceived behavioural control on intention and actual green purchase behaviour. There was an opposing study stating there was no correlation, thus further investigation in required. Furthermore, values and personal norms were found to positively affect green purchase behaviour. Individual values such as health and hedonism found in eating positively affected green purchase intention. Trust in the product and the expectation of environmental performance is was found to be positively correlated with green product purchase intention (Joshi and Rahman, 2015)

Of all the variables studied within the scope of green consumerism, knowledge featured most heavily. Environmental education was found to positively affect green product purchase behaviour and lack thereof negatively affects the same parameter. It was suggested that knowledge mediates the relationship between ecological attitude and green purchase intentions (Joshi and Rahman, 2015).

A study of Saudi Arabian consumers investigating the relationship between pricing and positive buying behaviour showed notable finding with respect to corporate social responsibility. It was found that if a socially responsible company announce that part of the payment for the purchase will be donated to a charity or non-profit organization, it resulted in a higher degree of impulsive buying (Al-Hassan and Hussain, 2016).

Globalisation and consumer culture in Saudi Arabia is a shifting paradigm, changing from old traditions to Westernised consumer culture. As discussed, Saudi Arabia has customarily been dominated by traditional social norms and the shift to the contemporary economic landscape has been relatively fast, spanning the last three decades. This has resulted in the modern outlook towards economics struggling with the traditional values. According to Al Dossry (2006) over 43 percent of Saudi families spend more than their income. This is representative of the growing spending in the population and demonstrated a link between wastefulness and spending in a social context. Saudi families are governed by gift economies and “religious observance, generosity, hospitality, kinship ties, family cohesion, good neighbourhood and trust”. Thus, traditionally purchases are not made for oneself but the global developments and modernisation are changing these ideals. The concept of Awlamah which refers to the economic globalisation of Saudi Arabia has come to signify the impact of the global economy and the cultural changes as a result of Western thinking. One such change is the role of women in the Saudi family. It has been shown that there is a shift away from absolute patriarchal budgetary control to an increasing number of women managing their own finances (Al Dossry, 2012. p118 – 122). According to the traditional Islamic perspective, spending for the greater good, such as that, that has positive consequences for the environment, is acceptable which has significance for this study, whereas the paradigm shift towards a more liberal culture may affect this as women are increasingly in control of budgets and their attitudes towards green products may be different. Furthermore, there is an increasingly positive attitude among Saudis towards consumer credit which can result in higher levels of disposable income and the propensity to spend on items they may not have typically been able to afford, such as more expensive environmentally friendly products (Al Dossry, 2012. p118 – 122).

2.2.1. Young Consumer Behaviour

Among the Saudi Arabian consumers, the young educated population have been shown to be more responsible regarding the environment and are more receptive to environmental protection plans. A study of Sri Lankan consumers examined how social influences, environmental attitude, environmental knowledge, perceived environmental responsibility, government initiative and exposure to environmental media affected green purchase behaviour. It was found that there was indeed a significant relationship between social influence and young consumers’ green purchase behaviour. Furthermore, it was found that social media and internet presence allowed for sharing of environmental experiences and information which further added to the environmental awareness and further impacted on positive green purchase behaviour. The particular study was set in the context of young consumers studying at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, thus cannot be extrapolated to the general young population of the country (Sachitra, 2017).

A Swedish study explored the green product purchase intentions of young consumer and found that green marketing and eco-label packaging played a prominent role in buying intention as young Swedish consumers were found to be environmentally conscious consumers. They were found to exhibit intention to purchase green products and displayed an advanced sense of environmental awareness. They demonstrated adequate ecological knowledge, as well as a willingness to pay higher prices for environmentally friendly products. The motivator behind this behaviour was found to be influenced primarily by social groups. This particular investigation leveraged the theory of planned behaviour to identify consumer intention and purchase behaviour. The outcome was that knowledge was the most important factor in young Swedish consumer’s buying behaviour. The theory revealed that Swedish consumers have positive attitudes towards eco-friendly products and this is supported by their social norms, additionally their perceived behavioural control also contributed to the positive attitude. (Rahman, M, 2013).

  1.     Islamic Perspective of Sustainability

According to a recent study of Muslim purchasing behaviour, a link was revealed between religious behaviour and positive green purchase behaviour. The association was forged through religion mediating the roles of environmental concern, green purchase attitudes and intentions and being able to predict the green purchase behaviours of Muslim consumers. Consequently, the takeaway from this study was the practical marketing considerations for green marketers and enabling them to modify campaigns to target the Muslim consumers based on these results. Conclusions were also drawn regarding purchasing behaviour and consumer knowledge. It was revealed that environmental education and the message that consumers can actually make a difference with their choices, positively affected green purchasing (Ariswibowo and Ghazali, 2016).

Studies into Saudi consumerism have elucidated some interesting notions. Foremost of which is that the Saudi social framework is changing with the times. As much as the Saudi family still depends heavily on religion and consumer behaviour is directly resultant of social pressures, things are changing for the Saudi population. Traditionally a patriarchal society, Saudi Arabia is seeing a shift in paradigms on this front too. The study revealed that women are playing an increasingly influential role in purchasing and selection of quantity and quality of goods (Al Dossry, 2012). This has consequence for this research, as more western ideas are being adopted by the Saudi’s, the more chance consumer behaviour is being influenced by ecologically friendly ideals which are customarily Western concepts.

Changes in social, cultural and economic domains have seen Saudi families change in their structure from extended families to more nuclear families, wherein the role of the individual is seen as more important than before. Exposure to the internet and international media has changed the culture is certain ways. Additionally, it has exposed the population to a greater cross-section of educational material, including environmental education which could potentially affect the way Saudi’s buy. Besides the social changes, economically Saudi Arabia is in a positive position as a result of the high price of oil. The economy is thriving and there is more disposable income and increased markets, as well as exposure to international purchasing trends. Foreign tourism, particularly to Western countries, has exposed Saudi’s to alternative lifestyles and particularly the environmentally friendly way of living (Al Dossry, 2012). Thus previously purchasing green products, which may be more expensive, would be seen as an excess frowned upon by the Islamic religion but as Saudi Arabia is modernising and the increased exposure to Western culture, the people, especially the younger population may well be open to the idea of green products and their consumption.

Research shows that religious values are more important that personal values as in a faith like Islam, these ethical principles are entrenched into everyday life. These values have been found to affect consumer behaviour. The consumer behaviour is linked to the level of devoutness or piety towards the individual’s religion. Green product consumerism is a matter of ethical and moral implications and religious beliefs guide consumer behaviour towards what is morally right. Consequently, Islamic beliefs guide the individual towards green product purchasing behaviour. The basis of this is that actions that are deliberately detrimental to the environment are forbidden in Islam, as humans are essentially responsible for the preservation of the Earth and hence protection thereof is fundamental to the faith. There are substantial scriptures in the Quran that reinforce this aspect of the religion (Hassan, 2014).

The results of this particular study reveal significant correlations between religious values and green purchase behaviour. Furthermore, that there is a distinct connection between religiosity and green behaviour (Hassan, 2014). The implications of these findings are that this information can be used as a starting point to understand the impact of religion on green purchase intention in Saudi Arabia.

  1. Theory of Planned Behaviour

Many studies utilize the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) to investigate the factors that affect and influence human behaviour. More specifically, this theory is used to link attitudes with behaviour in order to be able to predict how a certain population will respond to aspects. In this case the theory of planned behaviour is used to asses and predict the attitude of young Saudi consumers towards green products, by leveraging the TPB theory (Ajzen, 2011).

A Chinese study of consumer attitude and purchase intention towards organic food used TPB to measure the consumer attitude in which the TPB was used. According to the study it is one of the most widely used expectancy-value models used to predict and explain human behaviour, with particular importance to food choice selection. Thus within the scope of this investigation, the theory enables the researcher to explain the consumer food choice behaviour and consequently that the behaviour results in purchase intention and that it is essentially formed by a combination of factors, including attitude towards the behaviour, subjective norms and the behavioural control mechanisms involved (Al-Shaaba et al, 2014. p 13).

The TPB model reveals that the attitude towards environmental concern, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control are essential to result in the purchasing of green products. Furthermore, perceived behavioural control directly affects the purchasing intention of green products. The model predicts that higher levels of behavioural intention should result in positive green product purchasing behaviour, but demographic factors can affect this paradigm.

  1. Research Gap

The literature review has provided a framework on which to build the research paradigm. We know essentially what has been investigated regarding the attitudes and motivators behind green product purchasing, but what is still outstanding is what the young Saudi population’s attitude towards green products is and what motivates their particular consumer choices. Furthermore, the research needs to elucidate if there are any correlations between demographic factors and green product purchasing behaviour in the Saudi context. Lastly, the research needs to elucidate if environmental awareness in young Saudi Arabians affects green consumer attitudes.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

  1.       Research Philosophy

The research philosophy should reflect how and in which ways consumer attitudes affect purchasing behaviour of green products in young Saudi consumers. There are two approaches one can apply to perform this research, namely deductive and inductive. The difference lies in the relationship between the theoretical component and the gathered data. Deductive research refers to model where a hypothesis is tested in light on existing theory by analysing empirical data, whereas inductive research uses incomplete areas of knowledge to draw conclusions to supplement the theory. (Hyde, 2000. p 82)

The purpose of this particular study was to investigate if the attitudes of young Saudi consumers towards eco-friendly products, affects their purchasing behaviour, as well as the motivating factors driving their attitudes toward green products. Thus, investigating the relationship between purchase intention and attitude. The study was based on reviewing previous literature and research and developing hypotheses for testing. Therefore, a deductive approach was applied within the scope of this research. Furthermore the study collected empirical data by conducting a questionnaire in order to test the existing theory and adapt the model to formulate further conclusions.

In order to study the attitudes of young Saudi consumers with regards to the buying behaviour of green products, the study will leverage the theory of planned behaviour (TPB). Psychologically, TPB links beliefs, or in this case attitudes, with behaviour in order to improve the predictive power of the theory of reasoned action. The theory incorporates the factors that shape human intentions and behaviour. (Ajzen,  2011. p 117) This model can be used to assess and predict the attitude of young Saudi consumers with respect to the subjective norms, perceived behavioural control and behaviour that influences their intentions and purchasing behaviour when it comes to green products. The TPB is used, along with the review of previous studies, to formulate the hypotheses regarding consumer behaviour. The model helps us elucidate the question

Figure 1: Theory of planned behaviour infographic from (Ajzen, 2005, p.118)

The model shows that attitude towards environmental concern, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control are essential to result in the purchasing of green products. Furthermore, perceived behavioural control directly affects the purchasing intention of green products. The model predicts that higher levels of behavioural intention should result in positive green product purchasing behaviour, but demographic factors can affect this paradigm. Thus the model is adapted to the research as follows:

Figure 2: A conceptual model of the antecedents of green purchasing behaviour

Constructs Questionnaire Item
Knowledge 1, 4, 7, 15
Attitude towards green products 1, 2, 3, 5
Subjective norm 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18 and 19
Perceived behavioural control 1, 2, 3, 5 and 18
Demographic factors Demographic information

Table 1: Questionnaire related to model

The research involves the use of a questionnaire to elucidate the attitude of consumers to green products, as well as investigating the effect of demographic factors on attitudes and consequently if those attitudes translate to actual purchasing, and in effect prove or disprove the hypotheses.

  1.       Hypotheses

The research should answer the following hypotheses:

  1. Hypothesis 1: Young Saudi population’s attitude toward green products impacts positively on their purchasing
  2. Hypothesis 2: There are various motivators driving young Saudi consumers to purchase green products
  3. Hypothesis 3: Awareness positively affects young Saudi consumer’s green purchasing
  4. Hypothesis 4: There is a statistical significance between consumer attitude towards green products and demographic factors such as age, gender, social status, education level and annual income
    1.       Research Design

A quantitative research design generates quantifiable data that encompasses observable and measurable phenomena regarding people, events or things and consequently establishing a relationship between these variables by means of statistical tests. Such quantitative research is appropriate for phenomena that require specific measurement and quantification. This type of design is usually well structured to enhance objectivity. The outputs of a quantitative research design are values that are subjected to statistical analyses in order to interpret and reach various conclusions about the phenomenon being investigated. (Cormack, 1996. p 113). This research study is in accordance with the particular objectives of the quantitative research paradigm.

A structured questionnaire was used to quantify objective responses and conduct statistical analyses in order to draw inferences regarding the hypotheses. The questionnaire was conducted independently of the researcher thus was no basis for bias or transference of prejudice. The literature review served as a basis for the development of the questionnaire, which enabled the researcher to assess the depth and breadth of the knowledge available concerning the research question.

The research study proposes to be a quantitative one by implementing an online questionnaire, constructed through Google Forms. To achieve the research objectives and to address the research problem the researcher conducted quantitative research which is suited to confirming a hypothesis and used in this case for those reasons. The questionnaire will be distributed, with a consent addendum and the survey link, on various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp) targeting Saudi groups. The responses will remain confidential and anonymized.

Research Methodology Employed in the Study
Research Approach Deductive & Quantitative
Research Design Descriptive
Data Sources Primary
Research Strategy Survey
Data Collection Method Online questionnaire
Sampling Convenience sampling
Data Analysis Method Frequencies

Descriptive statistics

Pearson’s Correlation

Linear regression

Criteria Validity


Table 2: Research Methodology

The average age in Saudi Arabia is 28 years old, thus participants in the sample group will be selected based on the following criteria:

  1. They must be between 18 and 35 years of age
  2. They must be currently living in Saudi Arabia
  3. There must be a minimum of 150 participants

The statistical methods to analyse the data received are proposed as follows:

  • Percentages, percentile distributions and cross-tabulations will be used for the descriptive analysis
  • Regression analyses will be used to indicate if significant relationships exist between the indicators and the variables
  • Pearson’s coefficient of correlation
  1.       Data Sources

Primary data have been collected using closed-ended questionnaires. Responses were measured on five-point Likert scale. Pearson’s coefficient of correlation has been calculated to measure extent of association using SPSS statistical software package.

The Likert scale comprises a rating scale based on five responses which are then analyses to draw statistical significant and predict future behaviour.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

The questionnaire was constructed based on extrapolations drawn from the literature review. Each question is set to achieve a specific hypothesis objective.

  • Hypothesis 1was investigated through analysis of the responses to questions 1, 2, 3 and 5
  • Hypotheses 2 was investigated through analysis of the responses to questions 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18 and19
  • Hypotheses 3 was investigated through analysis of the responses to questions 1, 4, 7 and 15
  • Hypotheses 4 was investigated through analysis of the demographics related responses as well as analysis of responses to questions 1, 2, 3 and 5

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