Understanding Malaysian Consumers’ Willingness to Buy Organic Personal Care Products: The Moderating Effect of Customer Characteristics
In a departure from previous studies, mainly based on a customer perspective, this research study is an early attempt to propose and empirically test a conceptual framework for understanding the buying behavior of Malaysian consumers of organic personal care products from a broader perspective that includes both product and customer factors. The respondents were Malaysians who had bought organic personal care products within the past six months. The results indicate that sensory appeals and natural content (two intrinsic cues) appear to be two salient quality cues that consumers use to apprehend the quality of organic personal care products and buy them. Contrary to prior studies, the results in this study reveal that these two intrinsic cues play a more important role in influencing consumers’ organic purchase decision than do extrinsic cues (price premium and distinctive packaging). Moreover, consumers who have a stronger price-quality scheme are more likely to rely on price premium to infer product quality than those who have a weaker price-quality scheme. Unlike novice consumers, these expert consumers are less likely to rely on product quality in making their purchase decision. The findings provide organic marketers and manufacturers valuable insights into developing effective communication and formulating product development strategies.