Exploring socially responsible behaviour of
Indian consumers: an empirical
Purpose – With growing consumerism in the country, Indians need to behave in a socially responsible
manner for its sustainable development. This study sets out to explore the extent of the relationship
between the demography and socially responsible behaviour of Indian consumers.
Design/methodology/approach – A slightly modiﬁed SRCB scale developed by Antil and Bennet with
34 Likert-type items along with a few demographic questions is introduced among two equal groups
representing urban and rural consumers, because they almost equally contribute to the country’s GDP.
Findings – Urban respondents scored high in all demographic categories in comparison with rural
consumers. Gender-wise, the behaviour was quite symmetrical in both the groups. Education-wise,
inverse relationship is noticeable between the SRCB-mean values and educational-level; it may be due
to the respondents’ continuing education. The inference is reinforced while analyzing the SRCB-values
across the age groups. Interestingly, younger ones particularly, the females are demonstrating high
scoring on the SRCB-scale. Analyzing according to income-level revealed signiﬁcant difference only for
urban consumers. The lower-income category score high because they are non-earning (students) or
have just begun earning.
Research limitations/implications – The implications for green marketers are to focus on young
consumers and more particularly the female population for creating loyal segment and gaining
competitive edge. The policy makers need to promote urbanization for sustainable living and creating
awareness of clean-green living. Young Indians are identiﬁed as being more promising and socially
responsible than their elders.
Originality/value – The paper makes an attempt to identify an insight into Indian consumers in terms of
their socially responsible consumption behaviour. It presents a base for future studies on consumer
Keywords Consumerism, Consumption, Sustainable development
Paper type Research paper
lobalization and market economy model of development has triggered faster
growth in many parts of the world and experienced increase in productivity, income
and consumption levels. Indian market has also experienced such growth along
with corporate resurgence and rising consumerism. But these developments accompany
with certain problems and issues, if not taken care of, will have alarming consequences in
the time to come. These facts have been well established by a number of studies (Beck et al.,
1992; Beck, 1995; Ponting, 1993; Daly, 1996; Kilbourne et al., 1997). According to Crowther
and Rayman-Bacchus (2004), certain economic de
cles of the past are giving an
impression that all is not well with the corporate world and that there may arise problems,
which need to be addressed. Ecological economists have reservations in propagating
consumerism because it is considered a signiﬁcant and unnecessary source of
environmental degradation (Cogoy, 1999) and cause pollution and resource depletion in
such markets (Mann, 2006). Industrial capitalism, together with consumerism and the
ever-proliferating commodity culture that it produces, is responsible for the exploitation and
devastation of our natural environment (Durning, 1992).
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY JOURNAL
VOL. 5 NO. 2 2009, pp. 200-211, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1747-1117 DOI 10.1108/17471110910964487
Narendra Singh is a
Professor in the Department
of Commerce, Kurukshetra
University, Haryana, India.