Purpose – The current global recession is presenting new and difficult challenges for those customers wishing to consume sustainably and ethically, and the marketers who seek to provide the goods that allow them to do so. The purpose of this paper is to explore to what extent international marketers can engage consumers with a social conscience and retain their loyalty both during and after the recession. Design/methodology/approach – This paper explores the impact the global recession is having upon consumers and marketers, and considers the evidence surrounding concerns that the demand for ethical products will decline across international markets as the recession deepens. Findings – The discussion acknowledges that while discount retailers are thriving, and customers are trading down, evidence suggests that across international markets a significant number of socially conscious consumers are still exhibiting ethical consumption behaviour. Future marketing opportunities lie in providing consumers with products that will deliver value without compromising their ethical social values. Originality/value – The paper offers a balanced perspective on the significance of ethical consumers to international marketers. The analysis highlights a number of threats and opportunities that exist in the current global recession, and the discussion is illustrated with several examples of successful marketing ethics in action.
International Marketing Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 30, 2009
Keywords: Ethics; Sustainable development; Consumer behaviour; Recession; International marketing
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