Consumers’ attitude and purchase intention towards organic personal care products. An application of the S-O-R model

  • Donata Tania Vergura
  • Cristina Zerbini
  • Beatrice Luceri
Keywords: organic cosmetic product; utilitarian attitude; hedonic attitude; purchase intention; Stimulus-Organism-Response model; structural equation modelling


Purpose of the paper: Guided by the Stimulus-Organism-Response (S-O-R) model, the study investigated whether and how six environmental stimuli related to the consumers’ experience with organic personal care products influenced their attitudinal responses (hedonic and utilitarian) which, in turn, affected their buying behaviour.

Methodology: The empirical research builds on an online survey with a sample of 209 consumers. A structural equation model was performed to analyse the data.

Findings: Results showed that knowledge about organic PCP and sensory appeal significantly improved the utilitarian and hedonic attitude towards these products. Contextually, natural content attributes and quality perception positively influence utilitarian attitude. Finally, both the affective and functional attitudinal dimensions significantly increased the purchase intention.

Research limits: Further research is recommended in order to measure the actual purchase behaviour and to extend the investigation to a larger sample that is representative of the general population. Moreover, longitudinal studies are required to examine whether changes in consumer attitude, perception and buying with regard to organic PCP happen in time.

Practical implications: Highlighting the determinants of consumers’ attitude and purchase intention, the paper provides valuable insight to manufacturers and retailers for the increase in organic PCP market share.

Originality of the paper: The study showed that the S-O-R model is an adequate theoretical framework to investigate the decision-making process in the context of organic PCP. Furthermore, the proposed theoretical model sheds light on the role of new relevant variables which affect the consumers’ evaluation towards these products and that have been neglected in past research.


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