Consumer Perception, WOM, Purchase, and Green Behaviour in Response to the PM2.5 Phenomenon
Keywords:Pollution, Consumer signaling, Green behaviour, Word-of-mouth, Environmental concern
A silent killer is an apt description of PM2.5 as this invisible tiny dust is very harmful for people’s health. PM2.5 negatively affects the lives of people in many parts of the world including Thailand. This problem became the talk of the town in Thailand when Bangkok shot up to be among the worst three cities with the highest air pollution (world AQI ranking) in 2019. This study seeks to understand how Thai consumers perceive and respond to this challenging situation — including whether and how they purchase products such as masks and air purifiers to help protect them from PM2.5. Additionally, this research investigates what could encourage people to act together to save the environment. It was found that the PM2.5 topic has engaged Thai people. They spread word-of-mouth regarding this issue. Around 6 out of 10 Thai people wear masks to protect themselves from PM2.5. Thai people seem to adopt their behavior in ways that require little to no cost and minimal effort. For example, they close windows, but they do not refrain from doing what they are used to such as cooking methods that produce a lot of smoke, or lighting incense during Chinese New Year. When they buy PM2.5-related products i.e. masks, they make their purchase decisions primarily on the product’s attributes and brand. People’s negative attitude towards PM2.5 and its perceived danger are not sufficient to lead to green behavior; while environmental concern such as the belief that people are harming the balance of the nature does. Scholars can use these findings as a foundation to further study and extend the knowledge frontier of green consumer behaviour. Managers and policy makers can collaborate in facilitating the right environment to act green, as well as ingraining and reinforcing green behaviour in Thai society.
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