Social Impact in Consumer Behaviour-Consumer Boycotts as a Consumerism Activity

Social Impact in Consumer Behaviour-Consumer Boycotts as a Consumerism Activity

Dursun Yener (Istanbul Medeniyet University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2139-6.ch002
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Consumerism is not a new concept for marketing, but its importance is growing in the recent years. Researchers have studied the phenomenon of consumerism from within different dimensions. However, its relationship with social impact theory and consumer boycotts has not been dealt with accurately. Social impact can be defined as the effect of people on other people. A consumer boycott is a type of consumer behaviour in which consumers collectively prefer not to use their purchasing power towards a product, brand or all products of a country and boycott them. Motivations for participating in boycotts differ in accordance with various factors such as consumers' beliefs, needs or attitudes. Organizing a boycott and calling for people's participation is much easier today than it used to be in the past. Since consumer boycotts is a type of consumer behaviour and consumers are affected various factors including people in their family or friends or members in their reference groups, they can be thought a derivation of social impact.
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Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods or services in even greater amounts. The term “consumerism” is also used to refer to the consumerist movement or consumer activism, which seeks to protect and inform consumers by requiring such practices as honest packaging and advertising, product guarantees, and improved safety standards (Mirchevska and Markova, 2011). Consumerism defines a specific analysis category that studies the phenomenon that came up with mass production development and consumption expansion (Bostan, Burciu and Grosu, 2010). It has been defined for example as “organized group pressure which has become a set of values held not only by the consumers of a company’s products but also within the wider society” (Jones et al., 2005, p. 35). Kotler defined consumerism “as a social movement designed to augment the rights and powers of buyers in relation to sellers” (Varadarajan and Thirunarayana, 1990, p. 6). By consumerism, it is understood that assembly of ideologies regarding social activism, pressure groups (consumer associations) and in general that trend that tries to raise the rights and the consumer’s power in relation to the entities (Bostan, Burciu and Grosu, 2010).

In the twentieth century capitalism, the focus shifted increasingly from production to consumption, resulting in a parallel shift from the control and exploitation of workers to the control and exploitation of consumers. Capitalism has created a controllable “consuming mass” to complement the control of the “producing mass”. The central concern here is to concentrate the means of consumption on the control of consumers in order to get them to spend as much as possible (Assad, 2007).

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