Will ethical consumers sustain their values in the global credit crunch?

Marylyn Carrigan*, Patrick de Pelsmacker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-687
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Marketing Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2009


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Ethics
  • International marketing
  • Recession
  • Sustainable development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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