Chair of Marketing

What is anti-consumption and consumer wellbeing?

Anti-consumption means against consumption, yet the word is not synonymous with alternative, conscientious, ethical, sustainable, or green consumption. While these terms describe various forms of pro-social consumption; anti-consumption, on the other hand, focuses on phenomena that researchers traditionally have ignored.

Consumer research predominately focuses on the approach aspects of consumer behaviours and attitudes; for instance, why people choose a product or brand. In contrast, anti-consumption research focuses on why consumers avoid certain products or brands. Although a complete understanding of our consumption-driven society requires study of approach and avoidance phenomenon, the latter has received less focus.

Anti-consumption need not be contrary to business success or enhanced quality of life, nor need it interfere with societal and business progress. Enhanced quality of life depends on improving both the quantity and quality of consumption; thus, anti-consumption is not an inherent economic threat. Business practitioners and academicians should view acts of anti-consumption as opportunities to learn about ourselves, our products, our practices, and our society.

Physicians who understand health but not illness cannot treat their patients successfully; similarly, business scholars who only study successful companies may never understand what causes unsuccessful companies. Therefore, study of anti-consumption completes our understanding of consumers and society.

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