Seeking socially responsible consumers: exploring the intention-search-behaviour gap

Leif Azzopardi, Frans van der Sluis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The increasing prominence of "Socially Responsible Consumers" has brought about a heightened focus on the ethical, environmental, social, and ideological dimensions influencing product purchasing decisions. Despite this emphasis, studies have consistently revealed a significant gap between individuals' intentions to be socially responsible and their actual purchasing behaviors: they often choose products that do not align with their values. This paper aims to investigate the role of “search” and it how influences this gap. Our investigation involves an online survey of 286 participants, where we inquire about their search behaviors and whether they considered various dimensions—ranging from price and features to environmental, social, and governance issues — in relation to a recent purchase. Contrary to expectations of a clear intention-behavior gap, our findings suggest most participants exhibited indifference or lack of awareness regarding these "responsible" aspects. While, for those participants who were more ethically minded, they reported difficulties related to searching for and acquiring information regarding such aspects, which contributed to the gap. Our findings suggests that part of the intention-behaviour gap can be framed as an information seeking problem. Moreover our findings motivate the development of search systems and platforms that better help support consumers make more informed and responsible purchasing decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2024
Event2024 ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and
- Sheffield, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Mar 202414 Mar 2024


Conference2024 ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and
Abbreviated titleCHIIR'24
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • product search
  • shopping
  • ethical consumerism


Dive into the research topics of 'Seeking socially responsible consumers: exploring the intention-search-behaviour gap'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this