The influence of ethical trading policies on consumer apparel purchase decisions: A focus on The Gap Inc.

H. Iwanow, M. G. McEachern, A. Jeffrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - To explore the extent to which consumers' ethical concerns impact upon apparel purchase decisions and highlight the value of The Gap's corporate code of conduct in meeting these concerns. Design/methodology/approach - Face-to-face questionnaires were conducted with Scottish consumers in February 2003. Respondents were recruited from central shopping areas using a convenience sampling method. Findings - Despite consumers possessing a high level of awareness of ethical issues, results reveal that factors such as price, quality and style have a greater influence on their apparel purchase behaviour than their concerns about the ethical practices of the supplier. Research limitations/implications - As the study was exploratory in nature and consisted of Scottish consumers only, generalisations of the results should be approached with some caution. Practical implications - Provides a useful insight into The Gap's corporate code of conduct and the extent to which such codes meet the ethical concerns of consumers in relation to their apparel purchasing decisions. Originality/value - The emergence of the ethical consumer has been much discussed, particularly in relation to global food markets (e.g. food miles, fair trade, organics, etc.). However, little agreement exists surrounding the ethics of apparel production. This study aims to contribute to this research gap by exploring consumer influences upon the apparel purchase decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-387
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005
Externally publishedYes


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