Consumers’ behavioural responses to price promotions of organic products: An introspective pre-study and an online field experiment

Jyrki Isojärvi, Jaakko Aspara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


While most marketing research on organic products refers to the premium price levels of organic products, little research exists on consumers’ behavioural responses to price promotions or discounts of organic products. The present study aims to fill this research gap.
To develop alternative hypotheses about consumers’ behavioural responses to price promotions of organic fast-moving consumer good (FMCG) products, the authors used the researcher-introspection method in a pre-study. To test the hypotheses developed based on the pre-study, the authors conducted a field experiment on online advertising of an FMCG sold in drugstores. In the field experiment, the authors exposed consumers to an online ad featuring either a price promotion (−20%) or the regular price of the product. The ads also varied in terms of whether they contained explicit organic claims or not, and whether they included implicit organic cues or not.
The price promotion increased the clickthrough rate of the ad both when combined with an explicit organic claim and when combined with the implicit cue of green product pack. The results suggest that consumers do not have significant suspicions about price promotions of organic products, but rather presume that the price promotion of an organic FMCG product is a periodical promotional action, similar to the price promotions for conventional, non-organic products. Also, consumers seem to assume that the regular prices of organic FMCG products are so high that the retailer/manufacturer can well afford periodic price discounts.
Research limitations/implications
The present research shifts the focus of organic marketing research from the premium price levels to the effectiveness of price promotions and discounts. Further, the present results contrast with certain earlier studies that have questioned the effectiveness of price promotions for organic products.
Practical implications
The results have different implications for marketing managers of brands not yet providing organic product versions in the market, of brands producing non-organic products, which cannot easily be rendered organic, and of brands offering organic products in the market.
This is, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, the first empirical study and field experiment on price promotions of organic products, including explicit organic claims.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1804-1825
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 10.03.2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • Marketing Effectiveness and Profitability
  • 512 Business and Management
  • online advertising
  • organic products
  • price promotions
  • organic claims
  • packaging colour
  • digital advertising
  • banner advertising
  • clickthrough
  • field experiment

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Competition economics and service strategy - Quantitative consumer behaviour and competition economics


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