Predictors of organic tea purchase intentions by Chinese consumers: Attitudes, subjective norms and demographic factors

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Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies



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China, Organic foods


© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that influence Chinese consumers’ purchase of organic products, with a focus on organic tea. Design/methodology/approach: A structured questionnaire was used to survey 202 shoppers in Guangdong Province, China. The data were analyzed using multivariate regression. Findings: The study suggests two significant predictors of organic tea purchase intentions: perceiving organic tea as a healthier alternative to non-organic tea; perceiving the purchase of organic tea as a status symbol. Younger respondents and respondents with higher educational attainment reported greater organic tea purchase intentions. Non-significant predictors of organic tea purchase intentions were respondents’ knowledge of organic tea through media exposure, their gender and income. Research limitations/implications: The findings help further research on consumer preferences regarding organic foods providing key insights for researchers and marketers as they strive to make informed decisions in the emerging organic food retail environment. Specifically, Chinese consumers perceiving organic tea as a healthy option and as a status symbol are more likely to state organic tea purchase intentions. These results point to the need for extended research on key antecedents of Chinese consumers’ purchase intentions of organic products. Originality/value: Little was known about the motivations of Chinese consumers for purchasing organic food products, as the psychological and demographic factors that are associated with organic food purchase behavior in China were not well researched. Specifically, there is still a notable gap in the understanding of how consumers in China make organic tea purchase decisions. With organic foods occupying a progressively larger portion of Chinese diets and budgets, this research fills in some of the knowledge gap by examining how the social norms of status symbols influence Chinese consumers’ purchase intentions of organic tea.

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