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Abstract

Environmental concern has been an important issue for a few decades, and the extent of consumer demand for eco-friendly consumption has been increased. This study seeks to investigate consumers` willingness to pay (WTP) a premium for eco-friendly cosmetics. This study evaluates how much more a consumer is willing to pay for eco-friendly cosmetics and examines significant factors influencing consumers` WTP for eco-friendly cosmetics. Consumers` WTP is measured using four different ecofriendly cosmetics: low-priced skin care cosmetics, low-priced makeup cosmetics, high-priced skin care cosmetics, and high-priced makeup cosmetics. This study uses the contingent valuation method (CVM) to estimate consumer`s WTP for eco-friendly cosmetics. Survey questions were designed using both dichotomous choice and payment card method of CVM. Through face to face interviews and on-line surveys, the data were collected from women between 20 and 49 years old residing in Seoul and Kyeonggi area, Korea, in May 2010. A total of 226 questionnaires (132 from interviews and 94 from on-line) were included for the analytical sample in this study. The data were analyzed using descriptive analysis, T-test and Log-Logit analysis. The findings are as follows: First, the WTP measured by dichotomous choice method was estimated using the Log-Logit analysis. The results showed that the estimated WTP for low-priced skin care cosmetics was 19,152 won, which was 27.7% higher than the reference price, 15,000 won. For low-priced makeup cosmetics, the estimated WTP was 18,524 won, and its green premium was 21.0%. The estimated WTP for high-priced skin care cosmetics was 59,128 won, which was 18.3% higher than the reference price, 50,000 won. For high-priced makeup cosmetics was 57,666 won, and its green premium was 15.3%. Second, the WTP measure by payment card method was estimated using descriptive analysis. The results showed that the respondents were willing to pay 17,955 won for low-priced skin care cosmetics, which was 19.7% higher than the reference price, 15,000 won and 17,595 won for low-priced makeup cosmetics, which was 17.3% higher than the reference price. For high-priced skin care cosmetics, the average WTP was 56,950 won which was 13.9% higher than the reference price, 50,000 won. For high-priced makeup cosmetics, the average WTP was 55,650 won, which was 11.3% higher than the reference price. Overall, the WTP was higher in order of low-priced skin care, low-priced makeup, high-priced skin care, and high-priced makeup. It means that consumers decide degree of premium based on the price and the attributes of eco-friendly products. Third, the findings showed that age, monthly income, and having children or not were statistically significant factors that influenced consumers` willingness to pay for eco-friendly cosmetics. Other explanatory variables such as education, marital status, job, purchase experience of eco-friendly products, and environmental concerns did not show any statistical significance. The major contribution of this study is the investigation of the value of green attributes of the products by using CVM. Unlike most previous researches, this research used two methods of CVM, the dichotomous choice and the payment card, so it enhanced the reliability of research. According to this study, consumers showed price sensitivity when they pay green premium. These findings can be used as useful information to establish marketing strategies for green cosmetics.

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