The usage of single-use plastic cups leaves a negative impact on the environment, from the production using increasing gas emissions to the toxic disposal into soil and ocean. Approximately 50% of all plastic items are discarded after using them only once (Rummel et al., 2016). Current consumption patterns require changes due to increased attention toward environmental issues. To help the situation, there is an urgent need to understand consumers’ willingness to change behavior. There has been a change in consumer demand regarding packaging since environmental concerns are at the top of their mind, which invariably drives business owners to improve their social responsibility initiatives. The repetition of information has allowed consumers to purchase more consciously. For instance, consumers could quickly adapt to the plastic bag charge by governments, and consumers are willing to pay higher prices for sustainable products. Companies such as Starbucks are using nudges to provide soft persuasion to make consumers behave more responsible. The nudges assist users during their decision-making process to act desirably. Therefore, this paper examines how nudging messages in advertising can influence consumers' purchase intention and willingness to pay. In particular, the beverage industry is facing challenges while the increased consumption and improper disposal of single-use cups continues. A 2x3 between-subjects experimental survey design was conducted among 220 participants that visited one of the two bubble tea store locations in the Netherlands. The results have shown that environmental information, providing incentives, and a social norm nudge did not significantly change consumers’ purchase intention and willingness to pay. It does not matter what type of reusable cup was presented to them since the effectiveness of the different types of nudging techniques were the same. This thesis contributes to behavioral studies regarding nudging effectiveness among consumers as well as optimizing environmentally friendly behavior. The thesis suggest that future research could experiment within a face-to-face setting where consumers must make instant decisions while ordering a drink at a beverage store. Additionally, researchers could use the nudging techniques for different contexts or products to understand the various behaviors and evaluations of other product types.

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Drs. Anke Raeijmaekers
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Lilian Li. (2022, June 27). I Nudge You to Buy a Reusable Cup The effect of nudging on consumers' purchase intention and willingness to pay. Media & Business. Retrieved from