DOI: 10.1177/15245004241233837 ISSN: 1524-5004

Determinants of Consumer Intention to Purchase Fair Trade Products in the Middle East: Does Gender Matter?

Narjes Haj-Salem
  • Marketing
  • Economics and Econometrics


Consumers are increasingly mindful of the influence of their consumption choices on the environment and society, leading to a significant increase in demand for fair trade products. However, while this trend has been rapidly growing in recent years, the market for fair trade products is still in its early stage in the Middle East, despite the region’s high per capita income.

Focus of the Article

This study investigates the motivations behind fair trade product consumption in the Middle East. By doing this, it aims to provide valuable insights and practical implications for developing effective and tailored marketing strategies to promote fair trade products in the region.

Research Question

This study addresses two main questions: (1) To what extent do environmental consciousness, social norms, moral obligation, and attitude influence Middle Eastern consumers’ intention to purchase fair trade products? (2) Does gender moderate the relationships between these variables and fair trade purchase intention?

Importance to the Social Marketing Field

By shedding light on the drivers of fair trade consumption in the Middle East, a largely under-researched region, this study expands the social marketing literature and informs advancements in the field. The findings equip marketers and policymakers with valuable insights for devising effective and tailored marketing strategies to promote fair trade products in the Middle East market.


The data were collected through an online survey administered to 252 consumers in the United Arab Emirates using Qualtrics. Established scales were adopted from prior research to measure the constructs. The hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling analysis and multi-group analysis.


The results showed that attitude towards fair trade products had the highest impact on purchase intention, followed by environmental consciousness, social norms, and moral obligation. Notably, the moderating analysis revealed that while attitude and environmental consciousness had comparable effects across genders, the impact of social norms on the intention to purchase fair trade products was significantly higher for females than males. Moral obligation, on the other hand, only significantly affected males’ intention to buy fair trade products.

Recommendations for Research or Practice

The study offers valuable insights for marketers and policymakers seeking to promote fair trade products in the Middle East market and highlights the need for tailored marketing strategies that consider gender differences in fair trade consumption.


The data were collected through a cross-sectional survey of the general public in the UAE based on voluntary participation. While this approach is commonly used in ethical consumption research, the potential for selection bias may limit the generalizability of the results.

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