Building understanding of the domain of consumer vulnerability

Stacey Menzel Baker, James W. Gentry, Terri L. Rittenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

241 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Consumer vulnerability is a sometimes misunderstood or misused concept that is equated erroneously with demographic characteristics, stigmatization, consumer protection, unmet needs, discrimination, or disadvantage. This article seeks to clarify the boundaries for what is and what is not consumer vulnerability. By explicating the key themes of consumer vulnerability from previous studies in the consumer research and marketing literatures, the authors build a definition and model to explain that consumer vulnerability is multidimensional, context specific, and does not have to be enduring. The authors clarify that multiple and simultaneous internal and external factors contribute to consumer experiences of vulnerability. They conclude by proposing some ways the consumer-driven definition of consumer vulnerability can be implemented into research and policy decisions. Most important, their implementation focuses on treating consumers as they wish to be treated, not as well-meaning others think they should be treated, and on directing policy toward facilitating individual empowerment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-139
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Macromarketing
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Consumer vulnerability
Unmet needs
Consumer protection
Stigmatization
Consumer research
Demographic characteristics
Internal factors
Disadvantage
External factors
Consumer experience
Vulnerability
Empowerment
Discrimination
Consumer marketing

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing

Cite this

Building understanding of the domain of consumer vulnerability. / Menzel Baker, Stacey; Gentry, James W.; Rittenburg, Terri L.

In: Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 25, No. 2, 12.2005, p. 128-139.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Menzel Baker, Stacey ; Gentry, James W. ; Rittenburg, Terri L. / Building understanding of the domain of consumer vulnerability. In: Journal of Macromarketing. 2005 ; Vol. 25, No. 2. pp. 128-139.
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