Transnational Marketing Journal

ISSN: 2041-4684 | e-ISSN: 2041-4692

Mapping Studies on Consumer Boycotting in International Marketing

Omar A Al Serhan
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Elias Boukrami
Regent’s University London, Regent's Centre for Transnational Studies
Keywords: Consumer behaviour, consumer boycott, boycott motivations, consumer action, consumer animosity.


Consumer boycotting behaviour has serious consequences for organisations targeted. In this paper, a review of literature on boycotting from 1990 to 2013 is presented. Several consumer boycotting types are identified based on motivations underlying. These are influenced by religious beliefs, cultural values and political opinions. We have scanned all articles dealing with consumer boycotting behaviour in marketing literature. 115 scholarly articles published in 25 top marketing journals as ranked in the ABS (Association of Business Journal Schools) Review from 1990 to 2013 are reviewed. Along with outlining the research in this area, we also wanted to assess the level of attention paid to brand loyalty in relation to boycotting behaviour. Despite the fact that existing literature listed a number of factors that can potentially trigger consumers’ boycotts i.e. religion, war, political, economic, cultural, environmental, and ethical reasons. Nevertheless, there is no ranking of factors indicating which one are the most influential (e.g. long lasting, most damaging in terms of brand loyalty, etc.). Our review also suggests that boycott campaigns in developed nations are mainly motivated by economic triggers. However, in developing nations boycott calls and campaigns were motivated by religious triggers or by ethical triggers. The impact of boycotting on consumers’ brand loyalty, relation between religion, race, country of origin and the level of regional as well as national development would need to be researched further in order to shed light on its effect on the success or failure of boycott calls from consumers’ perspective and the prevention of such calls from the targeted firms’ point of view.

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