Profiling European Consumers that Engage in Boycotting


  • Fernando Mata Centre for Research and Development in Agri-food Systems and Sustainability, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo
  • Nuno Baptista Escola Superior de Comunicação Social
  • Maria Dos-Santos Escola Superior de Comunicação Social, Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa
  • Natacha Jesus-Silva Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique



Political consumerism, Anti-consumption, Boycotting, Europe, European Social Survey


Boycotting involves abstention from buying specific products or brands for political, ethical, or ecological reasons. Boycott is usually framed as an expression of political consumerism and has been on the rise. Companies that suffer a boycott may endure severe consequences including long-term damaged brand image and harmed reputation. However, there is still an incomplete picture of the socio-political and demographic profile of boycotters. Most characterizations of political consumers are based on research that combines boycotters and buycotters under a single construct of political consumers, and yet these consumers are driven by different motivations. The objective of this exploratory study is to provide a general characterization of European political consumers that engage in boycotting. The data used was collected between the 25th of May, 2022 and the18th of September, 2022, and was retrieved from the 10th edition (2022) of the European Social Survey. The study employs binary logistic regression to assess the association between boycotting and various potential factors listed in extant literature. Results indicate that boycotting behaviour is affected by age and other life-cycle variables, gender, education, institutional trust, the degree of satisfaction with the political system and the government, the level of trust in information and communication technology, reported self-happiness and self-general health perceptions. In general, the parameters of the models suggest that European consumers that engage in boycotting behaviour tend to be female, young, well-educated, trust on national political institutions and make intensive use of digital media. The conclusions of the empirical study are discussed and interpreted in light of current theories of consumer behaviour that highlight the post-modern, fragmented and globalized characteristics of current western societies. The results of this study enrich the literature on consumer boycotts and confirm the predicting power of various socio-demographic, psychological and attitudinal variables. Avenues for future research are identified together with consideration of the study limitations.