The impact of religious salience on purchase intentions: evidence from the UAE

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Journal of Islamic Marketing


© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of religious salience on consumer purchase intentions in the multicultural environment of the UAE, more specifically on the willingness of a Muslim consumer to purchase a product labelled or packaged to include an Islamic appeal, i.e. an appeal with a heightened religious salience. While some attempts have been made in the literature to examine the impact of religious salience on purchase intentions, research amongst Muslim consumers remains under-explored. Design/methodology/approach: The authors used a randomized survey experiment administered to 148 Emirati educated female nationals. The survey consisted of pairs of advertisements, where each advertisement promoted the same product and the same brand, varying on whether they included an Islamic appeal or not in the labelling, packaging or slogan. The respondents were asked about their attitude to the different versions of the advertisements, as well as their willingness to purchase the product. The authors used causal mediation analysis to explore the mechanisms through which causal effects on purchase intentions are determined. Findings: This study shows that including an Islamic appeal, and therefore increasing the religious salience in product promotion, leads to higher purchase intentions amongst Muslim consumers. The authors also identified a number of additional moderating factors that influenced the consumer’s purchase intentions, such as product and/or brand awareness and the type of product being promoted, as well as the nature of the artefact that was included in the ad as the Islamic appeal. Finally, the causal mediation analysis suggests that Islamic appeals increases product attractiveness, which in turn leads to higher purchase intentions. Originality/value: This paper investigates the effect of religious salience on consumer behaviour and their purchase intentions. This paper makes an empirical contribution to understanding consumer behaviour with particular relevance to retail hubs with a majority Muslim population.

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