Introduction: There has been a significant increase in online purchasing and product safety problems have been identified in e-commerce. This study examines consumer behavior and safety perceptions among parents purchasing child products online. Method: A mixed methods approach, including focus groups and a survey with parents, identified key characteristics and behaviors. Cluster analysis was used to determine different population segments (including “Informed,” “Uninformed,” and “Infrequent” consumer groups) based on their frequency of online shopping and search for product information. “Safe” and “Unsafe” behavior groups were identified related to their search for safety information on child products. Logistic regression analysis was used to study the effects of consumer type groups and demographic variables on the chances of being a safer consumer. Results: Findings indicate that child product safety considerations are not a priority for parents when shopping online. Only 62% of the survey respondents indicated that they search for information prior to buying a child product online, of which only 13% of the respondents noted that they search for information on product safety. Risky consumer behaviors were identified including the purchase of imitation products (counterfeit or knockoff products) and autonomous checks for product safety in lieu of safety standards. The logistic regression analysis found that being an “Uninformed Consumer” increases the odds of an individual being an “Unsafe Consumer” by 8.4 times (χ2(11) = 97.33, p < .001). Practical Applications: Design of a social marketing campaign that targets these different population segments to change perceptions and promote safe online purchasing is recommended.
- Child product safety
- Online shopping behavior
- Social marketing
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality