Dynamics of Muslim consumers’ behavior toward Halal products: Exploration study using fMRI technology
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Purpose Since Islamic markets are growing substantially, there is an urgent need to gain a better understanding of how Muslim consumers perceive products from a religious perspective. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the brain responses of Muslim consumers to Halal and non-Halal products using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology. Design/methodology/approach The research model is a simplified version of the theory of planned behavior. The initial experiment began by asking participants to divide a set of images into two groups: Halal and non-Halal products. The fMRI experiment uses a blocked design approach to capture brain activities resulting from presenting the two groups of images to participants, and to record the strength of their attitudes toward purchasing the products. Findings Across all participants, the level of brain activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex increased significantly when Halal images were presented to them. The same results emerged when the Halal images showed raw and cooked meat. The variations in the results may be due to the high emotional sensitivity of Muslim consumers to using religious products. Research limitations/implications This study uses a unique approach to monitor brain activity to confirm that consumers from specific market segments respond differently to market products based on their internal beliefs. Findings from this study provide evidence that marketing managers targeting Muslim markets should consider the sensitivity of presenting products in ways that reflect religious principles, in order to gain higher acceptance in this market segment. Originality/value Although the literature reports considerable research on Muslim consumers’ behavior, most of the previous studies utilize conventional data collection approaches to target broad segments of consumers by using traditional products. This paper is the first to track the reactions of the Muslim consumer segment to specific types of market products.
- Management & Marketing [103 items ]