Household preferences when purchasing handwashing liquid soap: a choice experiment application

Limited information is provided on the potential impacts of ingredients in consumer products to assist individuals to purchase household products. This study applied the choice experiment technique to examine the preferences of 385 New Zealand households on their purchasing choice of liquid soap for handwashing. Results from the choice experiment survey, conducted in December 2016 to March 2017, indicated that a typical respondent from the full sample would be willing to pay premium prices for a bottle of liquid soap that is certified to be environmentally friendly (NZ$3.20), hypo-allergenic (NZ$2.90), contains natural ingredients (NZ$2.10), and has antibacterial properties (NZ$1.40). However, by dividing the full sample into four latent classes, a typical respondent in one class would pay NZ$1.88 to avoid the antibacterial activity. This study highlights the importance of accounting for preference heterogeneity across latent classes or respondent sub-groups to better understand preferences and awareness of ingredients in liquid soaps, such as antibacterial chemicals, that can pose environmental and health risks.