chapter  9
An adolescent-centric approach to consumer vulnerability: new implications for public policy
Pages 14

The concept of consumer vulnerability has been defined in various ways by authors in consumer research and other human science disciplines. Although different conceptualizations of consumer vulnerability have been offered (Shultz and Holbrook, 2009; Baker, 2009; Baker, Gentry and Rittenberg, 2005) and other recent studies on disadvantaged consumers (Garrett and Toumanoff, 2010; Commuri and Ekici, 2008) have contributed to the clarification of the concept, these research studies have not focused on the interesting but potentially problematic group, namely young consumers and including both younger children and adolescents. Specifically, there is a lack of research focused on exploring adolescents’ perceptions of vulnerability within their youth consumption culture. The objective of this chapter is thus to provide a comprehensive overview of

adolescent vulnerability within youth consumption culture. Using an adolescentcentric approach to consumer vulnerability leads us to a deeper understanding through a bottom-up approach of the domains and dimensions of consumer vulnerability as defined by adolescents aged 11-15. This chapter first presents the existing literature on consumer vulnerability in youth and details the key studies in consumer research. It then addresses the particularities of adolescent consumer vulnerability through an ethnographic research based on an emic adolescentcentric approach. Details regarding the method and specifications of the data analysis are presented in this part. The last part of the chapter expands on consumer vulnerability research by integrating an adolescent-centric perception of consumer vulnerability, since it provides a useful guide to the evolution observed in adolescent education and offers indications about future changes to public policy.