Professor Isabelle Szmigin

Professor Isabelle Szmigin

Department of Marketing
Emeritus Professor of Marketing

Contact details

University House
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Isabelle Szmigin has published in a wide range of academic journals including Sociology, Psychology and Marketing, The European Journal of Marketing, and the Journal of Business Research. She is on the editorial advisory board of the International Marketing Review, and the editorial board of the European Journal of Marketing and the Journal of Advertising Research.

Her research interests lie in the area of conceptualising consumer behaviour and understanding the social and policy issues concerned with consumption. Her book Understanding the Consumer examines the complexity and unpredictability of consumers in the marketplace of the twenty first century. 2015 saw the publication of her Consumer Behaviour textbook co-authored with Professor Maria Piacentini of Lancaster University.

Isabelle has held ESRC and British Academy Grants and is currently Principle Investigator on a European Foundation for Alcohol Research examining Lifestyle, social media and alcohol consumption. She is also Co-Investigator on an Alcohol Research UK Grant looking at Alcohol marketing to young people via social media and its implication for advertising codes of practice (PI, Professor Christine Griffin, University of Bath).

Isabelle regularly appears in the media including Newsnight, BBC Breakfast and BBC News and Radio 4’s Today programme. She has also appeared on the BBC’s Rip Off Britain and Watchdog. She is a columnist for the Conversation


  • BA (Hons) Reading
  • MBA(distinction) City (now Cass Business School)
  • PhD Birmingham
  • Dip MRS (distinction) 


Isabelle has been part of an  ESRC (Identities and Social Action Programme) funded project investigating the process of young adults' identity construction in relation to the branding and consumption of alcohol. She is currently involved in another ESRC project entitled  'Negotiating managed consumption: Young people, branding and social identification processes' with colleagues from the University of Bath and a British Academy funded project looked at consumer behaviour and supply issues in the disposal of the dead.


  • Consumer Behaviour and issues related to consumption, including ethical consumption
  • Young people and alcohol consumption
  • Attitudes to consumption of credit and debt
  • Family food consumption, sustainable consumption and waste
  • Complaining behaviour
  • Older consumers
  • Problems of consumption e.g. obesity
  • Online communities

Other activities

Isabelle is a full member of the Market Research Society, and a member of the British Psychological Society, and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is also a member of the Academy of Marketing, Association for Consumer Research, the Academy of Marketing Science, the American Marketing Association and the Society for Marketing Advances. 

Isabelle is a member of the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel for Business and has been a member of the ESRC virtual college.

Isabelle is a partner member of the Coming of Age Partnership, an organisation whose main objective is to promote age diversity and equality in the West Midlands. She is also a fellow of the World Demographic Association.

Isabelle has made over 50 media appearance including local and national radio and TV. She been asked to comment on a range of business stories including binge drinking, junk food, closure of retail outlets, controversial advertising, football sponsorship, buying British goods and major takeovers such as Kraft's take over of  Cadburys.


O'Loughlin, D. Szmigin, I. McEachern, M. G., Barbosa, B, Karantinou, K. and Fernandez-Moya, M E (forthcoming) 'Man Thou Art Dust: Rites of Passage in Austere Times', Sociology.

Szmigin, I. and Canning, L. (2015) ‘Sociological Ambivalence and Funeral Consumption’, Sociology.

Leek, S. Szmigin, I. and Baker, E. (2015) Customer Confusion and Front of Pack Nutritional Labels, Journal of Consumer Behaviour.

Canning, L. and Szmigin, I. (forthcoming) Radical innovation, network competence and the business of body disposal, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing

Hackley, C, Griffin , C, Bengry-Howell, A, Mistral, W, Szmigin, I & Hackley, RA (2015), 'Transgressive Drinking Practices and the Subversion of Proscriptive Alcohol Policy Messages' Journal of Business Research

Carmichael, F. Duberley, J and Szmigin, I. (2014) ‘Older women and their participation in exercise and leisure-time physical activity; the double edged sword of work’. Sport in Society. 

Szmigin, I. and Rutherford, R. (2013) ‘Shared Value and the Impartial Spectator Test’Journal of Business Ethics114:171–182

Duberley, J., Carmichael, F. and Szmigin, I. (2013) ‘Exploring Women’s Retirement: Continuity, Context and Career Transition’, Gender Work and Organization

Griffin, C. Szmigin, I. Bengry-Howell, A., Hackley, C. and Mistral, W. (2013), ‘Inhabiting the contradictions: Hypersexual femininity and the culture of intoxication among young women in the UK,’ Feminism and Psychology, 23, (2) 184-206.

Hackley, C.,  Bengry-Howell, A., Griffin, C. Mistral, Szmigin, I., W. Tiwasakul, R.(2013) Young Adults and ‘Binge’ Drinking: A Bakhtinian Analysis, Journal of Marketing Management. 29 (7-8), pp. 933-949

Moraes, C., Carrigan, M. and Szmigin, I. (2012) ‘The Coherence of Inconsistencies: Attitude-Behaviour Gaps and New Consumption Communities’ Journal of Marketing Management, 28, 1-2,103-128.

Szmigin, I. Hackley, C. Bengry- Howell, A. Griffin, C. Mistral, W.(2011) Social Marketing in a Culture of Intoxication, European Journal of Marketing, 45, 5, 759-779.

Sekhon, Y. and Szmigin, I. (2011) Acculturation and Identity: Second Generation Indian Punjabis, Consumption, Markets Culture, 14, 1, 79-98.

Gruber, T. Abosag, I., Reppel, A. and Szmigin, I. (2011) Analysing the preferred characteristiof frontline employees dealing with customer complaints: a cross national Kano study. The TQM Journal, Vol. 23, 2, 128-144.

Szmigin, I and O’Loughlin, D. (2010) Students and the Consumer Credit Market: Towards a Social Policy Agenda, Social Policy and Administration, Vol. 44, 5, 598-619.

Bekin, C., Szmigin, I. and Carrigan, M., (2010) Living production-engaged alternatives: An examination of new consumption communities. Consumption, Markets and Culture Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2010, 273–298

Canning, L. and Szmigin, I. (2010) ‘Death and Disposal: the universal environmental dilemma’, Journal of Marketing Management,’ 26, 11, 1129-1142.

McCeachern, M. Warnaby, G., Carrigan, M. and Szmigin, I. (2010) Thinking Locally, Acting Locally? Conscious Consumers and Farmers’ Markets, Journal of Marketing Management Volume 26, (5), 395 – 412

Reppel, A. and Szmigin, I. (2010) Consumer-managed profiling: A contemporary interpretation of privacy in buyer-seller interactions, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol., 26, (3), 321-342    

Powell, M. Doheny, S. Szmigin, I Greener, I.,  and Mills, N. (2010) Broadening the Focus of Public Service Consumerism, Public Management Review, Volume 12 Issue 3, 323-339.

Gruber, T., Szmigin, I. and Voss, R. (2009). ‘Handling Customer Complaints Effectively – A Comparison of the Value Maps of Female and Male Complainants’. Managing Service Quality.

Szmigin, I. and O’Loughlin D. (2009) Exposing the Credogenic Environment: Where does Responsibility Lie? Advances in Consumer Research Vol. 36, Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, Mn: Association for Consumer Research

Sekhon Y. & Szmigin I. (2009) ‘The Bi-Cultural Value System: Undertaking Research Amongst Ethnic Audiences’ International Journal of  Market Research, 51 (6), 751-771.

Szmigin, I. Carrigan, M. and McCeachern, M. ( 2009) “The conscious consumer: taking a flexible approach to ethical Behaviour” International Journal of Consumer Studies, 33,  224-231

Griffin, C., Szmigin, I.T., Hackley, C., Mistral, M. and Bengry-Howell, A. (2009). ‘Every time I do it I absolutely annihilate myself”: Loss of (self)-consciousness and loss of memory in young people’s drinking narratives’ Sociology, 43, 457-475

Hackley, C. Bengry-Howell, A. Griffin, C. and Szmigin, I. (2009). The UK Government’s ‘Safe, Sensible, Social’ alcohol policy as discursive construction: Can it connect with local communities and young people?  Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy on ‘Community approaches to alcohol-related harm’ 15, No. S1, 2008, 65-78

Gruber, T., Isabelle Szmigin & Roediger Voss (2009), 'Developing a Deeper Understanding of Attributes of Effective Customer Contact Employees in Personal Complaint Handling Encounters', Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 23, 6, 422-435.

Szmigin, I., Griffin, C, Hackley, C.Bengry-Howell, A.,Weale, L. Mistral, W. (2008) ‘Reframing ‘Binge Drinking’ as Calculated Hedonism, Empirical Evidence from the UK International Journal of Drug Policy,  19,359-366.


Consumer behaviour; conceptualising behaviour in changing environments; shopping; ethical consumption; social marketing; alcohol consumption; consumer behaviour on the Internet; consumers and credit and debt.

Media experience

Isabelle is a prominent media commentator on consumer behaviour, marketing and the changing nature of the UK high street.

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office


Health and Social care

Policy in relation to alcohol and food consumption and in particular the marketing of each