Open Journal of Social Sciences
Vol.03 No.09(2015), Article ID:59586,9 pages

Women Go Shopping; Discussing the Female Intergenerational Behaviour and the “Green Consumption”

FredericoAugusto Tavares, GiselleTorres, FernandoPontes, DeniseRugani Topke

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro,Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Copyright © 2015 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).

Received 13 August 2015; accepted 12 September 2015; published 15 September 2015


This test was developed in order to discuss the intergenerational buying behavior, with females clipping, with respect to the consumption of products with ecological appeal or “green products” in post-modernity. The methodology is through an exploratory qualitative research, carried out from a field investigation with interviews conducted in November 2014 at the exits of shopping malls in the north and south zones of Rio de Janeiro. The theoretical bases of this study are grounded on the concepts proposed by Zygmunt Bauman, Nestor Canclini and Gilles Lipovetsky. The study compiles the characteristics inherent to the Baby Boomer generation, and Generations X, Y and Z, with emphasis on the behavior of Generation Y. The analysis of data from these generations reveals a Gen Y woman with a paradoxical consumer behavior, showing that the influence of fashion, media and academic information makes these young people oscillate between following the most superficial fashion trends or consider calls for a deeper discussion of environmental issues. This consumer logic shows the Gen Y woman from a consumer identity point of view that reflects values of an individualist ethics (Ethos market).


Green Consumer, Generation Y, Intergenerational Behavior, Women, Rio de Janeiro

1. Introduction

The contemporary society, under the aegis of an ambivalent [1] and “liquid modernity” [2] , reflects buying behaviors that are paradoxal and ambiguous.

This buying behavior is favored by a scenario characterized by cultural, social, economical and environmental movements, which are naturally evident through multiple, hibrid and even contradictory expressions. Within this context, the consumption has a leading role in reflecting the trends and the fashion characterized by individual, egoic, hedonistic and consumerist features [3] , but they also reveal consumers guided by ethical values and worried with the social and environmental issues.

Within a consumers society [4] , where to consume is a moral duty and the citizenship of the consumer is linked to the “consumer identity” [5] , it is observed a consumption environment in which different colours and movements are emphasized.

Within this context, the “green consumption” has continuously gained importance in the world scenario, developing through the creation of a new market guided to the consumption of products with ecological appeal or recognized as “green products” [1] -[6] , which picture a global trend, in the post-modernity area, influencing a new horde of consumers from different generations, especially those from Generation Y.

Accordingly, this paper intends to investigate, on an exploratory way, the consumption behavior of this generation, detaching the female public because it is a consumer potentially booster market [1] .

To understand the context of this consumer market, it is proposed a qualitative and exploratory research, in Rio de Janeiro, in the exits of the shopping malls, using structured interviews to inquiry the consumer behavior of the identified public.

The theoretical bases to interpret the research’s results are underlined through the concepts proposed by Zygmunt Bauman, Néstor Canclini and Gilles Lipovetsky, being the analysis central axis the contemporary consumption society and the values that shape it.

2. A Look at the Consumption Society in the Contemporaneity

Marked by a series of changes, the contemporary society changed its way of interpreting the world and, consequently, the consumption. The transformations associated to the post-modernity represented not only the disruption with the preceding social structures, but also the opening of a continuous and endless process of disruptions and fragmentations within it. Present times are characterized by the end of the standards, the certainties and the anchoring in stable social institutions.It has come the time of the unknowns and uncertainties.

In a metaphorical reading, Zygmunt Bauman interpret these transformations as the melting of the solidity (solid modernity) and the consequent liquefaction of the institutions. These,according to the author, remain in the post-modernity (liquid modernity) in continuous transformation, moving with more agility and lightness.

The first solids to be melted and first sacred to be profaned were traditional loyalties, customary rights and obligations which bound hands and feet, hindered moves and cramped enterprises. To set earnestly about the task of building a new (truly solid!) order, it was necessary to get rid of the ballast with which the old order burdened the builders (BAUMAN, 2001, p. 10)[2] .

To understand the figurative representation used by Bauman, it is elucidatory to observe that compounds in liquid form do not have stable form nor do they settle in determined spaces, molding themselves to the container in which they are and easily bypassing obstacles. The fluids simply run, overflow and flood. The metaphor used by the author also says that, protected by high temperatures, the liquids are deliberately prevented from solidify, perpetuating the flow condition in which they are: “[...] the urge to fringe, to substitute, to speed the circulation of profitable goods-does not give to the flow the opportunity to soften, nor the time necessary to condensate and solidify in stable forms, with a higher life expectancy”1[7] .

Within this context, Bauman [4] observes a gradual transition from a society in its founder or industrial phase so far, which he called “producer society”, to a “consumer society”, unstable and fluid, defined by the consumption, where the social space can be thought as the own market. The notion of “durability”, previously a synonymous for exaltation, completely loses its value and the seduction power of the durable goods is superseded by the need for the new―the eternity of the object is not important anymore, but the guarantee that it can be quickly disposed at any time.

Within the post-modernity context, life is, therefore, organized around the consumption and guided by the seduction, by an increasing desire and volatile wishes [4] .

Dialoguing with Bauman’s ideas, Lipovetsky[3] interprets the consumption in the volatile fashion point of view and affirms that its legitimization and democratization are linked to the raising of the standard of life, to the culture of the welfare, of the leisure and of immediate happiness. The fashion becomes a mass requirement, in a society that sacres the change, the leisure and the innovations. For the author, the consumer is always seeking for a desire, ready to live new sensations, looking for leisure, plunged into uncertainty and insecurity.Thus, in regard to a moving subjectivity, it has in the desire to consume the perpetuation of its volatility and the consumption of the trademarks as alibi of this ephemeral transformational nature[3] , which represents and inscribes the subject in the civilization of the brands or in the consumption society.

Within this scenario, Canclini [5] complements Bauman’s and Lipovetsky’s concepts, locating the consumption as a way of social and political arrangement, as far as it establishes itself from a process in which the desires become demands and socially regulated acts. It is within this context of consumption “politization”, both individually and collectively, that the citizen becomes consumer and citizenship means to bear a consumer identity. For the author, “it is in this game between desires and structures that the goods and the consumption also serve to politicaly arrange each society”[5] .

Bauman [8] complements the ideas presented by Canclini when he indicates the strengthening of the private sphereover the public power. For the author, the State-Nation, while social actor, is politically weakened, and the financial conglomerates come to influence and control the market. The passage from the “solid modernity” to the “liquid modernity” reinforces a power of State-Nation to the corporations, in the direction of a regulation by the market, in which the social and political relations are globally ruled by the consumption.Canclini’s point of view [5] dialogues with this thought as far as it identifies the act of consuming not as a right or a pleasure but as a “duty” for the citizen, in the point of view of a “politization” of the consumption.

Thus, within the liquid modernity, as observed by Bauman [4] ,the consumption becomes the way of social regulation and the relations organize themselves using the market logical. In a process that transforms the desires in socially regulated acts, which is presented as the consumption, to be a citizen means, above all, to be a consumer[5] . When resuming the transition between the “producer society” and the “consumer society”, indicated by Bauman [4] , we can point this new “citizen-consumer”, molded by the consumption, as the pointof arrival (as well as starting point) of his trajectory, from a new set of the social arrangement, regulated by the market and by the capital.

To better understand the nuances of this new social arrangement regarding the current relations established between individual and capital, within the consumption sphere, it is worth noting that, within the transaction context mentioned, many generations of individuals were impacted and each one is located and identified in the historical evolution from the similar consumption characteristics and habits. When considering the hints offered by Lipovetsky[3] , which points to the arising of a “juvenile” culture, linked to the baby boom and to the power of purchase of the young people, a brief analysis of the relation between the consumption and the successive generations will be carried out, with a special cutting in the Generation Y, which comprises the young adults of the contemporaneity, strongly inserted into the consumption sphere.

3. The Consumption Society and the Intergenerational Aspects

In order to understand how the behaviour of the Generation Y is processed in the consumption society, object of study of this essay, within the context of the liquid modernity[2] , it is necessary a brief account about the main characteristics of the generations that preceded it: the Baby Boomers and X, as well as the generation that comes after it: the Generation Z. There is divergence in the dates proposed by the different authors regarding the classifications mentioned above, but some authors consider the Baby Boomers those people born between 1948 and 1963; the generation X, those born between 1964 and 1977; the generation Y,those born between 1978 and 1994 [9] and the generation Z encompasses all those people born after 1990 [10] .

The globalization process and the geometric progression of the changes in all the society poles reveal the importance of understanding how each one of these generations was formed and their influence within the global logic, identifying the social, cultural, economic and historical influences that constituted them. Furthermore, Solomon [11] defends that the individuals within the same age group have a tendency to share a set of common cultural values and experiences that remain lifelong.

The generation of the Baby Boomers, according to Conger [12] is comprised by social subjects that watched the Second World War and the feminist movements fighting for their rights. These individuals had an education guided by rigid values, being obliged to follow disciplinary rules. Their biggest worry is not essentially the questioning of the social structures in force, but the pursuit for the stability at work. According to Raines [13] , this generation is characterized by social movements that made them ruder, follower of fashion and adaptable to all kinds of organization.

The characteristic of the Generation X, in its turn, is not having such rigid standards, even showing certain conservatism in some aspects. To Lombardia[14] , these individuals experienced a scenario with many landmarks, such as the Cold War, the appearance of AIDS, fall of the Berlin Wall, besides the technological expansion and the beginning of the new social and consumption standards. Oliveira [15] highlights that this generation was present in the student and hippie movements (counterculture movement of the 1970s), being these movements the externalization of their dissatisfactions. “This generation is characterized by the pragmatism and self-confidence in the choices, and it seeks to promote the equality of rights and justice in its decisions”[15] .

Conger [12] defends the Generation X as representative of the information age.Within the professional sphere, they value the work, but at the same time they desire success in their personal life, which generates some conflicts [13] . According to Oliveira [15] , this generation was strongly impacted by television programs regarding education and family routine. This influence also dramatically changed the consumption relations, giving a new meaning to the way of living and acting of these social subjects, already indicating the arising of new ways of being[16] .Lombardia[14] discourses that this generation is comprised by “[...] conservative, materialistic and dislike supervision. They distrust absolute truths, are positivists, self-confident, meet objectives and not deadlines, and they are very creative” [14] .

The Generation Y, also called Generation Next or Millennials, as Lombardia[14] points out, is the object of analysis in this study, it is the generation of the results, of theachievements, once they are sons of Generation X. They are impacted by the advances of the media in the age of the technological innovations, such as the Internet. These individuals are, therefore, known as the generation of the defeasibility, once they were born in the time of the technologies and of the hubris. They are characterized as hopeful, decisive, collective, they have a high level of education and are not used to ask authorization to act[14] .

When the former Soviet Union exercised strong influence on the countries with communist origin, they even defined the first letter of the names that should be given to the babies born in a certain period. In the 1980s and 1990s, the main letter was Y. This really did not influence the capitalist Western world, but later many scholars adopted this letter to assign the young people born in this period. This is how the term Generation Y appeared (OLIVEIRA, 2009, p.25)[15] .

Oliveira [15] coments on the main characteristics of the Generation Y, which is motivated by challenges and interestedinquicky rising in the professional life. Gonçalves[17] (p.4)completes that these individuals “[...] need reasons and stimuli to remain in the job”. They are used to make many activities at the same time, they are attracted to the variety, challenges and opportunities. Engelmann [9] completes that the virtualization of the technologies motivated the development of the systemic thought of this generation, with the possibility to look globally and locally. The Generation Y, thus, is the generation of the high technology, of the easiness, of the globalization and of the access to information. The individuals of this generation are characterized by being ambicious, individualists and unstable. In this sense, this generation is strongly characterized by a wide variety of ways of being[16] ,guided by an identity mutability that addresses to a moving subjectivity fomented by the consumption society that is strongly influenced by the advertising[18] .

Finally, the Generation Z. According to Shinyashiki[10] , the Generation Z is the most connected generation of all with the overuse of social medias such as Orkut, Twitter, Facebook, among other. These individuals are completely interlaced with these technologies, praising the virtual communication. They are used to make many things at the same time. They are active consumers, individualists, deeply dependent on the technologies and impatient.

To understand mainly the behaviour of the individuals of the Generation Y, under the psychosocial perspective, in the consumption society within the liquid modernity context, regarding the appeal of products with social and environmental characteristics, the next topic brings a brief analysis about how the green consumption is presented in Brazil.

4. The Green Consumption in the Liquid Modernity: Identity Relations and Consumerism

The technological advance parallel to the insertion of new classes into the world marketing process, within the context of the post-modernity, culminated in the construction of a consumer with new desires, new perceptions about the reality and new psychosocial profile.According to Tavares and Ferreira [19] (p.27) “[...] until the 1980s and 1990s, to speak of responsible consumption was understood as something with no importance. Ecological and socially correct products and services were difficult to be found”. However, with the explosion of the technological resources that favor the access to information―mainly in the last 20 years―and yet, with the emersion of more critical psychosocial subjects that are more active in the decision making systematic related to the public policy, there was a displacement of the value focus that does not refer only to advantages, benefits, status or price of a product or service anymore. The ethical, social and ecological aspect of products/services gains relevance to an extent that the companies reassess the positioning of the brands and the sale promotion strategies[1] .

Following this logic, the consumers, also because they perceive themselves more impacted by the consequences of the social and environmental consequences, come to value the relationship company-client and the historic background of the organizations, aspects that, in many cases, become important decision factors in the purchase process [20] .To monitor this new consumption paradigm, the companies have been continuously impelled to find new ways to concern with the clients and with the increase of the competition. The social and environmental issue becomes an important instrument of value creation and, many times, key argumentative strategy to promote profit through the green consumption, but not being effectively occupied with the discussion in order to promote new ways of sustainable development.

According to Stark [21] (p.89) “[...] the behavior change of the consumers has attracted the attention of an increasing number of companies that are discovering strategic advantages of the ecological marketing”. However, this new consumer profile, which is more worried with the issues inherent to the environment around it, presents at the same time an unstable consumption behaviour that has a tendency to the disposability. This individual, whose consumption occurs on a psychosocial way, presents afragmentary identity in which the subjectivity is fluid, temporary and floating[22] . This characteristic ends up meeting the needs that permeate the social and environmental thematic, once the subjects that comprise the marketing logic many times choose “green” brands more as a belonging and citizenship strategy[5] [23] than as an alternative option of responsible consumption. And, paradoxally, the post-modern consumer presents a tendency, due to the defeasibility present in its relations, to the consumerism, which ends up keeping it away from a deeper reflection on the social and environmental discussion.

However, even if there is a movement that leads to a tendency of exacerbatedconsumption within the context of the liquid modernity [2] , the research published in this paper evidences that, in general, there is a great concern with the social and environmental issues. Furthermore, more than a decade ago, Ottman stated[24] : “[...] that a manifestation of this big change is the increasing number of consumers that decide the brand based on the manufacturer’s record regarding social ans environmental criteria” [24] which presents actions that were effectively carried out. The author also adds that “[...] it will be increasingly heard from consumers: is this product really green?” [24] .

Considering the arising of new interpretations about the social and environmental issues, we observe that there is, in the consumption society, strategy of “produtilization” of the green, in the condition of a differentiated “label” [25] that feeds back the post-modern market model that values the “have” over the “be” in the movement of stimulum to the green consumption [22] . Tavares and Irving [6] state that:

[...] the nature has been acquiring market value, being meant and re-meant as good by the other social actors, including the NGOs and the State. And everything indicates that this commercialization occurs through the look of a consumption qualified as “green”, which legitimizes (and widens) the notion of sustainability as differential and strategy of Ecopower (TAVARES;IRVING, 2013, p.2) [6] .

Therefore, it is in this context that the environmental issues and the own nature become appropriated as a commodity by the corporate capitalism and by the individual that consumes in order “to be within”. The new “green” consumption market highlights the offerof “green” products that incorporate characteristics of social and environmental reponsability in order to seem “ecofriendly”. These products, in their turn, are also molded to meet the demand of a new consumer profile that constantly and continuously purchases products/services that restate and re-model new ways of being[16] .However, they present themselves as mutable, revocable, liquid, i.e., which can be undone at any time, revealing a paradox between the consumption and the need to restructure the production system on a sustainable way.

In order to use the theoretical grounding built along this essay, the used methodology is presented below and, then, the analyses and conclusions on the consumption behavior of the women of the generations previously proposed.

5. Methodology

This paper uses as investigative methodology the exploratory qualitative research, which is built from the literature survey of books that cover the studied object, and field research, established through the administration of 100 interviews through structured questionnaires. From an intentional nonprobabilistic sampling, 100 interviews were carried out at the exit of shopping malls in the North and South zones of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The collection period was the month of November 2014.

Considering that the classification of different generations takes into account, above all, the demographic factor “age” in the year of application of the questionnaires (2014), women of Generation "Baby Boomers" were between 51 and 66 years old; the Generation X between 37 and 50 years years old; and Generation Y between 20 and 36 years old. As the sample was intentional and nonprobabilistic, when applying the 100 questionnaires, we obtained the total respondents in each generation as follows: 52 Gen Y women, 29 Gen X women and 19 Baby Boomer women.

The theoretical grounding mentioned will be developed through the concepts of the liquid modernity, consumption society and belonging, proposed byZygmunt Bauman, Nestor Canclini and Gilles Lipovetsky.

6. Analysis of Results

One hundred interviews were carried out and the data found from the sample provides interesting clues about the behavior of the consumers of different generations. In this item, we will carry out a general analysis of the most material results of the research, mainly related to the Generation Y; and we will point out some relations with the theoretical grounding of this paper.

The women of all the generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y) stated that the item thatthey “take more into account when purchasing” is the price. The Generation Y stood out in this aspect, because 80% of the women interviewed ticked the price as the most important item when purchasing. In relation to the ecological issue, the higher percentage rate of concern was found in the Generation of the Baby Boomers, with 16%. The percentage of 4% of the answers appear in the Generation Y, both for “fashion” and for “ecologically correct products”, which confirms the unstable nature of this generation in the consumption behavior (mentioned in the item about the generations).

More than 70% of the women interviewed from all the three generations affirmed that they are concerned with the environmental matter. The Generation Y, in its turn, stands out as the highest percentage of negative answers, considering that 24% of the women said that they have no concern with this matter. On the other hand, if we add the 28% of women from Generation Y that affirmed they “always” have “green attitude” to the 60% of women from the same generation that affirmed they “sometimes” have “green attitude”, the result (88%) exceeds the percentage found in the other researched generations, because this same sum, both for the Generation of the Baby Boomers and the Generation X, results in a percentage of 84%. I.e., the behavior of the Generation Y is paradoxical, because at the same time that the majority of the interviewed women affirms they do not have concern with the environmental issues, the women from this same generation are those who most consume green products (as we will see below).

Accordingly, in relation to the question “Do you consume green products?”, 40% of the women interviewed from the Generation X affirmed that they do not consume green products; being the highest percentage of the three generations. However, 36% of the women of this same generation also affirmed that they consume green products, being the highest number. On the other hand, if we add the percentage of women interviewed that said that they consume (ticked “yes”) and “sometimes” consume green products, the winner is the Generation Y with 72% (against 64% of the Baby Boomers and 60% of the Generation X). Thus, if 72% of the women of the Generation Y consume green products, probably, this “green attitude” is motivated by the need to “belong” to the consumption society, to the duty to exercize the citizenship through the consumption, [2] [4] [5] [7] [8] as we highlighted in the previous topic, once this kind of product “is fashionable” and, therefore, restates new ways of being[16] .

More than 80% of the women from the three generations said they had already heard of green products. However, in this point, the Generation of the Baby Boomers stands out, because 96% of the women of this generation affirmed that they had heard of green products.

For all the generations, TV has an important role to inform the population about the environmental issues, followed by the Internet and by the newspaper. In relation to the Internet and the newspaper, it is interesting to highlight that, comparing the three generations, the numbers are reversed, i.e., while for theBaby Boomers the newpaper represents 11% (and the Internet, 7%), the Generation Y assigns 11% to the Internet and 6% to the newspaper. In this point, we emphasize that this percentage of 11% of impact of the Internet in the Generation Y corroborates what we had previously pointed out when we said that the Generation Y isvery susceptible to the advances of the media in the technological innovations age.

Most of the Baby Boomers (80%) believes that the green products become more attractive than the “common” products. This same generation is also more willing to pay more for a product with ecological appeal (32%). The Generation Y, as we previously pointed out in this analysis, is very sensitive to the price. As well as this is also the researched generation that is less willing to pay more for green products (20%). The women from Generation Y were the most thoughful (presenting 56% of answers “depend”) in relation to the possibility to pay more for a green product. Again, these numbers corroborate what had been previously pointed out in relation to the more critical point of view of this generation about the matters linked to the environment. i.e., to increase the consumption of green products among the women from this generation, it is necessary additional motivating factors, mainly products that ensure that they “do no harm to the nature” (9%) and they “are good to health” (6%).

In relation to the question “Who most contributes to the disclosure of a positive image of these products?”, the percentage of 21% of the Baby Boomers stands out as they points the press. Among the other options to answer this question (press, companies, government, consumers, NGOs, others), it is possible to observe that, while “consumers” are ticked by 10% of the Baby Boomers, this number falls to 7% in the Generation Y. It is also in the Generation Y that the social actorspress, companies and NGOs present more balanced percentages, presenting respectively, 13%, 12% and 12%. This more balanced percentage of “responsibility” assigned by Generation Y to the different social actors points out again the more critical nature of these women in relation to the environmental issues, once they recognize that the “produtilization” of the nature is not a responsibility of just one group, but it has direct relation to the consumption society.

From the analysis of this data, it is possible to conclude that the perceptions, the knowledge and the expectations in relation to the environment and to the consumption of green products presentvariations according to the generation. The Generation Y presented the highest percentage of green consumers (72%), as previously showed; therefore, it is highlighted in the analysis of this research.

Importantly, the purpose of this article is to conduct a brief reflection on the points addressed. The methodology used to collect data and the limited number of interviews are factors that limit the search. For more detailed information, it would be necessary to conduct deeper and more comprehensive research. A focus group with each generation could be one of the paths to be followed.

Besides, it is also important to note that this preliminary study has important contributions to thinking about the issue of green and intergenerational consumption in the city of Rio de Janeiro, since we are talking about an important and growing market in the world. Eventually, the present paperwork even could be extended and targeted by social classes that make up the city's population.

7. Conclusions

The contradictory data that many times are found in the answers of the presented research reaffirm the characteristics of the liquid modernity and of the moving subjectivity, previously mentioned. The individuals, when purchasing, in the role of consumers-citizens, sometimes act with insecurity and instability. The unknowns and uncertainties of the contemporary society are perpetuated in the relationship between the individual and the consumption. So we can consider that the “green consumer” represents a way of beingthat meets this identity mutability which is a characteristic of the consumption society. The green products aggregate value in times when the environment is the subject in vogue. However, as mentioned in this paper, this consumption behavior is unstable and has a tendency to the disposability.

In the consumption society, fluid and unstable, the individual needs to consume to belong; but how it consumes, what it consumes and when it consumes depend on the many stimuli that it receives from various sources. i.e.,many social actors, such as the press, government, companies and NGOs interfere in the consumption choices from the moment they disclosure information about the companies and their products. This aspect is very evidenced in the question about what most influenced the creation of a positive image of the green products. In this question, the women from Generation Y were who most perceived a balance in the influence of the many social actors for the positive perception of the green products.

It was also possible to think, through the research carried out, about some characteristics presented by women from Generation Y that inevitably influence their relation with the consumption: the influenceof the Internet for this group; their greater access to information; their greater access to information; their individualism and emotional instability; and their more critical perception in relation to the issues inherent to the environment. Regarding the last aspect, it was important to emphasize that the Generation Y showed to be very well informed in relation to the green products, but very suspicious with the their credibility, once a portion of the interviewed women pointed out that these products were not reliable and that there were doubts in relation to the fact that they really did no harm to the environment. This suspicious of Generation Y in relation to the credibility of the green products emphasizes what we have previously said about the ethical, social and ecological aspects of products/services have gained relevance over the last twenty years. Thus, these women have a consumption behavior more thoughtful, well informed and they seek information about the company; many times basing their purchase decisions on the collected information.

Faced to the great offer of green products, the consumers of the Generation Y present a paradoxical behavior, as at the same time that they consume green products, influenced mainly by the media (highlighting TV), they question this same media (and the companies that manufacture the products) in relation to the credibility of the green products; once they seek to base their decisions on the information collected from the many social actors. In the flow of the Liquid Modernity, the consumption decisions of the psychosocial subjects are “crossed” by these many social actors.

In this perspective, the research carried out in this essay ratifies that this generation is strongly characterized by the individualism and emotional instability, which is evidenced by the higher number of people that admitted that they are not very concern with the environmental matters. In this new paradigm that settles in the post-modern consumption society, a consumer profile emerges, whose identity is fragmented, plural and mutable.

Thus, the results of this research confirm the questions pointed out by the authors used in the theoretical grounding of this paper (Bauman, Canclini and Lipovetsky). The paradoxical consumption behavior of the women from Generation Y reflects the essence of this Liquid Modernity and its unknowns and uncertainties are perpetuated through the consumption logic. In the consumerist logic, the individual is characterized on a fluid, fragmented and unstable way and, before the weaknesses of the traditional institutions of the “solid modernity”, it seeks to socially “belong”through the consumption; not as a choice, but as a “citizen” duty, which greatly reflects the condition of an individualist ethic, and of the market values.

Cite this paper

Frederico AugustoTavares,GiselleTorres,FernandoPontes,Denise RuganiTopke, (2015) Women Go Shopping; Discussing the Female Intergenerational Behaviour and the “Green Consumption”. Open Journal of Social Sciences,03,172-181. doi: 10.4236/jss.2015.39024


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  21. 21. Stark, L. (1991) Lutando por nosso futuro comum. FGV, Rio de Janeiro.

  22. 22. Tavares, F. (2014) “Sustentabilidade líquida”: O consumo da natureza e a dimensão do capitalismo rizomático nos platôs da sociedade de controle. Editora Sesc, Rio de Janeiro, Vol. 9, No. 26.

  23. 23. Tavares, F., Irving, M. and Vargas, R. (2013) O “Ter Humano” e os “Kits de Subjetividade”: Uma Perspectiva Psicossociológica do Consumo Através da Publicidade. In: Intercom—Sociedade Brasileira de Estudos Interdis- ciplinares da Comunicação, XXXVI Congresso Brasileiro de Ciências da Comunicação, Manaus.

  24. 24. Ottman, J. (1994) Marketing Green: Desafios e oportunidades para era do marketing. Makrobooks, São Paulo.

  25. 25. Pelbart, P.P. (2003) Vida capital. Ensaios de biopolítica. Iluminuras, São Paulo.


Research about Intergenerational Buying BehaviorTarget: Women from Generations X, Y and “Baby Boomer”

1. How old are you? ( )

A. 18 to 24 yo B. 25 to 35 yo C. 36 to 50 yo D. 51 to 60 yo E. Over 60 yo

2. What do you take into account when you go shopping? ( )

A. Price B. Brand C. It is fashionable D.ecologically correct products

3. In general, do you worry about environmental issues? ( )

A. Yes B. No

4. Do you have a “green attitude”? ( )

A. Always B. Sometimes C. Rarely D. Never

5. Which issues related to environment catch your eye? ( )

A. Recycling B. Production process C. Deforestation

D. Animals E. Water F. Others _____________________

6. Which words come to your mind immediately when it comes to environmental concerns?


7. What doyou have in mind about ecologically correct products?


8. Have you already heard about ecologically correct products? ( )

A. Yes B. No

9. By where have you heard about it? ( )

A. Newspaper B. TV C. Web D. Radio E. Advertising campaigns

F. Work G. School/University H. Family I. NGOs

10.In your opinion, which words would best represent products with ecological appeal? ( )

A. Cheap B. Health C. Ethics D. Sustainable E. Nature

F. sophisticated G. Recycling H. Purity I. Well-being J. Others _____________________

11. Do you by products with ecological appeal? ( )

A. Yes(go to 13˚) B. No C. Sometimes (go to 13˚)

12. Would you buyproducts with ecological appeal? ( )

A. Yes B. No

13. In your opinion, the products with ecological appeal are more attractive than the others?

A. Yes B. No

14. Você pagaria mais caro por um produto com apelo ecológico?

a) Yes.Why? ____________________________________________________________________________

b) It depends. On what? ____________________________________________________________________

c) No. Why? _____________________________________________________________________________

15. Is there any brand you would classify as “ecologically correct?”?


16. Regarding this “green products”, who contributes more to the dissemination of a positive image in your opinion? ( )

A. Press B. Companies C. Government D. Consumers

E. NGOs F. Others _____________________


1BAUMAN, Zygmunt.Vivemos tempos líquidos. Nada é para durar. In: RevistaIsto É On Line of September 24, 2010. Available on: Accessed on July 2, 2015.