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Factors affecting intention to buy organic personal care products: a comparison of generations X & Y in Cape Town.

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Organic personal care products are deemed to provide more benefits to consumers and the environment, with the provision that manufacturers have ensured a rigorous certification process. In previous studies, research on organic consumption has placed a significant amount of focus on organic food in comparison to organic cosmetics. A gap in knowledge exists in understanding the consumers underlying motivations to purchase organic personal care products versus conventional products, more so in the South African market. The purpose of this paper is to research the factors affecting the intention to buy organic personal care products among generation X and generation Y in Cape Town. A conceptual framework integrating the Theory of Planned Behaviour, Kim and Chung’s consumer values, and Chen’s green trust metric has been developed and applied for this study. For this, a quantitative online survey using Google Forms was distributed to a sample of 150 respondents, which generated 123 valuable responses for further analysis. Descriptive statistics were conducted to display frequencies and mean of the study’s variables. Cronbach’s alpha scores for all variables were all above the acceptable reliability criteria of r=.06, which indicated they all capture the same underlying construct. Thereafter, principal component analysis was conducted to pinpoint the item with the largest variance on an underlying construct. From the findings, environmental consciousness was the consumer value that significantly influenced consumer attitudes, for both generation X and Y. For generation X, subjective norms had the strongest influence towards purchase intention, whereas for generation Y, the findings revealed that consumer attitudes were significant and positively influenced purchase intention towards organic personal care products. This study provides tangible insights to environmentalists and marketers of green products on ways of effectively conveying their green message to the intended target market in South Africa. As the study focused on generation X and generation Y, a combination of those actively and not actively engaged in environmental practices and issues; future researchers could consider a nationwide survey covering samples from other generation groups who are actively organic cosmetic purchasers.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.