Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Fall 10-28-2019


Blomenberg, A. (2019). Purchasing Products to Make a Difference: A Study of Corporate Social Responsibililty, Gender, and Cosmetic Purchasing Behavior. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Allegra Blomenburg 2019


The purpose of this study was to investigate gender differences that exist in the way corporate social responsibility (CSR) is perceived by college students and how this affects cosmetic purchasing behavior. Two other objectives included finding what drives millennial cosmetic purchasing behavior as a whole and the ways in which millennials are informed of companies’ corporate social responsibilities. Through analyses of interview data from fourteen college-age millennials, the study showed that non-binary participants more positively perceived CSR and actively bought from responsible brands. The male participant perceived CSR positively but had never been sure to purchase products from a brand that was responsible. The female participants fell in between the two, with a few being committed to avoiding animal testing and buying preferentially from responsible companies and others positively viewing social responsibility without actively buying from responsible brands. Although social responsibility was viewed as important to all of the participants, it was not mentioned as the main motivation to purchase products unless they were actively vegan or insisted on buying from cruelty-free brands. Instead, the participants most often cited price and quality as the main motivators for purchasing products. Social media and word-of-mouth were most often the modes by which the participants were informed of companies’ responsibility. The various attitudes identified between the different genders’ perceptions of CSR, other purchasing motivations, and knowledge of the ways in which millennials are informed of responsibility allows for companies to use CSR in tailored, strategic ways to increase revenue.