Relations between Low Income Consumers, Companies and Governments: “Them there and us here”

Marcus Wilcox Hemais, Leticia Moreira Casotti


The marketing literature on low income consumers differs about the benefits the relationship between this segment with companies and governments can bring. Some authors believe that companies can improve the quality of life of this public and governments can protect it from market failures, by offering quality public services. Other authors, for their part, discuss the advantages received by companies at the expense of these consumers and say that governments do not protect them from companies. These perspectives, however, are not analyzed from the optic of low income consumers and do not represent the way that companies and government actions are received by them, creating doubt if this group obtains or not benefits from companies and governments. The present paper, therefore, brings forth the opinion of low income consumers, with the objective of understanding their view of the relationship between companies and governments. For this, 27 interviews with consumers from this segment were conducted. From the data, it is possible to understand that the interviewees see the relationship with companies and governments marked by a hierarchy of power, in which they are in an inferior position, without strength to change this. Low income consumers believe they do not obtain the promised quality of life improvements in their relationship with companies and governments and indicate a distancing between the involved parties in their accounts: them there and us here.


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Revista de Administração da UFSM. Brazilian Journal of Management

Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil, eISSN 1983-4659