Social class and consumer behavior

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Social class and consumer behavior

  1. 1. SOCIAL CLASS AND CONSUMER BEHABIOR INTRODUCTION “MEET MY NEEDS!”.Every man has need for live. For this, people go to buy in market or shop. At this moment, people or customer behavior is identified so that Social stratification, the division of members of a society into a hierarchy of distinct social classes what is referred for the development of consumer attitudes and behavior. The measurement of social class is concerned with classifying individuals into social class groupings. These groupings are of particular value to marketers, who use social classification as an effective means of identifying and segmenting target markets. There are three basic methods for measuring social class: subjective measurement, reputational measurement, and objective measurement. Class structures range from two-class to nine-class systems. A frequently used classification system consists of six classes: upper-upper, lower-upper, upper-middle, lower- middle, upper-lower, and lower-lower. Profiles of these classes indicate that the socioeconomic differences between classes are reflected in differences in attitudes, in leisure activities, and in consumption habits. This is why segmentation by social class is of special interest to marketers. SOCIAL CLASS Social class can be considered as a continuum that is a series of social positions in which is placed, the researchers divided the continuum into a small number of specific social class or strata. The concept of social class is used to place individuals or families in a social category. Social class is defined as the division of society into a hierarchy of different class status, so that the members of each class have relatively equal status and other class members have a status higher or lower. CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR Behavior economics focus on the kinds of attitudes people have towards money and how they spend their money. Consumer sentiment is a significant influence which relates to consumer spending patterns; it depends on the employment scenario, the economy as a whole, the level of regular income, the quality of life, and stock market performance. Societies are generally divided into various hierarchical social strata, which are dependent on factors like education, occupation and income. Different societies have different strata, which may vary from as low as two to as high as nine or ten. Most societies have three broad social classes - upper class, middle class, and lower class. People belonging to one particular class can move to other classes, willingly or unwillingly, in an open society. Such moves can significantly affect their consumption behavior. Consumer tastes and preferences are influenced greatly by consumer socialization, as well as economic, social, and cultural capital. SOCIAL CLASS AND STATUS Researchers define each social class by the amount of social statusthe members of that class have in comparison to members of other social classes. In social class research (sometimes called social stratification), status is frequently thought of as the relative rankings of members of each social class in terms of specific status factors. Examples include: Wealth—amount of economic assets. Power—degree of personal choice. Prestige—the degree of recognition received from others.
  2. 2. CONVENIENT APPROACHES TO SOCIAL CLASS The idea is that individuals quite normally compare their own material possessions with those owned by others in order to determine their relative social standing.Social status is usually defined in terms of one or more of the following socioeconomic variables: Family income. Occupational status. Educational attainment. Figure 1: Convenient approaches to social class. SOCIAL CLASS CATEGORIES Little agreement exists among sociologists on how many distinct class divisions are necessary to adequately describe the class structure of the United States. The choice of how many separate classes to use depend on the amount of detail that the researcher believes is necessary to explain adequately the attitudes or behavior under study. Marketers are interested in the social class structures of communities that are potential markets for their products and in the specific social class level of their potential customers. There are five categories social class in Bangladesh: 1. Upper 2. Upper-middle 3. Middle 4. Working 5. Lower Figure 2:Different social class. Uppers and Upper Middle Class-Women of this group organize shopping more purposefully and efficiently than those of lower status. They tend to be more knowledgeable about what they want, where and when to shop for it; their shopping is both selective and wide-ranging. These consumers are more likely to search for information prior to purchase. They are more likely to read brochures, newspapers, and test reports before buying appliances. Middle Class-Women of this class "work" more at their shopping. They exhibit more anxiety, particularly when purchasing nonfoods, which they feel can be a demanding and tedious process filled with uncertainty. They are value-conscious and try to seek out the best buy for the money. Such an orientation would indicate a strong tendency to patronize discount houses. Working Class-Because of this group's strong concern with personal relationships, there is a tendency to shop along known, local friendship lines. This attitude also explains their loyalty to certain stores in which they feel at home. One study describes situations in which lower-status women who shopped in high-status department stores felt clerks and higher-class customers in the store "punished" them in various subtle ways. One woman expressed her feeling that in a higher-status store "the clerks treat you like a crumb‖. Another related how she had vainly tried to be waited on, finally to be told, "We thought you were a clerk‖.
  3. 3. Lower Class-This group is one that buys largely on impulse. This tendency results in the necessity to rely heavily on credit, since money that might have been spent for big-ticket items has been drained off in impulse buying of small things. At the same time, however, these people can be poor credit risks because of their low-income status. This often forces them into a pattern of dealing with local merchants who offer tailor-made credit terms. THE MESUREMENT OF SOCIAL CLASS There is no general agreement as to how to measure social class. The result is a wide variety of measurement techniques, which may be classified following the below:  Subjective Measures  Reputational Measures  Objective Measures Figure 3: Measurement of social class. Subjective Measures-In the subjective approach to measuring social class, individuals are asked to estimate their own social-class positions.In the subjective approach to measuring social class, individuals are asked to estimate their own social class positions. The resulting classification of social class membership is based on the participants’ self-perceptions or self-images. Subjective measures of social class membership tend to produce an overabundance of people who classify themselves as middle class. Moreover, it is likely that the subjective perception of one’s social class membership, as a reflection of one’s self-image, is related to product usage and consumption preferences. Reputational Measures-The reputational approach requires selected community informants to make initial judgments concerning the social-class membership of others within the community. In this form, selected community informants make initial judgments concerning the social class membership of others within the community, rather than themselves. This gives researchers a better understanding of the specific class structures of the communities being studied. Consumer researchers, however, are more concerned with understanding markets and consumers than social structure. Objective Measures-A method of measuring social class whereby individuals are asked specific socioeconomic questions concerning themselves or their families On the basis of their answers, people are placed within specific social-class groupings. Objective measures consist of selected demographic or socioeconomic variables concerning the individual(s) under study. These are measured through questionnaires of factual questions. The most frequently used questions are about occupation, amount of income, and education. Sometimes geo-demographic data in the form of zip codes and residence-neighborhood information is added. Socioeconomic measures of social class are important when segmenting the market. Marketers match the socioeconomic profiles of their target audience with the audience profiles of selected media. SOCIAL SATISFICATION Viewed as social inequality, which is a universal phenomenon. Inequality is viewed in terms of the distribution of scare goods. There are some elements of Social Stratification. These are given below:  CLASS – as defined by Marx, it is the division of people in society by their relationship to the means of production: those who own a large portion of society’s wealth.
  4. 4.  STATUS – For Weber, prestige rather than position itself is important. Individuals are ranked in society as high, middle, and low as determined by how the role attached to their status is valued.  POWER – refers to the ability of an individual to get other people to do ―what he wants them to do with or without their consent. DEMOGRAPHICS CLUSTERING In demographics, clustering is the gathering of various population based on ethnicity, economics, or religion.In countries that hold equality as important, clustering occurs between groups because of polarizing factors such as religion, wealth or ethnocentrism. Clustering is often considered an enriching part of free cultures in which one can visit a Chinatown or a French quarter for restaurant choices. SEGMENTING THE AFFLUENT MARKET The affluent market is not one single market. Affluent consumers do not share the same lifestyles. In an effort to isolate distinct segments has developed the following affluent market-segmentation scheme for the middle and working class consumers:- MIDDLE-CLASS CONSUMERS-It is not easy to define the borders of what is meant by ―middle class‖. Though, other measures are possible. For many marketers ―middle class‖ can be thought of as including households that range from lower-middle to middle-middle class. Because technological and luxury products are becoming more affordable to this class, it is even more difficult to define ―middle class‖. This is not true in other countries where the middle class is increasing. WORKING CLASS CONSUMERS-Although many marketers go after the affluent, the size and income of the non-affluent group make them an important target market. Lower-income, or downscale, consumers are households earning more or less. Downscale consumers are more brand loyal than wealthier consumers because they can less afford to make mistakes in switching to unfamiliar brands. CONCLUSION Little of what is best in marketing theory and practice works without correct market segmentation. It is one of the most fundamental concepts in marketing and your choice of which approach to adopt will directly affect the impact of segmentation on your business.The means of reducing switching behaviors within extremely saturated marketplaces are directly afforded by marketing communication. The effectiveness of such communication, however, can have the desired (or opposite) result on sustaining consumer loyalty over an extended period of time. While more traditional marketing models focused on product features and competitive positioning of particular brands or products, modern marketing emphasizes the relationship between consumer behavior and value. By enhancing a product’s value, consumers are encouraged to engage in the buying process and are more likely to maintain personal investment in a product over an extended period of time.
  5. 5. REFFERENCE 1. http://crab.rutgers.edu/~ckaufman/ConsumerbehaviorSocialClassRefGroupNotes.html 2. http://www.zeepedia.com/read.php?consumer_social_classes_chapter_4_environment al_influences_affluent_consumer_consumer_psychology&b=86&c=25 3. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/social-class.html 4. http://www.icmrindia.org/courseware/Consumer%20Behavior/CBC10.htm 5. http://www.studymarketing.org/articles/Consumer_Psychology/Shopping_Behavior_a nd_Social_Classes.html 6. FIGURE1:https://www.google.com.bd/search?q=convenient+approches+to+social+cl ass&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa 7. FIGURE2https://www.google.com.bd/search?q=different+of+social+class&source=ln ms&tbm 8. FIGURE 3:https://www.google.com.bd/search?q=image source//

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