Consumer purchases are influenced strongly by cultural, social, personal, and psychological characteristics as shown in Fig.2 For the most part, marketers cannot control their factors, but they should consider them while formulating marketing strategies.
A brief description of all the above factors is as follows.
1. Cultural factors: Cultural factors exert the broadest and deepest influence on consumer behavior. The marketer needs to understand the role played by the buyer’s culture, sub-culture, and social class.
Culture is the most basic cause of consumer’s wants and behavior. Consumer behavior is largely learned. Growing up in a society, a child learns basic values, perceptions, wants, and behaviors from the family and other important institutions. A child normally learns or is exposed to achievements and success, activity and involvement, efficiency and particularity, progress, material comfort, individualism, freedom, humanitarianism, youthfulness, and fitness and health. Every group or society has a culture, and cultural influence on buying behavior may vary greatly from country to country. Failure to adjust this difference can result in ineffective marketing or embarrassing mistakes.
Marketers are always trying to spot shifts in order to discover new products that might be wanted. For example, the culture shift towards greater concern about health and fitness has created a huge industry for exercise equipment and clothing, lower fat and more natural foods, and health and fitness services. The shift towards informality has resulted in more demand for casual clothing and simpler home furnishings. Moreover, the increased desire for leisure time has resulted in more demand for convenience products and services, such as microwaves ovens, and fast food.
Each culture contains smaller sub-cultures, or groups of people with shared value system based on common life experience and situations. Subculture includes nationalities, religions, social groups, and geographic regions. Many sub-cultures make trip important market segments and marketers often design products and marketing programs tailored to their needs. Examples of four such important subculture groups include Hispanic, African American, Asian and mature consumers.
c) Social Class
Almost every society has some of social class structure. Social classes are society relatively permanent and ordered divisions whose members share similar values interest, and behaviors. Social class is not determined by a single factor, such as income, but is measured as combination of occupation, income, education, wealth and other variables. In some social systems, members of different classes are reared for certain roles and cannot change their social positions. Marketers are instructed in social because people within a given social class tend to exhibit similar buying behavior. Social classes show distinct product and brand preferences in areas such as dietary clothing, home furnishing, leisure activity, and automobiles. Social class status often leads to different forms of consumer behavior. Some of the earliest contribution to the study of consumer’s behaviors used social class differences as major variable in explaining consumer differences.
2. Social Factors: A consumer behavior also is influence by social factors, such as the consumer’s small groups, family, and social roles and status. Groups a person’s behavior is influenced by many small groups. Groups that have a direct influence and to which a person belongs are called membership groups. In contrast, reference groups serve direct or indirect points of comparison or reference in forming a person’s attitudes or behavior. Reference groups to which they do not belong often influence consumers. An inspirational group is one to which the individual wishes to belong, as when a teenage basketball players hopes to play some day for Chicago Bull.
Similarly, marketers have to identify the references groups of their target markets. Reference groups expose a consumer to new behaviors and life style, influence the consumer’s attitude and self-concept and create pressure to conform that may affect the consumer’s product and brand choices. The importance of group influences varies across products and brands. It tends to be strongest when the product and brand subjected to strong group influences must figure out how to reach opinion subjected to strong group whom. Because of special skills, knowledge, personality or other characteristics, exert influence on others. Many marketers try to identify opinion leaders for their products and direct marketing efforts towards them. The advertisements can simulate opinion leadership, showing informal discussion between people and thereby reducing the need for consumers to seek advice from other stage in the buying process. Buying roles changes with evolving consumer lifestyles. In the United States, the Wife traditionally have been the main purchase agent for the family, especially in the areas of food, household products, and clothing. Such changes suggest that marketers who‘ve typically products to.
Family members can also strongly influence buyer behavior. The family is the most important consumer buying organization in society and it been reached extensively. Marketers are in trusted in the roles and influences of the husband, wife, and children on the purchase of different products and services. Husband-Wife involvement varies widely by product category and by only women or only men is now courting the opposite sex. Research revels that women now account for nearly half of all hardware store purchases. To attract more women, builders square runs ads targeting women in Home, House Beautiful, woman’s day and better homes and gardens. It even offers bridal registers. Children may also have a strong influence on family buying decisions.
b) Roles and Status
A consumer belongs to many groups –family, clubs and organizations. The consumer’s position in each group can be defined in terms of both role and status. A role consists of the activities people are expected to perform according to the person around them. Consumers often choose products that reflect their roles and status in the society. The role of brand manger has more status in our society than the role of a daughter. As a brand manager, Anna will buy the kind of clothing that reflects his role and status.
3. Personal factors: The buyer’s decisions also are influenced by personal characteristic such as the buyer’s age and life cycle stage, occupation, economic situation life style, personality, and self-concept, etc.
a) Age and Life Cycle Stages
Consumer changes the goods and services they buy over their life times buying is also shaped by the stage of the family life cycle, the stage through which families might pass they as they mature over time, marketers have to define their target markets, in terms of life cycle stage and develop appropriate products and marketing plans for each stage, traditional family life-cycle however, marketers are increasingly catering to a growing number of alternative non traditional stages such as unmarried couples, couples marrying in life, childless couple, single parents (those with young adult children returning homes) and others.
Consumer’s occupation affects the goods and services they buy. Blue collar workers tend to buy more rugged work clothes, whereas white-collar workers buy more bossiness suits. Marketers try to identify the occupational groups that have an above average interest in their products and services. A company can even specialize in making products need by a given occupational group. Thus, computer software companies will design different products for brand managers, accountants, engineers, lawyers and doctors.
c) Economic Situation
Consumer’s economic situation will also affect product choice. Marketers of income sensitive goods watch trends in personal income, savings and interests rates. If economic indicators point to a recession, marketers can take steps to redesign, reposition and reprise their products, accordingly.
d) Life Styles
Consumers coming from the same subculture, social class and occupation may have quite different lifestyles. Life style is s a person’s pattern of living. It involves measuring consumers major AIO dimensions: activities (work, hobbies, shopping, sports, social events), interests (food, fashion, family, recreation), and opinions (about themselves, social issues, business, products). If style captures something more than the person’s social class or personality it profiles whole pattern of acting and interacting in the world.
Several research firms have developed lifestyle classifications. The most widely used in the SRI valves and lifestyle (VALS) typology. Value and life style classifies people according to how they spend their time and money. It divided consumers into eight groups based on two major dimensions: self-orientation and resources. Self-orientation groups include principal-oriented consumers who buy based on their views of the world. Status-oriented buyers who base their purchases on the action and opinions of other:, and action-oriented buyers who are driven by their desire for activity, variety and risk-taking. Consumers within each orientation are further classified into those with abundant resources and those with minimal resources depending on whether they have high or low levels of income, education, health, self-confidence, energy, and other factors.
e) Personality and Self Concept
Each individual’s distinct personality influences his or her buying behavior. Personality refers to the unique psychological characteristics that lead to relatively consistent and lasting responses to one’s own environment. Personality is usually described in terms of traits such as self-confidence, dominance, sociability, autonomy, defensiveness, adaptability and aggressiveness. Personality can be useful in analyzing consumer behavior for certain product or brand choices. To attract customers, star bucks and other coffee houses create environment in which, people can relax and socialize over a cup of steaming coffee.
Many marketers use a concept related to personality a person self-concept (also called as self-image). The basic self-concept premise is that people’s possessions contribute to and reflect their identities. That is ‘we are what we have” Thus, in order to understand consumer behavior, the marketer must first understand the relationship between self-concept and possessions.
4. Psychological factors: An individual consumer’s person’s buying choice is further influenced by four major psychological factors: motivation, perception, learning, and beliefs and attitude.
A person has many needs at any give time. Some are biological, arising from states of tension such as hunger, thirst or discomfort. Other is psychological arising from the need for reorganization, esteem or belonging. A motive (or drive) is need that is sufficiently pressing to direct the person to seek satisfaction. Psychologists have developed theories of human motivation. Two of the most popular theories, the theories of Sigmund Freud and Abraham Maslow have quite different meanings for consumer’s analysis and marketing.
Sigmund Freud assumed that people are largely unconscious about the real psychological forces shaping their behavior. He saw the person as growing up and repressing many urges. These urges are never eliminated or under prefect control. They emerge in dreams, in slips of the tongue, in neurotic and obsessive behavior or unlimitedly in psychoses. Thus, Freud suggested that person does not fully understand his or her motivation. Motivation researches collect in depth information from small samples of consumers to uncover the deeper motives for their products choices. Abraham Maslow thought to explain why people are driven by particular need at particular times, why does one person spend much time and energy on personal safety and another on gaining the esteem of other.
Maslow’s answer is that human needs are arranged in a hierarchy. They include physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and selfactualization needs. A person tries to satisfy the most important needs first when that need is satisfied, it will stop being a motivator and the person will then try to satisfy the next most important need and so on.
A motivated person is ready to act. How the person acts is influenced by how or her own perception of the situation. All the human being learns by the flow of information through five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. However, each individual receives, organizes, and interprets this sensory information in an individual way. Perception is the process by which people select, organize and interpret information to from a meaningful picture of the world.
Consumers can form different perceptions of the same stimulus because of three perceptual process; selective attention, selective distortion and selective retention.
When people act, they learn. Learning describes changes in an individual’s behaviour arising from experience. Learning theorists say that most human behaviors are learned. Learning occurs through the interplay of drivers, stimuli, responses and reinforcement. A drive is a strong internal stimulus that cells for action; cues are minor stimuli that determine when, where, and how the person responds. The practice significance of learning theory for marketers is that they can build up demand for a product by association, it with strong drives, using motivating cues, and providing positive reinforcement.
d) Beliefs and Attitudes Through doing and learning, people accrue beliefs and attitudes. These, intern, influence their buying behaviors. A belief is a depuratives thought that a person has about something. The beliefs may be based on real knowledge, opinion or faith and may not carry emotional charge. Marketers are in trusted in the beliefs that people formulate about specific product and services because these beliefs make up products and brand images that affect buying behaviour. If some of the beliefs are wrong and prevent purchase, the marketers have to launch campaign to correct them.
Consumers have attitudes regarding religion, politics, cloths, music, food and almost everything else. Attitudes describe consumer’s relatively consistent evaluations, feelings and tendencies towards and object or idea. Attitudes put people into a frame of mind of liking or disliking things, of moving towards or away from them.
For citing this article use:
- N, Vemanna. “Consumer Behaviour towards Organized Retailing a Study with Special Reference to Selected Retail Chains.” 2015.