Discuss about the Social Class and Consumer Behavior.
Social Class and Consumer Behavior:
The decision-making process of consumer is complex and is very important to determine their purchase behavior. Marketers and researchers study these fields to understand their customer’s purchasing decision. Every customer has their own specific pattern of purchase in today’s multi brands market. Many researcher’s studies consumers behavior to understand the reason why consumer buy and what are the factors that influence their purchasing decisions (Durmaz, 2014).
As per the research done by Rossiter and Foxall in 2008, the main causes of purchase behavior consumers are:
- drive level or momentary motivation,
- initiating stimuli,
- habits that include attitudes, values and belief,
- external incentive
Social class of consumer is also one of the main cause of difference in consumer purchase as it has a big influence on their behavior.
In order to provide effective service, it is important to identify what kind of products and benefits consumer seeks. It is important to understand for companies about what they buy, how much they buy, why they buy and where they buy (Kashyap & Iyer, 2007).
There are several characteristics of social classes like people of same social class have similar habit that include preferences for housing, clothing, furniture, leisure service etc.
From a global perspective marketer focuses on social class. In many countries there is a great class differences in people, where they live, types of clothes they wear, the cars they drive etc. are determining the social class. Social class has high impact on the behavior of consumer. Young people from high social class greater preference an awareness of consumer stimuli in the consumer environment. They have strong brand preference and mostly seek information before making decision of purchase in compare to lower class people. social class influences how and where people go for hopping. Lower class people usually shop in local markets where as upper-class consumer will venture different new places to shop.
Reference groups in purchase intention of shoppers
The study and research has proved tat reference groups have significant impact on the purchase intention of different types of customer. It is common to see customer using their reference groups in making their purchasing decisions. For example: the customer may ask their friends or family before making any kind of purchase (Pentine & Zhang, 2015). It is also seen that, sometimes consumer purchase products just on the basis of the endorsement being done by the celebrity or the influencer. As reference groups affects the intention of the shopper to purchase, it is evident that the previous studies which focused on the impact of reference groups on purchasing habit were true. The reference groups do not only affect the purchasing habit but there are other factors as well like types of customer, types of products involved had also relevant consequences (ADíaza & Mar, 2017). The shopper has been classified into there types which are utilitarian, hedonic value and social vale. Different customer has diverse behavior while shopping and it reflects in their purchasing decisions. When it comes to product involvement, the customer purchase products on the basis of product involvement. The different types of reference groups affect the shopper purchasing decision differently. The involvement of family, friends etc. can change in individual norm and attitude through interaction. But, the celebrities and influences often have significant impact on their purchasing decision. The customers are more attracted towards the celebrities or influencers because of their success story, life style, opinions etc.
Hence, the impact of reference group on the purchasing habit is diverse and depend upon the different source of information the customer is using for making their decision. Thus, the type of reference group is classified into: a. private group which includes family members and friends, celebrities and influencers b. public groups which includes celebrates and influencers.
Some of the consumers also tend to build a respectable or impression on their friends. For example: it has been found that, men make more purchases when they are with their friend then when they do their shopping alone.
Needs and motivation of Consumer satisfaction
Motivation is the force which drive or compels the individual to perform certain action. This type of force is produced when an individual is in a state of uncomfortable tension which arises due to unfulfilled wish. Every individual has need, want and desire (Wilton & Tse, 1988). Consumer need is the basis of marketing. As we all know, the need is the essence of marketing. For any company to succeed or survive and earn profit, it needs to identify and satisfy the unfulfilled needs of the consumer sooner and better than its rival companies. The markets do not rush in order to create need, though in some cases they make customer to realize their unfelt needs (Bearden, 1983). The successful markets analyses their success in terms of need they satisfied instead of focusing on number of products to be sold. This is known market oriented rather than product-oriented approach to marketing. The marketing orientation approach mainly focuses on the needs of the buyer. While a product orientation focuses on the need of the seller. Consumer behavior is a complex relationship which is based on several factors. The market oriented should produce according to the need of the buyer so that the customer is satisfied. A satisfied customer influences other to purchase those products, thus creating a win-win situation for both buyer and seller.
Influence of personality on consumer buying behavior
The purchase, search, usage, disposal of services and goods by consumer are highly influenced by cultural, environment, psychological factor and personal. There is a huge impact of personality of consumer on their buying behavior. There are several theories of personality that have been applied to study consumer buying behavior. The theories like Psychoanalytic theory, the trait theory and Neo-Freudian theory are the most relevant to analyses consumer behavior (Parmer & Dillard, 2015).
Trait theory shows a quantitative approach to study personality of people. The researchers of trait theory found that it is realistic to expect personality to link with consumer decision making and choices of product purchase and consumption. Non- Freudian theory focuses on social relationships as the believe that they are the basic to the development and formation of personality.
Personality is a result of environmental and social influences on the individual concentrates. It reflects individual differences. It is important concepts as it enables to categorize buyer into several groups on the basis of several traits. Marketers focuses on consumer personality as if they know that personality characteristics influence particular responses they can appeal to the suitable traits inherent in the group of customers (Sarker, Bose, Palit, & Haque, 2013). The personality difference is directly related with differences in products bought by customers. The type of clothes, appliances, automobiles etc. individual buy, shows their personalities. People of upper class tend to buy expensive products. Therefore, marketers produce their product s promotional campaigns and advertisement focusing on the personality types of their target consumer. Marketers should not only focus on conscious rational aspect of goods in developing appeal, but also customers unconscious motives.
Personality is also a key factor that influence purchasing behavior of consumer. So, marketers should always focus on the service related issues that directly affects consumers attitudes measuring personality in product and service industry is very important.
Consumer perception and Decision-making process
The perception of consumer has direct influence on the decision-making process of consumer while purchasing any product. That is why marketers and researches stud the factors that influence consumer buying behavior. Companies spends huge amount of money on marketing, to improve the consumer service and doing things that can influence the perception of target customer (Ladhari, Souiden, & Béatrice, 2017).
There are five stages in decision making process of customers to obtain product or services. It includes need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternative products buying decision and post purchase behavior.
There are several decision-making models on consumer. Behavioral decision theorists identified several situations in which consumers make irrational choices.
The traditional model of consumer decision making process i.e. five staged mode of customer buying process consists of 5 stages. There model serves as a modern base concept for McKinsey’s model which has four primary phases of decision making that are: initial consideration, active evaluation, closure when consumer buy brands and lastly the post purchase, when customer experience them (Stankevich, 2017).
With proper panning and execution, companies can influence consumer perception and encourage profitable consumer behavior. Consumer synthesizes every information about a company to make decision about the company whether it offers value or not. Their perceptions are approximation of reality and business tries to influences their perception of reality by presenting themselves in best and attractive way. So, perception of consumers can be changed as it has great influence on decision making process.
Consumer Involvement and Purchase Decision
Consumer involvement can be defined as a state of mind which motivates customer to buy product or the importance that customer places on any service or product. There are many levels of consumer involvement that helps in the decision-making process and several factors that influences their involvement (Laurent & Kapferer, 1985).
The theory of involvement is based such that there exist both high and low involvement and high and low purchases. As per this theory, the involvement of consumer depends upon the degree of relevance of purchase. For example: If a customer wishes to buy a packet of bread or butter, tea or food then he may not feel very much involved as these products have short life and once it is consumed, it ceases to exist. Also, if a customer is not having pleasant experience with the product then he may change the brand next time.
Although this case does not hold true in case of consumer durables and other services. If a consumer buys a refrigerator, air conditioner, furniture, house, automobile, etc. he is bound to use it for longer period of time as disposal of such products can incur heavy loss. Thus, in these types of products, the degree of involvement is high, therefore, the consumer takes a lot thinking before making any final decision. Insurance policy once taken, one has to live with it (Varki & Wong, 2003).
If a patient gets admitted to a hospital for an operation then he cannot leave the operation theatre until the operation is complete or even if one is not satisfied. This kind of product and services have high risk involvement and have long term consequences. Thus, a customer should make enough inquiries before taking final decision so that they may not have to suffer later on.
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