Social values are driven by its customs ands values. Culture outlines the general behavior of the consumers’ living into, as it provides with the common rituals that members of that society follow. But in a given culture the practice of these values differ depending upon the belonging of a particular social class. In may be the case that two consumers living in the same society spend differently, their preferences don’t collide, but two consumers act and behave in similar fashion across the cultures. These consumer acts differ due to the differences in the social class and similarity in the social class respectively.
Social class is defined as the divisions of the members of the society into the hierarchy into distinctive status classes. Such differences can be in the areas of power, authority, wealth, residence, education, income level, lifestyles etc. these differences exist in any given society and holds considerable significance to the marketers and companies.
There can be different ways determining the social class including purchasing power parity, relative income level, and consumption of higher education. Like culture evolves, social class status can also be changed.
There is a huge impact of the social class on the consumption patterns .As it is a variable for segmenting product market that satisfy the needs related to the particular lifestyle expressions. It has been researched that people related to higher status quos are more experimental with the product categories; it is for the reason that they have access to more resources.
Segmenting Social Economic Class
Based on the divisions (residence, education, income level etc) social economic classes can be grouped into three main categories including upper class, middle class, lower or under class. On many occasion, the consumption pattern and the amount each of these class allocate to the basic necessities and goods is similar.
Because of the wealth and the resources that this class has an access to shapes the marketing practices geared towards them. Around the world, the marketers target this group with distinctive media and products. Lot of niche marketing practices are carried for this class. Products class is more distinctive and customized. One of the main features in this class is framed by those who are new in this category and have desire to be prominently visible in their change of social status.
Mostly working class formulates this category. Sizable middle class is the emerging class for many marketers as it is found that at least half of the more than 200 nations of the world. Things which are important to this class include education and marriage. They have strong desire to move to upper social quo. Products/brands targeted to this class shows practicality and sometimes emotional values.
Lower or under class constitute the majority of the population of the world. This class is usually associated with less money available, minorities, low educational level but high technical education. Many consumers belonging to this class are working on daily wages. Considerable amount is spending on food items, shelter and other basic necessities of life. Marketers target this class through the mass media.
Schiffman L. Kaunk L ( 2007) “social class and consumer behavior” Consumer Behavior ninth Ed New York, Prentice hall, pg 356-382.
Zinkhan G, Arnould E (2002) “the economic and social structures” Consumers 1st Ed New York, McGraw-Hill Publication Pg 179-194.