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Consumer Behavior - Consumer Influences.

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Introduction

Consumer Behavior - Consumer Influences DESCRIBE 3 OF THE KEY FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR AND DISCUSS SITUATIONS IN WHICH YOU FEEL THESE FACTORS MAY HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR OWN BEHAVIOUR. Consumer behavior is the study of how people behave when purchasing and disposing of products. This essay aims to outline three factors which influence consumer behavior and to give examples of situations in which these factors are at work. The three factors chosen are culture, social class and personality. Culture and social class being environmental influences and personality being an individual influence. These are defined and supported by the following explanations. Assael (1998, p457) agrees with the change that culture has on consumer behavior by stating; "The broadest environmental factor affecting consumer behavior is culture, as reflected by the values and the norms society emphasizes". Engal et al.(1995) states that cultural factors concern the values, perceptions, wants and behaviors emphasized by society, family and other important institutions. Cultures contain divisions of sub-cultures and social classes. ...read more.

Middle

Engel et al.(1995) considers that social class may be determined by diverse factors not limited to occupation, wealth, income, prestige, age and social interactions. Within each social class these factors have varying importance. Social classes are broken down by each class having similar values, interests and behaviors. "Social class is defined as relatively permanent and homogenous divisions in a society into which individuals or families sharing similar values, lifestyles, interests, and behavior can be categorized", Engel et al (1995, p.681) In Europe and America, social class may be broken down into upper, middle and lower classes, with further divisions in each. Distinctions within social classes can determine the behavior of a consumer for many products ranging from necessities such as food and clothing to luxuries such as holidays and motor vehicles as confirmed by Assael (1998, p.381) "Ones age and income can affect purchases of everything from autos to deodorants" Brands may be marketed directly at a class division as well as being marketed as a product in which to be aspired to by lower classes. ...read more.

Conclusion

These theories measure different aspects of personality and are so used by marketers. "Self-concept personality theory is arguably the most relevant for marketers because it focuses on how an individuals self image affects his or her purchasing behavior. It recognizes the way we buy and own is a reflection of who we are" Assael (1998, p.443) I feel that personality influences my own patterns of consumer behavior more than the previous two factors discussed. I am an impulse buyer and as such will purchase an item on a whim rather than a well thought out consumer decision. At a bar I may be faced with the decision between a large, cold beer which will appeal to both my cultural and social class influences, and will order a Jack Daniels and Coke because it appeals to my personal taste. Thus showing that personality is the overriding factor in my consumer behavior. An item that is marketed as having instantaneous effects, pleasure, excitement or gratification will find an easy target with me. Whether culture, social class or personality are focused on by a marketer it would be shrewd to use a mixture of the aforementioned influences to reach the broadest possible audience. ...read more.

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