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Assignment on

“Impact of culture and subculture

on consumer Behavior”

Submitted by
Sandeep singh
Roll no 81501317094

The study of culture is a challenging undertaking because its primary focus is on the
broadest component of social behavior - an entire society In contrast to the psychologist,
who is principally concerned with the study of individual behavior, or the sociologist,
who is concerned with the study of groups, the anthropologist is primarily interested in
identifying the very fabric of society itself

What Is Culture?
Given the broad and pervasive nature of culture, its study generally requires a detailed
examination of the character of the total society, including such factors as language,
knowledge, laws, religions, food customs, music, art, technology, work patterns,
products, and other artifacts that give a society its distinctive flavor In a sense, culture is a
society's personality For this reason, it is not easy to define its boundaries

Because our objective is to understand the influence of culture on consumer behavior, we

define culture as “the sum total of learned beliefs, values, and customs that serve to direct
the consumer behavior of members of a particular society”

The belief and value components refer to the accumulated feelings and priorities that
individuals have about "things" and possessions. More precisely, beliefs consist of the
very large number of mental or verbal statements (i.e. "I believe ____") that reflect a
person's particular knowledge and assessment of something (another person, a store, a
product, a brand)

Values also are beliefs However; values differ from, because they meet the following
(1) They are relatively few in number
(2) They serve as a guide for culturally appropriate behavior
(3) They are enduring or difficult to change
(4) They are not tied to specific objects or situations
(5) They are widely accepted by the members of a society

Therefore, in a broad sense, both values and beliefs are mental images that affect a wide
range of specific attitudes that, in turn, influence the way a person is likely to respond in
a specific situation. For example, the criteria a person uses to evaluate alternative brands
in a product category (such as Volvo versus Jaguar automobiles), or his or her eventual
preference for one of these brands over the other, are influenced by both a person's
general values (perceptions as to what constitutes quality and the meaning of country of
origin) and specific beliefs (particular perceptions about the quality of Swedish-made
versus English-made cars)

In contrast to beliefs and values, customs are overt modes of behavior that constitute
culturally approved or acceptable ways of behaving in specific situations Customs consist
of everyday or routine behavior For example, a consumer's routine behavior, such as
adding sugar and milk to coffee, putting ketchup on hamburgers putting mustard on
frankfurters, and having a salad after rather than before the main course of a meal, are
customs Thus, whereas beliefs and values are guides for behavior, customs are usual and
acceptable ways of behaving

Understanding of various cultures of a society helps marketers predict consumer

acceptance of their products

What is Subculture?
The members of a specific subculture possess beliefs, values, and customs that set them
apart from other members of the same society. In addition, they adhere to most of the
dominant cultural beliefs, values, and behavioral patterns of the larger society. We define
subculture, then, as “a distinct cultural group that exists as an identifiable segment within
a larger, more complex society”.

Thus, the cultural profile of a society or nation is a composite of two distinct elements
(1) The unique beliefs, values, and customs subscribed to by members of specific
(2) The central or core cultural themes that are shared by most of the population,
regardless of specific sub-cultural memberships.

Relationship Between Culture and Subculture

The above figure presents a simple model of the relationship between two sub-cultural
groups (geographic or regional subcultures (Easterners and Westerners) and the larger
culture. As the figure depicts, each subculture has its own unique traits, yet both groups
share the dominant traits of the overall American culture.

In other words - each American is, in large part, a product of the American way of life.
Each American, however, is at the same time a member of various subcultures. For
example, an 11-year-old boy may simultaneously be Hispanic American, Catholic,
preteen and a South Carolinian. We would expect that membership in each different
subculture would provide its own set of specific beliefs, values, attitudes, and customs.

Examples of Major Sub-cultural Categories

Nationality Jamaican, Vietnamese, French
Religion Mormon, Baptist, Catholic
Geographic region Northeast. Southwest, Midwest
Race Pacific Islander, Native American, Caucasian
Age Senior citizen, teenager
Gender Female, male
Occupation Bus driver, mechanic, engineer, executive
Social class Lower, middle, upper

Table above lists typical sub-cultural categories and corresponding examples of specific
sub-cultural groups. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Subcultural analysis enables the marketing manager to focus on sizable and natural
market segments. When carrying out such analyses, the marketer must determine whether
the beliefs, values, and customs shared by members of a specific subgroup make them
desirable candidates for special marketing attention. Subcultures, therefore, are relevant
units of analysis for market research. However these subcultures are dynamic - the
different ethnic groups that comprise the U.S. population have been changing and will
continue to change in size and economic power in the coming years. For instance, the
white (non-Hispanic) population of the Unites States, which made up 71 percent of
Americans in the year 2000, is projected to represent about 53 percent of the U.S.
population by the year 2050. Frequently a "window on the future," the State of California
in 1999 reported that the state's multicultural or combined minority population became
the state's majority population.

A recent study of ethnic media usage in California also found that 84 percent of Asian
American, African American, and Hispanic American respondents claimed to get
information from ethnic television, radio, and publications. Furthermore, 68 percent
preferred ethnic-language TV stations to English channels for news, and 40 percent
reported paying greater attention to ethnic language ads than English-language ads.

The Impact of Culture

The impact of culture is so natural and automatic that its influence on behavior is usually
taken for granted For instance, when consumer researchers ask people why they do
certain things, they frequently answer, “Because it's the right thing to do” This seemingly
superficial response partially reflects the ingrained influence of culture on our behavior
Often it is only when we are exposed to people with different cultural values or customs
(as when visiting a different region or a different country) that we become aware of how
culture has molded our own behavior Thus, a true appreciation of the influence that
culture has on our daily life requires some knowledge of at least one other society with
different cultural characteristics For example to understand that brushing our teeth twice
a day with flavored toothpaste is a cultural phenomenon requires some awareness that
members of another society either do not brush their teeth at all or do so in a distinctly
different manner than our own society Perhaps the following statement expresses it best
‘Consumers both view themselves in the context of their culture and react to their
environment based upon the cultural framework that they bring to that experience Each
individual perceives the world through his own cultural lens’

The Impact of Subculture

Black Subculture
A high proportion of families are headed by women
Black women influence many purchases that might otherwise be purchased by men
Advertising often appeals to the strength black women portray in life
Often unavailability of shopping areas in neighborhoods causes great disparity in
spending power
Differences in decision making patterns and in media usage

They think of themselves as Hispanic or Latino first and as Americans second
90% indicate that Spanish is the most important feature of their culture
Two-thirds of Hispanics prefer to speak Spanish at home
20% of Hispanics do not speak English at all

Key Ideas

• Latinos are concentrated geographically

• Latinos are generally brand loyal
• Latinos emphasize the importance of the family
• Latin identity - ethnic identity

Importance of religion

Religious Subcultures

• What is the impact of Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Islam, etc on the

products the consumers buy and use?
• The holidays they celebrate?
• The foods they should and should not use?
• The gifts they give?

What do people know about their religious heritage? If they are second or third-
generation, do they need information

Subculture Based on Age

They influence purchases in approx. 60 product categories
They select the stores in which they spend their own money
By appealing to preteens, marketers build brand loyalty at an early stage
The medium of choice for them is television


• They make up 6% of the population, but growth will be flat until 2010
• They have been segmented into several lifestyle groups
• Increasing influence on purchasing
• Increasing spending power
• Teens are preoccupied with their appearance
• They are open to new ideas and new products
• Teens are avid television viewers

Young Adults—Generation X

• Those born between 1965 and 1977 (40 million people)

• They are distrustful of marketing
• They look for a balance between work and leisure
• Gen X-ers are close to their parents and they tend to live at home
Generation X (continued)

• They are not drawn to traditional forms of advertising (i.e., hyping up products)
• Gen X-ers express their need to stay in control by purchasing communications
equipment such as beepers, fax machines, e-mail, and mobile phones
• They prefer products based on their practicality

Baby Boomers
Those born between 1946 and 1964 (78 million)
Total income is over $1 trillion, increasing at a rate of 10% per year (versus 5% for the
rest of the population)
They have a high level of education
They have more discretionary income than other groups and they buy more and save less
Boomers are health conscious

Baby Boomers (continued)

They are becoming less materialistic in outlook and their product and service selections
reflect their concern for the environment and quality of life
They use credit cards and buy expensive exercise equipment
Boomers keep up with fashions
The marketing of nostalgia works well with them (especially older baby boomers)

There were approx. 35 million people over 65 in 2000—it is the fastest growing segment
of the population