External Influences – Social Environment and Social Class

Consumer Behavior

External Influences – Social Environment and Social Class

Social Environment

Reference groups have an influence on purchasing behavior, but the level of influence will depend on where the product will be consumed—in public or in private—and whether the product is a want or a need.

PROFILE OF THE AMERICAN CLASS STRUCTURE

CLASS

% Pop

INCOME

EDUCATION LEVEL

OCCUPATION

DESCRIPTION

Upper-Upper

.3%

$5 million and up

Graduate Degree

CEO, Executives, Senator

Inherited wealth, aristocratic, fund charities, “old money”, participate in politics

Upper

1.2

$2 million

Graduate Degree

Executive, professional

Entrepreneurs, Sports Stars, Entertainers

Lower-Upper

12.5

$250,000

Graduate Degree, medical degree

Executive, Professional, Doctor

Education is important, involved in arts

Middle Class

32

$100,000

College Degree

Office workers, managers

Insecure due to economic fluctuations, live in the suburbs

Working Class

38

$50,000

High school

Teacher, plumber,

Skilled workers, may be in danger of falling into a lower class

Lower

9

$20,000

Some High School

Janitor, farmer

Poorly educated, low income, work as laborers

Lower-Lower

7

$9,000 and under

Grade School

Minimum wage or unemployed

Unskilled, may be unemployed for long periods of time, receive government support

GROUP INFLUENCE ON PRODUCT AND BRAND SELECTION

 

Need

Want

Public

Example: fast food lunch
A product used in public that you need
weak group influence for product selection, strong group influence for brand selection

Example: yacht
A product used in public that you want
strong group influence for product selection, strong group influence for brand selection

Private

Example: bed sheets
A product used in private that you need
weak group influence for product selection, weak group influence for brand selection

Example: hot tub
A product used in private that you want
strong group influence for product selection, weak group influence for brand selection

Social Class

Populations can be subdivided into groups who members share similar hobbies, opinions, and activities. Americans have two lifestyles—the one they are in and the one they strive to be in, which is usually better than their current situation. It is important for a marketer to understand the subdivisions of society in order to better choose target markets for their products and services.

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