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consumer behavior ch.9 SOCIAL CLASS
Terms in this set (19)
people having the same social, educational, or economic status whose members share a degree of unity.
term whereby people in a society are ranked by other members of a society into higher and lower social positions, which produces a hierarchy of respect or prestige
CHARACTERISTICS OF SOCIAL CLASS
SOCIAL CLASS EXHIBIT STATUS
one's rank in the social system, as perceived by other members of society.
SOCIAL CLASS ARE MULTIDIMENSIONAL
Social classes are multidimensional, being based on numerous components.
income, occupation, and education are the basis for the government's Socio-Economic Status (SES) Score often used as a measure of social class. Housing also indicates social class.
SOCIAL CLASS ARE HOMOGENEOUS
Social classes may be viewed as homogeneous divisions of society in which people within a class have similar attitudes, activities, interests, and other behavior patterns.
METHODS TO CATHEGORIZE AND MEASURE SOCIAL CLASS
individuals are asked to rank themselves in the social-class hierarchy. However, because most people are reluctant to categorize themselves as either lower or upper class, the middle class ends up with an unrealistically large share.
This approach asks members of a community to rank each other in the status system.
Individuals are ranked on the basis of certain objective factors.
Warner used an objective approach and discerned a six-class system of stratification : upper-upper, lower-upper, upper-middle, lower-middle, upper-lower, and lower-lower.
Newer views of the U.S. status structure acknowledge three main groupings of Americans—upper, middle, and lower.
PROBLEMS IN SOCIAL CLASS DETERMINATION
1. The ranking of social class is based simply upon an average of the person's position on several status dimensions. This ignores the inconsistencies which arise from an individual's ranking high on one dimension (such as income) but low on another (such as education).
2. A person's social class is assumed to be stable, and thus the effects of mobility are ignored.
3. An individual identifies only with the social class in which she or he is categorized, thus ignoring reference-group effects from other classes.
4. The social class of an entire family may be measured by examination of characteristics of only the adult male wage earner, thus ignoring characteristics of other family members, particularly the employment and education of the adult female in the family.
They are the segment of our society who most value quality merchandise, pay special attention to prestige brands, and believe it is important to spend with good taste.
class composed of old, locally prominent families—the aristocracy of birth and wealth with at least three generations in the community and class. It is the smallest class group, international in residence, friendships, and relationships. Its members have occupations as large merchants, financiers, and in the higher professions. They are oriented toward gracious living, upholding the family reputation, reflecting the excellence of one's breeding, and displaying a sense of community responsibility.
This is the nouveau riche, or newly rich class, composed of those who have recently arrived at their wealth and are not quite accepted by the upper-uppers. They are the executive elite, founders of large businesses, and wealthy doctors and lawyers. They have the highest incomes of all the classes and their goals are a blend of the upper-uppers' pursuit of gracious living and the upper-middles' success drive. Many of the nation's millionaires fit this category.
This class consists of moderately successful professional men and women, such as doctors, lawyers, and professors; owners of medium-sized businesses; and managerial workers in organizations. It also includes younger men and women who are expected to reach those occupational-status levels within a few years. Most members are college-educated; hence, this group is sometimes referred to as "the brains and eyes" of our society.
The motivations of this group are toward achieving success in their careers, reaching a higher income level, and achieving social advancement for themselves and their children. They strive to cultivate charm and polish and handle a broad range of civic and cultural interests. They play bridge and Scrabble; go to plays, museums, symphonies, and art galleries; and are members of golf clubs, yacht clubs, and college clubs.
consumers with the greatest amount of discretionary income
3 types of affluent
Mass Affluent-one-person, adult households with an average annual income of $75,000-$99,999 or multiple adults per household with a combined income of $100,000-$149,999.
Highly Affluent-one or more adults per household with a combined annual income of $150,000-$249,999.
Super Affluent-one or more adults per household with a combined annual income of $250,000 or more.
composed of non-managerial workers, small-business owners, and highly paid blue-collars. These lower echelon white-collar workers and small-business owners are at the bottom of the white-collar status ladder, while their blue-collar counterparts are at the top of theirs.
The key motivations for this group are respectability and striving.
Men and women want to be judged respectable in their personal behavior by their fellow citizens; that is, they desire to live in well-maintained homes that are neatly furnished and are located in neighborhoods that are on the "right
side of the tracks." They strive to do a good job at their work. Home is their focus and much time and effort is spent in it, especially keeping it clean and tidy.
This group is recognized as one in which people want to do the right thing and buy what's popular.
Their reference orientation toward upper Americans distinguishes them from the working class.
They are big supporters of dinner theater; are lifting themselves up by enrolling in universities and community colleges; are eating out more; dressing more casually; and enjoying vacations. Possessions and pride have given way somewhat to activities and pleasure.
These are "poor but honest" and "family folks."
The largest of all classes, it is composed of skilled and semiskilled workers and small business tradespeople.
Contrary to what may be expected, many of these class members make very good money; they simply don't use it to become "respectable" the way the middle class does.
Working-class people are oriented toward living well and enjoying life from day-to-day rather than saving for the future or being concerned about what the middle classes think of them. They want to be modern, to keep up with the times rather than the Joneses.
The working class family's world view is one of great anxiety. They value the present, the known, and the personal, while avoiding the competitive, the impersonal, and the uncertain. They indulge rather than invest. They are preoccupied with stable human relationships in their everyday lives. Moreover, because they see themselves as being quite restricted in their ability to rise in social status, those with whom they identify are largely chosen from their own class. The working class woman tends to be part of a tightly knit social group composed primarily of female kin. Thus, more than in any other class, the working class family generally looks horizontally for its norms and standards rather than up to the next class.
This group's emphasis on family ties is one sign of their limited social, psychological, and geographical horizons when compared to the middle class. Their parochial view extends to other areas, however. They tend to live within a mile of a relative, follow local sports heroes, watch local TV news rather than national or world news, vacation at home or within two hours' distance, and buy large domestic cars, not small, foreign ones.26
Although this group has become more affluent over the last thirty years, there has been essentially no value change. This group's basic characteristics—limited horizons, focus on family, and sharp family sex-role divisions—have been relatively unchanged. They have sought change through using modern possessions, not through human relationships or new ideas.
This class together with the middle class enjoys poker, TV, movies, and bowling. The men belong to unions, lodges, and fraternal orders.
This group is generally referred to as disadvantaged and outside the mainstream.
It is composed of mostly unskilled workers, unassimilated ethnics, and those who are sporadically employed.
They may be subdivided into two groups: those who are working and those who are on welfare.
This class is the working poor Although above the poverty level, they cannot count on steady employment. Because they may have only some high school education, they are relegated to unskilled, low-paying labor positions. Unable to advance to the working class because of their low education level, they fear slipping to the lowest class.
This class amounts to seven percent of the population.
Living below the poverty line, they receive most of their income from illegal activities or from welfare. This group is categorized as the American underclass, whose environment is often a "junk heap of rotting housing, broken furniture, crummy food, alcohol and drugs."
They are fatalistic in their outlook and their behavior generally, and, as consumers, they try to get their kicks wherever they can.
UPPER-UPPERS AND CB
Although expense is frequently no object, they do not purchase in order to impress others. Therefore, they may be content to wear 20-year-old sport coats and drive 10-year-old cars. They tend to be conservative in their consumption, buying relatively few goods, and use more services than goods. One reason for their low consumption of goods is that many of their belongings are passed on from generation to generation.
LOWER-UPPERS AND CB
consumer behavior of lower-uppers may be characterized as oriented strongly toward conspicuous consumption.
Their purchase decisions are geared toward demonstrating wealth and status through such items as large estates, expensive cars and jewelry, and so forth. They may be used effectively as reference groups in advertising to those below them, and sometimes their use of certain products will trickle down to other social-class groups.
UPPER-MIDDLES AND CB
This group purchases a far greater number of products than any other class. Because they are successful, their purchase decisions reflect strong social implications. Through their consumption they want to project an image of success and achievement. Their purchases emulate higher strata and are a display of their success, not only for their peers but for others lower on the social scale. Because they purchase higher-quality products and attempt to display good taste, they are frequently termed the "quality market."
The high education level of this group strongly influences the kinds of expenditures they make. As cited earlier, their desired consumption pattern is heavily experience centered, that is, spending where one is left typically with memories rather than tangible assets.
MIDDLE CLASS AND CB
Social acceptability is an important guideline in the consumption activity of this group also. They are more interested in a product giving them social acceptance than in the luxuriousness or functionality of the item. Products, especially home furnishings, are bought on the basis of what is pretty and stylish and will suit the homemaker and win praise from her friends and neighbors. Product choices are made along safe and conservative lines rather than on the basis of original and imaginative thought.
WORKING CLASS CB
Five basic goals appear to activate the consumer behavior of the working-class homemaker:
1. The search for social, economic, and physical security.
2. The drive for a "common man" level of recognition and respectability.
3. The desire for support and affection from the people important to her.
4. The effort to escape a heavy burden of household labors.
5. The urge to decorate, to "pretty up," her world.
The working-class world tends to be more limited in both direct and vicarious experiences, which is reflected in consumption patterns. Expenditures are concentrated into fewer categories of goods and services. The working class is more concerned with immediate gratification than middle-class families are, but avoid spending their money in ways that are considered out-of-place. Their spending is centered more on the interior-exterior interest of their house than on the size and location of the house itself. Since their upward social mobility is quite limited, they are not concerned about socially elite addresses. Instead, their housing tastes are very practical and utilitarian with "decent," "clean," "new," and "safe" characterizing their outlook.
Although working-class consumers' behavior resembles middle-class behavior in hard goods spending, their expenditures for services lag behind and are also lower than their own expenditures for durables. Some of the reasons suggested for the lack of service-oriented consumption among the working class in comparison with the middle class are (1) they tend to be do-it-yourselfers; (2) their expenditures for children's education are much smaller; (3) they are more likely to spend their vacation at home or visiting relatives, saving on motel and transportation costs; (4) they do not frequent expensive restaurants, but tend to consume their meals away from home with relatives, or at a franchised drive-in.
Thus, the tremendous boom in the service sector of our economy is largely a middle-class phenomenon.
LOWER AMERICANS AND CB
Contrary to what might be expected, some members of this group may represent an attractive segment for manufacturers of food products or other frequently purchased items, and for certain durables. For example, one study found that such families are consumers of many major consumer durables, frequently the new, more expensive models.33 Another researcher found that the prevailing market value
of the lower-class family's car, television set, and basic appliances average almost 20 percent higher than the average value of similar possessions for the working class, despite a median income which was one-third lower than the working-class group.34
Lower-class spending behavior can be described as "compensatory consumption." The lower-lower-class family's pessimistic outlook on life causes them to spend for immediate gratification. Thus, through their purchasing they try to emulate the good life. This group's purchasing patterns also reveal a tendency to buy on impulse with little planning. Low educational level appears to be a primary cause of this.
people realistically match their values and expectations with a store's status and don't shop in stores where they feel out of place. Evidence shows that people tend to avoid stores that are perceived as being socially distant from their own perceived class
s a hybrid segmentation method intended to identify households characterized by lifestyle—demographics, financial means, consumption patterns, social class, tastes, interests, and similar variables. It is a database method for linking a variety of demographic information (e.g., age, sex, race, income, household size, etc.) to units of geography (e.g., census tracts, ZIP codes, towns, etc.), leading to the coining of the word geodemography.
is the original and most widely used of all the geodemographic suppliers.
Nielsen is a global leader in measurement and information, providing the most comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy to thousands
. Their segmentation scheme uses a multitude of differentiating factors in five categories in the formation of segments:
(1) education and affluence
(2) family life cycle
(4) race and ethnicity
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