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Chapter 11

Social Class and Consumer


Behaviour

Consumer Behaviour
Canadian Edition
Schiffman/Kanuk/Das
Copyright 2006
Pearson Education Canada Inc.

Social Class
The

division of members of a society into a


hierarchy of distinct status classes, so that
members of each class have either higher or
lower status than members of other classes.

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Characteristics of Social Class


Is

hierarchical
Is a natural form of segmentation
Provides a frame of reference for consumer
behaviour
Reflects a persons relative social status
In Canada, individuals can up or down the
social class hierarchy
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Social Class and Social Status


Status

is frequently thought of as the


relative rankings of members of each social
class
wealth
power
prestige

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Social Comparison Theory


states

that individuals compare their


own possessions against those of others
to determine their relative social
standing.

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Status Consumption
The

process by which consumers


actively increase their social standing
through conspicuous consumption or
possessions

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Social Class Measurement


Subjective

Measures: individuals are asked


to estimate their own social-class positions
Reputational Measures: informants make
judgments concerning the social-class
membership of others within the community
Objective Measures: individuals answer
specific socioeconomic questions and then
are categorized according to answers
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Objective Measures
Single-variable Composite-

indexes

Occupation
Education
Income
Other Variables

variable indexes
Index of Status
Characteristics
Socioeconomic
Status Score

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Index of Status Characteristics


(ISC)
A composite

measure of social class that


combines occupation, source of income (not
amount), house type / dwelling area into a
single weighted index of social class
standing.

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Socioeconomic Status Score (SES)

A multivariable social class measure used by the


United States Bureau of the Census that combines
occupational status, family income, and
educational attainment into a single measure of
social class standing.

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What is Middle Class?


The

middle 50% of household incomes


Households made up of college-educated
adults who use computers, and are involved
in childrens education
Lower-middle to middle-middle based on
income, education, and occupation (this
view does NOT include upper-middle
which is considered affluent)
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What is Working Class?


Households

with lower earnings;


control more than 30% of the total
income in the U.S.
These consumers tend to be more
brand loyal than wealthier consumers

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(continued)

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Figure 11-14 (continued)

(continued)

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Figure 11-14 (continued)

(continued)

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Figure 11-14 (continued)

(continued)

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Figure 11-14 (continued)

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Social Class and Marketing


Strategy
Clothing,

Fashion, and Shopping

Where one shops


External point of identification
The

Pursuit of Leisure

Type of leisure activities differ


continued

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Social Class and Marketing


Strategy
Saving,

Spending, and Credit

Level of immediate gratification sought varies


Responses

to marketing communication

Upper classes have a broader and more general


view of the world
Regional variations in language rise as we move
down the social ladder
Exposure to media varies by social class
continued

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Limitations of Social Class

Social class is more difficult to measure than


income
Many purchase behaviours are related more to
income than social class
Consumers often use expected social class for
their consumption patterns
Dual incomes have changed consumption patterns
Individual dimensions of social class are
sometimes better predictors of consumer
behaviour
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