Chee and Harris (1993) defined buyer behaviour as “acts of individuals in obtaining, using and disposing of economic good and services, including the decision processes that precede and determine these acts”. There are some factors which influence buyer behaviour such as psychological, sociocultural, and technological factors, and economic, political and legal factors. (Brassington and Pettitt, (2003). It is better to understand buyer behaviour in order to monitor the market. This report will discuss how sociocultural factors as a theory can influence buyer behaviour.
Theory/model (social influences)
According to Brassington and Pettitt (2003) social groups will help buyer to decide by differentiating between essential and non essential buying, utilising scarce resource efficiently, evaluating the benefits of the product and hence predict the possible effects of the decision. Baker, (1996) divided sociocultural influences into three parties. Firstly, culture which is the total way of life of a particular society. Secondly, social class which is when society is classified into groups based on different features such as income, occupation, social status and education. Next, reference groups which are groups of people who belong or aspire to belong in a certain group that formed formally or informally. Moreover, Brassington and Pettitt, (2003) added family which “is the group consisting of one or two parents and their children” (Hornby, (2006)).
Social class can influence someone to buy something at a certain price due to the feeling that I am in this social class. Therefore, I should buy this at this price so as to be appreciated by a society. For example, executive director of Barclays bank can decide to buy AGA cookers which will cost him around 7500 pounds for buying and installation. This is to make others appreciate him that he is in the upper middle social class.
Furthermore, culture can influence consumer to buy goods which are culturally accepted. For example, in
, it is a norm that a woman should wear a long skirt which hides her knees. Therefore, a Tanzanian woman may aspire to buy a mini skirt but due to the culture influence she will buy a long skirt. Tanzania
Furthermore, being a member of a group can influence consumer to buy some goods or services. For example, being a student can influence someone to buy uniform in order to look like an active student. Furthermore, a person can aspire to look like a member of a certain group; therefore he may decide to buy certain good in order to look like member of that group. For example, a citizen who is not an army soldier and aspire to look like a soldier can decide to buy a combat trouser in order to look like an army soldier.
Moreover, being a family member can influence buying behaviour of a person. For example, a newly married husband will change from buying already cooked food and now start to eat food cooked by his wife.
Conclusion and recommendation
Sociocultural influences such as family, culture, reference group and social class are among factors which can influence the buying decision of consumers. Therefore, it is recommended that, a company should divide its market into segment and make sure that it understands the factors which influence the buying decision of a certain segment. For example if it is selling its product to Chinese it should understand Chinese culture, and their social classes.
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