Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
Cultural factors have a significant impact on customer behaviour.
Culture is the most basic cause of a person’s wants
and behaviour. Growing up, children learn basic values, perception and wants
from the family and other important groups.
Marketing are always trying to spot “cultural shifts”
which might point to new products that might be wanted by customers or to
increased demand. For example, the cultural shift towards greater concern
about health and fitness has created opportunities (and now industries) servicing
customers who wish to buy:
• Low calorie foods
• Health club memberships
• Exercise equipment
• Activity or health-related holidays etc.
Similarly the increased desire for “leisure time”
has resulted in increased demand for convenience products and services such
as microwave ovens, ready meals and direct marketing service businesses such
as telephone banking and insurance.
Each culture contains “sub-cultures” –
groups of people with share values. Sub-cultures can include nationalities,
religions, racial groups, or groups of people sharing the same geographical
location. Sometimes a sub-culture will create a substantial and distinctive
market segment of its own.
For example, the “youth culture” or “club
culture” has quite distinct values and buying characteristics from
the much older “gray generation”
Similarly, differences in social class can create customer
groups. In fact, the official six social classes in the UK are widely used
to profile and predict different customer behaviour.
In the UK’s socioeconomic
classification scheme, social class is not just determined by income. It
measured as a combination of occupation, income, education, wealth and other
Occupational Head of Household
% of UK Population
Higher managerial, administrative or professional
Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional
Superiors or clerical, junior managerial, administrative
Skilled manual workers
Semi-skilled and un-skilled manual workers
Those at lowest level of subsistence
State pensioners or widows, casual or lower-grade