Social Class and Consumer Behavior

Social Class and Consumer Behavior

Social Class and Social Status

n      Status is frequently thought of as the relative rankings of members of each social class

n      wealth

n      power

n      prestige

Status Consumption

The process by which consumers actively increase their social standing through conspicuous consumption or possessions

Convenient Approaches to
Social Class

n      Social status is usually defined in terms of one or more of the following socioeconomic variables:

n       Family Income

n       Occupational Status

n       Educational Attainment

Social Class Measurement

n       Subjective Measures: individuals are asked to estimate their own social-class positions

n       Reputational Measures: informants make judgments concerning the social-class membership of others within the community

n       Objective Measures: individuals answer specific socioeconomic questions and then are categorized according to answers

Objective Measures

n       Single-variable indexes

n        Occupation

n        Education

n        Income

n        Other Variables

n       Composite-variable indexes

n        Index of Status Characteristics

n        Socioeconomic Status Score

Table 11.9 continued

What is Middle Class?

n       The “middle” 50% of household incomes – households earning between $25,000 and $85,000

n       Households made up of college-educated adults who use computers, and are involved in children’s education

n       Lower-middle to middle-middle based on income, education, and occupation (this view does NOT include upper-middle which is considered affluent)

What is Working Class?

n      Households earning $34,000 or less control more than 30% of the total income in the U.S.

n      These consumers tend to be more brand loyal than wealthier consumers

Consumer Behavior and
Social Class

n      Clothing, Fashion, and Shopping

n      The Pursuit of Leisure

n      Saving, Spending, and Credit

n      Social Class and Communication