Consumer behaviour deals with the study of buying behaviour of consumers. Consumer behaviour helps us understand why and why not an individual purchases goods and services from the market.
There are several factors which influence the buying decision of consumers, cultural factors being one of the most important factors.
What are Cultural Factors ?
Cultural factors comprise of set of values and ideologies of a particular community or group of individuals. It is the culture of an individual which decides the way he/she behaves. In simpler words, culture is nothing but values of an individual. What an individual learns from his parents and relatives as a child becomes his culture.
Example - In India, people still value joint family system and family ties. Children in India are conditioned to stay with their parents till they get married as compared to foreign countries where children are more independent and leave their parents once they start earning a living for themselves.
Cultural factors have a significant effect on an individualâ€™s buying decision. Every individual has different sets of habits, beliefs and principles which he/she develops from his family status and background. What they see from their childhood becomes their culture.
Let us understand the influence of cultural factors on buying decision of individuals with the help of various examples.
Females staying in West Bengal or Assam would prefer buying sarees as compared to Westerns. Similarly a male consumer would prefer a Dhoti Kurta during auspicious ceremonies in Eastern India as this is what their culture is. Girls in South India wear skirts and blouses as compared to girls in north India who are more into Salwar Kameez.
Our culture says that we need to wear traditional attire on marriages and this is what we have been following since years.
People in North India prefer breads over rice which is a favorite with people in South India and East India.
Each culture further comprises of various subcultures such as religion, age, geographical location, gender (male/female), status etc.
Religion (Christianity, Hindu, Muslim, Sikhism, Jainism etc)
A Hindu bride wears red, maroon or a bright colour lehanga or saree whereas a Christian bride wears a white gown on her wedding day. It is against Hindu culture to wear white on auspicious occasions. Muslims on the other hand prefer to wear green on important occasions.
For Hindus eating beef is considered to be a sin whereas Muslims and Christians absolutely relish the same. Eating pork is against Muslim religion while Hindus do not mind eating it.
A sixty year old individual would not like something which is too bright and colorful. He would prefer something which is more sophisticated and simple. On the other hand a teenager would prefer funky dresses and loud colours.
In India widows are expected to wear whites. Widows wearing bright colours are treated with suspicion.
Status (Upper Class, Middle class and Lower Class)
People from upper class generally have a tendency to spend on luxurious items such as expensive gadgets, cars, dresses etc.You would hardly find an individual from a lower class spending money on high-end products. A person who finds it difficult to make ends meet would rather prefer spending on items necessary for survival. Individuals from middle class segment generally are more interested in buying products which would make their future secure.
People generally make fun of males buying fairness creams as in our culture only females are expected to buy and use beauty products. Males are perceived to be strong and tough who look good just the way they are.