The Influence of Culture on Consumer Behavior

The study of culture is a challenging undertaking because its primary focus is on the broadest component of social behavior – an entire society In contrast to the psychologist, who is principally concerned with the study of individual behavior, or the sociologist, who is concerned with the study of groups. The anthropologist is primarily interested in identifying the very fabric of society itself.

What Is Culture?
Given the broad and pervasive nature of culture, its study generally requires a detailed examination of the character of the total society, including such factors as language, knowledge, laws, religions, food customs, music, art, technology, work pat¬terns, products, and other artifacts that give a society its distinctive flavor In a sense, culture is a society’s personality For this reason, it is not easy to define its boundaries

Because our objective is to understand the influence of culture on consumer behavior, we define culture as “the sum total of learned beliefs, values, and customs that serve to direct the consumer behavior of members of a particular society”

The belief and value components refer to the accumulated feel¬ings and priorities that individuals have about “things” and possessions. More pre¬cisely, beliefs consist of the very large number of mental or verbal statements (i.e. “I believe ____”) that reflect a person’s particular knowledge and assessment of some¬thing (another person, a store, a product, a brand)

Values also are beliefs However; values differ from, because they meet the following criteria
(1)They are relatively few in number
(2)They serve as a guide for culturally appropriate behavior
(3)They are enduring or difficult to change
(4)They are not tied to specific objects or situations
(5)They are widely accepted by the members of a society

Therefore, in a broad sense, both values and beliefs are mental images that affect a wide range of specific attitudes that, in turn, influence the way a person is likely to respond in a specific situation. For example, the criteria a person uses to evaluate alternative brands in a product category (such as Volvo versus Jaguar auto¬mobiles), or his or her eventual preference for one of these brands over the other, are influenced by both a person’s general values (perceptions as to what constitutes quality and the meaning of country of origin) and specific beliefs (particular perceptions about the quality of Swedish-made versus English-made cars)

In contrast to beliefs and values, customs are overt modes of behavior that constitute culturally approved or acceptable ways of behaving in specific situations Customs consist of everyday or routine behavior For example, a consumer’s routine behavior, such as adding sugar and milk to coffee, putting ketchup on hamburgers putting mustard on frankfurters, and having a salad after rather than before the main course of a meal, are customs. Thus, whereas beliefs and values are guides for behavior, customs are usual and acceptable ways of behaving.

Understanding of various cultures of a society helps marketers predict consumer acceptance of their products.

The Impact of Culture
The impact of culture is so natural and automatic that its influence on behavior is usually taken for granted. For instance, when consumer researchers ask people why they do certain things, they frequently answer, “Because it’s the right thing to do.” This seemingly superficial response partially reflects the ingrained influence of culture on our behavior. Often it is only when we are exposed to people with different cultural values or customs (as when visiting a different region or a different country) that we become aware of how culture has molded our own behavior. Thus, a true appreciation of the influence that culture has on our daily life requires some knowledge of at least one other society with different cultural characteristics For example to understand that brushing our teeth twice a day with flavored toothpaste is a cultural phenomenon requires some awareness that members of another society either do not brush their teeth at all or do so in a distinctly different manner than our own society. Perhaps the following statement expresses it best.

‘Consumers both view themselves in the context of their culture and react to their environment based upon the cultural framework that they bring to that experi¬ence Each individual perceives the world through his own cultural lens.’

Characteristics of Culture
1. Culture Satisfies Needs
Culture exists to satisfy the needs of the people within a society. It offers order, direction, and guidance in all phases of human problem solving by providing “tried-and-true” methods of satisfying physiological, personal, and social needs For exam¬ple, culture provides standards and “rules” about when to eat (“not between meals”), where to eat (“in a busy restaurant, because the food is likely to be good”), what is appropriate to eat for breakfast (juice and cereal), lunch (a sandwich), din¬ner (“something hot and good and healthy”), and snacks (“something with quick energy”), and what to serve to guests at a dinner party (“a formal sit-down meal”), at a picnic (barbecued “franks and hamburgers”), or at a wedding (champagne). Culture is also associated with what a society’s members consider to be a necessity and what they view as a luxury For instance, 55 percent of American adults consider a microwave to be a necessity, and 36 percent consider a remote control for a TV or VCR to be a necessity.

Similarly, culture also provides insights as to suitable dress for specific occasions (such as what to wear at home, what to wear to school, to work, to church, at a fast-food restaurant, or to a movie theater). Dress codes have shifted dramatically, people are dressing more casually most of the time. Today, only a few big-city restaurants and clubs have business dress requirements. With the relaxed dress code in the corporate work environment, fewer men are wearing dress shirts, ties, and business suits and fewer women are wearing dresses, suits, and panty hose. In their place casual slacks, sports shirts and blouses, jeans, and the emerging category of “dress casual” have been increasing in sales.

Soft-drink companies would prefer that consumers received their morning “jolt” of caffeine from one of their products rather than from coffee. Because most Americans do not consider soda a suitable breakfast beverage, the real challenge for soft-drink companies is to overcome culture, not competition. Indeed, coffee has been challenged on all fronts by juices, milk, teas (hot and iced), a host of different types of soft drinks, and now even caffeinated waters Not resting on their “cultural advantage” as a breakfast drink and the namesake of the “coffee break,” coffee marketers have been fighting back by targeting gourmet and specialty coffees (e g , espresso, cappuccino, and cafe mocha) to young adults (those 18 to 24 years of age). These efforts have been paying off as young adults (an important segment of the soft-drink market) have been responding positively to gourmet coffees.

Cultural beliefs, values, and customs continue to be followed as long as they yield satisfaction. When a specific standard no longer satisfies the members of a society, however, it is modified or replaced, so that the resulting standard is more in line with current needs and desires. For instance, it was once considered a sign of a fine hotel that it provided goose feather pillows in rooms. Today, with so many guests allergic to such materials, synthetic poly-fill pillows are becoming more the rule. Thus, culture gradually but continually evolves to meet the needs of society.

2. Culture Is Learned
Unlike innate biological characteristics (e.g., sec, skin, hair color, or intelligence) culture is learned. At an early age, we begin to acquire from our social environment a set of beliefs, values, and customs that make up our culture. For children, the process of playing with their toys reinforces the learn¬ing of these acceptable cultural values and customs. As children play, they act out and rehearse important cultural lessons and situations. This cultural learning prepares them for later real-life circumstances.

Anthropologists have identified three distinct forms of cultural learning:
a. Formal learning – in which adults and older siblings teach a young family member “how to behave”
b. Informal learning – in which a child cleans primarily by imitating the behav¬ior of selected others, such as family, friends or TV heroes
c. Technical learning – in which teachers instruct the child in an educational environment about what should be done, how it should be done, and why it should be done.

Although a firm’s adver¬tising can influence all three types of cultural learning, it is likely that many product advertisements enhance informal cultural learning by providing the audience with a model of behavior to imitate. This is especially true for visible or conspicuous prod¬ucts and products that are evaluated in public settings (such as designer clothing, cell phones, or status golf clubs), where peer influence is likely to play an important role.

The repetition of advertising messages creates and reinforces cultural beliefs and values. For example, many advertisers Continually stress the same selected ben¬efits of their products or services. Ads for wireless phone service often stress the clarity of their connection, or the nationwide coverage of their service, as well as the flexibility of their pricing plans. It is difficult to say whether wireless phone sub-scribers inherently desire these benefits from their wireless service providers or whether, after several years of cumulative exposure to advertising appeals stressing these benefits, they have been taught by marketers to desire them. In a sense, although specific product advertising may reinforce the benefits that consumers want from the product (as determined by consumer behavior research), such advertising also “teaches” future generations of consumers to expect the same benefits from the product category.

The Movement of Cultural Meaning
Cultural meaning moves from the culturally constituted world to consumer goods and from there to the individual consumer by means of various consumption related vehicles (e.g., advertising or observing or imitating oth¬ers’ behavior). Imagine the ever-popular T-shirt and how it can furnish cultural meaning and identity for wearers. T-shirts can function as trophies (as proof of par¬ticipation in sports or travel) or as self-proclaimed labels of belonging to a cultural category (“Super Bowl XXXVI Attendee” “Retired”). T-shirts can also be used as a means of self-expression, which may provide wearers with the additional benefit of serving as a “topic” initiating social dialogue with others. Still further, although we might expect that a Las Vegas T-shirt would be worn by a person who has been to Las Vegas (or has received it as a gift from someone else who has visited Las Vegas), this is not necessarily so. In such a world of virtual identities, consumers can now just buy the Las Vegas T-shirt at a local retainer and create the impression that they have been there.

When discussing the acquisition of culture, anthropologists often distinguish between
• Enculturation – The learning of one’s own culture
• Acculturation – The learning of a new or foreign culture. Acculturation is an important concept for marketers who plan to sell their products in foreign or multinational markets. In such cases, marketers must study the specific culture(s) of their potential target markets to determine whether their products will be acceptable to its members and, if so, how they can best communicate the characteristics of their products to persuade the target market to buy.

3. Languages and Symbols Aid in Learning Culture
To acquire a common culture, the members of a society must be able to communi¬cate with each other through a common language. Without a common language, shared meaning could not exist, and true communication would not take place.

To communicate effectively with their audiences, marketers must use appropriate symbols to convey desired product images or characteristics. These symbols can be verbal or nonverbal. Verbal symbols may include a television announcement or an advertisement in a magazine. Nonverbal communication includes the use of such symbols as figures, colors, shapes, and even textures to lend additional meaning to print or broadcast advertisements, to trademarks, and to packaging or product designs.

Basically, the symbolic nature of human language sets it apart from all other animal communication. A symbol is anything that stands for something else. Any word is a symbol. The word razor calls forth a specific image related to an individual’s own knowledge and experience. The word hurricane calls forth the notion of wind and rain and also has the power to stir us emotionally, arousing feelings of danger and the need for protection and safety. Similarly, the word jaguar has symbolic- meaning: To some it suggests a fine luxury automobile, to others it implies wealth and status; to still others it suggests a sleek, wild animal to be seen at the zoo. Because the human mind can process symbols, it is possible, for example, for a person to “experience” cognitively a visualization for a product The capacity to learn symbolically is primarily a human phenomenon; most other animals learn by direct experience. Clearly, the ability of humans to understand symbolically how a product, service, or idea can satisfy their needs makes it easier for marketers to sell the features and benefits of their offerings through a shared language and culture, individuals already know what the image means; thus, an association can be made without actively thinking about it.

A symbol may have several, even contradictory, meanings, so the advertiser must ascertain exactly what the symbol is communicating to its intended audience. For example, the advertiser who uses a trademark depicting an old craftsman to symbolize careful workmanship may instead be communicating an image of out¬moded methods and lack of style. The marketer who uses slang in an advertisement to attract a teenage audience must do so with great care; slang that is misused or outdated will symbolically date the marketer’s firm and product.

Price and channels of distribution also are significant symbols of the mar¬keter and the marketer’s product. For example, price often implies quality to potential buyers. For certain products (such as clothing), the type of store in which the product is sold also is an important symbol of quality. In fact, all the elements of the marketing mix—the product, its promotion, price, and the stores at which it is available—are symbols that communicate ranges of quality to potential buyers.
4. Rituals are part of Culture
In addition to language and symbols, culture includes various ritualized experiences and behaviors that until recently have been neglected by consumer researchers. A ritual is a type of symbolic activity consisting of a series of steps (multiple behav¬iors) occurring in a fixed sequence and repeated over time.

In practice, rituals extend over the human life cycle from birth to death, includ¬ing a host of intermediate events (such as confirmation, graduations, and marriage). These rituals can be very public, elaborate, religious, or civil ceremonies, or they can be as mundane as an individual’s grooming behavior or flossing. Ritualized behav¬ior is typically rather formal and often is scripted behavior (as a religious service requiring a prayer book or the code of proper conduct in a court of law). It is also likely to occur repeatedly over time (such as singing the national anthem before a basketball game).

Most important from the standpoint of marketers is the fact that rituals tend to be replete with ritual artifacts (products) that are associated with or somehow enhance the performance of the ritual. For instance, tree ornaments, stockings, and various food items are linked to the ritual of Christmas celebration; other rituals (such as a graduation, a wedding or wedding anniversary, a Thursday night card game or a Saturday afternoon visit to the hair salon have their own specific artifacts associated with them. For special occasions, such as wedding anniversaries, some types of artifacts are perceived as more appropriate as gifts than others, e.g. jewelry rather than everyday household items

Selected Rituals and Associated Artifacts
Selected Rituals Typical Artifacts
Wedding White gown
Birth of child Silver baby spoon, Silver anklets
Birthday Card, present, cake with candles
50th wedding anniversary Catered party, card and gift, display of photos of the couple’s life together
Graduation Pen, card, wristwatch
Valentine’s Day Candy, card, flowers
Thanksgiving Prepare a turkey meal for family and friends
Get a job promotion Taken out to lunch by coworkers, receive token gift
Retirement Company party, watch, plaque
Death Send a card, give to charity in the name of the deceased

In addition to a ritual, which is the way that something is traditionally done, there is also ritualistic behavior, which can be defined as any behavior that is made into ritual. For example, a baseball player may swing his bat a certain number of times a kick the dirt near home plate before a pitch to ensure a good swing. Describes below is a young woman’s ritualistic behavior with respect to facial beauty care.

Facial Beauty Ritual of a Young TV Advertising Sales Representative
1. I pull my hair back with a headband.
2. I take all my makeup off with L’Oreal eye makeup remover.
3. Next, I use a Q-tip with some moisturizer around my eyes to make sure all eye makeup is removed.
4. I wash my face with Noxzema facial wash.
5. I apply Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion to my face, neck, and throat.
6. If I have a blemish, I apply Clearasil Treatment to the area to dry it out.
7. Twice weekly (or as necessary) I use Aapri Facial Scrub to remove dry and dead skin.
8. Once a week I apply Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2 with a cotton ball to my face and throat to remove deep-down dirt and oils.
9. Once every three months I get a professional salon facial to deep clean my pores

5. Culture Is Shared
To be considered a cultural characteristic, a significant portion of the society must share a particular belief, value or practice. Thus, culture frequently is viewed as group customs that link together the members of a society. Of course, common language is the critical cultural component that makes it possible for people to share values, experiences, and customs.

Various social institutions within a society transmit the elements of culture and make the sharing of culture a reality. Chief among such institutions is the family, which serves as the primary agent for enculturation—the passing along of basic cul¬tural beliefs, values, and customs to society’s newest members. A vital part of the enculturation role of the family is the consumer socialization of the young. This includes teaching such basic consumer-related values and skills as the meaning of money; the relationship between price and quality; the establish¬ment of product tastes, preferences, and habits; and appropriate methods of response to various promotional messages.

In addition to the family, two other institutions traditionally share much of the responsibility for the transfer of selected aspects of culture: educational institutions and houses of worship. Educational institutions specifically are charged with impart¬ing basic learning skills, history, patriotism, citizenship and the technical training needed to prepare people for significant roles within society. Religious institutions provide and perpetuate religious consciousness, spiritual guidance, and moral train¬ing. Although the young receive much of their consumer training within the family setting, the educational and religious systems reinforce this training by teaching eco¬nomic and ethical concepts.

A fourth, frequently overlooked, social institution that plays a major role in the transfer of culture throughout society is the mass media. Given tie extensive expo¬sure of the American population to both print and broadcast media, as well as the easily ingested, entertaining format in which the contents of such media usually are presented, it is not surprising that the mass media are powerful vehicles for impart¬ing a wide range of cultural values.

We are exposed daily to advertising, an important component of the media. Advertising not only underwrites or makes economically feasible the editorial or programming contents of the media, but it also transmits much about our culture. Without advertising, it would be almost impossible to disseminate information about products, ideas, and causes. Consumers receive important cultural information from advertising.

Thus, although the scope of advertising is often considered to be limited to influencing the demand for specific products or services, in a cultural context, adver¬tising has the expanded mission of reinforcing established cultural values and aiding in the dissemination of new tastes, habits, and customs. In planning their advertising, marketers should recognize that advertising is an important agent for social change in our society.
6. Culture Is Dynamic
To fulfill its need-gratifying role, culture continually must evolve if it is to function in the best interests of a society. For this reason, the marketer must carefully monitor the socio-cultural environment in order to market an existing product more effec¬tively or to develop promising new products.

This is not an easy task because many factors are likely to produce cultural changes within a given society (new technology, population shifts, resource short¬ages, wars, changing values, and customs borrowed from other cultures). For exam¬ple, major ongoing cultural changes in American society reflect the expanded role options open to women. Today, most women work outside the home, frequently in careers that once were considered exclusively male oriented. These career women are increasingly not waiting for marriage and a man to buy them luxury items—such as fur coats, expensive wristwatches, and diamond rings. More and more such women are saying, “I earn a good living, why wait? I will buy it for myself.”

The changing nature of culture means that marketers have to consistently reconsider why consumers are now doing what they do, who the purchasers and the users of their products are (males only, females only, or both), when they do their shopping, how and where they can be reached by the media, and what new product and service needs are emerging. Marketers who monitor cultural changes also often find new opportunities to increase corporate profitability. For example, marketers of such products and services as life insurance, financial and investment advice, casual clothing, toy electric trains, and cigars are among those who have attempted to take advantage of shifts in what is feminine and how to communicate with female consumers.

Table below presents a recent example of such a comparative list of what is “in” and what is “out” when it comes to food items. Such lists reflect the dynamic nature of a particular society or culture.

Food: What’s In and What’s Out
What’s In With Foods What’s Out With Foods
• Multiethnic cuisine
• Artisanal cheeses
• Lemon butter sauces, salsa, au jus
• Comfort food, bistro cuisine
• Soy beverages
• Flavored mashed potatoes
• Prepared / partially prepared foods
• Authentic regional cuisine
• Hot and spicy dishes ? Nouvelle cuisine
? Flourless chocolate cake
? Hollandaise, heavy gravy
? Fat-free foods
? Chai tea
? Sushi
? Rice pilaf
? Cooking from scratch
? Generic international cuisine
? Blackened fish and chicken

Characteristics of Different Indian Cultures
India is said to be country of multi-cultures. It is because of long history of thousands of years. At different times different rulers ruled over the country. Further, at the same time there had been different rulers in different parts of India. Then there was invasion from outside especially from Arab countries and then over 200 years long British rule. In part of the country for sometime there had been French and Portuguese rule. The different rulers had different systems of governance and social practices. All these factors left a deep imprint on culture. As in olden days means of transport and communica¬tion were very poor; large number of languages, systems, habits, values developed which continue even today. These facts of history made India a multi-culture nation but as will be evident from later discussion the core values are same throughout the country. Thus there is unity in diversity, which is an important landmark to remember by any marketer in framing strategy for marketing. But the diversity gave birth to ever increasing number of states.

At present there are 29 states and six union territories, each having its own culture and in some states there are more than one subculture.

A. Geographical
Indian Culture varies as we move from one region to another. For instance in U.P. even after division of the state there are different cultures in Bundelkhand, Ruhelkhand, East U.P. and West U.P. In Madhya Pradesh Vidhrabha has lot of cultural difference compared to rest of M.P. Rajasthan is one state but culture of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer etc. have different distinct features. Culture of Assam, Bengal, Gujarat, Goa, Karnatka, Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Pondichery Mizoram, Nagaland etc. differs widely from each other. Therefore, consumer preferences also differ and same policy cannot succeed everywhere.

States of India
1 Andhra Pradesh
2 Arunachal Pradesh
3 Assam
4 Bihar
5 Chattisgarh
6 Delhi
7 Gujarat
8 Goa
9 Haryana
10 Himachal Pradesh
11 Jammu & Kashmir
12 Jharkhand
13 Karnatka
14 Kerala
15 Madhya Pradesh
16 Maharashtra
17 Manipur
18 Meghalaya
19 Mizoram
20 Nagaland
21 Orissa
22 Punjab
23 Rajasthan
24 Sikkim
25 Tamil Nadu
26 Tirpura
27 Uttar Pradesh
28 Uttaranchal
29 West Bengal

Union Territories
1. Andman and Nicobar Islands
2. Chandigarh
3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
4. Daman and Diu
5. Lakshadweeps
6. Pondichery

As already stated in some of the states there is more than one culture. There are large number of workers from East U.P. and Bihar who are employed in metros, in factories of Gujarat and West Bengal. Many of them are also carrying out their small enterprises in metros or other places. Most of these people live alone in place of work, spend minimum amount on themselves and send money orders every month to their facilities in native places. They visit home normally once a year and on special occasions of births, marriages and death. When they visit home they buy goods for their children, wife and elders, which is the occasion for marketers to cash. They have to study economy, spending and saving habits of such persons to fully exploit the market.

B. Language
India is a multi-language country. There are 18 languages officially recognized in the constitution, which are spoken or used in different parts of the country. The languages and their area of normal operation / usage are as given below

Language State/Area/Spoken
1. Assamese Assam
2. Bengali W. Bengal
3. Gujarati Gujarat & to some extent in Mumbai
4. Hindi Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, M.P. Rajasthan, U.P. Uttaranchal
5. Kannada Karnataka
6. Kashmiri J&K
7. Konkani Goa, Karnataka and some parts of Maharashtra
8. Malyalam Kerala
9. Manipuri Manipur
10. Marathi Maharashtra and some parts of Goa & Karnataka
11. Nepali Bordering areas of U.P., Bihar & others places where Nepalese are living in India
12. Oriya Orissa & places bordering Orissa
13. Punjabi Punjab & Delhi & to some extent in Haryana
14. Sanskrit It is language of school and it is not used by consumers
15. Sindhi Sindhis largely in Maharashtra
16. Tamil Tamil Nadu
17. Telgu Andhra Pradesh
18. Urdu Delhi, Bihar, U.P. parts of Hyderabad and Muslims in other parts of the country

Beside above languages English is the official language in most private offices and for interstate correspondence, teaching of technical courses. Besides official languages there are many other languages that are quite popular in certain parts of the country like Bhojpuri in Eastern U.P. and part of Bihar, Marwari in certain sects of Rajasthan, Dogri in J & K, Haryanvi in Haryana and Gharwali in Uttranchal. Actually these and other local languages have great influence on consumers especially in rural areas, a point for marketer to note. There are also wide variations of languages from district to district in spoken language and if they are used by marketer in communication in person, on and radio they have greater impact on consumers.

3. Religion
Religion has great impact on culture and buying behavior of consumers. In India there are following major religions as per 2001 census.
1. Hinduism
2. Islam
3. Sikhism
4. Christianity
5. Jainism
6. Buddhism

Every religion has its own values, faith, beliefs and greatly affect consumer behavior. For instance Hindus by and large are vegetarians and those who are non-vegetarians generally do not take meat on Tuesday and in Navratras and days of fast. Cow in considered Mata by Hindus and so they do not take cow meat. Muslims do not take pig meat. Sikhs do not consume tobacco in any form. Staunch Jains do not take even many vegetables and believe in Ahinsa (non violence) and they do not take food at night Hindus and Jain believe in sacrifice and therefore sadhus use minimum of clothes, eat minimum and some sadhus remain nude.

The faith in vegetarianism is so strong in Hindus that many restaurants and eating-places are for vegetarian food. Recently one international food producer, McDonalds has to advertise that in India their french fries are cooked in vegetable oil. When they used laurd for flavor, as in USA, some Indians have sued McDonalds for huge damage. Now it has been made compulsory to mention contents on food items so that one may know what it contains. Humanitarism is taught by all the religions and so people of all faiths contribute for social cause like earthquake, removal of ignorance, eradication of certain diseases like blindness. Actually the impact of religion on culture and consumer behavior is so strong that it is not possible to fully describe its impact.

The people of India have great faith in their respective religions, specially the older generations. The Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Christians and Bodhs visit their religious places for darshan and for getting their, desires fulfilled, lakhs of people visit Khumb Melas, four dhams and other pilgrimage cities. Sikhs visit various famous gurudwaras, Jains have lot of pilgrimage places in Bihar, U.P., Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnatka, Rajasthan etc. Bodhs go to Bodhgaya, Nalanda etc. These feelings and pilgrimages have developed many towns, which have become places of tourist attraction. While in the west people visit places for holidays, in India pilgrimage and holiday is combined and gradually more and more facilities and services are available at these cities. When these cities are visited purchases are made for relatives and friends specially articles famous of various places.

4. Races & Ethnic Groups
India has large number of races like Dravidians, Aryans, Manglos and through immigration many ethnic groups have settled in India during British Rule; Anglo Indian communities are found largely in Kolkatta. There are Chinese who have settled in shoe business in Kolkatta. Within Hindus there are large number of ethnic groups like Jats, Rajputs, Gujjars, Tyagi, Brahamins, Yadavs and so on. In Jains there are Agarwals, Oswals etc. These groups have more affinities with the group and culturally they are near to each other and there are certain distinct features in their behavior and customs. Then there are tribes and each tribe has it own customs and preferences. Customs of Sindhis are different than that of Parsis or others and each one of them has to be approached differently.

5. Education
The level of education has great impact on the extent of development, knowledge, level of income. It also affects values, faiths and beliefs. A poor educated country has greater faith in super¬stitions and traditions, they believe more on luck, fate and are staunch believers in god. As India is poorly educated these tributes should be properly studied and researched to find out consumer behavior and about preferences for their products and services.

According to 2001 census India has a population of 102.7 crore on March 31, 2001 out of which 65.38 percent were literate. The literacy is the highest in Kerala, which has reduced its birth rate to lowest and helped migration of persons to other states in India and abroad. The sex ratio is also related to literacy rate of various states. All these factors influence behavior of consumer and should be properly taken into consideration by marketer.

6. Core values
Though there are wide variations in various cultural variables in the country there are some core values that are common to all the cultures of India. These widely held beliefs, interests, feelings, relationships has brought samta (similarity) in diversity (variations) and unified the country. These samta’s (core values) should be properly understood for marketing. Tolerance is very fabric of all Indian cultures and our society is based on this principle. When there is acute power shortage in various parts of the country it is being tolerated inspite of all the difficulties. Those who can afford have installed generators and inverters but majority suffer. Similarly in our constitution free education for all and drinking water in every village has to be provided but even when after 58 years people are suffering when supplier does not provide proper service majority do not approach for redressal to consumer forum and accept the food or service as provided. Inspite of some violence in elections tolerance is an important and basic hallmark of Indian culture. This has helped in coexistence, equality and unity. This tolerance is because it is taught in various religions and inspite of occasional outburst of violence tolerance continues to be core value of the system. But this should not be taken as weakness and cannot be exploited for long by marketers. If some one constantly supplies substan¬dard product he looses the market. The co-existence of various religions, cultures, languages etc. has been possible due to tolerance

7. Liberty and Equality
Great emphasis has been laid down on human liberty for generations and even in the past there have been women rulers. In the similar manner women chief minister and prime minister have been elected in post independence era. Besides sex equality, every one enjoys the liberty of worship, profession, expression, belief, and faith etc.

The equality is old core value of Indian culture and according to certain cultures all living beings are treated equally. On different occasions different animals are worshiped and some of them like cow worshiped daily. Dogs, crows, aunt, monkey are fed daily, even certain trees are worshiped by Hindus. These beliefs have made, non-violence an important part of Indian culture and even indepen¬dence has been achieved through non-violence preached by Gandhiji. However, certain social classes have limited faith in this principle and in certain sects and religions women are discriminated, sometimes they are denied even the right of education or self-employment and in the matter of marriage and personal laws. In such case they become different consumer groups than others.

The principle of equality of sex, casts, religions, voting right, employment and consumption activities have been provided in various articles of the constitution.

8. Faith in Actions
All religions preach that you will reap what you sow especially in terms of your actions. Therefore, every individual has to work and do his ‘Karam’ i.e. self has been given very an important place; one does what he feels proper and right depending upon his faith, belief and knowledge. Many writers feel that culture is dependent upon group behavior but it is made of individual behavior and therefore for a researcher it is very important to understand individual behaviors through market surveys. Actually in our religion and tradition great stress has been laid on self.

9. Respecting Elders
In Indian culture all those who are elder in age than oneself are not only given respects but often what they say is accepted and acted. A son does what his father says; a younger brother or sister gives respect to their elder brothers and sisters and often are willing to act on their advice. It is believed that they have long experience and what they say should be in ones interest and as per our culture it is also duty to respect advise of elders. This respect is very powerful in purchasing high value products like land, building. Because of these factors certain goods like cigarette, liquor are not consumed in the presence of elders. Not only elderly relatives but other elderly people, often even servants are given respect especially in countryside. They are credible source of information and in many matters their advice is sought because it is felt that with the age one gathers more experience and knowledge, which must be utilized. Actually age is given big respect. But gradually the respect of views of elders is declining, however, their influence on buying habits and behavior is still very strong and should not be ignored by marketer; with the increase in the longevity of life the share of persons of age above sixty is increasing and so their importance in consumption behavior.

10. Respect for Religious Leaders
The religious leaders irrespective of religion are given great respect by followers of their religion. Every one irrespective of his economic and / or political powers respects them. Many wealthy persons build places of worship, education and charitable institutions on their advice and interac¬tion. All the big industrialists and politicians seek blessings of religious leaders and sadhus. In certain matters even consumption habits are guided by them and followed by the followers of that religion. It is an old age tradition to seek their advise when starting any big real activity and blessings on occasions of marriage and birth and consolation on death; some sadhus, saints also provide their assistance in solving family disputes and bringing harmony in the society. Thus there are very strong personal and social affections with such personalities whose thinking and action influence the social and consumer behavior and therefore should be properly understood by marketer and researcher in consumer behavior.

11. Importance of Cross Culture
Indian society whether urban or rural feel that foreign goods, goods made by MNC’s or with their collaboration by and large are better than other Indian product, hence, there is big market for smuggled products and services, they often have premium over Indian goods and are sought after. For the same reasons foreign brand names like Gillette, Surf, Palmolive, Colgate, Tide, Honda, Sony, L.G., etc. are preferred. Though strictly speaking it may not be culture but is very important to understand by marketer specially manufactures who do not have foreign collaboration.

12. Faith Inspirations
Indians by and large irrespective of level of education and income have great faith in supersti¬tions. People normally do not buy goods made of iron on Tuesdays and Saturdays. They would prefer to make any big investment in Navratras and would not purchase during Pitra Paksha, which is considered inauspicious. No new clothes, consumer durables, house and so on will be bought during this period. Therefore, for fifteen days sales come down and so the price of certain products. There are many symbols and numbers that are considered lucky or unlucky. Therefore, this point must be kept in mind while deciding brand names and their picture, and campaign etc. This requires detailed study by marketers to fully exploit the potential.

13. Achievements & Activity
The achievements are not always measured in materialistic terms and growth is not judged merely by its rate. Now even the world organizations have started believing in this concept. They look more to purchasing power parity (PPP) and on this basis India has been rated world’s fourth largest economy after U.S.A., China and Japan. Indian PPP in 1999 was US $ 2.23 billion and per capita income US $ 223. Poverty is also measured in terms of PPP and in 1992 only 23 percent of population was below $ 1 per day income.

In India also there is increasing emphasis on material progress but it is not judged merely by level of income but quality of life. In India great emphasis is placed on peace of mind along with material comfort and progress is judged by philosophical factors too. Thus the marketer has to satisfy both material and non-material factors and accordingly frame the strategy.

In India people who achieve something in whatever field are admired, worshiped and recognized inspite of the fact that we believe in faith. Those people who work hard and achieve goals and / or out perform are not praised but also honored both by the society and the state. There are a number of awards, shields, medals, cash prizes etc. Such people are also honored by providing them jobs and associating them with ad companies etc. They become persons of mass appeal and public not only listen them but accept them as model to be followed. Hence many advertisers take advantage of this feature of the culture.

14. Spiritual Society
India has great faith in religion and preachers of various religions. There is greater emphasis on moral and spiritual values as compared to western countries. The faith in god and religion has consid¬erable influence on our behavior. Often mistakes are forgiven and faults are forgotten. But spiritual feelings are not similar in all the religions. Therefore these differences have to be kept in view while making appeals to different sections of the society; this is very necessary to get advantage in market¬ing, otherwise it may even misfire. There are a large number of films that have been produced on religious themes but when they have not been properly filmed there had been demonstrations. Even in writing of books and providing services these differences will have to be kept in view.

15. Indifference towards Health and Cleanliness
The people in India are relatively indifferent towards their health and cleanliness, which results in many diseases that are related to drinking water, clean surroundings and pollution free atmosphere. These features are said to be due to ignorance and poverty but it is also a fact that we are not that conscious towards health and clean atmosphere. Hence demand of products like bathing soap, tooth¬pastes, cleaning agents etc. is far less compared to other countries. Most of the people, even well to do persons, do not have practice of regular check up. We visit a doctor only when we are seriously ill. An average person because of heritage and culture avoids visiting a doctor.

Till recently average Indian was indifferent even to personal cleanliness. When sulabh sauchalyas have been provided, some concern has been shown towards this aspect but still it has not fully percolated to rural areas, poor persons and to certain communities who by their nature do not bother for clean atmosphere

16. Small is good
Our people have sympathy towards small enterprises and hand made products and are against mechanization. Because of these factors even today roughly half of production is done by small sector and they also account for nearly half of exports. In view of these facts branded products are less, there is lesser dependence upon media because it cannot be afforded. Hence door-to-door campaign is done through sales person, which is now also being adopted in a big way by MNC’s

17. Concern of the Future
Indians think more for tomorrow. They save good percentage of their income for future (around 22% in 2000-01) for their children education, marriage and life insurance, providend funds, bank deposits and like. Because of a sense of insecurity people do not enjoy life and care more for their children than for themselves.

The members of a specific subculture possess beliefs, values, and customs that set them apart from other members of the same society. In addition, they adhere to most of the dominant cultural beliefs, values, and behavioral patterns of the larger society. We define subculture, then, as “a distinct cultural group that exists as an identifiable segment within a larger, more complex society”.

Thus, the cultural profile of a society or nation is a composite of two distinct elements
(1) The unique beliefs, values, and customs subscribed to by members of specific subcultures
(2) The central or core cultural themes that are shared by most of the population, regardless of specific sub-cultural memberships.

Relationship Between Culture and Subculture

The above figure presents a simple model of the relationship between two sub-cultural groups (geo-graphic or regional subcultures (Easterners and Westerners) and the larger cul¬ture. As the figure depicts, each subculture has its own unique traits, yet both groups share the dominant traits of the overall American culture.

In other words – each American is, in large part, a product of the American way of life. Each American, however, is at the same time a member of various subcultures. For example, an 11-year-old boy may simultaneously be Hispanic American, Catholic, preteen and a South Carolinian. We would expect that membership in each different subculture would provide its own set of specific beliefs, values, attitudes, and customs.

Examples of Major Sub-cultural Categories
Categories Examples
Nationality Jamaican, Vietnamese, French
Religion Mormon, Baptist, Catholic
Geographic region Northeast. Southwest, Midwest
Race Pacific Islander, Native American, Caucasian
Age Senior citizen, teenager
Gender Female, male
Occupation Bus driver, mechanic, engineer, executive
Social class Lower, middle, upper

Table above lists typical sub-cultural categories and corresponding examples of specific sub-cultural groups. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Subcultural analysis enables the marketing manager to focus on sizable and natural market segments. When carrying out such analyses, the marketer must determine whether the beliefs, values, and customs shared by members of a specific subgroup make them desirable candidates for special marketing attention. Subcultures, therefore, are relevant units of analysis for market research. However these subcultures are dynamic – the different ethnic groups that comprise the U.S. population have been changing and will con¬tinue to change in size and economic power in the coming years. For instance, the white (non-Hispanic) population of the Unites States, which made up 71 percent of Americans in the year 2000, is projected to represent about 53 percent of the U.S. population by the year 2050. Frequently a “window on the future,” the State of California in 1999 reported that the state’s multicultural or combined minority pop¬ulation became the state’s majority population.

A recent study of ethnic media usage in California also found that 84 percent of Asian American, African American, and Hispanic American respondents claimed to get information from ethnic television, radio, and publications. Furthermore, 68 percent preferred ethnic-language TV stations to English chan¬nels for news, and 40 percent reported paying greater attention to ethnic language ads than English-language ads.

A. Nationality Subcultures
For many people, nationality is an important sub-cultural reference that guides what they value and what they buy This is especially true for the population of a country like the United States that has a history of attracting people from all over the globe Supporting this pattern are the results of the 2000 US Census, which found that about one in ten Americans is foreign born For these Americans, as well as Americans born in the United States, there is frequently a strong sense of identifi¬cation and pride in the language and customs of their ancestors

When it comes to consumer behavior, this ancestral pride is manifested most strongly in the consumption of ethnic foods, in travel to the “homeland,” and in the purchase of numerous cultural artifacts (ethnic clothing, art, music, foreign-language newspapers) Interest in these goods and services has expanded rapidly as younger Americans attempt to better understand and more closely associate with their ethnic roots To illustrate the importance of ethnic origin as a subcultural market segment, the following section examines the Hispanic American subculture.
Hispanic Subcultures
The 2000 US Census found that the number of Hispanic Americans (of all races) had grown by more than 60 percent during the 1990s (compared to an overall U S population growth of 13 2 percent) These 35 3 million Americans represent about 12 percent of the U S population and an estimate of Hispanic purchasing power in 2001 was $452 billion 5 In contrast to other American population segments Hispanic Americans are younger—35 percent of Hispanics are 18 years old or younger whereas only 26 percent of the US population is 18 or younger The median age for Hispanics is almost 26 years of age, whereas the median age for the rest of America is 35 years of age Hispanic Americans also tend to be members of larger families (average Hispanic household size is 3 7 people compared to an aver¬age U S household size of 2 5 people) They are also more likely to live in an extended family household consisting of several generations of family members Not only are Hispanic households more likely than black or non-Hispanic American white families to contain children, but also Hispanics spend more time caring for their children

By the year 2005, the Hispanic American subculture is expected to grow to over 38 million individuals and will then be the largest minority in the United States (supplanting African Americans as the largest American minority group Indeed, the 10 metro areas with the largest Hispanic populations are also the cities with the greatest gains in their Hispanic populations, they attracted more than half of all new Hispanic residents and together are the home to 58 percent of the Hispanic popula¬tion of the United States Interestingly, though, new immigrants from Central America and Mexico have been moving into places such as North Carolina. Iowa, and Georgia

This subcultural group can be considered as a single market, based on a common language and culture, or as separate subcultural markets that correspond to different Hispanic countries of origin There are 12 Hispanic subgroups identified in the United States The three largest Hispanic subcultural groups consist of Mexican Americans (about 64 percent of total Hispanic Americans), Puerto Ricans (approximately 10 percent of the total), and Cubans (about 4 percent of the total) These subcultures are heavily concentrated geographically, with more than 70 per¬cent of their numbers residing in California, Texas, New York, and Florida, Los Angeles alone is home to one-fifth of the Hispanic population of the United States Also, whereas more than 60 percent of all Mexican Americans (the largest Hispanic group) are born in the United States, 72 percent of Cuban Americans were born in Cuba
Traditional Characteristics of the Hispanic American Market
? Prefer well-known or familiar brands
? Buy brands perceived to be more prestigious
? Are fashion coconscious
? Historically prefer to shop at smaller personal stores
? Buy brands advertised by their ethnic-group stores
? Tend not to be impulse buyers (i.e. are deliberate)
? Increasingly clipping and using cents-off coupons
? Likely to buy what their parents bought
? Prefer fresh to frozen or prepared items
? Tend to be negative about marketing practices and government intervention in business
B. Religious Subcultures
The United States reportedly has more than 200 different organized religious sub¬cultures. Of this number, Protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, and Judaism are the principal organized religious faiths. The members of all these reli¬gious groups at times are likely to make purchase decisions that are influenced by their religious identity. Commonly, consumer behavior is directly affected by reli¬gion in terms of products that are symbolically and ritualistically associated with the celebration of various religious holidays. For example, Christmas has become the major gift-purchasing season of the year.

Religious requirements or practices sometimes take on an expanded mean¬ing beyond their original purpose. For instance, dietary laws for an observant Jewish family represent an obligation, so there are toothpastes and artificial sweeteners that are kosher for Passover. The U and K marks on food packaging are symbols that the food meets Jewish dietary laws. For non-observant Jews and a increasing number of non-Jews, however, these marks often signify that the food is pure and wholesome – a kind of “Jewish Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.” In response to the broader meaning given to kosher-certified products, a number of national brands, such as Coors beer and Pepperidge Farm cookies, have secured kosher certification for their products. Indeed, most Kosher food is consumed by non-Jews.

C. Geographic and Regional Subcultures
The United States is a large country, one that enjoys a wide range of climatic and geographic conditions. Given the country’s size and physical diversity, it is only nat¬ural that many Americans have a sense of regional identification and use this identi¬fication as a way of describing others (such as “he is a true Southerner). These labels often assist us in developing a mental picture and supporting stereotype of the person in question.

Anyone who has traveled across the United States has probably noted many regional differences in consumption behavior, especially when it comes to food and drink. For example, a mug of black coffee typifies the West, while a cup of cof¬fee with milk and sugar is preferred in the East. There also are geographic differences in the consumption of a staple food such as bread. Specifically, in the South and Midwest, soft white bread is preferred, whereas on the East and West coasts firmer breads (rye, whole wheat, and French and Italian breads) are favored. And regional differences also include brand preferences. Why do you suppose Skippy is the best-selling brand of peanut butter on both the East and West coasts, while Peter Pan sells best in the South and Jif sells best in the Midwest? For some food categories, there is even a difference between states in the same general region of the country. For example, what could explain the fact that 27 percent of Alabama residents consider pecan pie to be their favorite Thanksgiving dessert, whereas only 9 percent of Georgia residents and 10 percent of Tennessee residents feel similarly?

Consumer research studies document regional differences in consumption pat¬terns. For instance, Table below illustrates that differences in product purchase, own¬ership, or usage levels occur between major metropolitan areas.

Product Purchase / Usage in Leading Metropolitan Markets
Product Purchase/Usage Highest Purchase/Usage Lowest Purchaser
Dental floss San Francisco Dallas-Fort Worth
Own a domestic vehicle Detroit New York
Own an imported vehicle Los Angeles Detroit
Dessert toppings Chicago San Francisco
Ready-to-drink iced tea New York Dallas-Fort Worth
Snack mix Detroit New York
Own a camcorder Chicago Boston
Car rental—business use San Francisco New York
Ready-to-drink iced cappuccino Los Angeles Detroit
Shoe polish New York Boston
Own 4-plus TV sets Detroit San Francisco

This distribution helps redefine local markets in terms of specific urban lifestyles. A more detailed illustration of regional preferences is presented in Table below, which reports where Americans tend to go to get a cup of coffee. Specifically, 41 percent of Northeasterners head for a bagel or donut shop, as compared to 14 percent of Westerners, who are much more likely to buy their cup of coffee in a coffee specialty shop like Starbucks or Gloria Jean’s.
Where Americans go for a Cup of Coffee
Midwest Northeast South West
A diner or sit-down restaurant 55% 42% 46% 47%
A coffee shop like Starbucks or Gloria Jean’s 34% 28% 27% 42%
A convenience store 26% 28% 28% 24%
A bagel or donut shop 18% 41% 21% 14%
A fast-food chain 23% 12% 22% 17%
At work 14% 8% 11% 14%

D. Racial Subcultures
The major racial subcultures in the United States are Caucasian, African American, Asian American, and American Indian Although differences in lifestyles and consumer-spending patterns exist among these groups, the vast majority of racially oriented consumer research has focused on consumer differences between African Americans and Caucasians More recently, particular research attention has been given to Asian American consumers

Although there are many similarities between African Americans and the rest of America in terms of consumer behavior, there are also some meaningful differences in terms of product preferences and brand purchase patterns African American con¬sumers tend to prefer popular or leading brands, are brand loyal, and are unlikely to purchase private-label and generic products One study, for example, found that almost two-thirds of African Americans are willing to pay more to get “the best,” even if the brand or product is not widely recognized (only 51 percent of whites were reported to feel this way), and African Americans have been reported to buy high fashions and name brands “as signals of their success” Still further, African American consumers tend to make more trips during the course of a week to the grocery store (2.2 trips versus 1.8 trips for the average shopper), and they also spend more per week ($94 versus $85 for the average shopper) than other consumers

Some meaningful differences exist among Anglo-White, African American, and Hispanic American consumers in the purchase, ownership, and use of a diverse group of products (see Table) For marketers, these findings confirm the wis¬dom of targeting racial market segments

Comparison of Purchase Patterns of Households
Product/Activity Anglo-White African American Hispanic American
Dental floss 102 86 98
Mouthwash 97 124 105
Hand and body cream 98 117 100
Vitamin/mineral supplements 103 77 86
Energy drinks 96 124 132
Car rental—business use 94 131 78
Camera film 104 66 89
Greeting card 103 83 85
Instant breakfast 97 112 105
Barbeque and seasoning sauces 100 103 89
Ready-to-drink iced cappuccino 95 113 121
Attend movies/last 6 months 101 90 106
Went camping/past 12 months 110 31 89
Own a full-size van 112 19 130
Own a camera 106 60 83

Online Behavior of White, African American, and Hispanic American Consumers
Activity Whites Blacks Hispanics
E-mail 93% 88% 87%
Hobby 76% 68% 70%
Product information 73% 71% 73%
Travel information 65% 64% 63%
Arts information 63% 66% 70%
Weather 63% 53% 55%
Just for fun 61% 73% 69%
Get news 59% 62% 58%
Health information 55% 52% 48%
School research 54% 65% 59%
Work research 49% 48% 51%
Buy product 48% 35% 42%
Use video/audio clip 47% 60% 50%
Financial information 45% 40% 36%
Instant messaging 44% 51% 51%
Visit government Web site 41% 38% 36%
Look for a job 37% 51% 41%
Sports 35% 44% 37%
Political information 33% 34% 33%
Play a game 33% 48% 36%
Listen to music 32% 54% 44%
Buy travel product 29% 28% 29%
Place to live information 27% 35% 29%
Chat 23% 38% 30%
Download music 21% 29% 37%
Religious information 20% 33% 21%
Banking 9% 8% 7%
Gamble/play game 5% 5% 4%

E. Age Subcultures
It’s not difficult to understand why each major age sub-grouping of the population might be thought of as a separate subculture. After all, don’t you listen to different music than your parents and grandparents, dress differently, read different maga¬zines, and enjoy different TV shows? Clearly, important shifts occur in an individ¬ual’s demand for specific types of products and services as he or she goes from being a dependent child to a retired senior citizen. We will limit our study of age subcultures to four age groups, moving from youngest to oldest
? Generation Y (8 – 24 years)
? Generation X (25 – 35 years)
? Baby Boomers (36 – 50 years)
? Seniors (above 50)

These four age segments have been singled out because their distinctive lifestyles qualify them for considera¬tion as sub-cultural groups.

Comparison of Selected Age Cohorts Across Marketing-Related Issues
Themes Generation Y Generation X Boomers
Purchasing behavior Savvy, pragmatic Materialistic Narcissistic
Coming of age technology Computer in every home Microwave in every home TV in every home
Price-quality attitude Value oriented: weighing price-quality relationships Price oriented: concerned about the cost of individual items Conspicuous consumption: buying for indulgence
Attitude toward brands Brand embracing Against branding Brand loyal
Behavior toward ads Rebel against hype Rebel against hype
Respond to image-building type

Comparison of New -Age and Traditional Elderly
New-Age Elderly Traditional/Stereotypical Elderly
? Perceive themselves to be different in outlook from other people their age
? Age is seen as a state of mind
? See themselves as younger than their chronological age
? Feel younger, think younger, and “do” younger
? Have a genuinely youthful outlook
? Feel there is a considerable adventure to living
? Feel more in control of their own lives
? Have greater self-confidence when it comes to making consumption decisions
? Less concerned that they will make a mistake when buying something
? Especially knowledgeable and alert consumers
? Selectively innovative
? Seek new experiences and personal challenges
? Less interested in accumulating possessions
? Higher measured life satisfaction
? Less likely to want to live their lives over differently
? Perceive themselves to be healthier
? Feel financially more secure ? Perceive all older people to be about the same in outlook
? See age as more of a physical slate
? See themselves at or near their chronological age
? Tend to feel, think, and do things that they feel match their chronological age
? Feel that one should act one’s age
? Normal sense of being in control of their own lives
? Normal range of self-confidence when it comes to making consumer decisions
? Some concern that they will make a mistake when buying something
? Low-to-average consumer capabilities
? Not innovative
? Seek stability and a secure routine
? Normal range of interest in accumulating possessions
? Lower measured life satisfaction
? Have some regrets as to how they lived their lives
? Perceive themselves to be of normal health for their age
? Somewhat concerned about financial security

F. Sex as a Subculture
Because sex roles have an important cultural component, it is quite fitting to exam¬ine gender as a subcultural category.

All societies tend to assign certain traits and roles to males and others to females. In American society, for instance, aggressiveness and competitiveness often were con¬sidered traditional masculine traits; neatness, tactfulness, gentleness, and talkative¬ness were considered traditional feminine traits. In terms of role differences, women have historically been cast as homemakers with responsibility for childcare and men as the providers or breadwinners. Because such traits and roles are no longer relevant for many individuals, marketers are increasingly appealing to consumers’ broader vision of gender-related role options.

Within every society, it is quite common to find products that are either exclusively or strongly associated with the members of one sex. In the United States, for exam¬ple, shaving equipment, cigars, pants, ties, and work clothing were historically male products; bracelets, hair spray, hair dryers, and sweet-smelling colognes generally were considered feminine products. For most of these products, the sex role link has either diminished or disappeared; for others, the prohibition still lingers. An inter¬esting product category with regard to the blurring of a gender appeal is men’s fra¬grances. Although men are increasingly wearing fragrances, it is estimated that 30 percent of men’s fragrances are worn by women. Also, although women have his¬torically been the major market for vitamins, men are increasingly being targeted for vitamins exclusively formulated for men.

In terms of its appeal, men and women seem to differ in their attraction to the Internet. For instance, women go online to seek out reference materials, online books, medical information, cooking ideas, government information, and chatting. In contrast, men tend to focus on exploring, discovery, identifying free software, and investments. This provides further support for the notion that men are “hunters,” whereas women are “nurturers.” Still further, although men and women are equally likely to browse commercial sites, women are less likely to purchase online (32% for men versus 19% for women). Evidence suggests that the lower incidence of women purchasing online is due to their heightened concerns with online security and privacy. Table below presents a gender-oriented segmentation scheme that accounts for the type of online materials favored by specific sub-segments of males and specific sub-segments of females.

Male and Female Internet User Segments
Key Usage Situation Favorite Internet Materials
Female Segment
Social Sally Making friends Chat and personal Web page
New Age Crusader Fight for causes Books and government information
Cautious Mom Nurture children Cooking and medical facts
Playful Pretender Role play Chat and games
Master Producer Job productivity White Pages and government information

Male Segments
Bits and Bytes Computers and hobbies Investments, discovery, software
Practical Pete Personal productivity Investments, company listings
Viking Gamer Competing and winning Games, chat, software
Sensitive Sam Help family and friends Investments, government information
World Citizen Connecting with world Discovery, software, investments

Marketers are keenly interested in the workingwoman, especially the married workingwoman. They recognize that married women who work outside of the home are a large and growing market segment, one whose needs differ from those of women who do not work outside the home (frequently self-labeled “stay-at-home moms”). It is the size of the workingwoman market that makes it so attrac¬tive. Approximately 60 percent of American women 16 years of age and older are in the labor force, which represents a market of over 65 million individuals. Whereas more than half of all women with children under the age of 1 are working (55 percent), almost 78 percent of women with children ages 6 to 17 are employed.

Because 40 percent of all business travelers today are women, hotels have begun to realize that it pays to provide the services women want, such as healthy foods, gyms, and spas and wellness centers. Female business travelers are also con¬cerned about hotel security and frequently use room service because they do not want to go to the hotel bar or restaurant. The Paris Hilton, for example, discreetly hands key cards to female patrons, offers valet parking, and allows women to receive guests in an executive lounge located on the hotel’s business floor. And bathrooms feature roses, shampoos, and bath gels.

To provide a richer framework for segmentation, marketers have developed cate¬gories that differentiate the motivations of working and nonworking women. For instance, a number of studies have divided the female population into four seg¬ments
? Stay-at-home housewives
? Plan-to-work housewives
? Just-a-job working women
? Career-oriented workingwomen.

The distinction between “just-a-job” and “career-oriented” workingwomen is particularly meaningful. “Just-a-job” working women seem to be motivated to work primarily by a sense that the family requires the additional income, whereas “career-oriented” working women, who tend to be in a managerial or professional position, are driven more by a need to achieve and succeed in their chosen careers. Today, though, with more and more female college graduates in the workforce, the percentage of career-oriented work¬ing women is on the rise. As evidence of this fact, 25 percent of all workingwomen bring home a paycheck that is larger than their husband’s (10 years ago it was only 17 percent).

Workingwomen spend less time shopping than nonworking women. They accomplish this “time economy” by shopping less /often and by being brand and store loyal. Not surprisingly, working women also are likely to shop during evening hours and on weekends, as well as to buy through direct-mail catalogs.

Businesses that advertise to women should also be aware that magazines are now delivering a larger women’s audience than television shows. Whereas early 1980s’ TV shows had higher ratings than popular magazines, today the top 25 women’s magazines have larger audiences than the top 25 television shows targeted to females.