Culture is a complex amalgam of symbols (attitudes, beliefs, values, language, etc.) and artifacts created by a society and handed down from generation to generation. The way people perform their biological activities such as eating is culturally determined. Thus, a hungry Indian consumer may like to eat rice and dal whereas a hungry American consumer may like to eat a hamburger, followed by a Coke. Cultures do change over time; for example two-income nuclear families; changing gender roles are the latest cultural trends. There is a diffusion of culture across countries since we live in a global village.
Consumer Buying Behaviour is determined to a great extent by social forces and groups such as reference groups, family etc.: Reference groups: Groups of people who interact formally or informally influencing (direct or indirect) each others’ attitudes and Consumer Buying Behaviour. Membership groups are groups of people having a direct influence on a person. There are two types of membership groups: primary and secondary. Primary groups: Interact regularly and informally, e.g., family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Secondary groups: Interacts occasionally and formally, i.e. trade unions, professional associations, members of socio-cultural societies.
People are significantly influenced by their reference groups both for product and brand choices; sometimes mainly on the choice of brand in such items as furniture and clothing, choice of product in such items as beer and cigarettes, or both choices in such items as automobiles and color televisions. Marketers also try to reach opinion leaders in these reference groups. These opinion leaders are persons who have the significant influence on a large number of members of the group, such as a village sarpanch, or the head of a religious order. Professional brand/product endorsements in the media by celebrities are one way of influencing Consumer Buying Behaviour.
The buyer’s own characteristics such as age, stages of a life cycle, occupation, lifestyle, and personality, etc., are again determinants of his buying behavior.
Age: A person’s behavior and habits change as he grows older; for example, a child’s deep interest in toys and games gets transformed into collecting material objects automobiles and houses as he grows to adulthood, and in later life may again shift away from material things due to changing priorities.