Definition of consumer society in English: A society in which the buying and selling of goods and services is the most important social and economic activity.
Look back into history and you will find patterns of consumption very different from those that exist today. Turn the clock back just a few centuries, and almost no one in any country spent a significant amount of time or resources on shopping for goods produced far from home. Before the Industrial Revolution–that is, before the late 18th century in England, or the middle of the 19th century in the rest of Western Europe and North America–the vast majority of each country’s population lived in rural areas and worked in agriculture. Their clothing and household possessions were extremely limited by today’s standards and were typically made by household members or by artisans from the same village. Fashions, technological change, and social pressure did not drive people constantly to make new purchases; rather, individual material goods were used, with repairs if needed, for decades. Major items such as winter coats were expected to last a lifetime and more and were often passed from one generation to the next.
As “The Consumer we are bombarded with thousands of images every day of product, which we are told is what we need. Is this something new to modern society or just the progression of our ancestors selling their goods at market?
I think it is, we have done it all the time. We are all wealth lead and generating the best environment for ourselves to live in is only natural. We all want nice possessions, as this is a status symbol to where we fit in society. It’s the marketing populaces that have turned us into a brand lead consumer society. They are no different to us, they have a tool to make money so they use it and use well. Generating billions of the worlds products and services into money.
Consumer Behaviour: The Marketing View
Marketing professionals have a job to do: they want to influence consumers toward purchasing their organization’s product. To do their jobs, they have to have a good idea about what makes people want to buy and consume. Most often, their focus is on why a consumer would choose a particular brand of a product, at a particular time and place. Social science research, primarily from psychology and sociology, forms the basis for the standard marketing view of consumer behavior.
The Decision-making Process
The marketing view portrays consumers as going through a five-step decision making process:
. Problem recognition. In this stage, the consumer perceives that he has a want or need. The consumer compares his situation to some situation he would consider to be better, and his desire to move to the better situation is aroused. For example, the consumer might feel hungry or feel unsatisfied with her current athletic shoes, which are shabby compared to those in advertisements.
. Information search. In this stage, the person seeks information about how this want might be met. She may search her own experience; looking for ways she has satisfied it in the past. Or she might consult external sources of information, like friends, family, newspapers, advertising, packaging, etc. For example, he might be attracted by the photos on the packages of frozen dinners in the supermarket. The packages give him information about the product inside. Since humans have a limited availability to absorb information and can only assess a limited number of options, this process is likely to be very incomplete—the consumer will generally move on to the next stage knowing only some things about some alternatives.
. Evaluation of alternatives. After gathering information, the consumer compares the various alternatives about which he or she has gathered information. Goods and services are said to have attributes (or characteristics) that are the real items of interest to the consumer. The consumer will lean toward the alternative that has the bundle of attributes that most meets his or her desires. For example, the consumer might be interested in how a dinner tastes, in its nutritional value in terms of calories and fat content, and in whether it will satisfy his desire to try new things (or stick to old ones). She will compare brands and decide which one fits her priorities best. If she is deciding on athletic shoes, the fashionableness of various brands may weigh heavily—or even be the overwhelming factor—in his choice.
. Purchase decision. Having developed an intention to buy something, the consumer will (barring interference or unforeseen events) follow through and make the purchase.
. Post purchase behavior. After the purchase, the consumer will decide whether he or she is satisfied or dissatisfied with the good or service. Consumption, in the marketing view, is seen as something of a trial-and-error process.
Marketing professionals are interested in all aspects of this process, since each step gives them opportunities to try to sway consumer choices toward their organisation’s products. They may try to create new desires, for example, or try to better inform the public about the value of their product. They may improve web sites; to make sure customers aren’t frustrated in making their intended purchases. Or they may inform their own of changes in design that could improve customer satisfaction (and thus bring more repeat business).
Why do consumers want what they want? Why do they buy what they buy? The standard marketing view draws on a wide variety of research concerning individual motivations and social influences to answer these questions.
Psychological theories of motivation can shed light on why people come to desire certain things. One frequently used categorization breaks down human perceived needs into five categories:
- Physiological needs, such as hunger and thirst.
- Safety needs, for security and protection.
- Social needs, for a sense of belonging and love.
- Esteem needs, for self-esteem, recognition, and status.
- Self-actualization needs, for self-development and realization.
A consumer’s recognition of a need—step 1 of the decision process—can include one or many of these categories
Thank you to The Encyclopaedia of Earth