A Business Encyclopedia

Social Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior

Definition: The Social Factors are the factors that are prevalent in the society where a consumer live in.  The society is composed of several individuals that have different preferences and behaviors. These varied behaviors influence the personal preferences of the other set of individuals as they tend to perform those activities which are acceptable to the society.

The following are the important social factors that influence the behavior of an individual in one or the other way:

Social Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior

  1. Family: The family members play a crucial role in designing one’s preferences and behavior. It offers an environment wherein the individual evolves, develop personality and acquire values. A child develops his buying behavior and preferences by watching his parents and tend to buy the same products or services even when he grows old. The family can influence the buying behavior of an individual in either of the two ways:
  • Influences the personality, attitude, beliefs, characteristics of the individual.
  • Influences the decision making of an individual with respect to the purchase of certain goods and services.

    It is believed that an individual passes through two families: Family of Orientation and Family of Procreation. In the former type, it is the family wherein an individual has taken the birth, and the parents have a strong influence on his behavior. While in the family of procreation, it is the family created by an individual with his spouse and children and as such the preferences tend to change with the influence of the spouse.

  1. Reference Group: A reference group is a group with which an individual likes to get associated, i.e. want to be called as a member of that group. It is observed, that all the members of the reference group share common buying behavior and have a strong influence over each other.

    The marketers should try to identify the roles within the reference group that influences the behavior of others. Such as Initiator (who initiates the buying decision), Influencer (whose opinion influences the buying decision), Decision-Maker (who has the authority to take the purchase decision) and Buyer (who ultimately buys the product).

  2. Roles and Status: An individual’s position and role in the society also influences his buying behavior. Such as, a person holding a supreme position in the organization is expected to purchase those items that advocate his status. The marketers should try to understand the individual’s position and the role very much before the endorsement of the products.

Thus, The social factors play a crucial role in building the behavior of an individual, and the marketers should understand it properly before designing their marketing campaigns.


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