Tamil Diplomat

Consumer Behaviour – Consumption Culture

Translated by: V.F.Joseph

Consumer behavior is considered as a marketing tactic with a commercial purpose. This is a tactic that adopted by Marketers to sustain their product and their trade mark in a competitive market, by subjecting the factors, which assist the decisions taken, when people try to purchase an article, to research.

Consumer behaviour is considered as the Marketers Action form for, raising the value of the Production establishment by planning projects by placing in the fore, catalysts like,  particularly, satisfaction of customers, the perception of the consumers related to a product, in a competitive market, efficient target customers,   raising the service quality of the products, annexing the advantages of a competitive market to themselves, developing the knowledge regarding the  market’s  situation,  and urging health practices and self evaluation  which are beneficial to the society. Likewise, from an individual view, consumer behavior is the knowledge related to decisive factors of encouragements which urge the decisions of an individual, society groups and companies in selecting, purchasing, and coming forward to utilize an article to fulfill, their needs and desires. That is, a knowledge of encouragements which urge consumer behavior in the market.

Actually, these decisions for purchasing an article could shape up the life styles of consumers. Physical health, secure lodging, comfortable life, maintenance of happy relations, making activities easy, and getting extended durablity etc. depend on purchase decisions. Hence, purchasing decisions are considered very important among people. Not only that, the consumer behavior urges communication of the people with the society. People are urged to contact other people to get their need- related knowledge. Thus, consumer behavior helps the people to meet each other and mutually help each other. The conjuncture of consumer behavior being nurtured by the modern telecommunication facilities, paved the way for the people of the world to go and act beyond the purchase related feelings of patriotism. Man wish to enjoy more freedom when making decision on his wishes. He considers the restraints placed on his consumption freedom for political objectives, a violation of basic rights. From the standpoint of globalization, these purchasing decisions tend to determine even the trend of the world.

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Consumer Behaviour – A Historical View Point.   

When the pre-civilization man was engaged in a life style of wandering about, alone and in groups, the decision for consumption rose based on search related empirical desire, on the basis of needs like hunger and thirst. After the river bank civilization came into existence, this empirical desire was adapted towards the natures of areas, physical and climatic conditions and the consumption decisions were taken, based on them. Being threatened by the natural occurrence of Drought, Floods, Tsunami, Earth slip, Earth tremors, Earth quakes and the displacements caused by the power capturing activities of man, like, Disseises, Disseisins , Occupations, pogroms, invasions , and Wars, instituted changes in the consumption behavior. In this conjuncture, the consumption behavior adapted itself to the physical and climatic conditions of the living areas and the living conditions prevailing in the areas where the displaced people are living. Hence, the consumption behavior could absorb changes. It is not an exaggeration, if we say that, the human history is moving forward related to consumption behavior. There are instances when decisions were forced on people on the pretext of a consumer decision .As example we could cite the introduction of bread fruit as food to negro slaves in Europe, in the  16th century and  urging opium usage in China.

There were times, following the industrial revolution, when the consumption behavior of the people was controlled, on the pretext of auto-economic development, export of resources, patriotism and foreign exchange earnings, when countries were subjected and made into colonies.  Consumption behavior related uprisings of the people and the efforts of the state to keep under their control, paved the way for many revolutions. The fact that, among the factors that triggered the two world wars, indirectly present were the expectations regarding the consumption behavior of the people demonstrates the importance of the consumer behavior.

The freedom of consumption, being controlled by the Communist economy introduce in the 20th century, and the state trying to manipulate the social structure difference created related to freedom of consumption, stand as examples of the state taking the consumption decision in its hands. Thus the consumption behavior has passed several challenges in coming to the current dimension.

The consumer behavior had been passed through generations, from one man to another, from parents to children, from inventor to the public, and from one social group to another and so on and is being passed even now.  The consumption behavior can develop among social groups, an identity, mutual trust, a brotherhood, and especially it can develop a feeling of being different from others. Thus, a consumption culture related to consumption behavior came into existence. Particularly, consumption culture, related to beliefs, practices, and life styles was established. But, as mentioned earlier, displacement of people posed challenges for continuing the consumer culture. Anyhow, consumer culture was maintained till 20th century. The reason for this being the limited communication and transport modes, available in that period. But in today’s conjuncture where these facilities have developed abundantly, particularly, today’s society which is possessed by the post modernist ideas, aspires to enjoy a freedom sans controls.

As they have a notion that, even the consumer culture is also a unit for controlling individual freedom, marketers had instigated global universal culture as their micro-part politics, and the people who were carried off in it, had got caught in the tactics of the Multinational Companies and are being washed off in them. They have gone beyond their needs, wishes, physical and climatic conditions, traditions and practices and now they having a culture of making consumption decisions related to Advertisements, sales promotion, leasing and status mentality.

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Consumer behavior – The intrusion of Multinational Companies.

The growth of the Multi National Companies had caused tremendous changes in the consumer behavior of the market. Activities for deciding the satisfaction of the consumers are designed by Companies them elves. Knowing the fact that, the consumer satisfaction is only a notion, they use it in a way advantages to them, they continue to sow the idea through advertisements and other methods, that, a particular product will give satisfaction, using various applications of technology, consumers tend to believe that they are deriving satisfaction from those environs. Handling cultural bases, they are introducing neo-consumer cultures. Consumer cultures which were nurtured on the basis of belief, practices and traditions, are changed through a continuous operation at great expenditure, by which the trade mark of the company, the product and its name are forced upon the people, and make them to accept that using the particular product is the culture and they utilize tactics to pass this belief down the generations.

The structure of the society is defined by them having the wealth status as the base and related to the sold product. They produce several quality-products at different prices, as a technique to determine social control and create an impact among the consumers in the market. By urging the notion that purchasing goods of high quality and price will exhibit social structure, they constitute an attitude of searching for and purchasing particular product.

They extend a micro-part political move in order to increase the profit. They force onto the people’s mind at great financial expenditure, the company’s name, its trade mark and the product, and pave the way for consumers to accept that, using the particular products is profitable.

Here, it had become inevitable that the consumers having alienated themselves with vague awareness, get swept away, as attracted people, accepting the changes in life without properly understanding them.

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Consumer behavior – A re-Understanding.

It is necessary that the current consumer behavior and consumption culture be subjected to re-understanding. Actually, we should blatantly accept the truths we have understood alone, and change the consumption activities. On the other hand, continuing as it is, may bring aging in young age, or additional expenditure may be required to maintain healthy life. Particularly, relationships may be broken.

Consumer behavior has brought important changes in eating habits. It had become inevitable that, food of all types be purchased in the market. On one side, there are  the effects of the chemicals added for taste and display and on the other side, enjoying the taste of food, appreciating the food, and the reconciliation of family bonds formed through it are on the decline. Particularly, the small children are suffering without knowing the taste of the food cooked by their mothers. Preparing food is not only food preparing, but, let us understand that it is also an expression of the concern on the relatives.

The purchase of consumer goods should be on the basis of needs. It should not be based on status. The status is more like a mirage. Thus the goods purchased based on status, while creating un-satisfaction,  will also create disputes and cleavages in the society. Widespread are the behavior related criticism. But it will not reach the person concerned. Hence, there is a necessity for self criticism when purchasing an article.

Consumption is related to expenditure. Treating the available money as the scale for purchasing should be subjected re-examination. When we purchase, just because we had the necessary, giving other interpretations to the need factor, we are duty bound to think that there are people living with us, who do not possess the capacity to reach, even  the lowest level of these needs.

The need for purchase is one thing. Purchasing to satisfy adamant attitude is another. This world is of very gargantuan nature. Our adamancy, the efforts we make for that and the purchase are like dropping a needle into the sea and then establishing its identity. It is better to think twice about Adamant purchase.

Last but not the least; cheap purchase is only our personal opinion. These sales techniques will be beneficial to the sales person on a long term basis, without our knowledge. Purchasing, just because it is cheap and without necessity, means that we have fallen into the trap of the sales person.

Human life will be better off, if individual consumer will consider these techniques, and handle consumer behavior properly.