Consumer Behavior Influences: Cross-Cultural Variations & Demographics

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  • 0:02 Differences Across Countries
  • 0:24 What Is Culture?
  • 3:07 Demographic Differences
  • 4:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nick Chandler
When you go from one country to another, tastes change. People from different ages, incomes, and lifestyles also have varying preferences for products and services. This lesson describes why consumers from different backgrounds buy different products and services.

Differences Across Countries

A European man buys clothing to look and feel successful, a Chinese person buys clothes to fit in, and a Japanese person buys clothes to look strong. This is due to people from different countries having different values and aspirations, called cross-cultural variations.

What Is Culture?

Culture is about what we value. Whatever we value is shown in our behavior, known as norms. In other words, our culture tells us what's important and how things should be done or seen. Cultures are often different from country to country, as we saw in the earlier example. Let's have a look at a few more examples.

First, we will look at different values. Some people might say that wherever you go in the world a McDonald's cheeseburger is always the same. That's not exactly true. Half of India's population are vegetarian. They value life in all things and so choose not to eat animals. What does this mean for McDonald's? They found that of the 100 meals that people ate each month, only three of them were eaten out. When they introduced a vegetarian burger with Indian spices, that figure went up from three to ten meals eaten out per month. When a multinational company changes its product or service to suit the needs of a culture in a region or country, it is called localization.

Second, we will look at superstitions and traditions. In Japan the number four is seen as unlucky. Because of this tradition, products are packed in groups of five in many cases because people are unwilling to buy products in groups of fours. The color chosen for the packaging for products can be important in cultures. In many Western countries, red is associated with a warning, danger, or the need to stop. In China red is a lucky color, and in Taiwan it is the opposite, even to the point where a Taiwanese person is less likely to buy a red rice cooker as they think the rice is more likely to burn in this color of cooker.

It was a tradition in the UK for many decades that Friday was the day when people ate fish each week. This tradition meant that fish supplies had to be maximized on Thursday evening to be ready for the sales on Friday. Traditions in many countries also dictate what clothes are worn, when, and what colors or combination of colors are acceptable. For example, the fashion retailer ZARA often uses a limited range of colors for each of its seasonal lines, such as black, grey, or white for a winter range of clothes. However, regardless of the season, Indian traditional dress involves a mix of many different colors. With this kind of consumer behavior, ZARA has to widen its range of colors to suit the Indian market.

Now we will look at lifestyle. The lifestyle of an individual means all the activities, interests and opinions. If a person is interested in a healthy lifestyle then his or her activities may involve going to the gym, interests in cooking with organic food, and eating raw vegetables.

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