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Group reference - Essay Example

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The Social Class and the UAE BY YOU YOUR SCHOOL INFO HERE DATE HERE The Social Class and the UAE Chapters 11 and 13 offered information regarding consumer behavior related to different reference groups and also social class conformity. The importance of reference groups illustrates that buyers from many different social classes refer to many different power sources when making product buying decisions…
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The Social and the UAE BY YOU YOUR SCHOOL INFO HERE HERE The Social and the UAE Chapters 11 and 13 offered information regarding consumer behavior related to different reference groups and also social class conformity. The importance of reference groups illustrates that buyers from many different social classes refer to many different power sources when making product buying decisions. Cultural pressures are just one element that drives reference group activity, something commonly found in the United Arab Emirates. This is a culture that has many traditionalist values associated with family structure and their role in politics, therefore it should be assumed that there will be much cultural conformity in this country. This is important to marketing entities such as Carrefour hypermarket as they must ensure they carry the types of products that consumers will value, be priced according to their largest target segment, and have word of mouth value after the shopping experience. Though there is not much social class mobility in the UAE, due largely to the existing problems with women gaining ground in career, it is still important for Carrefour and Lulu hypermarkets. It was identified in one of the chapters that women in Arabic countries enjoy the shopping experience together and it has become a regular part of their lifestyle behaviors. Because of this, they rely on reference group opinion on many different situations associated with the shopping experience. There is an element of group membership that will be driving their conformity and this is something that businesses wanting to advertise should understand. Through the use of social networking tools, Carrefour or Lulu hypermarkets can build better relationships with buyers by appealing to their group membership and other reference needs. Women in the UAE are attempting to break away from their lower-income, lower-status class that is controlled at the political and cultural level. Nusibeh (2009) identifies the problems with women legitimizing their own business ownership since there is a high amount of gender discrimination and stereotypes with this group of buyers. However, in order for there to be upward social class mobility in the UAE, women need to be recognized as educated and skilled persons able to run a successful business. The role of women as powerful reference groups for the rest of the culture is quite small, however they make up the largest customer base for Carrefour and Lulu hypermarkets. There is a sort of conflict of interest in advertising to these markets when they are held back by cultural stereotypes and do not have much influence as a reference group for others. However, Kerr (2008, p.2) identifies that the glass ceiling for women is disappearing which means that female market segments in the UAE are beginning to have more opportunities to change their social and income status. This would show not a horizontal movement in social class, but an upward one if the government continues to support women’s needs related to career and business. “A person’s position in the stratification system is the most consistent predictor of his or her behavior, attitudes and life chances” (sociologyindex.com, 2011, p.2). This was supported by the data from Chapter 13 about the role of social class being linked with lower-cost symbolic purchases. Fortunately for Carrefour and Lulu hypermarkets, they are somewhat segregated from these factors since they provide lifestyle needs products (foodstuffs) that are needed by all social classes. If these markets had luxury products, it is likely that the female buyer in the UAE would reject based on pricing and their lower social class status across the entire culture. It is then the cultural figures that provide the most influential reference groups for UAE consumers, not just the female buyer who faces many culturally-driven problems with enhancing their status and wealth. Carrefour hypermarket, simply by design, does not have to worry much about incorporating cultural symbols in their advertising since they carry products that fit all social classes. If the businesses ever diversify their product offerings to include high dollar products, then the factors associated with symbolic consumption and social class mobility would be considerable strategic factors to consider. Wealth in the UAE is not evenly distributed, as is true in most countries, therefore understanding buyer behavior might be as easy as conducting primary market research studies on key target groups. Surveys or questionnaires might be one method of improving knowledge to prepare for the day when social stratification and mobility become factors for the hypermarket expansions. There is not much current stability in the occupational role of buyers in the UAE which is beneficial for the hypermarket stores. References Kerr, S. (2008), “Boom in Gulf boosts quality of workforce”, Financial Times. April 29, p.2. Nusibeh, Z.R. (2009), “Factors influencing women business development in the developing countries”, International Journal of Organizational Analysis. 17(3), pp.202-224. Sociologyindex.com. (2011), “Social stratification”. Retrieved June 15, 2011 from http://sociologyindex.com/stratification.htm Read More
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