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Consumer socialization - Essay Example

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The reasons why people buy, whether in physical shops or online, are determined by a process called consumer socialization. This process involves acquiring skills that people need to function in the culture and society into which they are born. The vast majority of these skills are used for managing day-to-day life, including shopping and buying both necessities and desired goods.
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Consumer socialization
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Download file to see previous pages For children, a "gift" is anything they get beyond the basics of food, shelter and tools necessary to perform their studies. They soon recognize specific occasions for receiving gifts, such as their birthday and holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Hanukkah, among others, but continue to seek and receive gifts for other reasons such as good behavior or success in school. Often a gift for good grades is given at the end of the school term. This is all considered "dependent" consumption, as children do not yet have access to their own money to make purchases. Bjurstrom also refers to it as the "gift economy". It is not exclusive to children, of course. Adults use gifts for many reasons, primarily relationship-building and maintenance throughout their lives. (Bjurstrom, 2003.)
"Independent" consumption, defined as supporting oneself from one's own income, is a large factor in the transition from childhood to adulthood today. Gender socialization does have an influence on the transition from dependent to independent consumption, while this is diminishing in many countries. Many women, even in developed countries, never fully evolve in their consumer socialization beyond the "gift economy." Their ideal husband is strong and loving, and buys what is needed and wanted without asking questions.
The sooner young people of both genders are taught and encouraged to integrate dependent and independent consumption, the more effective consumers they will be. Young people should learn to use money from their allowances, and earnings from household chores, to buy birthday gifts for friends and family members as soon as possible, even if the gifts are small in size and value. This will help them learn to select and purchase, use money wisely, and understand the emotional and relationship impacts of receiving and giving gifts.

While the age of young people who are able to practice fully independent consumption is getting later and later in the developed nations, due to the prolonged time they spend in post-secondary education, they are beginning to practice some forms of independent consumption at earlier ages in the 21st century than in the 20th. This is due to factors such as family income, as in many families around the world, both parents now work outside the home and earn income. (Bjurstrom, 2003.)
Family income is a critically important factor in a study of consumer socialization in south Asia, based on surveys analyzed by M.F. Sabri, J. Masud, and L. Paim, of the University Putra Malaysia. The survey respondents were college students. The replies were given by 68% female respondents and 32% male. They lived in both rural and urban areas, and came from families with an average of 5 children. Most often they were middle children, rather than the oldest or youngest. This research also demonstrates the consumer socialization influences on these young respondents, aged 17 to 21. These young people were able to be relatively independent consumers due to their family income. Their parents could afford to send them to university and provide them with a generous allowance to use for living expenses. Most of the students lived away from ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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