Commonly held cultural values

However, researchers at the University of Michigan have created an alternative value measurement scale and procedure. Their List of values (LOV) may be better for establishing important relationships between values and consumption and may relate more closely to the values of life’s major roles (such as marriage, parenting, work, leisure, and daily consumption). Table defines these values and reports the percentage of Americans who selected each value as most important in the lives. One study showed that LOV has a higher percentage than RVS of terms that people say influence their daily lives.

Some recent studies have found that commonly held cultural values do shape consumption choices to a certain extent. For example, a study examined the ownership of generic categories of automobiles (such as full size intermediate size, compact and subcompact cars) and concluded that culture is an underlying determinant of the type of car purchased. Another study found that car owner values can also be used to differentiate between owners of small, domestic cars, owners of small, foreign cars, and owners of large, domestic cars.

It is important to recognize also that there are often profound differences in age groups. Each generation has its own personality, attitudes and lifestyles which appear to change in a predictable cycle Thus, marketers must be cognizant of the variations between cohort groups and their implications for marketing strategy. A recent nationwide study of cohort factors found that an age group’s value shaped by the historical and social events experienced between the ages of 7 and 21 were more important than gender, income an ethnic origin in determining how each cohort group will spend its money. These patterns are important to retailers of the 1990s. For instance:

1) Depression babies (born 1930–1939) began life with rationing but grew up in reactive comfort. Their lives will change dramatically as they go from career to retirement, and their clothing purchases will shift from status business wear to status golf course wear.
2) World War II babies (1940–1945) will buy business apparel but will seek bargains.
3) Mature boomers (1946–1950) will spend to maintain their youth and fulfill their fantasies and will individualistic apparel.
4) Mid boomers (1951–1957) will purchase or family rather than individual needs, demanding quality while being price conscious.
5) Young boomers (1958–1964) make up the largest group an will increase spending to match their increased income, buying home entertainment and luxury items. Their computer literacy makes them comfortable with electronic and catalogs
6) Mature busters (1965–1970) are the MTV generation who will find electronic communication replacing face to face communications. They crave excitement in retailing.
7) Young busters (1971–1976) are still in their development period and will be spending on first cars, entry level work clothes and electronic gadgets
8) Mature boom lets (1977–1982) are indulged by parents and have more money than preceding cohorts had at this age. They exert great influence on family spending and will gain consumer expertise at an early age, resulting in a demand for product performance in their purchases.

In addition, an investigation of home makers purchases of household appliances has used terminal and instrumental value lists to discover an important relationship between purchases and values. Women were interviewed who planned to make a purchase of one or more of eight major household appliances. Terminal values were found to be related much more strongly than were instrumental values to the product class level of choice (for example when deciding between clothes washers such as full size automatics mini automatics and compact portables). At the brand choice decision level (such as deciding between Maytag and General Electric) instrumental values where found to be reacted, while terminal values where not related at all. Thus, terminal values would seem to guide choice among product classes, while instrumental values would seem to guide choice among branches. As we see, each set of values is thought to influence choice criteria (product or brand) that is, the standards used to judge various alternatives. The choice of criteria in turn seen as having an influence on the consumers formation of attitudes towards products or brands. These research findings are useful for directing the positioning of the brand so that advertising may communicate to the prospective buyers to the marketer’s offering is to its competition. —