Women of this class work more at their shopping. They exhibit more anxiety, particularly when purchasing nonfoods, which they feel can be a demanding and tedious process filled with uncertainty. They are value conscious and try to seek out the best buy for the money. Such an orientation would indicate a strong to patronize discount houses.
Working Class: Because of this group’s strong concern with personal relationships there is a tendency to shop along known, local friendship lines. This attitude also explains their loyalty to certain stores in which they feel at home. Lower status women who shopped in high status department stores felt clerks and higher class customer in the store punished them in various subtle ways. One woman expressed her feeling that in a higher status store the clerks treat you like a crumb. Another related incident is how she had vainly tried to be waited on, finally to be told “we thought you were a clerk”.
The shopping behavior of this group has been described as a pattern of routine standardized purchasing usually of national brands, having infrequent impulsive or unplanned purchases. The factors contributing to this behavior are thought to be limited perspective, short time horizons and frustrations.
The working classes buy with less pre-purchase deliberation than do middle and upper classes. They are much more likely to use in store information sources, such as displays and salespeople. The routine nature of their shopping suggest for the marketer an emphasis on the use of enticing point of purchase displays and easy availability of items. It is clear that this group is a prime target for discount houses, and in fact it has been a potent force in the development of suburban discount retailing.
Lower Americans: This group is one that buys largely on impulse. This tendency results in the necessity to rely heavily on credit since money that might have been spent for big ticket items has been drained of in impulse buying of small things. At the same time, however, these people can be poor credit risks because of their low income status. This often forces them into a pattern of dealing with local merchants who offer tailor made (yet sometimes quite exorbitant) credit terms.
Promotional Response patterns:
Important class differences exist with regard to promotional response. The social classes have differing media choice and usage patterns. For example, readers of national Geographic and The New Yorker are typically of a higher class than the readers of Police Gazette, True Confessions, and The Star. Even Magazines in the same topic area may be aimed at different social classes as target audiences. The social classes also have different perception and responses to advertising and other promotional messages, responses which are significant in the development of proper marketing strategies. The basis of advertising differences directed at the various classes should be founded on the differing communication skills and interests of these groups. For example, sophisticated an clever advertising such as that appearing in The New Yorker and Esquire is almost meaningful to lower class people who don’t understand the subtle humor and are baffled by the bizarre art. This certainly does not imply that they lack intelligence or wit, but merely that their communication skills or experiences have been oriented in a different way. Thus, their symbol systems are different, and they have a quite different approach to humor.
Beer producer segment market by social class, with different brands and advertising aimed at each group. For instance, Miller and Lowerbrau produced by the same company appeals to different social classes. Miller with its Made the American way theme presents a strong working class, masculine image by featuring people in various tough, physical jobs, whereas Lowerbrau appeals on the basis of more refined sociability by featuring upscale groups with the theme ‘Here’s to good friends’.