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How Different Cultures Affect Consumer Behavior

If you have recently dialed a phone number linked to an automated system, you’ve experienced the era of bilingual options. “The Voice” directs you to press one for English, or dos para Espanol. Even aisle 13 at the local grocer, devoted to international foods, is colorfully lined with labels from around the world. The explanation to this eruption of international commotion can be linked with the growing number of various cultures making America their home. The U. S. will continue to add to her melting pot of people from all nations as time goes on.

This rich dose of variation in culture further adds to the need for understanding how differing cultures impact consumer behavior. There are three major factors that contribute consumer behavior with regard to cultural impact: religious differences, ethnic differences and regional differences (Hoyer, 2002). Understanding these three factors will assist in better understanding the impact different cultures have on consumer behavior. People say that location is a pretty important factor in achieving success. This is especially true for business, followed closely by individuals.

Businesses will be the beneficiary of this impact, as long as they are located in the right spot for what they sell. This is because

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needs differ from region to region. Regional differences impact how marketing is carried out, what items are stocked in stores, and what items are in demand (Hoyer, 2002). For example, in South Texas, calling cards that offer discounted rates to Mexico may not be as in demand in Michigan, and vise versa for discount-rate calling cards to Canada. In Japan, chopsticks are high-yielding products, while fork sales may be slow.

Next to consider are ethnic differences, which can also impact consumption tremendously (Hoyer, 2002). Tortilla sales in Texas are pretty steady, as Texas is a border state. Additionally, there are many tortilla producers in Texas, increasing the available options for tortillas. In Hawaii, however, the top seller in “baked goods” Cultural Impact 3 is Hawaiian bread. While the number of options available for tortilla choices may be limited in Hawaii, the options available for Hawaiian bread are close to limitless. Religious differences will similarly affect consumption (Hoyer, 2002).

During the observance of Lent, the several religious communities will refrain from eating red meat on Fridays. Fish, however, can be eaten on Fridays. Grocers across America prepare for this period by having ample supplies of seafood available. Additionally, they are able to offer special deals on other foods that do not include red meat, for the sake of adding variety to Fishy Fridays, and at the same time, getting items off the shelves. Regional, ethnic and religious differences are all important aspects to consider when studying consumer behavior.

Not researching the needs of folks on a local basis, for example, can hinder sales. Likewise, not catering to the needs of certain ethnic groups can send their business out the door. If a retailer has the know-how enough to recognize cultural needs in relation to consumer behavior, success will be granted. References: 1. Regional, Ethnic and Religious Influences on Cultural Behavior. (2002) Houghton Mifflin: Hoyer, W. & MacInnis, D. March 2007. www. college. hmco. com/business/hoyer/consumer/3e/students/previews/ch13. html

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