In a capitalist society, we all buy things. We must buy things like food and clothing in order to survive, and most people also choose to buy other, less necessary items to improve their quality of life. Whenever someone buys anything, be it a stick of gum or a new car, a series of factors help lead to that decision.
Cultural factors include shared values that inherently affect large groups of people. When it comes to consumer behaviour, the culture at large influences what a person values as being important and worth buying. An individual is further influenced by the subculture to which she belongs (this includes ethnic communities and religious groups) as well as her socio-economic class.
These factors differ from individual to individual. The basic psychological factors that influence spending habits are motivation (how urgent it is to any individual to meet his own needs), perception (how the person organises what he sees in the world), learning (how the person's own experiences affect his spending) and beliefs and attitudes toward any given product.
Social factors differ from cultural factors in that they involve smaller groups that affect an individual's values and outlook when it comes to consumer behaviour. A person's buying is affected by many small groups that she interacts with in life. These groups include family, friends, workmates and neighbours. The person's role and status within these groups also affects the way that she spends.
The details of an individual's life greatly affect the way he spends money. The personal factors that most commonly affect consumer behaviour include a person's age, occupation, economic situation, lifestyle and personality.
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