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Consumer Culture of Low-Income Consumers

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Literature

Paper focus on low-income consumers whose economic resources results in them being unable to obtain the goods and services needed for an ‘‘sufficient’’ and ‘‘socially acceptable’’ standard of income (Darley and Johnson, 1985, p. 206); in other words, consumers experiencing relative poverty and relative deficiency (Townsend, 1987) in consumer culture.

In today’s consumer culture, as the standard of living rises, the gap between a survival income and a social enclosure income will continue to enlarge (Bowring, 2000). While economic escalation and consumer culture has raised the standard of living for many, there are also concerns that income gaps between the rich and the poor have widened and variation is deepening. It has been recognized that those living on a low income face consumer disadvantage in the market place (Andreasen, 1975) encountering different exchange restrictions and negative results (Hill and Stephens, 1997).

It is being unable to obtain the goods and services needed for a socially suitable standard of living (Darley and Johnson, 1985) according to low-income consumers encounter different other market place limitation. imperfect product openness can be a problem.

Smaller variety have been partly endorsed to access difficulties in both the food retailing industry (Cummins and Macintyre, 1999) .

Equally, low-income consumers often have to be enough with lower quality goods and services, for example, they may have no choice but to pay for second-hand goods, an option that is almost always viewed as second best (Williams and Windebank, 2001). Moreover, since the publication of The Poor Pay More , it has generally been accepted that they suffer price bias in the market place (Chung and Myers, 1999).

For low-income customers, such social behavior are often beyond reach as a large percentage of their money is tied up with basics such as food and rent (Alwitt and Donley, 1996). This leads to a generality of life’s experiences .

Low-income consumers may practice more difficultly in forming helpful relationships outside the instant household (Daly and Leonard, 2002) due to limited opportunities for socializing

In the case of low income they lose opportunity to take benefit of ‘‘what life has to offer’’ and are cut from what passes as a ‘‘happy life’’ (Bauman, 2005, p. 38).

Low income consumers are often unemployed because they have not power of purchasing comfortable goods. Which can satisfy their demands m (Alwitt and Donley, 1996).

These could include individualized payment plans that allow consumers control of their own budgeting strategy or credit opportunities that are specifically adapted to the needs of low-income consumers (Himlton 2004).

This is not amazing that as these consumers are often considered as a group with different aspiration who are losing and risky, and not good for market-related research ( Hamilton and Catterall, 2005).

People spend more part of their income for their basic necessities , life style is not consider. The incomes that households actually receive play a significant role in determining their consumption (Tregarthen and Ritternberg, 2000) such that low-income consumers consume less fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fruit juices, low-fat milk, whole meal bread and fish compare to more economically advantaged consumers (Anderson and Morris, 2000).

Low-income consumers can be defined as individuals whose financial resources or income results in them being unable to obtain the goods and services needed for an “adequate” and “socially acceptable” standard of living (Darley and Johnson, 1985 cited in Hamilton and Catterall, 2005).

HILL and ADRANG studied on global poverty of the united nations contened that the poor are individual and families are some what rich.

Lifestyle characteristics of the low-income consumer The incomes that households actually receive play a significant role in determining their consumption (Tregarthen and Ritternberg, 2000).

To rely on making incursions into other budgetary allocations and postpone other essentials, such that they decide on which item of necessity is less necessary (Matza and Miller, 1976).

Most buying decisions for relatively low-priced products that have close substitutes would be low-involvement. A more detailed view of low-involvement products is proposed by Semenik and Bamossy (1995).

It has been suggested that ‘‘An individual is socially excluded if (a) he or she is geographically resident in a society and (b) he or she does not participate in the normal activities of citizens in that society’’ (Burchardt , 1999, p. 230).

The aim of this paper is twofold. First, social policy studies surrounding social exclusion in terms of separation from mainstream society have focused on employment, often neglecting theorizing about the specific forms of social exclusion that can be associated with consumerism (Williams and Windebank, 2002; Hohnen,2007).

Positive discourse heralds the benefits of a consumer society suggesting that choice can be seen as ‘‘the consumer’s friend’’ (Gabriel and Lang, 2006, p. 1)

Marketing techniques are often critiqued for creating a strong social pressure to consume, leading to feelings of exclusion and shame for those consumers who cannot make their desires a reality (Bowring, 2000).

Fullerton and Punj (1997) also suggest that as well as stimulating legitimate consumption behavior, the consumer culture can stimulate consumer misbehavior. Previous research suggests that the poor may be particularly prone to consumer misbehavior as their financial resources may not be sufficient to satisfy desires.

Equally, low-income consumers often have to suffice with lower quality goods and services, for example, they may have no choice but to purchase second-hand goods, an option that is almost always viewed as second best (Williams and Winde bank, 2001).

The British Social Attitudes Report (National Centre for Social Research, 2008) highlights that a rising number of people place the blame for poverty on the poor themselves; some 27 per cent think that poverty is due to ‘‘laziness or lack of willpower’’, up from 19 per cent in 1984.

References

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  • National Centre for Social Research (2008), British Social Attitudes, The 24th Report, Sage, London.

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