Consumption Behavior and Attitudes of Members of the University Community
Consumption Behavior and Attitudes of Members of the University Community
Social, ethical, and environmental concerns undoubtedly affect the consumer behavior and attitudes. The university community is comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds. For this reason, it is highly probable that manifestations of different consumption behaviors and attitudes would be observed in this community. Moreover, whereas these typical consumption patterns among some consumers may have been influenced by their current surroundings, their social, ethnic, and environmental beliefs would still be noticeable, albeit to a certain extent. In this essay, the data that was obtained after conducting community survey will be analyzed to report about the discussion of the associations/disassociations between consumption and the social, ethnic, and environmental concerns held by the members of the university community.
The first survey question concerned the respondents’ primary mode of shopping. The vast majority of the respondents indicate that they prefer shopping in person, whereas the second largest proportion would rather combine shopping in person with shopping online. The second variant was preferable to only 6.0% of the subjects with the smallest proportion (0.0%) that chose other options. The next question regarded the frequency with which the respondents purchase something whenever they go shopping. The highest proportion buys some items rather rarely, implying that a significant number of them would go o on a shopping spree not necessarily to purchase, but to monitor what is available on the market. Regarding the subjects’ store preferences, the smallest proportion of the people who took part in the survey (30%) chose luxury store as their preference. This implies that most of the respondents would not feel comfortable purchasing from stores that emphasize luxury as opposed to other aspects, such as pricing, for instance.70% of the community would prefer high-quality fashion stores, whereas a similar proportion would rather opt for relatively cheap fashion stores. The first group pays a lot of attention to the quality of the products they purchase, while the second one is more concerned about the cost and fashion. The last group would choose the typical products, meaning that they do not pay too much attention to the fashion trends. The second question asked about the paramount concerns the buyers may have when purchasing clothes. Regarding the price, it emerged that a small proportion of people (10%) regarded price as the greatest issue of concern, whereas 30% felt that price was the second issue for consideration. 20% felt that price is the least important part in their list for consideration. The highest percentage of the subjects (50%) ranked style as their first issue of concern. It is worth noting as it seems that most of those participants of the survey have a strong attachment to style. Another peculiar feature is the fact that the consumers do not pay close attention to the brand names as only 20% ranked it as the second issue of concern and 10% as their key issue for consideration. Regarding the product quality, 20% of the subjects classified this factor as their first, second, and third issue of consideration equally. However, it must be noted that the response to this question contradicted with the label information the respondents checked when purchasing. A vast number of them (46.2%) indicated that they are mostly interested in the clothing material. This implies that for the most of people, quality does not revolve around the clothing material. In the case of environmentally friendly products, 10% considered this factor as first, second, and last in importance. A small percentage of the subjects considered fair trade as their most important issue, whereas an equally small proportion considered fair labor practices as a low level issue for consideration.
Almost all subjects pay much attention to the fashion of the clothes (70% + 70%). Thus, it would not come as a surprise if they do not mind paying more to get this aspect, and this could be the reason why most of the subjects do not consider price as an issue for serious consideration. It can be understood that this proportion of subjects grew up in a set-up that highly regards fashion instead of prices when purchasing clothes. Luxury stores attracted only 30% of the subjects. Relating this to the price aspect, an equally smaller proportion considered price as an issue for consideration. This implies that this group would not have a problem paying more money for a product if it will grant them the status or social standing they are looking for. In fact, this connected with the social upbringing of an individual, as these are mostly consumers hailing from higher social classes.
Nonetheless, it cannot be ignored that a considerable proportion (40%) minds the pricing and not the fashion when purchasing (in the first question). This could be an issue of the social upbringing, whereby an individual is either financially incapable of spending so much on clothes and/or would not refuse more money simply because of fashion. The consumers do not care much about the brand names. However, with only a small proportion considers it as an issue for consideration, it can be derived that people pay attention to the rest of the factors. This relates to the small number of the subjects that chose luxury stores, as this is the group that would mostly consider the brand name. Again, this is an issue of social standing and the relevant belief that certain brands signify certain statuses.
It is interesting to note that only 20% regard the product quality as an issue for consideration. This relates to the fact that most of the people had fashion and style as their top-most concerns, which can be explained from the perspective of this group disassociating quality and social class and instead, perceiving fashion and style as a symbol of the social status. Style is taken into account by the biggest number of the respondents when purchasing. This can be examined from both social and ethnic perspectives. Some ethnic groups have strong preference for certain styles and also, depending on the social set-up in which an individual was brought up, he or she may strongly prefer one style over another one.
Remarkably, only 10% consider environmental friendliness of the products when purchasing. This demonstrates that the society has yet to fully embrace environmental protection or that the largest proportion of the subjects comes from societies that are not much aware of the environment. This also has an ethnic perspective since there are some ethnic groups, although probably a very small proportion that embrace environmental protection. It is highly probable for those communities that reap a lot of benefits from their environment or interact closely with it. Considering that most people, especially the younger population, have moved to the urban areas, it is expected that most of the subjects do not value the product’s environmental friendliness.
It is also worth mentioning that fair trade and fair labor practices do not receive much attention when purchasing. This is interesting, because one would think that society is moving towards supporting protection of workers’ welfare and trade activities that do not exploit some players. It appears from the survey that these concerns are only relevant to workers themselves, but not to the consumers. More specifically, it can be understood that the consumers are more interested in the product they receive and not in those who have worked on it before it reaches them. This is closely related to the environmental issue, as most of the consumers do not bother about the environmental impact of the product when purchasing it.
The last part of the survey was connected with the mode of shopping. It appears that the society still embraces shopping in person despite other modes that appear constantly, although this proportion seems to be diminishing. The preference can be related to the aforementioned issues of style and fashion as highly regarded. In particular, these are the aspects that one would be able to determine best if he/she shops in person so as to compare the different products in the market. This is a comparison between such aspects as pricing and designer label that would not require one to present himself/herself in order to verify his choice. However, online retail outlets are making efforts aimed at ensuring that consumers get a huge variety to choose from, and that they only pay for a product once they are comfortable with it. This could then explain the movement towards embracing online shopping as represented by the fact that 30% combine online shopping and shopping in person.
Nevertheless, it cannot be dismissed that some social and ethnic groups are still skeptical about online shopping. It should be emphasized that the 10% that chose other options could be those that hold to social and ethnic beliefs, such as mothers should shop for the rest of the family or even make their clothes. Once they are done with an item, most of the respondents donate it. This could explain why there have been heated debates over the increased dumping of second-hand products from developed to developing countries. Finally, on sustainable consumption, most of the respondents only regard it as “important” (and not “very important”), whereas the second largest proportion consider it to be “neutral”. This only shows that sustainable consumption is yet to be fully embraced by consumers.
In conclusion, the survey revealed important information regarding the manner in which consumption relates with social, ethnic, and environmental concerns. Issues related to a consumer’s social standing could be derived as influencing his consumption behavior, while social beliefs also appeared to play a critical role in purchasing. Most of those surveyed reported considering style as their greatest issue, whereas a smaller proportion have price in mind when buying. Such a trend points to a social or ethnic issue that leads people to prefer one style or another and not the pricing itself. It was also noted that people have still to embrace environmental protection in their consumption behavior, and this can be said to reflect the societal position on the same issue. The same technique applies to the issues of fair trade and fair labor practices as the society does not pay much attention to them.