January 12, 2015
The psychological and social factors that come into play when a consumer makes a purchase are vast and varied. There are many things that can influence us when we make a purchase. Things like the time of day, our financial standings or cultural background are some of the many factors. As a consumer goes through purchasing process then will take everything into account before and after buy a product. The product that will be discussed in this paper will be video gaming systems.
The first factor discussed will be reference groups. Reference groups are defined as groups of people that serve as frames of reference for individuals in their consumption decisions before they are received as credible sources (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2010). The most influential reference group is the consumer’s immediate family. This reference group influences things like what type of food to eat, personal hygiene and things like morals and values. These things will play a factor in any decision a consumer makes. With that being said they most definitely play a part in the purchase of a video gaming system. If the consumer grows up and the household can’t afford or isn’t allowed to have video games systems they the consumer will never develop a need or want for them. If a consumer grows up enjoying video games and the interaction involved with it they will want to buy one when they have the chance to do so.
Other reference groups include the comparative reference group. A comparative reference group is a benchmark for specific or narrowly defined attitudes or behaviors (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2010). This could be a friend or person the consumer knows that has something the consumer wants. The comparative reference group is people who the consumer wants to be like. They may be in the same social class or most likely be in a high class then the consumer. They create a want for the consumer to be like them and into become a factor in the purchase decision-making process.
The last group discussed will be the symbolic group. Symbolic groups are groups that in which an individual is not likely to receive membership despite action like a member by adopting the group’s values attitudes and behaviors (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2010). Just because a person enjoys playing video games and would like to do so for a living the chance of them getting in the Major League Gaming series are impractical and unachievable.
Another factor in purchases is culture. Culture influences everything about a consumer in one-way or another so why would it not affect a purchase? Culture, as defined by Dictionary.com, is the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc. If the culture a consumer is raised in or part of does not include video games in any of the categories previously listed then the consumer is less likely to stray from the culture and buy a video game system. Some cultures despise video games and some adore it. Take the Japanese for example. With the very beginning of the video game boom coming from Japan with the release of Space Invaders in 1978 video games are a widely accepted part of Japanese culture. There have even been news articles that covered the marriage of couples using their online personas versus a normal wedding. Or even more serious would be the online funerals for when a member of an online gaming community passes away in real life. With the debate of video games and if they are affecting the world’s culture in a good or bad way it’s easy to say they have in fact affected it. Video gaming is a culture within itself. Take cosplay for example. With major gaming conventions like E3 or Penny Arcade it has brought a whole new culture to light. Cosplay is the art of wearing costumes and living out one’s fantasies or