Television Viewing and Consumer Behavior: The Effect of Personality Traits and Demographic Variables on Children's Consumer Socialization

Article excerpt

Abstract

The central purpose of this study was to find out the relationship between television viewing habits of children and their consumer behavior, however this study also focuses on possible factors influencing television viewing. A total of 50 questionnaires were distributed to school going children between the ages of 10-12, personality measurements were taken through a semantic test. The aspects of children's consumer socialization included in this study are how much television children watch, what they watch and their purchasing behavior. The children's gender and family income are considered as influences on their television viewing and consumer socialization. Results of the study indicated that family income and personality traits had a significant effect on the Childs consumer socialization; it also identified relationship between other demographic factors and consumer socialization. Shown by a p value in the chi-square table as p<0.1. This research was originally conducted in Malaysia and it will be interesting to see its results in Pakistan, secondly with the growing influence of television viewing in our everyday lives and also the identification of children as a vital part of the consumer population this study carries importance both in the field of psychology and marketing.

Keywords:

Television Viewing, Consumer Behavior, Personality Traits, Age, Family Income, Consumers Socialization

Introduction and background

Television was invented for the sharing of information and for entertainment. Usually all member of a family watch television, however viewers that are most affected by it are children or youth. The importance of children as consumers is now acknowledged. In the US child consumers are not simply a market of 37 million potential young buyers. Globally this market is exceptional because they are considered to influence three marketplaces. Firstly young consumers are a primary market, they have their own money to spend on whatever they desire and they may also be asked to do shopping for the family. Secondly, they are a market influencer; they can directly and indirectly influence the shopping habits of others, including their parents. Thirdly, they are a future market who will themselves become consumers of all products and services in years to come. The unique market position of the young consumer has meant that increasingly large budgets are being committed by marketing departments to reach and influence children. However, marketers need to continually rethink their strategies and assumptions, and make cost efficiency their priority. This means that marketers need strategies that target this young sector that are similar to those used for adults.

As the purchasing power of exhibits continuous growth, marketers, manufacturers and advertisers have become increasingly interested in devising effective methods of reaching young people's market. Achieving this aim requires a full understanding of children as consumers: what they believe, what they want and how they behave. McNeil and Ji (1999) determined that television is the most important source of new product information for children and this importance increases significantly as they get older (in comparison with other mass media - radio, magazines, newspapers and outdoor ads). They posited that through television advertising children learn about new brands and products, how to use the products and who uses them. Children develop knowledge and opinions about the products and show preferences. As children grow up they get involved in decisions related to purchase of products and services. They may observe, request and select goods with permission while accompanying their parents, shopping as well as making independent visits to shops themselves. Effective decision making requires having in placed the necessary skills to make judgments about different aspects of consumerism. These skills are acquired through a process called consumer socialization. …