Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Consumer Life Styles and Market Segmentation in Chile

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Consumer Life Styles and Market Segmentation in Chile

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This paper presents the results of lifestyle and ethnocentrism analysis, which has been used to understand the market segmentation in the Chilean consumer market. A sample of 602 consumers from Chile, a Latin American country with a very dynamic economy, is studied. Descriptive and inferential statistics are used to analyze the data that was collected in three cities. Using the VALS theoretical framework, the data is analyzed to determine the specific lifestyles and market segments that exist in Chile. An exploratory research design is used to understand the issues relating to how lifestyles, VALS and ethnocentrism have an impact on market segmentation. The degree of ethnocentrism varies with respondents demographics. Factor analysis of the data indicates that nine major lifestyles exist among the consumers in our data set. Further analysis indicates that six major clusters are present that can be used to study the market segments associated with these consumer types.

INTRODUCTION

Selecting a marketing strategy wisely requires an accurate understanding of consumer behavior and market segments. Those living in Latin America, benefits from a dynamic consumer economy. Because this region of the world has young populations and large households, the promise of future economic growth is great. However, the fabric of the culture and the buying patterns of its members are in constant change. As a consumer group, the family or household resembles any other group with problems to solve and decisions to make (Lindquist and Sirgy 2003). The globalization of markets in Latin America over the last two decades has forced marketers to analyze consumer behavior from a variety of different perspectives. Since there is a demand for consumer products in virtually all countries of the world, planning a global or an international marketing strategy requires a firm to consider how local customers and their attitudes will affect consumer behavior.

In different cultures and under various conditions, products are used in different ways to meet differing buyer needs. Thus, international marketers must analyze these differences and decide the merits of standardizing or adapting their products for foreign markets. Adapting products is costly but adjustments may need to be made because the product is used to meet different buyer needs or because specific attributes of a product have no value or meaning in foreign markets. When a firm has limited resources or limited goals for foreign sales, it may choose to standardize its products even if demand for them will be limited. Conversely, a firm may be forced to adapt products to meet demands, relations or conditions of use to achieve successful foreign market penetration (Engel, Blackwell and Kollat 1978, p. 325).

Analysis also indicates that consumers have a specific learning style that uses systematic and careful market search, observation, and knowledge. The learning styles of novelty and fashion-conscious consumers are similar to those who are perfectionists, with the exception that the novelty-conscious consumer is likely to be a passive learner (Sproles 1990). Characteristics of decision-making techniques can be useful in profiling an individual consumer style while targeting a select consumer group for marketing plan development.

The significance of knowing consumer behavior characteristics is not limited to the United States. International marketers share an equal interest in learning about the structure of consumer behavior that exists in the various countries of the world.

This paper reports the results of an analysis of lifestyles, market segmentation and their relationship to ethnocentrism. The study investigated a large sample of consumers from Chile, in South America. The first two sections of this paper provide an overview of the consumer behavior, lifestyles, ethnocentrism issues that comprise the research questions. Additional information is presented about the major geographic and demographic dimensions of the Republic of Chile. …

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