Cultural factors can exert the deepest influence on consumer purchase behavior. These factors are a complex set of values, ideas, attitudes, and other meaningful symbols that shape human behavior and are transmitted from one generation to another. The roles, goals, perceptions, consumption patterns, and consumption aspirations of a society reflect the impact of culture on individuals and groups and subsequently on their buying behavior. To illustrate, the Whirlpool Corporation in order to increase its market share hired an anthropologist to gain insight into consumers' often unexpressed needs. 1 One of the findings was that, in busy families, women were not the only ones doing the laundry. As a result color-coded washer and dryer controls were developed to make it easier for men and even children to operate the appliances.
There were many knowledgeable people who predicted that the great wave of immigrants of 100 years ago would never be assimilated and adapt to the culture of the United States. Now there are similar predictions about the Hispanic groups. These predictions will be proven wrong. Almost one in five children born in the United States today is of Latin American descent. Nearly 35 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population is under the age of eighteen.
Social stratification takes the form of social class whose members share similar values, interests, and buyer behavior patterns. Social class is as important a concept in understanding black buyer behav-