Culture and consumer behaviour

When we consider the term "culture" it carries a great deal of weight and background. We feel it but find it very hard to explain but it influences our behavior. Hence culture is an excellent starting point to comprehend how people behave and exactly how people are expected to react. If we look from viewpoint of marketers, for them to develop an effective online marketing strategy they must have a acoustics idea on what drives their target market and in this situation culture plays dominant role. So, it is worthwhile to get a knowledge of the fundamental culture and the cultural values. This study looks into what culture and cultural value are, how product demand or consumption is damaged by the culture (particularly in context of Sri Lanka) as well as how culture should be evaluated when developing a online marketing strategy.

I see Culture as a combo of ideals and norms which influence the behavior of people which includes the distinct top features of the particular religions and history of that particular society, community or sub group.

According to Shiffman, Kanuk, and Kumar (2010) the culture is thought as the sum total of learned beliefs, values, and customs that serve to direct the consumer behavior of associates of a specific society. Accordingly, values refers to gathered feelings and priorities that folks have about things, whereas worth differ from values because they're relatively few in number, they serve as helpful information for culturally appropriate behavior, they are long lasting or difficult to change, they are linked with specific objects or situations and they're generally accepted by the participants of the culture. And finally Customs identifies overt modes of habit that constitutes culturally approved or acceptable ways of behaving in specific situations.

The importance of culture is considered so special because it links back to you people and their value systems.

Having an understanding on the areas of culture, I'd have to state that culture moulds visitors to what they become and deciding on what they need and exactly how they respond in a social context. Before moving on to the heart of the study it is worth while to acquire an understanding of the Sri Lankan culture and values and what has molded them over time.

Culture in Sri Lanka.

Current cultural diversity in Sri Lanka is owed to its abundant record. The Yaksha and Naga tribes Civilized before 300 B. C. using agriculture and irrigation, Nourished from the Buddhism in early 2nd Century B. C. and also inspired by Indian invasions and going through Portuguese, Dutch and English rule, Sri Lankan culture is diverse like it's natural history.

In the early 19th century, the English rule launched democracy, modern education, legal and commercial agriculture system. Now Sri Lnaka is a reflection of it's own ancient and modern cultures which is diverse from it's cities to significantly villages over the very small island.

Sinhalese and Tamil will be the most generally spoken languages in Sri Lanka, with around 74% of population can speak in Sinhalese, while more than 18% can speak Tamil. Muslims also speaks Tamil as their main terms. The colonization began with the Dutch accompanied by the Portuguese and lastly long standing ruling by the Uk had an impact on the dialects, as well as beginning the history to the international trade. In addition to Sinhalese and Tamil, British is also employed by the Sri Lankan populace which was focused to urban areas are now expanding to rural areas with the more prominence to English given in the training system. English is often used for commercial and public purposes.

Sri Lanka with a multi-religious and a multi-ethnic country where Buddhists accounts for roughly 69. 1% of the population, followed by the Hindus with around 7. 1% of the population. Also inherited from India, Hinduism too has an extended and rich record in the united states. Most Hindus are Tamils and they account for many in North Sri Lanka, as well as in the Eastern, Western and Central regions of the united states.

Islamic community makes up about around 7. 6% with a majority domiciled in the Eastern and European regions; as well as around 6. 2% followers of Christianity. Having a healthy 92% literacy rate where 83% of the population having extra education and ranking Sri Lanka at the top among developing nations. The complex cultural and religious mix of Sri Lankan world and also customs and rules from colonization have given climb to a highly complex combination of lawful restrictions which include Roman-Dutch Regulation, English common legislation, , Kandyan, and Jaffna Tamil legislation (Thesawalamai Rules).

Sri Lanka is a country abundant with culture and cultural variety. Its people live their daily lives very near to their religious beliefs and their families. Hence, whatever the merchandise that a marketers are confronted of promoting, they have to consider the Sri Lankan culture and social values to be a major influencing factor to the success of the product.

. Cultural beliefs.

Ssocieties have principles that are distributed by its customers. The ideals emphasis those items, conditions that those customers consider important. Worth will be more related to the norms of a culture, nonetheless they are available to become more abstract than norms. For instance boosting of the nationwide flag during nationally significant occasion or any occasion or even in the case of a marriage is a norm, while it also shows the worthiness of patriotism. Recently patriotism has used a new wing particularly with successful war and now they have extend to trading and commercial world with theme "Buy Ours" (Ganna Ape De). Therefore this new trend has major bearing on consumer behaviour. Dressing with white or dark clothing and appearing solemn are normal manners at a funeral plus they reflect the worth of admiration and support of friends and family. Different cultures echo different ideals.

Why is cultural values so important? The social values of a community give it a distinctive identity of its own. Folks are the driving push of this uniqueness. Culture is shared on the list of people locally. Culture is passed down from one generation to the other. It web links people of an area or society together. The customs and practices the population follow, the clothing they wear, the festivals, the meals they eat, and importantly, the cultural principles they follow, binds them.

Product Evaluation of products and services and how Sri Lankan social values have an effect on their ingestion.

First we will receive a brief understanding of Sri Lanka as a Customer. Following information has been extracted from the Annual Report of the Central bank of Sri Lanka 2009. The population statistics can be summarized as follows,

Mid-year populace ('000) in '09 2009 : 20, 450

Age distribution ('000) 2009

0 - 14 yrs : 5, 378

15 - 64 yrs : 13, 784

65 years and over : 1, 288

Also the Per Capita income is hovering around USD 2, 400 and it is expected to double corresponding to the GDP development by 2016.

Having an understanding of what culture is, what ethnic prices and the Sri Lankan culture we will now examine how those aspects have influenced the consumption of several products and something in the Sri Lankan market.

Herbal Soaps:

Sri Lankan culture is very much related to the nature. All most all the areas of the Sri Lankan culture are linked with the wonders of the type. Ayurvedic medicine is procedure unique to Sri Lanka and everything Sri Lankans (particularly Sinhalese) know and have trust on its therapeutic capabilities. We did not see natural soaps on the market at the start, until few local companies saw the opportunity in natural products. Then we noticed even foreign brands like Lux and Lifebuoy taking up the herbal path since the herbal soaps prove to be profitable and catch the attention of the prospective market portion. Generally Sri Lankans value old things. Ayurvedic drugs has been practiced in Sri Lanka for a large number of years and people still trust it and beliefs it. This has been utilized by various marketers and today we can almost get anything in its organic format.

Child dairy powder:

The bond between the mom and her child is valued and respected in almost in any civilized culture. When considering the modern time the state of that connection in Sri Lanka and South Asian countries is better than in many countries. The connection between your child and the mom is made mainly through the nurturing facet of that relationship. Within the Sri Lankan context it is assumed that there in little or nothing more vital to child than the love and ambiance of a mother and mothers dairy. Breasts feeding is fading away in many European countries, but in Sri Lanka it still contains strong. Sri Lankan mother generally breast nourish their children for at least one and half years. On this context child dairy powders have a massive challenge since it is widely believed that there surely is no alternative to breast dairy. Hence, the actual marketers procedure has gone to place the merchandise as a supplementary which provides the nourishment and security from deceases. If it were to come as a replacement the product wouldn't have survived for long. This situation also facilitated with the upsurge in working ladies in Sri Lanka but culturally Sri Lankan women are mainly likely to be housewives also to take care the kids.


Sri Lanka has been using cars because the period in which British were in vitality. First automobiles seen on the Sri Lankan streets were European made. However now we can see automobiles from India, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan and so on so fourth and also the assembly of vehicles was commenced in the recent past. At first also Western vehicles were used by the higher end of the world and it is as it is and today also Western vehicles are motivated by upper school people in the country. Those vehicles are charged higher and can be afforded by only those people. But when the Japanese entered the market, they developed economical vehicles that can be afforded by the middle category people as well. There may be strong belief among the list of Sri Lankans still that if one would like to buy a good vehicle with quality, petrol economical consumption, sturdiness and moderately charged they would first choose the Japanese vehicles among other countries made vehicles. This attitude is proven by the high prices in the second side market for Japanese vehicles. Western european vehicles are relatively less appreciated in the next side market. Hence the demand for Japanese vehicle is geared by that values on the list of Sri Lankan people that a Japanese vehicle is economical and gives affordability. We almost never see advertising to market Japanese vehicles however the demand will there be. But we have recently seen Indian brands promoting their vehicle to be the most inexpensive but nonetheless we cannot see the demand for Japanese vehicles going down. Indian vehicles are more or less treated like inferior goods.

Pain relief balms:

Sri Lanka having a rich heritage in Ayurvedic treatments, people were used to making use of Ayurvedhic natural oils and pastes with their every day bruises. The formulas and formulas have been passed down through generations plus some recipes are home known facts. During the last ten years or two we observed the market bombarded with various balms to be used for bruises also to relive pain. Wintegino a famous UK brand can be highlighted for usage among the list of people and today sprays (other than balm) with the same result is seen in the market. However, it is an acknowledged fact that Siddhalepa something which includes its root base in the Ayurvedic medicine tops all such balms and oils in the market by sales, and it has been doing this for many years. The secret of the success is the faith that Sri Lankan people have on Ayurvedic medication which the results have being proven over centuries. People still gets the faith (values) that Ayurveda is the safest way of medication with reduced or almost no side effects. Siddhalepa is proven product with real Ayurvedic essence. Unless it is usually to be used in quick and convenient manner (in a sport event to be cared for to injured players, where most likely a spray would be used) Ayurvedic balms are preferred by Sri Lankans where the demand is immediately linked to cultural beliefs and abundant heritage.

Banking services:

Sri Lankan banking sector was dominated by express owned loan provider till the 1980s. But when we really consider the facts we can still say that the truth is same now also.

The middle aged Sri Lankans seldom go and deposit their profit a private banks or finance institutions, because they still have the perception and frame of mind that their money is more secure with circumstances owned bank or investment company than with a privately managed organization. They cannot be blamed of considering like that taking into consideration the recent crisis in the financial institutions in the country. It was the state owned banking companies that stood extra tall under the neighborhood as well as the global monetary crisis. Hence, the majority of the people have perception or beliefs that no matter what crisis encounter the federal government would pay their cash back. Hence, their state owned banks Loan company of Ceylon (BOC) and Peoples Bank or investment company (PB) uses their advantages as pioneers to draw people towards them and the primary fact that they emphasis is the "TRUST" aspect. This trust has being built in to the understanding of most the Sri Lankans and BOC and PB are noticed within the Sri Lankan culture. The bankers on the other hands have identified the changing environment and have developed marketing ways of capture the modern Sri Lankans also. They are providing nearly every financial service as and private loan provider and as the finance institutions move down the ethnical levels they attended up with more customized financial services to suit the customer needs. The demand for the state of hawaii owned lenders is geared by the cultural beliefs and should be expected to be there through the ages to come.

Analysis how cultural values are essential for marketing proper decisions

Cultural value must be considered in marketing and developing marketing strategies as they have got a significant impact on the purchasing behavior of the consumers. When does indeed culture or ethnic values affect consumer purchasing decisions? That is a intricate and under-examined issue. Culture-based differences arrive when information is prepared in a cursory and spontaneous manner. So when you passed a roadside billboard, you will likely to be affected by advertising that appealed to your unique culture.

When creating a marketing strategy for a product, it's important to understand the amount of the culture of the market since behavior at different levels of the culture varies. Discussing the marketing context, the four degrees of culture cared for in the books serves as a follows (Article by Dr. Katharina J. Srnka on Culture's Role in Marketers' Moral Decision Making: A BUILT-IN Theoretical Platform)

Supraculture is shared by nations with similar economical systems and development, ethnicity, religion, etc.

Macroculture is shared by people of the same nationality, source or country of residence

Mesoculture is distributed by organizations or areas, e. g. , a specialist group or industry, inside a macroculture

Microculture is shared by smallest sociable collectivities, e. g. , the business, family or clan

Figure 1

Four Levels of Culture Based on a Marketing Perspective

Source: Article by Dr. Katharina J. Srnka on Culture's Role in Marketers' Honest Decision Making: A Theoretical Framework

As we move down the cultural levels the procedure of the internet marketer needs to be custom-made to the target market, because when we move down the quantity of people in that level boils down as well as the details of their tastes increases.

It is extremely hard to assess the impact of your consumer's respective cultural record on marketing strategies generally, because the precise elements of the marketing- mixture, i. e. , 1. product, 2. place, 3. price and 4. promotion strategies, are more or less damaged by culture.

Pricing, which is the first component of the marketing- combination, identifies decisions about the genuine product price the consumer must pay and considers development costs, as well as the consumer's willingness to pay, which might especially be influenced by his or her cultural track record. The determination to pay represents the valuation of products. Since consumers learned during the process of which products they need to approve of and which they shouldn't, the culture affects the understanding of certain products as well as the determination to pay. On the other hand, decisions concerning pricing connect to the economic development of a country. Hence, social background might provide as a determinant of the prospective market and costing mechanism.

In the context of distribution insurance plan (place), culture might also make a difference to identify between several aim for marketplaces, even if the characteristics of the culture do not have a direct impact on decisions related to product distribution. Nonetheless, different civilizations need to be considered when distributing products because consumers from different cultures have different buying practices in conditions of preferring hypermarkets, supermarkets or peasant market segments. For instance, in Sri Lanka liquor is prohibited to be sold near any religious place because of the strong religious following in Sri Lanka. The choices for different retail platforms might partly be due to the monetary development of the individual ethnical area. Thus, cultural background needs to be considered when distributing products, however the differences between civilizations that are appealing for decisions on syndication insurance policy are observable, rendering it easier to examine these distinctions in product circulation.

The third component of the marketing- mixture, product development, is a lot more damaged by the buyer s' cultural history. As the consequences product qualities are perceived to bring about and the beliefs that ought to be satisfied differ based on the consumer s' social background, culture has to be considered in the introduction of products. Otherwise, products aren't in accordance with what the consumers expect the products to be. Moreover, products which can be preferred using use situations such as religious ceremonies differ because of culture. As an example, the PIZZA HUT had pizzas crafted from all meats particularly chicken, beef, pork and mutton. However, Muslims scheduled to spiritual preaching do not eat pork and also do not turn up in places where pork is served. Appropriately, PIZAA HUT has now stopped offering pizza crafted from pork and received certification from All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama Committee.

The fourth element of the marketing- blend is the development of communication strategies (promotion) which broadly involves Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) tools such as advertising, campaign, personal selling, direct marketing xxxxx. If a company wishes to speak that its product is specially appropriate to certain use situations, it is not reasonable to only watch consumption patterns, additionally it is necessary to become familiar with the reasons for culture - specific intake habits. Hence, to be able to influence consumers of the appropriateness of certain products, it is of major importance to know why consumers like some products over others. Usually, IMC strategy must consider distinctions in languages (e. g. the translation of adages and different meanings of words in the same dialect, but different ethnicities), variations in infrastructure (e. g. diffusion of tv and the worldwide web) and legal guidelines (e. g. comparative advertising). Variations in culture and their impact on the development of communication strategies is our main interest. The interdependency between culture - specific buying motives and the introduction of communication strategies is due to the main elements of culture (1. icons, 2. heroes, 3. rituals, 4. ideals). These culture - specific elements often are used in several elements of the communication strategy all together. For example, direct marketing probably is damaged by culture, because culture influences people's personality and therefore has an effect on different manners, such as the design of greeting and the social distance held. As advertising performs a significant role in a company's communication strategy which is affected by all sorts of ethnical elements, advertising especially must consider mix - cultural distinctions. Including the "Avenger" men's perfume advertising included that after making use of the perfume the individual came out for the advert become violent or very psychological with young ladies. However, this promotional strategy had not been successful as it was not culturally acceptable. Also the recent advert on Provado, an agro chemical substance produced by Heyleys Agro Products Limited, has an advertisement that famous musician Mr Sunil Perera came out had double meaning phrases and there have been many claims against from all levels related agriculture industry and therefore the certain parts were edited and the new version is most likely acceptable.


If a online marketing strategy can influence the behavior of a possible client in manner which makes potential customer in to a actual customer (makes him buy) the marketing strategy can be judged to be always a success. To achieve that effectively it is required to understand what makes people act in the way they certainly. Especially their buying behaviour. Many reports have proven the behavior of one is mainly affected by that folks culture and the ethnical values see your face holds dear. Corresponding to this research it is clear that the demand for some identified products are created by the impact of ethnical aspects pertaining to Sri Lankan culture. Further it can be stated that a successful online marketing strategy adopted in Sri Lanka needs to address and conceder the social variety and uniqueness aspects in the Sri Lankan culture to effect the Sri Lankan customer purchase those products or use those services in an ongoing manner.


Department of Senses and Statistics (http://www. statistics. gov. lk/PopHouSat/Pop_Chra. asp - retrieved on 20th January 2011)

Rewerts Astrid and Hanf Jon Article on Culture and Worth - Their Relevance for Marketing Strateg ies 2006 (http://free. pdf-download. org/Marketing+Strategies+for+Central+and+Eastern+Europe-pdf-3. html - retrieved on 17th January 2011)

www. wekipedia. com - retrieved on 16 January 2011

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