Consumer Value: Research and Associated Issues

Values are internalized cognitive frameworks that help people make decisions by instilling a feeling of fundamental moral standards, a feeling of prioritization, and a propensity to interpret the world and recognize patterns. Because our ideals are subjective, how does it affect consumerism?

Consumer Value

Values are identified as our guiding principles and can be investigated at the individual or group level, just like other cognitive structures. To put it another way, civilizations, communities, or other collectivities have values-based norms, priorities, and rules that specify what people should do to act in a "proper," "moral," or "valued" way. The study of values is more specifically concerned with how values influence behavior. However, the implications it has on consumerism are multifaceted. Some of the crucial issues include −

Revisiting Concepts: Value, Motivation, Goal, and Personality

As the "sustaining idea that a given mode of action or end-state of life is personally or socially superior to an opposing or converse way of activity or end-state of existing," Rokeach supplied what is perhaps the most widely referenced description of value like a psychological mechanism. Contrarily, consumer researchers see value as an abstract form of social reasoning that people use to organize and direct their reactions to many marketing stimuli.

According to Murray's theory of motivation, needs are what motivate people. Value, which researchers primarily accept, constitutes the public sphere and gives human needs embodiment. Individual ambitions are distinct from values in that they are exclusively focused on particular purposes or aspirations. The lack of different philosophical delineations among motivating factors, aspirations, and principles in the publications causes ambiguity in elaboration and explication.

A growing body of research demonstrates that whereas personal values are learned adaptations heavily impacted by the environment, personality traits are essentially endogenous features. Authors must make clear distinctions between these notions to maintain their discriminant validity.

Antecedents and Changes in Consumer Behaviour

The French word valoir, which signifies "to be worthy," is where the English term value is derived from. Value began as a philosophical idea concerning morality and good behavior, but over time, it came to signify bravery and worthiness. Although psychology and morality focus on how preferences are formed and assessed, the traditional microeconomic theory assumes that consumer choices are exogenous and stable. Rokeach proposed that Maslow's needs theory could be used to derive values.

Maslowians overlooked the dynamic character of the value system and the influence of the environment since they saw values as discretely implanted principles. According to the social adaptation theory, persons who establish and live out their values can adjust to various life roles. Some have discovered that faith and religiosity may be a foundation for cultural identity and influence people to make morally sound decisions. The majority of authors concur that values come from multiple, multifaceted sources.

When cultural, ecological, or societal circumstances under which people must adapt to change, ideals frequently follow suit. People re-evaluate their essential principles when transitioning into various life phases, societal contexts, or situations. With the presence of conflict connected to cognitive inconsistency, values can alter. The sociological construction of morals alters social perspective-taking and has been widely established by consumer socialization research.

Concerns in Measuring Variables

Researchers use their tools to assess any construct's functionality. There are numerous techniques to measure values. Each advertising agency and research firm has its methods for measuring what is referred to as values. As an illustration, the Yankelovich Monitor is widely referenced as supporting data regarding changes in North American society's values and trends. Based on beliefs and lifestyle, PRIZM divides each zip code in the United States into one of 62 categories. World MOSAIC examines lifestyles in 14 different nations. Several advertising agencies keep an eye on values and lifestyle trends. It is critical to re-evaluate measurement accuracy in light of technological advancements and shifts in customer behavior.

Values-Attitude-Behaviour Linkage

The extensive research topic, "Why do we purchase whatever we purchase?" is frequently addressed in consumer attitudes and behavior theories. Gutman claimed that consumer values assign outcomes value and significance in his means-end model. Consumer value structures have been discovered to affect the critical qualifying criteria for commodity groups and companies. Others also discovered a correlation between cigarette consumption values and product brand preferences. In a different study, Corfman hypothesized that values influence consumer choice by influencing how a product's utility is perceived. Nelson also looked at decisions that involved weighing values against goals and strategies, using image concepts to explain them.

Consumer behavior is related to the congruency between personal and social values while the market is in a transaction stage. Theories and assessments of consumer attitudes should consider situational variables, environmental influences, and value systems. Nonetheless, some advancements have been achieved with improved statistical methods that facilitate the simultaneous assessment of value systems and situational and environmental aspects. The numerous conceivable configurations of values, contextual ambiguity, and sociological and cultural changes complicate this goal.

Cross-Cultural Studies

Over the last thirty years, much research has been done on how consumer values affect situations involving people from different cultures and geographies—values, in general, offer greater insight from a marketing perspective than simple demographics and nationality. While earlier studies emphasized how values vary among cultures, future studies should examine how comparable values present themselves in various groups across geographical and cultural boundaries. Moreover, research on the values of bicultural consumers might offer essential insights into moral codes and their incarnations.

For respondents to understand the significance of the questions, researchers must communicate them. They must choose the most efficient form of communication and accurately include the language's nuances and intricacies. The shallowness and low response rate of conventional postal questionnaires have been criticized as risks in contexts where the nuance of value statements needs to be sufficiently represented in the questionnaires.

As a result, various methods should be used, including official surveys and interviews, based on the regional variances in politics, economy, and culture. Researchers must carefully assess the samples' representativeness and delve deeper into the subgroups. Finally, investigators must be conscious that some inquiries may be deemed delicate or improper by other cultures, even while some are eager to reply.

Application of Consumer Values

Marketing practices in creating novel products, branding appraisal and placement, promotional strategies, and market segmentation have benefited from research on consumer values. Recent studies have used consumer values to categorize the worldwide market according to generational cohorts, consumer spending habits, musical and sporting preferences, and retailing characteristics. It is crucial to accurately track changes in consumer values and use them appropriately in various situations.

Early control procedures may be beneficial if they include statistical control, increase response anonymity, and consider sample characteristics. Future consumer value monitoring will likely be more beneficial when deployed deliberately and methodically to a particular product area, in conjunction with other helpful metrics, and with a comprehension of the adaptive relevance of the values in respondents' lives. It is essential to periodically review measurement precision to keep up with new trends and nuances as technology and change advance.

Post-modern Approach to Consumer Values Research

The post-modern method of interpreting consumer values is another new trend. Although adopting an interpretative approach to consumer values, postmodernists advance the topic by adding in-depth accounts to the bigger context developed by social scientists' ongoing work. The depth of information from specific post-modern works improves our comprehension of contextual concerns, which are constantly significant in value study. For instance, research on materialism combined the construction of a quantitative characteristic scale with a qualitative interpretive paradigm.


Our comprehension of individual behavior, in general, and consumer behavior, in particular, will continue to be influenced by values. We have gained a great deal of knowledge regarding the best way to integrate values into every marketing mix component, but many crucial things still need to be discovered.

Updated on: 02-Mar-2023


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