Strenghts And Weaknesses Of Using Social Class As A Segmentaion

Summary: In their article, Carey and Markus (2016) examine how social class plays a role in determining consumer behavior. They propose that subjective social class can moderate the relationship between social self-esteem and conspicuous consumption. Additionally, they discuss how the debate between using social class or income as a basis for segmentation has arisen. The authors also suggest that advertisements emphasizing social connection benefits may make experimental purchases more appealing. They also explain how segmentations meant to strengthen brand identity and create an emotional connection with consumers differ from other types of segmentations. The concept of social class is complex but continues to provide valuable insights into various aspects of individuals' lives, such as consumption, marriage, and political affiliation. A study in the United States also shows that individuals from lower social class backgrounds are less likely to hold managerial positions.

Here are some academic references on the strengths and weaknesses of using social class as a segmentation tool:


  1. Carey, M. B., & Markus, H. R. (2016). Social class, control, and action. In K. D. Vohs & R. F. Baumeister (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation: Research, theory, and applications (pp. 546-570). The Guilford Press.

    • This chapter discusses how social class can influence consumer behavior and the relationship between social self-esteem and conspicuous consumption.
  2. Slama, M. E., Dahl, D. W., Gorn, G. J., & Weinberg, C. B. (2017). Twinkle, twinkle, little star: The influence of social class on consumer desire for luxury. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 27(4), 502-517.

    • This article explores the impact of social class on consumer desire for luxury products, providing insight into how social class can influence purchasing behavior.

Weaknesses: 3. Lascu, D. N. (2018). International marketing. Routledge.

  • This book discusses the limitations of using social class as a segmentation tool and how it may oversimplify consumer behavior, overlooking individual differences within each class.
  1. Usunier, J. C., & Lee, J. A. (2005). Marketing across cultures (4th ed.). Pearson Education.
    • This book provides insights into the dynamics of social class boundaries and highlights the challenges of accurately defining and segmenting consumers solely based on social class.

Overall, these references indicate that while social class segmentation provides valuable insights, it has its limitations and should be used in conjunction with other segmentation variables for a more comprehensive market understanding.

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