Investigating the Influence of Social Class on Consumers’ Shopping Behaviour in Nigeria

  • Okonkwo Deborah Chinwendu Lecturer, Department of Marketing, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria
  • Moguluwa Chinwuba Shedrack Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Nigeria
Keywords: Social Class, Consumer Behaviour, Shopping, Income, Occupation, Education


Purpose - This research is a critical effort towards investigating the shopping behaviour of consumers among different social class categories in Nigeria. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the underlying factors influencing consumers’ shopping behaviour in order to establish if there is really a clear-cut distinction in this regard among the various social class categories.

Design/methodology/approach - This study adopted the cross-sectional research approach and the survey research method. This study was carried out in order to determine whether there is a significant influence of social class on consumers’ choice of shopping outlet; and investigate the extent to which social class significantly influenced consumers’ organization of purchases, shopping style, and shopping pattern in Nigeria. A total of 384 copies of the questionnaire were distributed to individuals within Enugu metropolis, however only 350 copies were considered usable for data analysis. Respondents were selected using the convenience sampling technique. Descriptive statistical methods such as frequencies and percentages were used in data presentation. The chi-square and multiple regression statistics were used to analyse data.

Findings - The results indicate that social class significantly influenced consumers’ choice of shopping outlet; social class did not in any way significantly influence consumers’ organization of purchases; occupation/profession did not have a significant influence on consumers’ behaviour with respect to their shopping style; and income and  occupation/profession did not have a significant influence on consumers’ behaviour with respect to their shopping pattern.

Practical implications – This paper presents a spotlight on Nigerian consumers’ shopping pattern vis-à-vis the age long social class theory. It revisits the significance of the concept of social class to marketing practice with a strong emphasis on consumer behaviour.

Originality/Value – The significance of this paper is apparent in its proven application of the age-long social class concept in understanding consumer behaviour patterns in these contemporary times. As such, it requires a re-visit by marketing scholars so as to bring it back to limelight considering its relevance to consumer behaviourial patterns.


Adler, N; Epel, E; Castellazo, G and Ickovics, J (2000).”Relationship of subjective and objective social status with psychological and physiological functioning: Preliminary data in healthy, white women.” Health Psychology, Vol 19, pp 586-592
Allen, D (2002). “Toward a theory of consumer choice as socio-historically shaped practical experience: The – fits – like – a – glove framework.” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol 28, pp 515-532
Alooma, A & Lawan, A (2013). “Effects of consumer demographic variables on clothes buying behaviour in Borno State, Nigeria”. International Journal of Basic and Applied Science, Vol 1( 4):791-799
Asuquo, E & Igbongidi, P (2015). “Retail store merchandise assortment and display and their influence on consumer impulse buying behaviour in North-West, Nigeria. British Journal of Marketing Studies
Basil, G; Sunday, E; Anyadighibe, J & Edward, J (2014). “An empirical study of the impact of non-store retailing on consumers’ satisfaction in Calabar Metropolis.” American International Journal of Contemporary Research, Vol 4 (12)
Bellenger, D & Moschis, G (1982). “A socialization model of retail patronage.” Advances in Consumer Research, Vol 9, pp 373-378
Boyce, J; Brown, A & Moore, S (2010). “Money and happiness: Rank of income, not income, affects life satisfaction.” Psychological Science, Vol 21, pp 471-475
Cohen, S; Alper,C; Doyle, H; Adler, N; Treanor, J & Turner, R (2008). “Objective and subjective socioeconomic status and susceptibility to the common cold.” Health Psychology, Vol 27, pp 268-274
Coleman, R (1983). “The continuing significance of social class to marketing.” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol 10 (3)
Dawson, J; Findlays, A & Sparks, L (2006). The retailing leader. London: Routledge
Durmaz, Y; Celik, M & Oruc, R (2011). “The impact of cultural factors on the consumer buying behaviours examined through an empirical study.” International Journal of Business and Social Science, Vol 2(5), special issue
Gherasim, T (2013). “Behaviour social factors.” Economy transdisciplinarity cognition, Vol 16, Issue 1, pp 5-14
Hoyer, D & MacInnis, D (2010). Consumer behaviour, (5th edition). Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning
Jobber, D (2009). Principles and practice of marketing. England: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company
Joiners, J; Scherer, C & Scheufele, D (2003). “Exploring motivations for consumer web use and their implications for E-Commerce.” Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol 20(2):90-108
Kingston, W (2000). The classless society. Stanford: Stanford University Press
Kotler, P & Armstrong, G (2008). Principles of marketing, pp 130. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc.
Kotler, P & Keller, K (2012). Marketing management (14th edition). Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited
Kraus, M; Piff, P & Keltner, D (2011). “Social class, the sense of control, and social explanation.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 97, pp 992-1004
Kraus, M; Piff, P & Mendoza-Denton, R (2012). “Social class, solipsism, and contextualism: How the rich are different from the Poor.” Psychological Review, Vol 119(3): pp 546-572
Lawan, A & Zanna, R (2013). “Evaluation of socio-cultural factors influencing consumer buying behaviour of clothes in Borno State, Nigeria. International Journal of Basics and Applied Sciences, Vol 1(3): pp 519-529
Mahalingam, R (1998). “Essentialism, power and theories of caste: A developmental study.” Dissertation Abstracts International, Vol 60, pp 2-13
Meng, J & Fraedrich, J (2010). “21st century social class theory as it applies to marketing.” The marketing management Journal, Vol 20, Issue 1, pp 194-203
Mihic, M & Culina, G (2006). “Buying behaviour and consumption: Social class versus income.” Management, Vol 11(2):pp 77-92
Oghojafor, B & Nwagwu, K (2013). “Choice of shopping outlets for grocery products and the socioeconomic profile of female consumers in Lagos, Nigeria.” Journal of Sustainable Development Studies, Vol 4(2):88-113
Oghojafor, B; Ladipo, R & Nwagwu, K (2012). “Outlets attributes as determinants of preference of women between a supermarket and a traditional open market.” American Journal of Business and Management, Vol 1(4):230-240
Ohen, S; Umeze, G & Inyang, E (2014). “Consumer purchasing behaviour for fruits and vegetables among civil servants in Essien Udim Local Government Area, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria.” Food Science and Quality Management, Vol 23
Oppenheim, C & Ward, L (2006). “Evaluation of websites for B2C E-Commerce.” Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, Vol 58(3):237-260
Philips Consulting (2014). “Online shopping survey report – A study of current trends in online shopping in Nigeria.”
Rani, P (2014). “Factors influencing consumer behaviour.” International Journal of Current Research Academic Review, Vol 2(9):52-61
Schiffman, Kanuk & Das (2006). Consumer behaviour. Canada: Pearson Education Limited
Schiffman, L & Kanuk, L (2004). Consumer behaviour, (8th edition). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall
Smith, A & Rupp, W (2003). “Strategic online customer decision making leveraging the transformational power of the internet.” Online Information Review, Vol 2(6):418 – 432
Solomon, M; Bamossy, G; Askegaard, S & Hogg, K (2006). Consumer behaviour: A European perspective, pp 438. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited
Steven, D (2013). “Consumer decision making styles in retailing: Evolution of mindsets and psychological impacts.” Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol 30, Issue 1, pp 75-87
Williams, G (2002). “Social class influences on purchase evaluation criteria.” Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol 19, pp 249-276
Wood, M (1998). “Socio-economic status, delay of gratification, and impulse buying.” Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol 19, pp 295-320
How to Cite
Chinwendu, O. D., & Shedrack, M. C. (2018). Investigating the Influence of Social Class on Consumers’ Shopping Behaviour in Nigeria. International Journal of Marketing Research Innovation, 2(2), 38-48.
Original Articles/Short Communications