The purpose of this paper is to establish how consumer knowledge is transferred among family members in multi-generational families, based on the consumer socialisation theory. Understanding how consumers learn about consumption and are socialised as consumers is critical to developing marketing strategies throughout the family lifecycle. Central to current conceptions of consumer socialisation is the idea that individuals make decisions as outcomes of previous socialisation processes. However, socialisation takes place in the meso-level social setting and there is need to understand how these meso-systems interact when it comes to consumption.
Using a social system design and dyadic analysis, the authors tested knowledge transfer and consumer socialisation agency in multi-generation families in Vietnam, yielding a sample size of 654 individuals and 218 families.
The authors demonstrate the role of consumer socialisation agency on consumer knowledge transfer between people within families. The study illustrates that where knowledge is limited, family-related services and household products will be jointly considered within the family.
This study was undertaken within a single country setting, but the technique and findings have wider implications for collectivist family decision-making in other settings. The limitations of cross-sectional research are acknowledged; the method specifically overcomes issues with self-reported measures by collecting data from multiple people within the social system.
Our findings suggest that consumer knowledge and learning is bi-directionally transferred through consumer socialisation agency. In complex new market situations, marketers can target the social system and ensure that knowledge will be transferred between members.
Social system design and dyadic analysis have not previously been used to examine meso-level consumption settings. The results provide unique understanding of consumer learning in social settings.
The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Ms Dang Nguyen for her research assistance throughout the course of this project. Professor Brennan is funded by the Australian Research Council and is an Investigator: “Globalising the Magic System: a history of advertising industry practices in Australia 1959-1989′ ARC DP 120100777”.
Aleti, T., Brennan, L. and Parker, L. (2015), "Consumer socialisation agency within three-generational Vietnamese families", Young Consumers, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 172-188. https://doi.org/10.1108/YC-08-2014-00471
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