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14 Examples of Consumer Culture

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Consumer culture are the shared experiences, symbols and norms that evolve in markets for consumer products. This is largely beyond the control of producers as culture emerges as a social process over time. As such, firms benefit by serving cultures that already exist as opposed to trying to create a culture. The following are illustrative examples of consumer culture.

Conspicuous Consumption

Consumption motivated by a desire to signal social status such as wealth or fashionableness.

Conspicuous Conservation

Consumption motivated by a desire to signal that you are a good person who is concerned with the environment and/or social issues.

Early Adopters

Consumers who pride themselves as being at the forefront of product trends. For example, a consumer who is first to own a new technology or fashion brand. Early adopters may publicize their purchases and view themselves as leaders. Alternatively, early adopters can be enthusiasts who don't view purchases in terms of social status.


Consumers who worry about missing out on new trendy products and brands. Such consumers may keep a close eye on early adopters and mimic their consumer behavior.

Low Tech

Enthusiasts of old technology who pride themselves on being immune to trends.

Peak Experiences

Consumers who seek meaning and experience through consumption. For example, a consumer who views travel as a personal accomplishment that adds to their life story.


Consumers who enjoy fictional realities as a means of escape from the harshness of day-to-day life. For example, fans of popular culture who completely immerse themselves in experiences such as theme parks, events, games, entertainment and reading.

Traditional Culture

Products, services and brands that are viewed as part of a traditional culture such as the culture of a nation, people or city. For example, an old pizzeria that becomes a symbol of a city.

Super Culture

A large culture that exists on a global basis such as sport, video gamers or street fashion enthusiasts. It is common for a super culture to embrace a brand and attach meaning and storytelling to it. Wearing a particular brand can signal membership in a super culture such as an athletic brand that signals that you are a runner.


A subculture is a relatively small culture that surrounds a social group, profession or pursuit. Subcultures may adopt obscure brands and products to signal membership. For example, a brand of turntable that only a true turntablist would buy.


Normcore is a subculture of people who just want to be normal such that they avoid purchases that send a strong social signal.

Brand Aversion

Individuals who view branding negatively and avoid popular brands where practical. For example, a consumer who never buys clothing that has a visible brand logo.

Brand Indifference

Consumers who view brands with complete indifference and buy based on practical considerations of need and price. Such consumers may spread good prices by word of mouth as opposed to talking about brands, styles or technology. For example, neighbors who spread word of a good restaurant with cheap prices.


Consumers who believe people should minimize purchases or be completely self-reliant. View consumption as greed and branding as propaganda. May purchase extremely practical items such as bulk raw materials and unprocessed foods.
Overview: Consumer Culture
The shared experiences, symbols and norms that evolve in markets for consumer products.
Related Concepts

Consumer Behavior

This is the complete list of articles we have written about consumer behavior.
Adverse Selection
Attention Economics
Buying Behavior
Conservation Of Effort
Conspicuous Conservation
Conspicuous Consumption
Consumer Attitudes
Consumer Culture
Consumer Economics
Consumer Education
Consumer Research
Consumer Society
Curiosity Drive
Customer Motivation
Customer Needs
Customer Perceptions
Customer Persona
Customer Preferences
Fear Of Missing Out
Impulse Buying
Marketing Analysis
Middle Class
Peak Experiences
Perceived Risk
Price Sensitivity
Problem Recognition
Product Involvement
Snob Effect
Status Seeking
User Intent
Willingness To Pay
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Status Seeking

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Consumer Research

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Consumer Society

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Traditional Economy

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Uncertainty Avoidance

The definition of uncertainty avoidance with examples.

Pop Culture

The definition of pop culture with examples and comparisons.

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