Consumer Socialization

KARIN M. EKSTRÖM

University of Borås, Sweden

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs060

Consumer socialization has attracted researchers' attention over the years, and in particular during the 1970s when public policy issues regarding the effect of television advertising on children was discussed. Most research has focused on how children are socialized during childhood and adolescence. John (1999) provides a comprehensive overview of 25 years of research on the consumer socialization of children. A common definition of consumer socialization in marketing is Ward's (1974): “the process by which young people acquire skills, knowledge, and attitudes relevant to their functioning as consumers in the marketplace” (p. 2). Socialization is believed to be particularly strong during childhood, as children become consumers. However, consumer socialization is a lifelong process (e.g., Ward 1974; Ekström 2006). This is particularly important to recognize as society changes and consumers continuously have to learn new skills to function as consumers, for example internet banking skills. Berger and Luckmann (1967) distinguish between primary socialization, which takes place during childhood, and secondary socialization, which occurs subsequently. There are a few studies on socialization of the elderly, but a lack of studies regarding adult consumer socialization. Adult consumer socialization is about learning new roles, for example being a spouse or a parent. Riesman and Roseborough ...

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