The sociology of consumption is the branch of sociology that focuses on the study of purchasing patterns and the use of goods and services carried out by a community. This, from a cultural and ideological perspective.
In other words, the sociology of consumption, or the study of consumer behavior, seeks to explain how, why and why subjects adopt behaviors that lead them to buy certain products and not their alternatives. In this sense, from a logic of desire and beyond the satisfaction of basic needs.
Importance of the sociology of consumption
The importance of the sociology of consumption lies in the way in which modern society constructs a sense of its own existence and identity. This, depending on the products that are consumed. And it is that, being elements within the process of interaction between individuals, they are configured as an element of integration.
For this reason, it is possible to distinguish the multidimensional mechanics that consumer processes have.
Endogenous factors in the sociology of consumption
Among the main endogenous factors, that is, those internal, we can highlight the following:
At the time, Keynes spoke of the propensity to consume, which referred to the level of income as a determining factor of consumption. In such a way that, the higher the income, the greater the propensity to consume and, in the same way, the lower the income, the lower the propensity to consume.
Exogenous factors in the sociology of consumption
As we know, in addition to gender, which encourages the consumption of some products or others; in addition to age, which determines our interests; in addition to culture, which shapes these interests; And finally, in addition to lifestyle, which tells us what we can and cannot do, we must know that there are other factors to take into account.
And the fact is that the rise of the media, taking into account that they are constantly advertising goods and services, has also begun to influence the sociology of consumption, significantly influencing the consumption habits of the population. In this sense, advertising, as well as the use of attractive campaigns, well-known or famous professionals, influences people, who want to buy the product that their soccer idol promotes.
Likewise, digital portals such as YouTube, as well as social networks themselves are digital platforms that substantially influence these habits. Influencers or youtubers, for example, are profiles that, on these social networks, influence consumers with their advice and recommendations. That is why these digital profiles generate so much income with their work, since their millions of followers, in general, tend to demand what this icon consumes and, in the same way that they, demand.
In summary, advertising in the environment, advertising in the media, the Internet, as well as everything related to our environment also influences our consumption decisions. In the same way, these same exogenous factors generate new needs that, previously, we had not had.
Examples of sociology of consumption
Some cases studied by the sociology of consumption, by way of example, are the following:
Faced with an increase in workers' income, it is analyzed why they do not tend to better satisfy their traditional needs. Well, they are developing new needs that exert changes in their consumption, one of their purposes being to have a more active participation in modern everyday life.
Another case is the analysis of how brands have become more relevant than the product itself. This, due to the effect of advertising, which influences socio-cultural factors through consumer habits.