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Social and political sphere

Plato proclaimed that human beings are political beings, “zoon politikon”. The society in which we grow up, the society in which we live and the society we desir e are, at least partially, results of political aspirations. These aspirations influence our behavior and our preferences.

Utilitarianism as a fundamental piece of modem economics was introduced as a moral theory by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mills, and later used in economic theories by academics such as David Ricardo. It describes the process in which activities and decisions that maximize the utility of the collective as a whole are good.41 It is a general and practical concept in the analysis, but the problem is tire operationalization of the concept of utility, given also that it is based on individual preferences, especially as those preferences can be changed. Tire collective utility is normally seen in economic terms, but other dimensions such as the environment,

Table 1.3 The new social classes



Average age

University education

Belong to ethnic minorities

Average savings

Average household income

Average value housing

Cultural activity

The Elite





> 140 000

90 000

325 000



Middle Class





26 000

47 000

177 000



Middle Class





66 000

8 000

163 000









4 900

30 000

129 000



Working Class





9 500

13 000

127 000








1 200

21 000

18 000








8 000

27 000

New categorization of social classes in the UK instead of the classic divisions of upper, middle and working class. In £.

Source: Savage et al., 2013

Quality of life index

Figure 1.19 Quality of life index

Quality of life index and sub-indices for the United States, Chile. Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil in 2016.

Source: Numbeo, 2017

or even happiness, as introduced by Bhutan, are becoming more important. There are also indicators such as quality of life to measure the development of countries.

Preferences in societies change and have political impact on regulations, but also on preferred behavior. Examples are the discussions on sustainability, or the use of children as workers in sweatshops in countries such as China or Bangladesh. Something that was

Shopper marketing and society 21 once normal, such as smoking, is today seen as something negative, with more and more regulations surrounding it. Another example is sugar: the UK has introduced extra taxes for products with a high sugar content, such as soft drinks. This has important impacts on the positioning of products and the image of the company and its brands.

The political sphere is influenced by values in the society, but also influences those values. The smoking ban in public spaces in many countries has affected and limited how tobacco products can be used, and the same can be said for products with high sugar levels. As an example, Mexico’s sales of sugared soft drinks fell by 12 percent in the fust year of the introduction of the new law in 2015.42 In addition, such factors as fair trade for, e.g., coffee, or actions against child labor have implications on how products can be sold or consumed, and thereby influence shopper marketing. Values of consumers and shoppers, as well as trends have and will have an important impact on behavior and ultimately on the offer, and on how to communicate and activate products and services.

Implications for shopper marketing strategies

Shopper marketing solutions have to adapt to changes and trends in societal values. Certainly, there are values that are relatively stable, but others where there are important differences, such as those concerning the roles of women, the chinch or equality between social classes. For example, a major telephone operator in Nigeria, Zain, always has to adapt its advertisements, depending on the target region of the country. In the North, there are mainly Muslims and in the South, the majority are Christians.

A segmented approach is needed based on lifestyle, aspirations and social class. In addition, differences in economic development affect what can be sold and how to reach shoppers. As an example, banking services in Kenya were developed by mobile operators, the famous MPESA, to send and withdraw money in a society where most people had no secure income and where there were no banking structures in place. On the other hand, in many Western societies banks are closing their branches and developing digital channels. In Pera, banks have introduced

Example of ethnic advertisements

Figure 1.20 Example of ethnic advertisements

Advertisements for the service Tru from the mobile operator Zain hr Nigeria in 2006 for the Southern and Northern regions of the country.

Source: Author simple banking sendees in traditional grocery stores to be closer to then customers. The services are similar, but the solutions differ depending on country and population segment.

Technology will continue to have a significant impact on how we shop and how products and services are offered. Omnichannel solutions, i.e. the interaction of different sales channels, will grow in importance, and media channels will continue to change, influencing the number of touchpoints and the way to communicate with consumers and shoppers. Shopper marketing needs to understand societal changes in terms of the economy, politics and values and adapt to these changes when developing specific strategies for brands, products and services.

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