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The Consumer’s Subculture(s)

15 January, 2016 - 09:18

A subculture is a group of people within a culture who are different from the dominant culture but have something in common with one another—common interests, vocations or jobs, religions, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and so forth. The fastest-growing subculture in the United States consists of people of Hispanic origin, followed by Asian Americans, and blacks. The purchasing power of U.S. Hispanics is growing by leaps and bounds. By 2010 it is expected to reach more than $1 trillion. 1This is a lucrative market that companies are working to attract. Home Depot has launched a Spanish version of its Web site. Walmart is in the process of converting some of its Neighborhood Markets into stores designed to appeal to Hispanics. The Supermarcado de Walmart stores are located in Hispanic neighborhoods and feature elements such as cafés serving Latino pastries and coffee and full meat and fish counters. 2

Marketing products based the ethnicity of consumers is useful. However, it could become harder to do in the future because the boundaries between ethnic groups are blurring. For example, many people today view themselves as multiracial. (Golfer Tiger Woods is a notable example.) Also, keep in mind that ethnic and racial subcultures are not the only subcultures marketing professionals look at. As we have indicated, subcultures can develop in response to people’s interest. You have probably heard of the hip-hop subculture, people who in engage in extreme types of sports such as helicopter skiing, or people who play the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons. The people in these groups have certain interests and exhibit certain behaviors that allow marketing professionals design specific products for them.