Smart Phone Consumption
Mobile phone used to be a communication device. It has turned into an indispensable necessity ever since the development of smart phone. It has become much in prevalence worldwide in recent years, especially in Asia, Pacific, Western Europe and America markets. According to Gartner, Inc. (2013), global smart phone sales to end users reached 455.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013, while the sales of feature phones continued to decline, because users rushed to replace their old models with smart phones. Moreover, it had been the high-speed growth stage of smart phones from 2010 to 2012 (Carson, 2013). It is evidence that why most of my friends changed from feature phones to smart phones since 2010 and became addicted to them. They seemed to be forced to check e-mail alerts, Facebook notifications and news updates every few minutes. Although I felt a little bit envy at the beginning, I still thought rationally I did not need one. However, I surrendered and bought my first smart phone on April, 2012. My consumption experience can be explained by consumer socialisation theory.
The term “Consumer socialisation” refers to the developmental steps that individuals who build skills, knowledge and attitudes relate to their functioning as consumers in the marketplaces in youngsters (Ward, 1974). It is a process of how to consume and how to be a consumer from infancy to maturity. According to Moschis and Moore (1984), consumer socialization can be based on two models of the cognitive development model and the social learning model. The former one considers learning as a cognitive psychological process of adjustment to one's environment (Moschis and Moore, 1984). Meanwhile, socialisation is the procedures that people who foster functions that enable them to participate as members of groups and the society (Brim, 1966). It can be inferred that we are developing learning properties through the above processes to perceive and deal with the environment. John (1999) proposes that there are three stages of consumer socialisation: Perceptual stage (3-7 years), children can recognise advertising, brands and retail stores, and focus on single attribute of products. Analytic stage (7-11 years), when children entering this period, more sophisticated information processing and understanding of marketplace are established with more thoughtful decision making. Reflective stage (11-16 years) is characterised by an awareness of other people’s opinion such as peer influence, with a need to shape self identity and conform to group expectations, which also relevant to social comparison theory. It indicates that individual’s perspective toward consumption will keep changing when shift from one phase to another. This is due to the socialization agents.
Kerrane and Hogg (2013) reports that the socialization agents can be classified into the five types: family (e.g. parents, siblings, and family type), peers, mass media...