In addition to culture, social factors also impact consumer behavior. These include social class and the impact of reference groups. Social class in the United States is somewhat of a controversial topic. There have been many competing definitions and models and even disagreements over its very existence. Many Americans believe in a sample three class model that includes the rich or upper-class, the middle-class, and the poor or working class. More complex models that have been proposed by social scientists describe as many as a dozen class levels. Meanwhile, some scholars deny the very existence of discrete social classes in American society. In spite of this debate, though most social scientists agree that in the United States there's a social class structure in which people are hierarchically ranked. Sociologists study in class distinction since the 1970s have found that social classes each have unique cultural traits. The phenomenon which refer to as a class culture. This has been shown to have a very strong influence on the Monday lives of people. Class culture is thought to affect everything from the manner in which people raise their children to what types of goods and services they buy. At its most basic, classes one way in which societies sort themselves out. Even society is built on the idea of eliminating class have had stark differences in rank. Classes are groups of people of similar economic and social position. People who for some reason may share political attitudes, lifestyles, consumption patterns, cultural interests, and opportunities to get ahead. The four major determinants of social class, they are only four; education, occupation, income, and wealth. One way to think of a person's status in society is to imagine a hand of cards. Everyone is dealt four cards, one from each suit, education, income, occupation, and wealth. The four commonly used criteria for gauging or measuring class. Face cards like the king and queen and so on, in a few categories, may land the player in the upper middle-class. At first, a person's class is parent's class. Later, he may pick up a new hand on his own. It is likely to resemble that of his parents, but not always. But this way, this method I'm describing is really a good way to think of social class. Now, let me ask you a question. Are these four variables that we were talking about earlier, education, occupation, income, and wealth, which do you think is the greatest determinant of social class? Why do you think this is so? I want you to discuss that on the course discussion forum. Social class has been shown to impact foods consumers eat and thus health outcomes. Higher quality diets are associated with higher social class. Energy dense diets that are nutrient poor are usually consumed by persons of lower socioeconomic status, leading to poor health outcomes. Class also impacts things like vacations we may take, the upper-class are much more likely to travel where you live and the associations to which you belong. Two major ways though in which social class impacts consumer behavior is through what's known as trickle-down or status float effects. The trickle-down effect is a model of product adoption and marketing that affects many consumer goods and services. It states that fashion flows vertically from the upper classes to the lower classes within society. Each social class influenced by a higher social class. Two conflicting principles drives this diffusion dynamic. Lesser social groups seek to establish new status claims by adopting the fashions of higher social groups in imitation. Whereas higher social groups respond by adopting new fashions to differentiate themselves from the lower classes. This provokes an endless cycle of change driving fashioned forward in a continual progress of innovation. Americans of all sorts are a washing luxuries that would have dazzled their grandparents. Still diversity as erased, many of the old markers, these status markers. Has become harder to read people's status based on the clothes they wear, the cars they drive. People in lower classes have access to several of these status markers that used to be the indicators of belonging in a particular social class. Now it is difficult to use Jesse's markers alone. To some extent, the contours of class, the lines of class have been blurred. We spoke about trickle-down. Let's talk about status float. Status float occurs when trends start in the lower classes and they float up to the higher classes. One famous example of status float would be blue jeans. The first pair of jeans are manufactured by Levi Strauss. I hope I said that, Strauss. He was a Bavarian born dry goods merchant and a tailor who helped him, name Jacob Davis. In 1853, they worked on something that was designed for laborers who were tired of their work pants being torn. These were miners and other laborers who perform very menial, low paying and sometimes dangerous jobs. What these two did, they put metal rivets at points of strain, like pocket corners and at the base of the button fly. They made the first blue jeans out of denim. Since these were the traditional fabric for men's work wear. Within a short time, the jeans were true success among the working class. However, these are now considered fashionable attire for upper classes as well. People all over the world wear jeans ranging in price from $20 to as much as $2,000. One of my students was wearing a pair of jeans and he said they cost him $1,000. Bluejeans have truly floated upward in class.