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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods or services in ever greater amounts (Veblen's, 1899). The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting with or, more recently by a movement called Enoughism (Huxley, 1932). Veblen's subject of examination was the newly emergent middle class arising at the turn of the twentieth century, which came to full fruition by the end of the twentieth century through the process of globalization (Barber, 2008). It also may refer to a movement seeking to protect and inform consumers by requiring such practices as honest packaging and advertising, product guarantees, and improved safety standards. In this sense it is a movement or a set of policies aimed at regulating the products, services, methods, and standards of manufacturers, sellers, and advertisers in the interests of the buyer (Ryan, 2007)
Consumerism has strong links with the Western World, but is in fact an international phenomenon. People purchasing goods and consuming materials in excess of their basic needs is as old as the first civilization, however, a great turn in consumerism arrived just before the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, when capitalist development and the industrial revolution were primarily focussing on the capital goods sector and industrial infrastructure. At that time, agricultural commodities, essential consumer goods, and commercial activities had developed to an extent, but not to the same extent as other sectors as members of the working classes worked long hours for low wages as much as 16 hours per day, 6 days per week thus little time or money was left for consumer activities (Ryan, 2007).
According to Calder (1990), when capital goods and infrastructure were quite durable and took a long time to be used up Henry Ford and other leaders of industry understood that mass
production presupposed mass consumption after observing the assembly lines in the meat packing industry and Fredrick Winslow Taylor brought his theory of scientific management to the organization of the assembly line in other industries; this unleashed incredible productivity and reduced the costs of all commodities produced on assembly lines While previously the norm had been the scarcity of resources. The Industrial Revolution created an unusual economic situation where for the first time in history products were available in outstanding quantities, at outstandingly low prices, thus available to virtually everyone. So began the era of mass consumption, where the concept of consumerism were applicable as to help fight against the mass produces which were not up to the required standard (Chin, 2001). Because consumption is so central to many economies, and even to the current forms of globalization, its effects therefore were also seen around the world. How we consume, and for what purposes drives how we extract resources, create products and produce pollution and waste. Political and economic systems that are currently promoted and pushed around the world in part to increase consumption also led to immense poverty and exploitation
The social transformation was not easy, and it bore heavily on those at the bottom arc of the cycle the workers, both industrial and agricultural. As consumers began to feel more trapped by the new consumerist system, they appealed to the government for help. Thus, consumerism led directly to the Progressive Era, much of which was aimed at consumer advocacy and protection (Miller, 1991). However, opponents of consumerism argue that many luxuries and unnecessary consumer products may act as social mechanism allowing people to identify like-minded individuals through the display of similar products, again utilizing aspects of status-symbolism to judge social economic status and social stratification Some people believe relationships with a product or brand name are substitutes for healthy human relationships lacking in societies, and along with consumerism, create a cultural hegemony, and are part of a general process of social control in modern society. Critics of consumerism often point out that consumerist
societies are more prone to damage the environment, contribute to global warming and use up resources at a higher rate than other societies.
The concept of consumerism is yet to take root in Nigeria unlike what is obtainable in most other countries of the world. Apart from rudimentary efforts by some government regulatory agencies, nothing is happening as far as protecting the Nigerian consuming public is concerned (Okafor, 2008). The law of consumerism accorded the consuming public the right to be safe, to be informed, to choose and to be heard. But practically, these rights are not accorded to Nigerian consumers. In fact according to Okafor, (2008: 57), he said;
“Of all the rights on consumer protection, the only one that is accorded the Nigerian consumer is the right to choose from an array of products that are dominated by fake, substandard and deceitful products. The average Nigerian consumer does not know his rights. He needs to be educated through massive public awareness campaign. Many Nigerians are just concerned with survival. So, the average Nigerian wants to just have something in the stomach, the cheaper, the better, quality, to him is secondary, however
the way forward is that Nigerian manufacturers must work towards offering the right kind of products that will meet consumers’ expectations of convenience, taste and lifestyle, whilst ensuring they are nutritious and affordable. Government regulatory agencies must do their jobs, whilst the legal systems must be overhauled to make them more accessible to both Government agencies and consumers and to
deliver justice faster”
Consumers should be vigilant by not compromising quality in products and channelling their complaints against any manufacturer or marketer of sub-standard products to consumerism movements as to take appropriate action.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Marketing companies in Nigeria are plagued with various problems associated with the marketing of products and services in the country. Consumerism is often seen by marketers as one of the multifarious problems in the marketing of products and services that organizations are facing, thus it is an external force in the marketing environment which is beyond the control of marketers. Consumerism is a problem to companies engaged in unscrupulous practices that are detrimental to the consumers. It as a problem because they can be forced out of business when consumers reject their products as a result of poor quality, or low standard Also, it is a problem to them when the government sanctions them in order to protect the consumers, as well as a serious problem when independent organizations are against their sharp practices.
Consumerism can often leads to low sales and turnover of companies because as consumerism spreads, the weaker is the incentive to manufacture for long-lasting, quality products, and the greater the likelihood that cheaply products will not be marketed thus leading to a nationwide loss of manufacturing jobs with its’ corresponding growth in unemployment and the number of welfare recipients, less personal wealth, a shrinking tax base, fewer public services, and greater public and private debt, hopelessness for job seekers and a growing negative balance of trade. Facilitating the sale of whatever is advertised and sold, without examination by the purchaser of quality, origin, environmental degradation or traditions of manufacture from consumerism organisations can increase welfare oh the general public.
Many consumerisms activists believe the rise of large-business corporations poses a threat to the legitimate authority of nation states and the public sphere. They feel corporations are invading people's privacy, manipulating politics and governments, and creating false needs in consumers. They state evidence such as invasive advertising adware, spam, telemarketing,
child-targeted advertising, aggressive guerrilla marketing massive corporate campaign contributions in political elections, interference in the policies of sovereign nation states, and endless global news stories about corporate corruption, with the above in mind Government needs to set up agencies that should see to the production of standard goods and services as government exist to protect the lives of it’ citizens and subject corporations as well as individuals to the law of the land.
An important contribution to the critique of consumerism has been made by French philosopher Bernard Stiegler, arguing modern capitalism is governed by consumption rather than production, and the advertising techniques used to create consumer behaviour amount to the destruction of psychic and collective individuation. The diversion of energy toward the consumption of consumer products, he argues, results in an addictive cycle of consumption (Peters, 2007), leading to hyper consumption, the exhaustion of desire, and the reign of symbolic misery, these practices are not ethical, therefore, since consumerism movements seek to align corporation to the production and marketing of goods and services that enhances welfare and at the same time imbibing the culture of ethics in marketing of products. Manufacturers must inculcate in morality in production and marketing of goods that are consumer friendly.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The essence of this research work focuses on the effects of consumerism in the marketing of products in Nigeria. Specific objectives of the study are:-
i) To determine the effects of consumerism in product marketing.
ii) To examine government effort in consumerism and its influence on product marketing.
iii) To investigate the roles of independent organizations in consumerism movement and its impact in marketing activities.
iv) To ascertain whether manufacturers imbibe marketing and business ethics in product marketing and sales.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. Does consumerism movement have any effect on product marketing in Nigeria?
ii. Do government efforts in consumerism have any effects in product marketing in Nigeria?
iii. What is the impact of independent consumerism movements has on product Marketing in Nigeria?
iv. Do manufacturers of product imbibe marketing and business ethics have on product marketed and sold in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Ho1: Consumerism movement does not have any effect in product marketing in Nigeria.
HO2: Government efforts in consumerism do not have any effect on product marketing.
HO3: Independent organizations in consumerism do not have impact in product marketing.
HO4: Nigerian Manufacturers do not imbibe marketing and business ethics in the production of goods marketed and sold to the general public.
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