Consumer Behavior

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Oliphant
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 1 | Vietnam Download Syllabus

This course is an introduction to the world of consumer behavior. The discipline borrows from several social sciences including psychology, sociology, and anthropology to explain behavior in the marketplace. In this course, the student will explore how perceptions, learning, memory, personality, and attitudes influence consumption behavior, how consumption changes during one’s life cycle, and how powerful cultural and subcultural influences are on consumers. Students will explore the area of buying and consumption behavior as an important subset of human behavior and develop an appreciation of the theoretical foundations of this topic. The main course objectives are to provide students with an understanding of the basic concepts, principles, and theories of consumer behavior and apply relevant consumer behavior concepts to the creation of marketing strategy. Furthermore, we will have the opportunity to see first-hand, the consumption behavior of consumers at the many ports we will visit which will become a major learning mechanism for this course.

Field Work

Country: Vietnam
Day: 1

Since the introduction of doi moi (renovation) policy in 1986 and the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo, Vietnam has become one of the fastest-growing economies. Vietnam’s rising middle class is becoming a driving force in many industries. For retailers and consumer goods companies, Vietnam represents an attractive market. The field experience provides us an excellent opportunity to observe consumers and retailers in this marketplace and evaluate challenges and opportunities for companies preparing to enter this market. Students will visit a marketplace, travel the maze of tributaries and highways in the countryside, and have a traditional Vietnamese lunch/dinner.  Seeing first-hand the infrastructure of the country, students will learn the many parts that a consumer is faced with when buying products.

Students will also have time to interact with both business representatives and consumers to better understand the dynamic changes taking place in Vietnam and identifying the similarities and differences among both businesses and consumers in the United States.
Academic Objectives: These experiences will enable the students to better understand: • Perceptions and Product Knowledge: Consumers in the Marketplace • The Influence of Culture on Consumer Behavior • The Influence of infrastructure on the buying process
• Group and Family Decision Making