This term refers to a group of individuals who are ordered in relation to each other and who share the same position in society. Individuals of the same social class have the same economic situation, as well as the same behaviors and opinions. Each society is broken down into different stratified social classes.
The place of an individual in the social hierarchy depends on his belonging to a given social class. Nowadays, the INSEE social classification is the best known. This classification determines the social position of an individual according to the PCS, in other words the professions and socio-professional categories.
The knowledge of social classes is fundamental in marketing. And for good reason, it allows you to know and predict the consumption behavior of the company’s target customers. Belonging to a social class induces expenditures deemed necessary for the acquisition of attributes specific to the social class in question.
When forecasting an individual’s purchases, one must not only consider :
- the social class of the individual,
- and on the other hand, of its position within the social class.
For example, a newly graduated physician will have less income than an experienced, established physician. However, he or she will be required to make certain mandatory expenditures such as the purchase of a physician’s gown.
In addition, social mobility must also be considered. An individual can leave the social class inherited from his parents to reach a higher social class. This is called upward mobility. In the opposite case, when an individual migrates to a lower social class, it is called downward mobility.