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Influence of External Factors on Business: Gym

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 1952 words Published: 7th Sep 2017

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World has become a global village and globalization has opened doors for people of different backgrounds and countries to come closer and interact with each other. As a consumer, our decisions are heavily influenced by socio-cultural factors. Therefore, to understand rationale behind consumer’s decisions related to any product or service, it is vital that we evaluate the external factors involved.

Being a new student at University of New England, Australia I had the opportunity to use many facilities that SportUNE offer.

With the establishment of University of New England (UNE) in 1938, SportUNE also became operational. Since its inception, it is open to not only to students studying in UNE, but also for community usage boosting an overall culture of wellbeing and staying active. SportUNE offers many facilities for students which includes state-of-the-art Gym, playing fields along with two multipurpose halls, a climbing wall, 25 meter heated indoor pool, multiple courts and a café along with group fitness classes, health and wellbeing programs, personal trainers, and access to more than twenty sporting clubs from a variety of different sports. (SportUNE, 2017)

Among various facilities that SportUNE offers, the facility that I choose for this assignment is the Gym and Synopsis for this decision-making is explained below.

Main Body:

In our lives there are many decisions that we take on daily basis whether it is the brand of milk we buy, model of a car, neighborhood we choose to live in, school our kids go to or holiday destination we choose. Decisions are an integral part of every human’s life, which are influenced by various internal and external factors (Schiffman et, al., 2014, p: 24). For assignment 1, we will examine how these external factors namely culture, social class, reference groups and family that provides an input in a consumer decision-making.

Decision-Making Process:

The decision-making is a five-stage process which includes problem recognition, pre-purchase search, and evaluation of alternatives, purchase and post-purchase. (Schiffman et, al., 2014, p: 488)

I along with my husband and two children moved to Australia from Pakistan when I got admission in UNE. We moved to Armidale before my coursework started. As my youngest child was born just before we relocated to Australia, I did not have enough time to exercise and return to my pre-pregnancy weight. Now with mounting pressure of managing home and studies with baby around, I had my hands full and was unable to take out time for my own self and I felt stress all the time. This situation gave rise to problem recognition stage.

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Living in Armidale, I searched online for different activities that can incorporate with my hectic routine. My search revealed that there are few fitness clubs in Armidale like Anytime fitness, Feelgood Gym, chilli gym, Mick & Colleen’s Fitness Centre etc that offered various facilities. I searched all my options, visited their premises to evaluate all alternatives to shortlist which facility best suited my requirements. SportUNE attracted my attention the most because it was very close to my residence as all other facilities were concentrated in middle of city Centre. Also, as a student at UNE, I received 20% discount on 12-month membership (SportUNE, 2017).

So I decided to purchase 12-month membership of SportUNE and arranged my daily routine in a way that I was able to take time out for myself in between my classes and home. I believe that it was the right decision I made of choosing SportUNE gym and happy with my post purchase.

Next step is to understand how external factors influenced my decision making process of choosing SportUNE gym.

Influence of External Factors:

Influence of Family:

Former Sociologists articulated that children learn basic consumption behaviour from their parents (Riesman and Roseborough, 1955). Brought up and raised in an extended family (Schiffman et, al, 2014p: 326), many family members played vital role as a stimulant to shape values and attitudes to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Socialization of Family members:

Parents play major role in shaping the consumer socialization of children where parents act as socialization agents. Through the perceptual and analytical stage (John, 1999), as a child I grew up observing my parents take decisions and follow a healthy lifestyle. I used to accompany my mother to the gym and shadowed her exercise routines followed by healthy eating habits developed my positive attitude towards achieving physical fitness. (Schiffman, 2014d, p: 328)

Family Life cycle:

As an adult and passing through the parenthood stage engaging in primary school phase of traditional family lifecycle (Schiffman, 2014d, p: 335), it is difficult to manage time with two kids for one’s own self. Juggling time between kids’ school, day care, karate classes, house chores and studies is a difficult job and results in over exhaustion and stress. SportUNE offers free crèche service (SportUNE crèche, 2017) for young children so I was able to enjoy my workout routines without worrying about finding a babysitter for my baby. Also, added incentive that service is free of cost so it was not added burden financially.

Dynamics of Husband-wife decision-making:

Multiple decisions in our household are influenced by the husband-wife decision-making dynamics. Generally as husband and wife, as identified by (Sciffman et, al., 2014, p: 345) we took syncretic/ joint decisions when choosing our child’s primary school, deciding holiday but in-case of deciding whether SportUNE, facility, it was an autonomic decision (Schiffman et, al., 2014, p: 345) as I became the decider, by taking a gym membership, I became buyer and by going to the gym regularly to exercise made me the user of the facility (Schiffman et, al (2014, p: 342).

Reference Group:

Bearden and Etzel (1982) identified that the products and brands nominated by the individuals can be subjective to their reference groups. According to (Sciffman et, al., 2014, p: 289), reference groups classifies different individuals in consumer’s life as role model for their attitudes and behavior. Staying happy, healthy, active and confident is the attitude that was religiously practiced in my family throughout my life becoming normative reference group in my decision.

When I visited SportUNE gym, I noticed that there were many women using gym with their little kids being taken care of in Crèche, I felt association with them because of similar parenthood stage. So they acted as an associative reference group. (Sciffman et, al., 2014, p: 290).

Jillian Michaels, a successful American personal trainer acted as an Aspirational reference group (Sciffman et, al., 2014, p: 290), for my decision to join gym because I grew up watching her Television program “The Biggest Looser” which inspired me to develop healthy lifestyle and stay in shape. Similarly fitness trainers and experts like Emily Skye, Kristy Welsh and Bob Harper, are few of the notable people who acted as an Aspirational reference in my decision to join gym and get in shape.

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Few of my friends who are already studying in UNE, Armadale and are regular user of SportUNE gym facility put great confidence in the gym environment, friendly and helpful trainers, up to date gym equipment and awesome gym environment became the opinion leaders (Sciffman et, al., 2014, p: 295) making me an opinion receiver (Sciffman et, al., 2014, p: 295)in my assignment.

Social Class

According to latest survey conducted by ANU Centre for Social research and Methods, 19th ANU Polls (ANUpoll, 2015), Dr Jill Sheppard & Dr Nicholas Biddle identified that 92% of the Australians identified themselves as middle class or working class with 52% identified as middle class and 40% as working class. There are multiple factors that work as a catalyst for identifying different social class categories one belongs to depending upon objective measures of social class. These variables are occupation, income and education.

My husband and I both work in managerial roles and our accumulated income is higher than 100,000 per annum, which categorizes my family in an established middle class category, which according to the survey conducted by BBC concludes 25% of the estimated population (Dr Jill Sheppard & Dr Nicholas Biddle, 2015).

As a middle-class household, I consider myself as a non-affluent consumer (Schiffman et, al, 2014, p:380) considers Gym as a disposable income.


Culture is nurtured from the early age where family teaches acceptable behavior and values to children. Parents spread it through traditions, bedtime stories, customs, religious festivities and customs. Culture defines who we are, what we believe in and how we spend our lives. We learn what is acceptable in society and how to behave though values that are instigated either at home or through informal learning (Schiffman et, al., 2014).

When I moved to Australia from Pakistan, I encountered big cultural gap. It was pertinent that I learn Australian culture through Acculturation (Schiffman et, al., 2014, p: 398) to settle and enjoy the lifestyle I wish for myself and my family. I decided to join SportUNE gym with core values of achievement, stimulation and conformity (Schiffman et, al., 2014, p: 411-414) was achieving my desired goal of losing weight, state of art facilities and fitness classes as stimulation for change and conformity to myself for respecting my body.

Ethnic Subculture:

When I bought SportUNE membership, my husband gifted me with new pair of Nike Sneakers to motivate and encourage me. This gifting behavior (Schiffman et, al., 2014, p: 436) is commonly practiced in Southeast Asian culture where every occasion is celebrated.

Age Subculture:

As part of generation Y cohort, multiple things attracted my attention when I visited Gym for evaluation of alternatives.

All the cardio equipment is technologically advance with touch screen displays and personal entertainment, free gym accreditation service along with friendly and helpful staff (SportUNE, facilities, 2017).

Relationship between External Factors and Decision-making Process:

In given assignment, parenthood stage of family lifecycle, aspirational reference groups, social core values and being a generation Y member provided sufficient influence to initiate process in decision-making model.


Following the above discussion, I have concluded that external factors like family, culture and subculture, social class, reference groups and opinion leaders all play important role in providing information to consumer to recognize the need for a change. These all factors are either directly or indirectly inter-related e.g. family members act as reference groups, which can be associative or dissociative in nature. Culture acts as a cornerstone in shaping values and beliefs of an individual that influences the family decision-making.


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