On Becoming a Consumer

1st Edition

Development of Consumer Behavior Patterns in Childhood

Authors: James McNeal
Hardcover ISBN: 9780750683357
Imprint: Butterworth-Heinemann
Published Date: 24th January 2007
Page Count: 432


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The book demonstrates how consumer development is intertwined with cognitive and motor development; each of the three dependent on the other two. Showing consumer behavior being responsible for body and mind development is new thinking; yet, the examples are clearly presented so that any interested person can grasp them. Presenting consumer behavior in stages of development, while logical, is essentially new also. We are familiar with cognitive development, for example, being described in stages, but not CB. In fact, stages of cognitive development are sometimes used as a framework for explaining consumer behavior but not its development as such. In this sense then, the book might be considered cutting edge as compared to one that offers a slightly different approach to the existing thought on consumer behavior.

Key Features

  • focuses on the process of how young children become consumers
  • takes developmental approach to a key area in consumer marketing
  • provides theory and international examples, including several drawn from the authors experience in China


Marketing professionals specializing in consumer behavior and children; Academic researchers in consumer behavior

Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1 On Becoming a Consumer Vignette: Yulan Wang Becomes a Fast Food Consumer Introduction What Is Consumer Behavior and Who Is a Consumer Independent and Dependent Consumer Behavior Why Dwell on the Development of Consumer Behavior Patterns in Childhood Consumer Behavior Is 24-7-360 What Is Mean by Consumer Development
In the Rest of the Book

PART II ENVIRONMENT CHAPTER 2 Physical Environment of Consumer Development Vignette: Tony's Photo of His Favorite Place and Favorite Things Two Environments: Physical vs. Social The Contents of the Physical Environment: Objects, Objects, Objects The Nature of the Physical Environment Origins of the Physical Environment Discussion

CHAPTER 3 Social Environment of Consumer Development Vignette: Two-year-old Howie's Favorite Brand Children's Two Environments: Social and Physical Contents of the Child's Social Environment: People and Near-People Nature of the Social Environment: Adults and Peers Stages of Social Development Discussion

PART III PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER 4 Motor Development and Its Relation to Consumer Development Vignette: Wei Shen's Fast Food Purchase Physical Growth Motor Development Phases of Motor Development Discussion

CHAPTER 5 Cognitive Development and Its Relation to Consumer Development Vignette: Shandra, the Eight-year-old Housekeeper In


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© Butterworth-Heinemann 2007
Hardcover ISBN:

About the Author

James McNeal

Affiliations and Expertise

Retired Professor, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA; Principal, McNeal & Kids, a youth marketing consulting firm; Visiting Professor, Peking University, China


"Dr. McNeal’s new book has taken his many years of research, teaching, and consulting and has provided a unique, comprehensive perspective on the consumer development process. This book is remarkably different from all other consumer behavior and child consumer books in that it examines the phenomenon of becoming, rather than simply being, a consumer. Its multidimensional focus examines the influence of several factors beyond just social influence on the development of cognitive, physical, social, and language skills. These developing skills are then shown to manifest in specific consumer behaviors, presenting a much needed, wider theoretical framework than has traditionally been used with child consumers. This is a must-read for anyone interested in better understanding the complex relationships between our children, our environment, and the marketplace." -- Sabrina M. Neeley, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Miami University, Oxford, OH "Dr. McNeal's discussion of how children 'become' consumers adds an important new dimension to this topic, and is useful for the student, the observer, the critic and the practitioner alike." -- Julie Halpin, Chief Executive Officer, Geppetto