1) The General Culture
This refers to material and nonmaterial elements surrounding you. Material elements include the products, the stores, and the advertisements. The rise of the "big box" stores like Super Wal-Mart and the popularity of SUV's are examples of material elements.
Nonmaterial culture includes the way people shop and the way they respond to the advertisements. The rise of TV shopping or on-line shopping would be examples of nonmaterial elements.
And our culture is constantly shifting.
For example, the growth of the mall and the superstore and the decline of individual stores has increased consumption. Instead of going to the store to buy a specific item, we now go to the mall or superstore to "shop". Convenience is an important asset to consumption.
"Others, however, decry the essence of Costco. Teri Franklin, a mother of two in Seattle, said that Costco fed American consumerism and waste. 'Instead of a single board game, you're offered seven shrinkwrapped together,' she said. 'You'll probably end up playing with a couple and the rest will sit in the closet. But you really only wanted one.' She said she was not tempted to buy anything beyond bottled water and diapers at Costco. 'How many things do you need 42 of, really?' she asked."
Click here to read "24 Tolls of Toilet Paper, A Tub of Salsa and a Plasma TV."
As the general population has become comfortable with Internet purchases, consumption has increased through that channel as well.
Click here to read "Broad Gains in Online Shopping" for a look at a paradigm shift in retailing.