Terah VanDam

Date of Defense




First Advisor

Ann Veeck, Marketing

Second Advisor

Frank Gambino, Food Marketing

Third Advisor

Barbara Yehling, Kellogg Co.


There are many factors effecting consumer buying behaviours in urban areas of the People's Republic of China during recent years. These factors and their results are of growing importance in the increasingly global marketplace within which most companies are beginning to compete. Just some of the rapidly changing drivers of this change are the Chinese one-child policy, higher average incomes and employment rates, privatization of industries, and the introduction of global brands. The purpose of this research is to uncover some of the important consumer insights already known and studies in the United States and begin to understand their implications in urban China. The focus of these inquiries is the participation of children in their parents' shopping occasion. This includes the amount of input that Chinese children have in their parents' product choices and expenditures, and its relationship with other demographic variables. To effectively communicate the application of consumer trends found through this research study in China it is necessary to compare the findings to American benchmarks and standards. To understand the current standards here in the U.S. it is first important to develop the background of these standards. The beginnings of consumer behaviour understanding are described in chronological order to take the reader through the process that was used by firms and academics to understand the domestic consumer. The effectiveness in foreign countries such as China has been limited and difficult to validate. Next, the author examines the standards that emerged as a result of the consumer understanding process. Next the author examines China in detail, and last examines the American consumer research assumptions that may be applied to Chinese culture.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only