Cultural comparison of USA and India

The decisions made by consumers around different cultures depend on the ingenious believes and behaviors of the given culture. Consumer culture can be defined as “the societal beliefs that define what is socially gratifying”, (Babin & Harris, 2009, p. 154). When we define a consumer culture to be dependent on social norms and socially gratifying factors, we must be careful in introducing a product to a new culture even if the product is very successful in the host culture. In the following discussion I have made a comparison of US and Indian cultures with respect to the consumer cultural factors including individualism, masculinity, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, power distance and long term avoidance.


A study conducted to find the level of individualism in India, South Korea and America found that India had a moderate level of individualism (score 48) and USA had a high level of individualism (score 91) (Jaju, Kwak and Zinkhan, 2002) this study suggests that if a business want to introduce some product or service in India or USA, they have to be careful about the larger distance both cultures have when it comes to the individualism factors. In India, people live in close communities with larger families sizes while in the US it is the very opposite.


Masculinity is another human trait which has to be carefully considered when introducing or advertising a product of service in a cultural paradigm. Asian culture are considered to be more masculine as compared to western cultures. So when working in India, the consumer are considered to be looking for assertiveness while in the US consumers can be targeted via strategies that focus on the soft values of these consumers.


Power distance

In Asian cultures power distance is higher in comparison to America (Babin & Harris, 2009, p. 159). There is a great communication gap between age and class groups. In India, young people are more obedient to elderly as compared to US (Myers and Tan, 2003). We can safely say that if a company want to target a given population in India, they have to adopt different strategies to attract people of different ages and classes. The US consumers, on the other hand do not have that much of power distance and the similar advertisement strategies can be used to attract consumers of different ages and classes.

Uncertainty avoidance

Due to the fact that Indian culture is socially less secure as compared to the US culture, Indians tend to be more careful in taking risks and making uncertain decisions. Indian people do not have an abundance of resources, therefore the purchasing decisions are made after careful consideration. In comparison, US people have much more resources and therefore they might not be spending that much time when it comes to spending money.

Long-term orientation (LTO)

As I have earlier discussed, Indian society does not have an abundance of resources, therefor Indian culture tend to be long-term oriented i.e. they are more interested in in a future reward rather than immediate gratification. India has a score of 61 on the LTO chart compared to a score of 29 by USA (Babin & Harris, 2009, p. 161). American might tend to be interested in the immediate benefits if the products and services they buy as they would be able to afford to replace them when an advance version is available.

We can conclude from the above discussion that India and USA consumers possess different traits when it comes to making a purchasing decisions. There are different factors that influence these decisions. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these differences when devising strategies to target a consumer market in these countries. A strategy devised for one country may or may not be helpful in the other country.
















Babin, B. J., & Harris, E. G. (2009). CB what’s inside: A student-tested, faculty-approved approach to learning consumer behavior (4th ed., p. 157). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Jaju, A., Kwak, H., & Zinkhan, G. M. (2002). Learning styles of undergraduate business students: A cross-cultural comparison between the US, India, and Korea. Marketing Education Review, 12(2), 49-60.

Myers, M. D., & Tan, F. B. (2003). Beyond models of national culture in information systems research. Advanced topics in global information management, 2, 14-29.