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Utility of Religious Goods

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Utility of Religious Goods

Ashley Baird

Courtney Waldron

Chappell Wyms Jr.

Midwestern State University

Dillard College of Business Administration

Marketing Research - MKTG 4143

Fall 2017

Table of Contents

3. Introduction

3. Objectives


4. Research Development

6. Analysis

5. Literature Review

9. Qualitative Methods

9. Qualitative Results

14. Variables

14. Interviews and Research Questions

15. Religious Consumption Survey Variables

16. Discussion

17. Conclusion

17. Limitations

18. Marketing Implications

19. References


Around 1992 the market for religious goods and services started to decline. The key basis of religious consumption was based on the personal identification with religion, the importance religion played in your life, and views from a materialistic standpoint. Sales for religious goods declining from the sale of bibles, religious artifacts/symbols, and other material items that represent religion among the population. Within today’s market, Individual actions are perceived actions of an entire religion, for example in Houston during Hurricane Harvey Joel Olsteen was depicted as a monster for not opening its church doors in order to shelter citizens from the flood in a time of crisis and this made it look as if Christians did not want to help others unless they benefitted from the action. Religious organizations are more of the center of religion and not the belief system of the religion. Marketing and profiting off of a belief in a higher power has turned consumers away from participating in church services, charity events, and purchasing household religious items(dependent on type of religion). “The relationship between religion and culture manifesting through family and self-identity are applied to three consumer behavior themes: materialism, role of possessions as status enhancers and the use of friends and family as a reference group(Lindridge 2005).”


The objectives of this report is to determine what the differences and similarities between religious and nonreligious consumers, when it comes to religious products. We will look at these to groups in a 2*2 matrix. On a y axis of external and an x axis of internal religious expression.


In today’s society you have that religion and spirituality being personalized. People can practice their religions at their own. There is no need for the group practice anymore due to the vast amount of information available in the world. With this people can ‘mix and match from different sources to customize their spiritual beliefs and practices.”(Rinallo and Maclaran) This leads to the various expressions of religiosity and spirituality.

The materialistic aspects of religion can have different meanings to each belief. Some believe in the fact that material aspects of life don't matter and others try to avoid it totally to become more spiritual. Even though materialism as opposed to some religious values, religious goods still hold a large market. This could be attributed to “religious kitsch objects can offer simultaneous symbolic and functional value.”(Higgins and Hamilton), because of this these values allow for purchasing without the materialistic attitudes affecting those buying.

For our interviews it focused more on finding a sample population to gauge the what the habits of the consumers are. The surveys looked mostly at both qualitative and quantitative questions for the interviewee. The qualitative questions focused on the religiosity of the interveiwees, and to understand where they would be on the Religiosity Matrix. The qualitative questions focused on the amount that the interviewees purchased, to understand habits and reasons behind the purchases.

Research Development

Before considering any literature or beginning data collection, the class, a convenience sample of 12 students, participated in a group discussion lead by the marketing research professor, for approximately one hour. This was done in the first two weeks of class. Some of the students have previously had courses together, but generally the participants in the discussion did not know each other well and were not of a specific demographic in relation to gender, religion, age, or race. The group, lead by questions posed from the professor, discussed the topics of religion, why religion is a sensitive topic to discuss with others, and why humans consider religion to be an intimately personal topic.

The participants in the group overall seemed to be religious, with the notable exception of two participants who verbalized disinterest in the concept of religion. Some participants did not reflect their opinion by wording their responses strategically and responding less frequently. Overall, the class appeared to be largely Christian, some practicing, but at least two estranged. The purpose of the conversation was to begin the thought process on the topic of religion and prepare the class to use exploratory research methods such as literature review and depth interviews.

Research Questions

From the initial class conversation, Professor Nguyen formed five research questions over the topic of religion, materialism, values, and life satisfaction. After beginning exploratory research, the fifth question, which discussed the role of religious organizations and life satisfaction,



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