n Management Dynamics : Journal of the Southern African Institute for Management Scientists - The role of collectivism in defining the South African Bottom of the Pyramid

Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1019-567X


The 'bottom of the pyramid' (BoP) refers to the world's poorest socio-economic group. Despite their poverty, consumers in this segment are an attractive target market and have received increasing attention in the marketing literature. To date, however, the research corpus has tended to view these consumers as individuals acting in a social vacuum. Building upon the work of Chipp, Corder and Kapelianis (2012), this study departs from the prevailing perspective and adopts a more collectivist approach to determining classification at the South African bottom of the pyramid. It is argued that collectivism as a construct, as well as several proxy indicators for collectivism, is a defining feature of life at the BoP in South Africa. This study uses household data from the All Media and Product Survey to build a model with five predictors of BoP classification: collectivism, income, lifestyle, community size, and racial classification. The empirical results demonstrate that it is possible to parsimoniously and accurately predict which South Africans constitute the BoP.

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