Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level





G.E. Kiser

Committee Member

Thomas W. Jones

Second Committee Member

David A. Schroeder


Elderly consumers, market segments, target marketing, marketing strategy


The purpose of this study was to examine the usefulness of social class as a basis for deriving target markets among elderly consumers. Using the retirement communities of Bella Vista and Hillcrest in Bentonville and Fayetteville, Arkansas, respectively, four social class groupings were derived. The social class groupings were obtained via the Hollingshead Three-Item Index of Social Position. Three of the hypotheses were developed in a manner to assess buyer behavior for prepurchase information acquisition, purchase decision choice criteria, and post-purchase degree of satisfaction for limited problem-solving types of purchases. In all instances the null hypotheses could not be rejected. The remaining hypotheses dealt with the variety of transportation modes employed, shopping distances for routinized trips, frequency of shopping trips, and number of merchant trade areas shopped. In all instances the null hypotheses were rejected. The uppermiddle and middle-middle (classes II and III on the Hollingshead ISP) were the most likely to demonstrate variety in modes of transportation, travel further to shop, even to distant merchant trade areas, and make such trips more frequently than the upper and lower class groupings in the sample. The implication to marketers is that where communities of middle- to upper-middle elderly consumers reside nearby they represent potential target markets who possess not only the financial ability to buy but the propensity to shop.