Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Consumer Behavior

Consumer Behavior

The success of any marketing campaign depends on how the targeted audience has received it. Marketers are vying to grab consumers' attention and fulfill their needs and wants. The main question here is, how can marketers understand the motivations of consumers behind purchase decisions? The answer lies in the study of consumer behavior.

Consumer Behavior Definition

Marketers are facing fierce competition in the market these days. Every marketer wants to capture consumers' attention and build strong relationships with them. This explains why companies are willing to spend a lot of money on marketing research. Marketing research aims to understand consumer buying choices and the motivation behind those choices. In other words, the study of consumer behavior.

Consumer behavior is the study of their buying choices, i.e., why they buy or don't buy a specific product or service, the processes of decision-making, and the motivations behind those decisions.

One of the most critical factors in marketing is understanding consumer behavior. Knowing how consumers make their purchase decisions would make a marketer's life so much easier as they can design marketing campaigns that yield the most favorable results.

However, it is easier said than done, since many customers do not know how and why they make confident buying decisions. Some even find it challenging to explain their buying process and the motivations behind those decisions.

Thus, the most challenging task for every marketer is to answer why consumers buy. This is something consumer behavior studies can help.

Consumer Behavior and Marketing Strategy

The role of consumer behavior is pivotal in devising the marketing strategy.

Consumers react to marketing stimuli, i.e., product, price, place, and promotion – the four Ps of marketing. These stimuli prompt responses from the consumers based on each consumer's characteristics and the buying decision processes.

Here lies the connection between consumer behavior and marketing strategy. If marketers can determine consumers' preferences and buying patterns by examining their behavior, they can also pinpoint the exact factors that influence those decisions. This information can then be used to develop the products/services, set the correct prices, decide on effective distribution channels, and optimize promotional activities to maximize consumer impact.

Adam airlines conducted marketing research to determine its target audience's preferences. Through this research, they concluded that their customers are price sensitive, i.e., customers view price as a significant factor in their buying choices. Therefore, they would keep this factor while devising their marketing strategy.

Check out our article about the connection between Marketing and Sales.

Three roles of consumer behavior in marketing

Overall, consumer behavior has three main roles in marketing:

  • Effective marketing campaigns - Consumer behavior helps marketers to understand the buying patterns of consumers. To an extent, it helps them to design effective marketing campaigns i.,e, the message is delivered and taken positively by the target audience.
  • Suitable marketing channels - Marketers can select suitable marketing channels for their campaigns through a better understanding of consumer behavior. For instance, online buying is a common practice now, therefore, online marketing could be used to attract the target audience.
  • Exploiting untapped markets - The assessment of consumers helps in exploiting untapped markets. Marketers determine new trends and needs by analyzing consumer behavior. It helps in developing products/services to cater to the new needs and wants.

Consumer Behavior Principles

There are certain consumer behavior principles that are significant to understand for businesses to build loyalty amongst their target audiences and increase their brand value. The principles influence the behavior shown by consumers while making purchase decisions.

  • Consumer commitment - Engagement leads to commitment. Once consumer commits to some brand, they are more likely to stick to it in the future. Therefore, businesses need to offer a product/service that consumers can rely on in the long term.
  • Agreement in a wider audience - If a brand is popular amongst a wide audience, more people are likely to join their consumer base.
  • Shared demographic influence - People having the same demographics could influence each other. For instance, people with a certain social class are more likely to be influenced by people belonging to that same class.
  • Authority seeking - People would always seek an expert opinion on a certain product before making the purchase decision.
  • The appeal of exclusivity - An exclusive brand is more appealing to consumers than other brands. It gives them a feeling that they own something that is not easily available in the market.

Factors Influencing Consumer Buying Behavior

Many factors could influence consumer buying behavior. From cultural to psychological factors, they reflect not just the buying choices but also the motivation behind those choices. This section will explain each of these factors in detail.

Consumer behavior: Cultural factors

Cultural factors are comprised of culture, subcultures, and social class. These factors have a significant impact on consumer behavior.

Culture is one of the primary sources through which human behaviors are formed.

For a child, the household and societal values and norms serve as guidelines for developing his values and perceptions. For instance, the term – American dream is often discussed while discussing American culture. It is because this term defines American culture, which is based on equal opportunities for all. It is a culture where people can dream big and turn those dreams into reality.

The smaller parts of a culture are subcultures.

A subculture is a small cultural group within a culture, and it is formed by people having similar value systems.

Subcultures include religions, nationalities, etc. Marketers often use these subcultures to target a specific audience by providing them with customized products/services. A social class represents the division of a society based on income, education, occupation, etc. Marketers study these social classes because the people of a particular social course tend to exhibit similar purchase behavior.

consumer behavior workplace subculture StudySmarterFig. 2. Workplace subculture

Consumer behavior: Social factors

These factors comprise reference groups and family.

A reference group is a group that a person identifies with and aspires to join. It has a significant influence on a person's attitude and behavior.

In marketing, social groups are used to influence consumer buying decisions. For instance, adventure sports athletes endorsing Redbull could affect people's perception of that brand.

The family also has a significant influence on a person buying behavior. For instance, children are more tech-savvy because of easy access to the latest technologies. They are more involved in the buying decisions in a family. From smartphones to cars, they help their parents in their buying decisions. As for marketers, this shift is essential while devising marketing strategies.

Consumer behavior: Personal factors

People sharing similar personal characteristics are likely to exhibit the same buying behavior.

Personal factors include occupation, lifestyle, age, and economic conditions.

For instance, older people are less likely to experiment with new products/services. They would want to continue buying the effects they have used before. Marketers examine these personal factors to understand consumer buying choices and effectively target the customers.

Consumer behavior: Psychological factors

Human needs arise due to biological factors and psychological factors. To fulfill those needs, human seeks satisfaction sometimes by buying a specific product/service.

Psychological factors include motivation, perception, learning, etc.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory presents the different stages of conditions in a person's life. A person, who does not have money, would first worry about fulfilling basic needs such as hunger before fulfilling other requirements. Another critical factor is perception, i.e., how we perceive information. Two people would have different perceptions about a brand when exposed to the same marketing stimuli.

Consumer Behavior Examples

Here are some examples of purchase behaviors that can be categorized into four types based on the extent of buyer involvement:

  • Complex buying – This buying behavior is exhibited when significant variations between brands and a high degree of buyer involvement. It could be because the brand is expensive and new in the market. Consumers will research the brand to make informed purchase decisions.

  • Dissonance-reducing – Consumers show this behavior when there is a high level of involvement and few perceived differences between brands. For instance, a person wants to buy furniture. The degree of participation is high as furniture is costly, but the perceived differences among brands in the same price range would be low.

  • Habitual buying – This behavior is exhibited while purchasing daily products with little perceived differences among brands. Consumers show little involvement in the purchase—for instance, a toothpaste brand.

  • Variety seeking – This purchasing behavior involves low involvement but significant perceived differences among brands. Consumers tend to switch brands because they want to try different brands. Since these choices are not expensive, consumers like to experiment with other brands.

Consumer behavior: The buying process

Buyers make purchases after going through a decision-making process. It starts with need identification and ends with post-purchase behavior. In this section, every stage will be discussed in detail.

  • Need identification – The process starts with identifying needs. It is usually prompted because of either internal or external stimuli. For instance, a beverage advertisement could create demand in you for that product.
  • Information search – At this stage, consumers search for information. This happens when the consumer is not confident about a purchase. Data could be gathered from public or personal sources.
  • Checking alternatives – Once the consumer has the information, they would check alternatives to make an informed purchase decision. The extent of this check depends on factors such as the product's price. For instance, if a product is expensive, consumers might run this process more than one time.
  • Purchase decision – At this stage, the consumer finally decides on a brand for purchase.
  • Post-purchase behavior – Consumers exhibit two kinds of post-purchase behavior. They could be satisfied or dissatisfied with the brand. The level of satisfaction depends on consumer expectations and the brand's perceived performance.

Learn more in our article Buyer Decision Process.

Consumer Behavior - Key takeaways

  • Consumer behavior is the study of customers' buying choices and the motivation behind those decisions.
  • Marketers can determine consumers' preferences and buying patterns by examining consumer buying behavior.
  • Cultural, social, personal, and psychological factors could influence consumer buying behavior.
  • Need identification, information search, checking alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior are the steps in the purchase decision process.
  • Purchase behaviors are categorized into four types based on the extent of buyer involvement and the extent of variations among brands: complex buying, dissonance-reducing, habitual buying, and variety-seeking.

Frequently Asked Questions about Consumer Behavior

Consumer behaviour is the study of their buying choices, i.e., why they buy or don't buy a specific product or service, the processes of decision making, and the motivations behind those decisions.  

Cultural, social, personal, and psychological factors influence consumer behavior. 

If marketers can determine consumers' preferences and buying patterns by examining their behaviour, they can also pinpoint the exact factors that influence those decisions. This information can then be used to develop the products/services, set the correct prices, decide on effective distribution channels, and optimise the promotional activities to maximise consumer impact.  

The expectations about the future can change consumer behavior. For instance, If a buyer expects the price of a good to go down in the future, they hold off buying it today, so the demand for that good today decreases. 

Consumer behaviour is important because it helps marketers to design effective marketing campaigns, select suitable marketing channels, and to exploit untapped markets. 

Final Consumer Behavior Quiz

Question

__________ studies how organisations buy goods and services to include in their production process or to supply them to other consumers.

Show answer

Answer

Business buying behaviour

Show question

Question

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing refers to marketing goods or services to ______ and organisational buyers.

Show answer

Answer

industrial

Show question

Question

B2B decision-makers are always rational; therefore, B2B advertisements are boring and emotionless. 

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Are the B2B stereotypes still valid today?

Show answer

Answer

No

Show question

Question

Outline an example of a commercial buyer and the type of product it is likely to buy.

Show answer

Answer

For example, a manufacturing firm that requires industrial goods (e.g. parts or tools) to use in its manufacturing process, which it then turns into final products.

Show question

Question

A local council might buy industrial goods to deliver certain ______ or facilitate ________.


Show answer

Answer

A local council might buy industrial goods to deliver certain services or facilitate operations.

Show question

Question

Demand in business markets tends to be _____ in the short run.


Show answer

Answer

inelastic

Show question

Question

The business buying process is more formal and more complex.


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

What is derived demand?

Show answer

Answer

Derived demand is the idea that demand in business markets ultimately comes from the demand for consumer products.

Show question

Question

What are the three main buying situations?

Show answer

Answer

1. Straight rebuy

2. Modified rebuy

3. New task buy

Show question

Question

'The buyer acts out of routine and looks for no or very little information' is usually the case for a:


Show answer

Answer

Straight rebuy

Show question

Question

What is the first step of the buying process?

Show answer

Answer

Problem recognition or opportunity identification.

Show question

Question

During the 'description of needs and product specifications' phase, the buyer chooses the supplier, date, and terms of the order.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

What is a key account manager?

Show answer

Answer

Key account managers work with the company's most important (largest) customers to build long-term relationships.

Show question

Question

________ is the act of purchasing products electronically (most often online).

Show answer

Answer

E-procurement

Show question

Question

________, in the B2B context, is about aligning your digital marketing efforts with the buyer's decision-making and buying process.


Show answer

Answer

Inbound marketing

Show question

Question

What is the main goal of inbound marketing?

Show answer

Answer

Engagement

Show question

Question

What should the seller focus on to retain profitable customers?

Show answer

Answer

  • Providing superior value,

  • Offering a set of core and add-on benefits that suit the client's needs,

  • Trying to reduce the client's operational costs with an outstanding offering.

Show question

Question

Define consumer behavior. 

Show answer

Answer

The study of consumer behavior in terms of their buying choices i.e., why they buy or don’t buy a certain product/service, the processes of decision making, and the motivations behind those decisions. 

Show question

Question

Consumers find it easier to explain why they buy a certain brand. 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Why is it a difficult task for marketers to find out why consumers buy certain brands? 

Show answer

Answer

Lack of data

Show question

Question

Name the four marketing stimuli

Show answer

Answer

Product, price, place, and promotion. 

Show question

Question

What is the purpose of marketing stimuli? 

Show answer

Answer

The purpose of marketing stimuli is to get consumers to react to a marketing offer.

Show question

Question

How do marketers see consumer buying patterns? 

Show answer

Answer

Marketers see consumer buying patterns through consumer buying behaviors. 

Show question

Question

What is the role of consumer behavior in devising marketing strategies? 

Show answer

Answer

To develop the products/services, set the correct prices, decide on effective distribution channels, and optimize the promotional activities to maximise the impact on consumers. 

Show question

Question

Cultural, social, personal, and ______ factors could influence consumer buying behavior. 

Show answer

Answer

Psychological

Show question

Question

Why do cultural factors influence consumer buying behavior? 

Show answer

Answer

Culture is one of the main sources through which human behaviors are formed. The household and societal values and norms serve as guidelines for developing values and perceptions. 

Show question

Question

Economic condition is one of the personal factors. 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

People sharing similar personal factors are likely to exhibit the same buying behavior.


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Human needs arise due to biological factors and ________ factors. 


Show answer

Answer

Cultural

Show question

Question

Post-purchase behavior is not a part of purchase decision process

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Significant variations between brands and a high degree of buyer involvement. 

Show answer

Answer

Complex buying behavior

Show question

Question

Purchase behavior with high level of involvement and few perceived differences between brands is called ________ 


Show answer

Answer

Dissonance-reducing buying behavior

Show question

Question

Define the buyer decision process.

Show answer

Answer

The buyer decision process is a five-step process in which a customer evaluates whether or not to make a purchase.



Show question

Question

The buyer decision process starts with need recognition and stops with the purchasing decision.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Fill in the blanks:

  • Need recognition
  • _______________
  • _______________
  • _______________
  • Post-purchase behaviour


Show answer

Answer

  • Need recognition
  • Information search
  • Evaluation of alternatives
  • Purchase decision
  • Post-purchase behaviour


Show question

Question

In this step, the buyer recognises a need or realises that a product or service they require is missing. Name this step.

Show answer

Answer

Need recognition

Show question

Question

Marketers can influence internal stimuli.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

What happens in the information search step in the buyer decision process?

Show answer

Answer

Customers start collecting information about possible solutions from various sources.  

Show question

Question

What are the two factors that can affect a purchase decision?

Show answer

Answer

Attitudes and unexpected situational factors

Show question

Question

What are some unexpected situational factors?

Show answer

Answer

Unexpected situational factors refer to unforeseen changes in any factors that may affect consumers' purchase decisions. These may include an unexpected price rise, an increase in salary, better product benefits, etc. 

Show question

Question

Why is it important for brands to keep up their promises?

Show answer

Answer

If brands fail to deliver on their promise, it will result in dissatisfied customers as the product will fail to meet the customers' expectations. The customer sets expectations based on what the brand has already promised.

Show question

Question

What are the types of buying behaviour?

Show answer

Answer

  • Complex buying behaviour
  • Variety-seeking buying behaviour
  • Dissonance-reducing behaviour
  • Habitual buying behaviour


Show question

Question

High involvement and few changes in brands lead to:

Show answer

Answer

Dissonance-reducing buying behaviour

Show question

Question

Habitual buying behaviour fulfills the following conditions:

Show answer

Answer

Low involvement and few changes in brands

Show question

Question

Variety-seeking buying behaviour involves low involvement and significant changes in brands.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Complex buying behaviour involves __________ involvement and _________ changes in brands.

Show answer

Answer

high and significant 

Show question

Question

Buying toothpaste is an example of

Show answer

Answer

variety-seeking buying behaviour 

Show question

Question

A business market is a market in which organisations sell their goods and services to other organisations to use in their _________ or service provision.

Show answer

Answer

manufacturing process/production process

Show question

Question

Business marketers sell their products to:

  • ___________, 
  • Governmental bodies, 
  • ___________.

Show answer

Answer

  1. Commercial enterprises 

  2. Governmental bodies 

  3. Institutions 

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Consumer Behavior quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.