Note on Consumer Behaviour - Buying process and influencing factors

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Consumer Markets and Consumer Buyer Behaviour




Consumer Buyer Behaviour

The buying behavior of the final customer –individuals and households that buy goods and services for a personal purpose.All these individual combine together to make a final consumer market.Consumers and their consumption vary according to age, income, education level, and tastes.

Characteristics Affecting Consumer Behaviour

Consumers are mainly affected by several factors like cultural, social, personal and psychological characteristics.

Cultural factors

Cultural factors play vital role in the consumer market and behavior. The marketer must need to understand the buyer's culture, subculture, and social class.

  • Culture: Culture is the most basic values, perceptions wants and behavior learned by the member of society from family and other important institutions. Every group or society has culture and cultural influence which vary from country to country.
  • Subculture: Each culture contains smaller groups that are called sub culture whose value system are based on common life experiences and situations.Subculture include nationalities, religions, racial groups and geographic regions.
  • Social class: The permanent and ordered divisions in the community whose members share similar values, interest, and behaviors. It is not determined by the single factors like income but it is determined by multiple factors like occupation, income, education, wealth, and other variables.

Social factors

A consumer behavior is also influenced by social factors such as the consumer small groups, family and social roles and status.

  • Groups and social networks: Various types of small groups influence a person behavior.Two or more people who interact in order to achieve individual or mutual goals is a group.
  • Family: The family is also a factor that influences buyer behavior.The family is the most important consumer buying organization in society, and it has been proved through research extensively.Marketers are interested in the roles and influence of the husband, wife and children during the purchase of different products and services.
  • Roles and Status: A person belongs to various groups like family, clubs organizations and their roles in each group can be defined in terms of both role and status.

Personal factors

A buyers decision also are influenced by personal characteristics such as buyers age and life cycle stage, occupation, economic situation, lifestyle, and personality and self-concept.

  • Age and life cycle stage: People change the products and services they buy in their lifetimes.Tastes in food, clothes, furniture and recreation are mainly related to age.Marketers often define their target markets in terms of life cycle stage and develop proper goods and marketing plans for each age.
  • Occupation: A person's occupation affects the goods and services that are bought by the buyers.Marketers try to identify the occupational groups that have an above-average interest in their products and services.
  • Economic Situation: The economic situation of the person will affect the product choice.Marketers target consumers who have lots of money, charging a price too much.
  • Lifestyle: A person pattern of living as his/her activities, interest and opinions are called lifestyle.The concept of lifestyle helps to understand consumer values and how they affect buying behavior.
  • Personality and self-concept: Each person's distinct personality influences his or her buying decision.Personality refers to the unique characteristics that persons show in different situations.

Psychological factors

The four major psychological factors such as motivation, perception, learning and beliefs and attitudes play significant roles in consumer buying and they are described below.

  • Motivation: A motive is a need that leads persons to satisfaction.A person tries to satisfy the most important need first when that need is satisfied, it will stop being a motivator and the person will then try to satisfy the next most important need.
  • Perception: The process by which people select, organize and interpret information to a meaningful information is perception.People show different perceptions of the same stimuli.Marketers worry about whether their offers will be perceived at all, some consumers worry that they will be affected by marketing messages without knowing it.
  • Learning: If the people change their behavior from experience then it is called learning.It occurs through drives, stimuli, cues, response and reinforcement.
  • Belief and attitudes: A descriptive that a person holds about something is belief whereas attitudes describe person evaluation, feelings and tendencies towards an object or idea. A company should usually try to fit its products into existing attitudes rather than attempting to change attitudes.


Types of Buying Decision Behaviour

There are four types of buying behavior that consumers show which is described below:

Complex Buying Behaviour

The buying behavior in which there is high involvement in a purchase and perceived significant differences according to brands is complex buying behavior.Consumers will be highly involved if the product is expensive, risky, purchased infrequently and highly self –expressive. For example, the consumer may not know the attributes that need to be considered like “4GB dual channel”, “DDR2 DRAM memory”.

Dissonance – Reducing Buying Behaviour

Consumer Dissonance – Reducing Buying Behaviour is buying behavior situations characterized by high involvement but less perceived differences among the brands. It occurs when consumers involve with an expensive, infrequent, or risky purchase but see little differences among the brands. For example, consumers, buying furniture may face a high involvement as they are expensive but they buy it very quickly without looking any brand names.

Habitual Buying Behaviour

It is a consumer buying behavior in situations characterized by low consumer involvement and few significantly perceived brand differences. For example, behavioursalt. The consumer has little involvement in this product category – they simply go to the store and buy any off brand.

Variety –Seeking Buying Behaviour

It is a consumer behavior in situations characterised by low consumer involvement but significant brand differences. In such cases consumers do a lot of brand switching . For example, when buying biscuits , a consumer hold some beliefs and choose any biscuits and evaluate it during the consumption.


The Buyer Decision Process

Now we have to know the buyer decision process and how the consumer makes buying decision. There are five stages of Buyer decision process.


Need Recognition

The buying process starts with need recognition in which the buyer recognises a problem or need. For example a discussion with your friend to think about the purity of water that you drink. At this stage, marketers know the need of the consumer for the particular product.

Information Search

The stage of buyer decision process in which the consumer search the related information about the product. A consumer may or may not search the information as- if they get the satisfying product then they will be ready to pay.

Evaluation of Alternatives

The stage in which the consumer evaluate brands in the choice set by using the information. Consumers also use calculation and logical thinking while evaluating the alternatives. In other times, the customer does less evaluation or no evaluation.

Purchase Decision

It is the decision of the buyer to purchase the product of specific brand. Sometimes purchased decision can be influenced by two factors i.e attitudes of others and unexpected situational factors. If someone important to you think you have to buy the low priced product then you buy low priced products is an example of attitudes of others. If the economy turned worse than you will be disappointed to buy a car even its price is dropped is an example of unexpected situational factors.


Postpurchase Behaviour

The stage of the buyer decision process in which the consumers take further action after the purchase of a product on the basis of their satisfaction and dissatisfaction. If the expected and performance gap is high then the consumers may be dissatisfied and vice versa.




Kotler, P., & Armstrong, G. (2013). Principles of Marketing. Chennai: Pearson India Education Services Pvt Ltd.












  • Consumer Buying Behaviour
  • Consumer buying process
  • Characteristics affecting consumer behaviour
  • Types of buying decision

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