Consumers don’t make purchase decisions in a vacuum; rather, they respond to a number of external, interpersonal influences and internal, personal factors.
Determinants of Consumer Behaviour
Consumers don’t make purchase
decisions in a vacuum; rather, they respond to a number of external,
interpersonal influences and internal, personal factors.
Consumer often decide to buy
goods and services based on what they believe others expect of them. They may
want to project positive images to peers or satisfy the unspoken desires of
family members. Marketers recognize three broad categories of interpersonal
influences on consumer behaviour:
Culture can be defined as the
values, beliefs, preferences and tastes handed down from one generation to the
next. Culture is the broadest environmental determinant of consumer behaviour.
Therefore, marketers need to understand its role in customer decision making.
They must also monitor trends to spot changes in cultural values. Marketing
strategies and business practices that work in one country may
be offensive or ineffective elsewhere because of cultural variations. Hence
cultural differences are particularly important and complex to understand for
international marketers. Cultures are not homogeneous entities with universal
values. Each culture includes numerous subcultures – groups with their own
distinct modes of behaviour.
Group (Social) influences
Every consumer belongs to a
number of social groups. Group membership influences an individual’s purchase
decisions and behaviour in both overt and subtle ways. The influences may be
informational and/ or normative. Every group establishes certain norms of
behaviour. Group members are expected to comply with these norms. Difference in
group status and roles can also affect buying behaviour.
The surprising impact of groups
and group norms on individual behaviour has been called the Asch phenomenon
because it was first documented by psychologist S.E.Asch. Discussions of the
Asch phenomenon raises the subject of reference groups – groups whose value
structures and standards influence a person’s behaviour. Consumers usually try
to coordinate their purchase behaviour with their perceptions of the values of
their reference groups. Children are especially vulnerable to the influence of
They often base their buying
decisions on outside forces – what is popular with their friends, what is
fashionable and trendy, what is popular, what are their heroes and role models
(usually, celebrities) using. In nearly every reference group, a few members
act as opinion leaders. They are the trendsetters who are likely to purchase
new products before others in the group and they share their experiences and
opinions via word of mouth. Other members’ purchase decisions are affected by
the reports of the opinion leaders. Closely related to reference groups is the
concept of social class.
A social class is an identifiable
group of individuals who tend to share similar values and behavior patterns
different from those of other classes. These values and behaviour patterns
affect the purchase decisions.
The family group is perhaps the
most important determinant of consumer behaviour because of the close,
continuing interactions among family members. Like other groups, each family
typically has norms of expected behaviour and different roles and status
relationships for its members. The traditional family structure consists of a
husband and wife. Although these and other members can play a variety of roles
in household decision making, marketers have created four categories to
describe the role of each spouse: (1) Autonomic, in which the partners
independently make equal numbers of decisions (e.g. personal-care items) (2)
Husband-dominant, in which the husband makes most of the decisions (e.g.
insurance) (3) Wife-dominant, in which the wife makes most of the decisions
(e.g. children’s clothing) and (4) Syncratic in which both partners jointly
make most decisions (e.g. vacation).
Consumer behaviour is affected by
many internal, personal factors, as well as interpersonal ones. The factors
Needs and motives
Individual purchase behaviour is
driven by the motivation to fill a need. A need is an imbalance between the
consumer’s actual and desired states. Someone who recognizes or feels a
significant or urgent need then seeks to correct the imbalance. Marketers
attempt to arouse this sense of urgency by making a need ‘felt’ and then
influence consumers’ motivation to satisfy their needs by purchasing specific
products. Motives are inner states that direct a person toward the goal of
satisfying a felt need. The individual takes action to reduce the state of
tension and return to a condition of equilibrium.
A company executive may buy Maruti car to fulfill the need of convenient
personal transport, where as a millionaire may buy it to gift it to his young
daughter. A career woman may buy a micro oven to save cooking time, whereas a
housewife may buy it to enhance her status.
Perception is the meaning that a
person attributes to incoming stimuli gathered through the five senses – sight,
hearing, touch, taste and smell. Certainly a buyer’s behaviour is influenced by
his or her perceptions of a good or service.
Mobile phone is viewed as a necessary communication device by
traditional persons whereas the modern youth see it as a multipurpose gadget
for communication, photography, music, news , TV and status.
Perception of incoming stimuli is
greatly affected by attitudes. In fact, the decision to purchase a product is
strongly based on currently held attitudes about the product brand, store or
salesperson. Attitudes are a person’s enduring favourable or unfavourable
evaluations, emotional feelings or action tendencies toward some object.
Because favourable attitudes likely affect brand preferences, marketers are
interested in determining consumer attitudes toward their products.
People with happy go lucky attitudes would buy cars, cell phones,
coco-cola, club membership, and credit cards . With outsourcing opportunities
on the rise, English is now favoured as an important language for communication
in India. As a result, the Institutes offering such courses are now benefited.
In a marketing context, refers to
immediate or expected changes in consumer behaviour as a result of experience
(that of self or others’). Consumer learning is the process by which
individuals acquire the purchase and consumption knowledge and experience that
they apply to future related behaviour. Marketers are interested in
understanding how consumers learn so that they can influence consumers’
learning and subsequently, their buying behaviour.
Computers were threatening to many. With increased application of
computers it has become a household product. People are learning to quote
specifications while buying and use important software.
Self-concept: The consumer’s self-concept – a
person’s multifaceted picture of himself or herself – plays an important role
in consumer behaviour. The concept of self emerges from an interaction of many
of the influences – both personal and interpersonal – that affect buying
macho image of motor cycles match the self concept of many young .Hence they
buy motor cycles and not the family image holding scooters. Surf excel has the
personality of upper middle income housewife, who likes clean, fragrant clothe.
Woman buys surf excel when she identifies herself with such image.
Tags : MARKETING MANAGEMENT - Buyer Behaviour
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