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Determinants of Consumer Behaviour - Buyer Behaviour

   Posted On :  18.06.2018 12:04 am

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:
1.       Cultural influences,
2.       Group influences and
3.       Family influences.

Cultural influences

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 reference groups.
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.

Family influences

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 are:
1. Unique needs,
2. Motives,
3. Perceptions,
4. Attitudes,
5. Learning and
6. Self-concept.

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 behaviour.

The 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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