Consumer buying behaviour

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Consumer buying behaviour
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Consumer buying behaviour is the study of individuals and how they select and consume the product/service to maximise their utility and how this affects the consumer and the society. It involves also the thought process, feelings and the underlying motives that a customer has or takes when buying a product or service. It includes three streams of science namely, individual psychology, social psychology and cultural anthropology.

Understanding consumer behavior

Buying behaviour is the concept which answers these questions:

  • Who is the market and what is the extent of their power with regard to the organisation?
  • What do they buy?
  • Why do they buy?
  • Who is involved in the buying?
  • How do they buy?
  • When do they buy?
  • Where do they buy?[1]

Consumer buying process

The purchasing process means thinking about what to buy, which brand to buy, from where should it be purchased, what is the worth of the product, and if the product is to be purchased again. This results in the final decision of the customer which includes the product, brand, dealer, time, amount etc. The 5 sequential steps of the decision-making process of the consumer are[2]:

  1. Problem/Need Recognition: it arise when the individual realizes differences between the actual state and the desired one.
  2. Information Search: consumer starts to search product-related information before the purchase setting alternatives
  3. Evaluation of Alternatives: After collecting information, the consumer starts to compare and evaluate alternatives in order to make the right choice.
  4. Purchase Decision: once the consumer already reviewed all the alternatives, he/she makes the final purchase decision.
  5. Post-Purchase Evaluation: the final stage is the evaluation by the consumer which is important because it affects the future decision making process of the same product.

Factors affecting the process

Cultural factors: are critical to the buying behaviour of a customer, which means that it is important for marketing professionals to segment the market on the basis of the cultural needs and wants of the customer. It helps in determining the basic parameters that affect consumer behaviour patterns and also in distinguishing between various subcultures which are large market segments and have great opportunities.

Psychological factors: buying behaviour is also affected by the psychological factors that include perception, motivation, learning, beliefs and attitudes. The utility of a product or service for any individual depends on the perception the buyer regarding it, the attitude he/she has toward it or their belief about it and what motivates his/her purchases. Hence, it is necessary to give the adequate information to cause changes of consumer behavior concerning the concrete product. Feelings (Positive or negative) and their knowledge influence humans’ perception and consequently decision making and buying behaviour of consumer. Therefore, the marketers should not ignore these factors when studying the buying behaviour.

Personal factors: the process of purchasing is highly influenced by the personal factors, and every individual has unique set of factors. Personal characteristics affect the buying behaviour of the buyer/customer, of which the age and stage of life are especially important, and they cross factors such as sex, occupation, financial status, lifestyle, personality and opinion of self.

Social factors: our behaviour patterns, likes and dislikes are influenced by the people around us to a great extent, We always seek confirmation from the people around us and seldom do things that are not socially acceptable. Therefore, factors such as reference groups, family, role and status, have an impact on the consumer behaviour shaping the buyer's perceived relationships with other people and social norms. Hence, studying these factors will affect the marketing effectiveness of the firm.

Economic Factors: factors showing the level of sales in the market and the consumer's financial position, i.e. how much an individual spends on the purchase of a certain category of goods that contribute to the overall sales of the company. They are factors such as personal income, family income, income expectations, savings and consumer credit.[3]

The Science of understanding customer's mind

Companies are looking to understand in a better way the human mind and being in order to manipulate/trick them. Therefore, they use different methods to collect data about their habits or even their brain activity.[4] They can use the consumer phone for example, to know if the time spend per client in their store influence them to purchase more or less. Also the “Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging” (FMRI) allows a deeper study of our brain to understand directly our subconscious thanks to scanners which detect which part of the brain is active when we see a product. Thus, if we are going to buy it or not.


  1. • Sa, Mohamed & , Ali & N, Ramya.(2016). Factors affecting consumer buying behavior
  2. Peter, J. Paul, Jerry C. Olson, and Klaus G. Grunert.(1999) Consumer behaviour and marketing strategy. London: McGraw-hill.
  3. Sa, Mohamed & , Ali & N, Ramya.(2016). Factors affecting consumer buying behavior

Author: Alex Chiesa, Rémi Caussin, Arnav Agarwal, Sanchit Goyal