Consumer decision making

From CEOpedia | Management online

Consumer decision making - is the consumer's thought process in which he identifies his needs, collects all relevant information, prepares an overview of alternatives and only after all the above steps has been taken does he decide to purchase the product. His behavior is determined by economic (e. g. earnings) and psychological (advertisement arousing positive emotions) factors. Moreover, these can also be factors such as the influence of the environment (the need to show up), social (the majority of the population acquires the goods) and cultural (in the cultural circle, kosher meat of this kind is acquired, for example, from Jews). The phenomenon described above is a complex process, which begins with the consumer's identification of the need, up to the after-sales behavior (e. g. satisfaction with the purchased product).

In particular, the following factors affect the consumer in general:

  • Social factor,
  • Cultural factor,
  • Economical factor.

Social&cultural factor

The social factor boils down to basing one's statements of knowledge and decisions on the experience of others. Anyone interested in purchasing a product will turn to a friend or other person who has already had the opportunity to use it. Then, asking him for his opinion, depending on whether it is positive or negative, he will decide to buy it. It will not try to rationalize the purchase in its own way, but will base its thinking process on the opinion of another person. This phenomenon is very common, especially in online shopping, where ostentatious consumers look at the opinions of Internet users placed under a given product[1].

There is a cultural factor on the basis of the principles described above, with the difference that the reference is directed to cultural habits and not to friends who may come from other cultural backgrounds.

Economical factor

Economic factors include, in particular, the economic status of the consumer. If he does not have the appropriate financial resources, he knows that he will not buy expensive products or premium branded products. However, this type of factor also includes issues such as[2]:

  • Product quality,
  • Brand name,
  • Product placement on shelves in the store,
  • Product promotion.

It is an intangible asset of a product developed by an entrepreneur in the atmosphere of a competitive economy. Consumers also taking part in the game will decide whether they want to purchase the product or not on the basis of the above factors.

Pre-decision making situation

When making a decision, the consumer will be in a "pre-decision making" state. In general, it is a situation where a person perceives a conflict. On the one hand, it automatically wants to buy and not to buy a product. Only the proper analysis (sometimes fast, sometimes more in-depth) allows him to get out of this state and solve the conflict by making a purchase decision. A given situation of "conflict" is balanced by, among others, the aforementioned factors (economical, social or cultural)[3].


  1. R. P. Bagozzi, S.G. Gaur, S. P. Tiwari 2018, p. 4-6
  2. L. W. Kawa, S. F. Rahmadiani, S. Kumar 2013, p. 176
  3. P. J. Costanzo 2013, p. 44-45

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Author: Klaudia Urbańska