Introduction to Consumer Behaviour
The consumer, The KING of the market is the one that dominates the market and the market trends. Lets us know the King first. A consumer is someone who pays a sum to consume the goods and services sold by an organization. The consumer plays a very important role in the demand and supply chain of every economic system of every nation. The producers of the goods and services would lack the motive of producing as there would be no demand for their products.
Who is a consumer?
A consumer need not just be an individual; a consumer can also be an organization. A consumer can be someone who will buy either goods or services or you can also specify the goods and services as economic services or products, or good or commodities. A consumer is the end user or a target to whom the goods and services are sold. In simple words a consumer can be described as:
- A person or an organization that is specifically targeted to sell a products or a service of a company.
- Someone again, mind you this someone can either be an individual or an organization that pays a price to use the goods and services of an organization.
- A person or an organization who is the final user of the goods and the services produced by a company.
You can consider all three definitions to define a consumer.
The consumer is the decision maker here in the economic system. He can take the following decisions
- The decision of buying or not a product in a store or at a shop
- The consumer will decide if he would want to be influenced by the marketing strategies and the advertisements of the organization for a product or a service.
- Many consumers are influenced by marketing and advertisements
- The consumer decides what they want to buy and when they want to buy it
- The consumer chooses between competitors and their products.
Decision making is the power given to the consumer.
Everyone has been a consumer and participated in the consumer market. The consumer market is where the consumer has the right and the power to make a decision of spending their money. Even buying a packet of chips from a store is being a part of the consumer market as you participate in the buying a packet of chips buy paying a sum for the purchase. Here you are also taking a decision. This is a decision of buying goods and spending your money. You are deciding where to spend your money and on what should you spend your money. You are deciding amongst competitors. The more active the consumers of the nation the more active will be the nation’s consumer market.
What is consumer behaviour?
Now that you know who is a consumer you also must know what is consumer behaviour and how does it affect the organizations.
Consumer behaviour is a physiological process it is all related to the emotions of the consumer. In this process the consumer starts with recognizing the need of the product, and then finds a way or a medium of solving these needs, makes purchase decisions like planning whether he should buy or not buy a certain product, and then he confirms the information, jots down a plan and then implements the plan of making the purchase.
Consumer behaviour is physiological it is human behaviour it can change with the slightest change in the market, the atmosphere and the trend. Studying consumer behaviour is a challenge take look at a few challenges that is how can you study consumer behaviour
How to study consumer behaviour?
- You need to first understand the physiology of the consumer of a specific class, standard and of a specific market. You need to understand how does the customer think, reason, feel, and select between the option of products and services offered
- Then understanding the environment of the customer is important. The environment includes the family of the consumer, their social atmosphere, their culture, etc.
- The consumer psychology is different when they shop and make decisions of spending their money.
- The knowledge of the consumer about the products, the industry and your competitors. How can you influence the customer with minimum knowledge by educating him about your products and services?
- How can you motivate the consumer buying behaviour, helping him make a decision in selecting between products, the importance of their product and how will their decision affect them?
- How should the company improve their marketing strategy and marketing campaigns based on their focused consumer behaviour?
- How does a single consumer decision effects a group of consumers that is a group of people, this can include their friends, their family, etc.
- The consumer’s behaviour also depends on buying a new products and reusing the old ones. The organizations also need to understand how reusing products influences a consumer.
- The consumers also take decisions based on the after sales services and the service provided by the organization and their distributors. Service offered to a consumer also matters in influencing their behavior
- How a single or a group of consumer behavior does affects the society and the atmosphere and the economy of the nation.
What are the types of consumer behaviour?
Following are the different types:
Programmed or routine behaviour
Buying of regular and daily goods that involve very less money and also minimum research work fits under this type of goods buying behaviour. For example buying goods from the grocery store that are goods used on daily basis like milk, eggs, bread, etc
Buying products occasionally or limited decision making
When a consumer tries to gain information about unfamiliar brands of familiar products of not very high value goods this is when a consumer makes a decision however occasionally. The time required to gather such information is quite moderate for example buying of goods like clothes and cosmetics.
Complex and involvement or extensive decision making
Buying of products such as computers, laptops, property, cars, education, etc which requires a huge amount of research and economic involvement comes under this category or type. This decision take time as it needs too much of research work as the consumer will study almost all the options available in his economic range, the research is prolonged as the customer would want to buy the best option available for the price he is paying.
The last type is the impulse buying or the conscious planning type
The job of the organizations here is to educate the consumers about their goods and services and motivate them to buy their goods and services. Predicting single or consumer behaviour of a group is not just difficult because you never know what factors might influence them and when. Reason being the consumers today have a huge variety of choice and a number of factors influence the behaviour of the consumers. Let’s take a look at the notes given below to understand what influences consumer behaviour.
Important factors that influence consumer behaviour
You for sure might be wondering as to what is it that influences these consumers, how do we analyzes when is their purchase pattern going to change. Of course only the influencing factors will confirm what will change the consumers buying pattern.
We have four main factors that affect consumer behaviour they are;
1. Consumer Behaviour – Cultural factors
Culture plays a very vital role in the determining consumer behaviour it is sub divided in
Culture is a very complex belief of human behaviour it includes the human society, the roles that the society plays, the behaviour of the society, its values customs and traditions. Culture needs to be examined as it is a very important factor that influences consumer behaviour.
Sub-culture is the group of people who share the same values, customs and traditions. You can define them as the nation, the religion, racial groups and also groups of people sharing the same geographic location
- Social Class
Society possesses social class; in fact every society possesses one. It is important to know what social class is being targeted as normally the buying behaviour of a social class is quite similar. Remember not just the income but even other factors describe social class of a group of consumers.
2. Consumer Behaviour – Social Factors
Social factors are also subdivided into the following
- Reference groups
Under social factors reference groups have a great potential of influencing consumer behaviour. Of course its impact varies across products and brands. This group often includes an opinion leader.
The behaviour of a consumer is not only influenced by their motivations and personalities but also their families and family members who can two or more people living together either because of blood relationship or marriage.
- Role and status
People who belong to different organizations, groups or club members, families play roles and have a status to maintain. These roles and status that they have to maintain also influences consumer behaviour as they decide to spend accordingly.
3. Consumer Behaviour – Personal factors
A number of personal factors also influence the consumer behaviour. In fact this is one major factor that influences consumer behaviour. The sub factors under personal factor are listed below.
- Age and life cycle stage
Age of a consumer and his life cycle are two most important sub factors under personal factors. With the age and the life cycle the consumers purchase options and the motive of purchase changes, with his decisions of buying products change. Hence this stage does affect consumer behaviour.
Occupation of a consumer is affects the goods and services a consumer buys. The occupations group has above average interest in buying different products and services offered by organizations. In fact organizations produce separate products for different occupational groups.
- Financial or economic situations
Everything can be bought and sold with the help of money. If the economic situation of a consumer is not good or stable it will affect his purchase power, in fact if the consumers or the economy of a nation is suffering a loss it defiantly affects the consumers purchase or spending decisions.
- Life style
People originating from different cultures, sub cultures, occupations and even social class have different styles of living. Life style can confirm the interest, opinions and activities of people. Different life styles affect the purchase pattern of consumers.
- Self concept and personality
Every individual is different and have different and distinct personalities. Their distinct personalities and distinct physiology effects their buying decisions. Hence purchase of products and services defers from person to person.
4. Consumer Behaviour – Psychological factors
4 psychological factors affect consumer behaviour very strongly. Let’s look at them in detail.
Motivation is activating the internal needs and requirements of the consumer. It can also be described as goals and needs of the consumers. Motivation arouses and directs the consumers towards certain goals. These needs can be psychological needs, needs of security, social needs, esteem needs and also self actualizing needs.
Perception is sensing the world and the situations around and then taking a decision accordingly. Every individual look as the world and the situations differently. The judging ability and capacity of every individual is different and hence the look at the world differently. This is what separates the decision taking abilities.
- Learning and experience
Learning is the research of products and services before the consumer takes the decision of buying a product. Learning and self educating these days is done online and also in groups. Experience is taking a lesson from the past experiences of a product and service. Learning and experience both again play an important role in influencing the consumer’s behaviour as it influences their purchase decision.
- Attitude and beliefs
Attitude is a consumer’s favorable and unfavorable emotional condition or emotional feeling, also its tendency of reaction to certain actions and behaviours. Beliefs of people that are the belief that people assume the products to be as make the specifications of the products. Hence attitude and beliefs are also important and need to be taken into consideration while studying human behaviour.
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