Each day people are faced with decisions that ultimately influence their tastes and preferences, from what to wear to what they will have for breakfast. These decisions lead to the development of consumer behavior, either consciously or unconsciously.
Consumer behavior refers to the consumer choices in the marketplace and the underlying motives that influence these choices. It studies how individual consumers, groups, or organizations select, use and dispose of products and services.
By understanding how consumers behave, marketers can determine the products in demand in the market and the products whose demand is declining. This behavior also helps businesses understand how goods and services can best be presented to customers.
Why consumer behavior is important
Fill market gaps
Understanding how consumers behave can help businesses fill existing market gaps by identifying the products consumers want and the products that have become absolute in the market. This will consequently lead to improved sales.
Optimize product presentation
Studying consumer behavior will help businesses know how to present their products to have a maximum impact on the consumer. Businesses understand the primary factors consumers consider before purchasing a product, which can be maximized to the organization’s advantage.
Factors that influence consumer behavior
How consumers behave will be influenced by several factors that marketers should understand to predict trends and consumer purchase patterns.
- Personal factors: Consumer interests, preferences, and opinions may be influenced by demographics such as the gender, age, religion, and culture of the consumer.
- Social factors: Different social factors such as social status, family, friends, income, and education level will influence the perceptions of a consumer, which will influence their behavior.
- Psychological factors: This is an individual’s response to different marketing messages that businesses have displayed. Consumers will respond differently depending on their beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes.
Types of consumer behavior
1. Complex buying behavior
This is a behavior that is exhibited when consumers engage in purchasing expensive and infrequently bought items. Before making the purchase, a consumer has to research the product as this is usually a high-value investment. For example, purchasing a car or a house can be viewed as a complex buying behavior.
2. Habitual buying behavior
This behavior is exhibited when the consumer has minimal influence on the product or brand. Here consumers buy products out of habit rather than affiliations to brands or brand loyalty. For example, grocery buying can be viewed as a habitual buying behavior.
3. Dissonance-reducing behavior
A dissonance reducing buying behavior is noted when the consumer is highly involved in the purchase but is skeptical about their choices. In this situation, the consumer will likely choose a product based on price and convenience, but they will want to confirm that they have made the right choice. For example, after purchasing a washing machine based on price and convenience, you want to confirm that the machine is working correctly.
4. Variety seeking buying behavior
This behavior is witnessed when a consumer purchases a product not because they are unsatisfied with it before but because they are seeking variety. For example, purchasing a new pair of shoes may be a variety-seeking behavior.
Understanding how consumers behave is critical to the success of businesses, especially in their marketing strategy and product development. Businesses should examine the different factors that will influence the behavior of their target market and strive to influence or change the factors within their control.