What is Consumer Behaviour - Meaning and Important Concepts

Before understanding consumer behaviour let us first go through few more terminologies:

Who is a Consumer ?

Any individual who purchases goods and services from the market for his/her end-use is called a consumer.

In simpler words a consumer is one who consumes goods and services available in the market.

Example - Tom might purchase a tricycle for his son or Mike might buy a shirt for himself. In the above examples, both Tom and Mike are consumers.

What is consumer Interest ?

Every customer shows inclination towards particular products and services. Consumer interest is nothing but willingness of consumers to purchase products and services as per their taste, need and of course pocket.

Let us go through the following example:

Both Maria and Sandra went to the nearby shopping mall to buy dresses for themselves. The store manager showed them the best dresses available with him. Maria immediately purchased two dresses but Sandra returned home empty handed. The dresses were little too expensive for Sandra and she preferred simple and subtle designs as compared to designer wears available at the store.

In the above example Sandra and Maria had similar requirements but there was a huge difference in their taste, mind set and ability to spend.

What is Consumer Behaviour ?

Consumer Behaviour is a branch which deals with the various stages a consumer goes through before purchasing products or services for his end use.

Why do you think an individual buys a product ?

  • Need
  • Social Status
  • Gifting Purpose

Why do you think an individual does not buy a product ?

  • No requirement
  • Income/Budget/Financial constraints
  • Taste

When do you think consumers purchase products ?

  • Festive season
  • Birthday
  • Anniversary
  • Marriage or other special occasions

There are infact several factors which influence buying decision of a consumer ranging from psychological, social, economic and so on.

The study of consumer behaviour explains as to:

  • Why and why not a consumer buys a product ?
  • When a consumer buys a product ?
  • How a consumer buys a product ?

During Christmas, the buying tendencies of consumers increase as compared to other months. In the same way during Valentines week, individuals are often seen purchasing gifts for their partners. Fluctuations in the financial markets and recession decrease the buying capacity of individuals.

In a layman’s language consumer behaviour deals with the buying behaviour of individuals.

The main catalyst which triggers the buying decision of an individual is need for a particular product/service. Consumers purchase products and services as and when need arises.

According to Belch and Belch, whenever need arises; a consumer searches for several information which would help him in his purchase.

Following are the sources of information:

  • Personal Sources
  • Commercial Sources
  • Public Sources
  • Personal Experience

Perception also plays an important role in influencing the buying decision of consumers.

Buying decisions of consumers also depend on the following factors:

  • Messages, advertisements, promotional materials, a consumer goes through also called selective exposure.
  • Not all promotional materials and advertisements excite a consumer. A consumer does not pay attention to everything he sees. He is interested in only what he wants to see. Such behaviour is called selective attention.
  • Consumer interpretation refers to how an individual perceives a particular message.
  • A consumer would certainly buy something which appeals him the most. He would remember the most relevant and meaningful message also called as selective retention. He would obviously not remember something which has nothing to do with his need.



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