Before going towards the detail of consumer behavior, let’s discuss some basic concepts consumer behavior.
The consumer is defined to be any individual, who buys or obtain goods/services for the purpose of personal use is called a consumer.
A market that relates only to final consumers of products/services is called consumer market.
When a final consumer makes the purchase decision regarding the selection, buying and use of certain product/service, then this whole process is known as consumer behavior.
According to Solomon, when a single consumer or set of consumers make selection, purchase and use of certain products, ideas, services & experiences for the satisfaction of their needs and wants. Then all of these processes are compounded as consumer behavior.
Generally, many decisions are made by the consumers in a routine. These buying decisions are very critical to the businesses, especially large ones to analyze the consumers buying patterns in order to deliver value able products/services to them. All the marketing efforts of the businesses are based on the consumer behavior patterns. This means that the marketers of businesses try to know what would be the response of consumers against the features, prices and advertising campaigns. By correctly forecasting the buyers’ responses (consumer behavior), a certain business can get a competitive advantage.
In order to understand the consumer buying behavior, the stimulus-response model of consumer buying behavior is studied.
Model of Consumer Behavior
The comprehensive model of consumer behavior explains the buying patterns of consumers in the competitive markets. It has the following three main parts.
Marketing & Other Stimuli
Marketing Stimuli consist of the four Ingredients of Marketing that are product, price, place and promotion whereas the remaining stimuli contain other macro environmental forces e.g. technological, political, economical etc.
Buyer’s Black Box
All the marketing & other stimuli come inside the buyer black box which would result in buyer response. This black box has two main components which are buyer characteristics & buyer process of decision.
The last element of this model is represented by the response of the buyer regarding the product category, brand category, dealer category, timing of purchase and the amount of purchase.
The main concern of marketer of business is to understand how different stimuli of the market and the environment affect the consumer decision process and what their relation is with different responses of consumers. In fact the consumer behavior is directly affected by the decision process of the consumer. Moreover, there are certain other factors that greatly affect the consumer behavior. These factors are as below.
Factors Influencing the Consumer Behavior
Consumer behavior is critical for a successful marketer to understand in order to develop effective Marketing Strategies and plans. In simpler terms, as much a business management (marketer) understands the consumer buying behavior, then much more efficient it can make its four P’s to generate enormous revenue in the long run. The reason is that the market knows that what kind of products, services, price and promotion can influence the consumer black box to motivate him to make purchases. There are certain factors that directly influence the consumer buying behavior. These factors are as follows
The culture has the strongest effect on the consumer buying behavior. As a child grows, he starts learning different values, preferences, wants etc from his surroundings. This would develop his unique buying pattern in the light of his cultural norms and values. This means that people belong to different cultures have different buying patterns. The marketer should know their different cultural backgrounds in order to develop new marketing strategies and campaigns.
Within the cultural context, the Consumer Behavior of buying is further affected by the following element.
This is related to the culture itself.
Within single culture, there is a set of subcultures that can have long lasting effect on the consumer behavior.
The social class is also influencing force that stimulates the consumer buying patterns. For example the people belong to elite class has different buying preferences of the same basic needs as compared to the lower class within the same culture or subculture.
Social forces have also influenced effects on the buying patterns of a consumer. The groups & family entitled a person different set of roles and statuses that become the basis of his specific buying preferences. Social context contains
In general, people create different types of groups with each other for the satisfaction of their social needs. These groups have strong effects on the buying behavior of people (consumers). Some groups are called membership groups, whereas others are called reference groups. The marketer tries to identify the reference groups of the target consumers, because the consumers try to copy their reference groups regarding the choice of different products, brands etc.
Family has also deep rooted affects on the buying preferences of the consumers. The roles of husband, wife and children in the process of buying are also critical to be understood by the marketer.
Personal characteristics of consumers also influence their buying patterns like age, occupation, economic situation etc. These personal elements are as follows.
Age/stage of life cycle
People belong to different ages or stages of life cycles make different purchases.
The occupational status also tends the buying patterns of the consumers.
The income level, saving and interest rates are the determining factors that affect the buying patterns of consumers.
People prefer different lifestyles which in turn affect their buying decisions, even within the same culture and social class.
Personality and Self Concept:
The personality consists of a set of personal characteristics like Self confidence, adaptability, dominance, etc. that has influencing affects over the consumer decision process.
The psychological characteristics of a consumer also influence his buying behavior. Every individual has different psychological characteristics which are as follow.
Every person is motivated by some forces which are either biological (thirst, hunger, etc.) or psychological or even social needs. All of these are important to be considered while studying consumer behavior because buying behavior is affected by these forces.
Every person has different perceptions which give rise to different buying decisions.
Human behavior is influenced by learning. So learning also affects the buying patterns of consumers.
Beliefs and Attitudes
Beliefs and attitudes are formed through learning and these have also special effects on the consumer behavior of buying.