5 Characteristics of a Consumer Behavior
- The Decision Process
- Culture and Society
- Psychological Factors
Many factors and characteristics influence consumer behavior during the shopping, decision-making and purchasing processes. These include everything from brand preferences to subculture trends to psychological conditioning. Organizations that identify and understand these factors will successfully engage, influence and benefit from their customers.
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1. The Decision Process
All consumers follow the same general cycle when buying things. First, they recognize a problem, such as needing some grooming products, then they conduct research. This could be accomplished by searching for products in a store or online such as Google or Amazon. Next, they evaluate the alternatives, which could involve asking a friend, reading online reviews or seeing which celebrities endorse their product. Then, they make a purchase decision and engage in post-purchase behavior, which could be returning a product, recommending it to a friend or liking the brand’s social media page.
2. Culture and Society
Culture is the first thing that companies must understand when it comes to successfully analyzing the needs and behaviors of consumers. Culture is the underlying part of society that instills in us things like values, perspectives, and preferences. Marketers who pay careful attention will maximize their results and dominate their industry. In certain cultures, brand names are extremely valued as a social status symbol. Thus, companies that make cars, clothes and cellphones should market their products with a premium approach that claims both high-price and high quality.
3. Psychological Factors
Consumer behavior is heavily influenced by invisible psychological factors that impact our purchase analysis and decisions. First, consumer motivation is an expression of a need or want that must be satisfied. The nature of a need, such as an economical car for commuting, is different from a want, such as a sports car for a middle-aged male. Second, perception is how the consumer selects and interprets product and service information. Technology and digital tools mean that consumers’ selective attention is much shorter. This means that organizations must successfully retain the attention of distracted consumers who can simply swipe away or block search engine ads.
According to Science Direct, subcultures tend to oppose the dominant culture or lead the way in innovative ideas and behavior. Subcultures can be made up of groups who share similar interests and lifestyles, such as goth and gaming subcultures, as well as traditional categories, such as race and religion. Consumer behavior experts segment markets based on these classifications. Forbes states that Old Spice’s “gender-biased” advertising famously worked after they switched their advertising focus from men to women. They found that women account for 85 percent of all consumer purchases, so their funny ads that appeal to women worked well.
There are many ways to label and categorize personality traits. For example, consumers who are highly innovative will be willing to try new product and service offerings. Understanding the level of consumer innovativeness will help organizations predict receptivity, the rate of product adoption and the most lucrative market segments. Consumers who are highly dogmatic will be defensive to advertising campaigns, but loyal to brands and open to credible experts and celebrities. Some personalities are dependent on collective opinion, while others prefer to direct trends.
Consumer behavior is an interdisciplinary academic field where psychology, sociology, economics, and marketing meet together. Understanding the factors of consumer behavior will help organizations and business professionals succeed in their goals.