Introduction to Consumer Behaviour
We all are consumers, daily we use many products that we buy from the market according to our needs, wants, preferences, and purchasing power. What we buy, how we buy, when we buy, from where we buy, in what quantity we buy depends on various factors like our needs, preferences, beliefs, values, motivation, perception, attitude, personality, age, sex, family, social and cultural background, and many other factors. These factors determines our consumer behaviour.
Consumer behaviour is a complex and dynamic decision process; and physical activity of evaluating, acquiring, using, or disposing of products and services. Developing an effective marketing strategy requires in-dept knowledge of target consumers and how they behave and make their buying decision. Proper study of consumer behaviour is important as all marketing decisions are based on assumptions about consumer behaviour.
Definition of Consumer Behaviour
According to American Marketing Association, consumer behaviour can be defined as "the dynamic interaction of affect and cognition, behaviour, and environmental events by which human beings conduct the exchange aspects of their lives."
According to Hawkins, Best, and Coney, 2001, p7, Consumer behaviour can be defined as "the study of individuals, groups or organisations and the processes they use to select, secure, use and dispose of products, services, experiences or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society."
According to Satish K. Batra and S. H. H. Kazmi, 2004, Consumer behaviour is "the mental and emotional processes and the observable behaviour of consumers during searching purchasing and post consumption of a product and service."
Meaning of Consumer Behaviour
Consumer behaviour is the complex and dynamic processes of deciding what product to buy, when to buy, how to buy, from where to buy, how to secure, how to use, or how to dispose to satisfy individuals, groups, or organisations' needs. Consumer behaviour is a decision process and physical activity individuals, groups, or organisations engage in when evaluating, acquiring, using, or disposing of goods and services.
Consumer behaviour has two aspects - final purchase behaviour and decision making process. Purchase behaviour is visible to us, but the decision making process involves number of complex variables which are not visible to us. Purchase behaviour is the end result of long decision making process. Study of consumer behaviour attempt to understand the decision making processes of buyers.
Factors Influencing Consumer Behaviour
Following are the main factors that influences consumer behaviour, categorised as internal influences and external influences.
- Life Style
- Beliefs & Attitude
- Sub Culture
- Social Class
- Reference Group
- Role & Status
Consumer behaviour is simple a large subset of larger field of human behaviour and an extended field of marketing attracting researchers and marketers from past few decades. Study of consumer behaviour is very important to the marketers because it enables them to understand and predict buying behaviour of consumers in the marketplace and it helps in deriving marketing strategies.