Factors affecting consumer buying behaviour

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In the early history consumer behaviour has led to theories, research methods and background knowledge of the consumer economy and self-service concepts. Consumer behaviour in the 1950's is based on the concept of marketing through various alternative approaches. Widespread adoption of the marketing concept was the impetus for the study of consumer behaviour (Consumer Behaviour, Leon G. Schiff man, Leslie lazar Kanuk and Havard Hansen). To identify the unmet needs of consumers, companies have participated in extensive market research. So, they discovered that consumers are very complex, subject to various psychological and social needs. Thus, the concept of marketing has emphasized the importance of consumer research and laid the groundwork for the implementation of the principles of consumer behaviour in marketing strategy. It is interesting to note that even before the evaluation of the marketing concept, an intuitive understanding of consumer behaviour has been the key to the growth of businesses.


Now-a-days the organisations in any industry are concentrating on the gratification of the consumer needs and desires to run their business operations and eventually develop their business. Organisations are introducing number of activities to make the end user satisfied outside their business operations. (Anderson and Sullivan, 1993).

Consumer Behaviour is the process individuals or groups go through to select, purchase, use and dispose of goods, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy their needs and desires.

-By Solomon, Marketing Real People, Real decisions, Page-148

Sprott (1958) believes that the group of people around the consumer has become important factor to consider in the consumer buying decision in any industry. He also made known clearly that the group is number of people who act together, that may be a family, may be friends, and may be neighbours. The group that affects the buying behaviour of the consumer is also called "Reference group".


The aim of marketing is to satisfy their customer needs and wants (Kotler, 2003; 182). The field of consumer behaviour is to identify that how a customer buys, uses any product and services and dispose it. Schiff man (2002) states that it is never simple to identify and understand consumer needs. However, the behaviour of consumer depends on some factors. There are number of factors in the study of consumer behaviour which plays important role in buying of any new product or services from the selling firm such as customer income, culture, technology, various types of personal factors.

1. Cultural factors:

In the field of consumer behaviour, the cultural affects most to the consumer behaviour and within different types of societies. Managers of any firms must have to consider about psychological and behavioural effects (Cleveland and change, 2008). However, the subculture, social class are the also important factors of consumer behaviour. The firms can capture the picture of consumers needs and to identify their wants by indentifying the cultural of their societies. In addition, the cultural is the norms, rituals and traditional among the society (Solomon, 1999; 16). Rosenthal (1992) who identify that within culturally heterogeneous societies like the United States, and the countries of Western Europe, "…the psychological and behavioural consequences of ethnic group membership are of considerable importance". It is one type of lens through which people can view product and services. The consumer choices cannot be identified without taking culture context in which they are made. On the other side, there are some social activities and cultural activities which are considered to obtain the consumer behaviour (Foxall, 1993). Generally, the culture can be divided into the three parts namely cultural, sub-cultural and social class. The role of sub-cultural is to identify the nationalities, religions and geographic regional. In addition, it is quite important to understand about sub-cultural because it helps to the firms to provide the best services and product in the market size (Schiff man & Kanuk, 2007).In addition, the all human societies' exhibit social stratification and some time, it takes the form of a caste system. However the social class not only includes the income of person but it shows the level of education and occupation (Kotler, 2004; 185).The social class is not same in dressing style or speech patterns but it is different. So in the current situation, it is important to identify the dimensions of cultural before they are going to sell product and services (Solomon, 2007). In addition, the following is the theoretical model of the culture which identifies that how the cultural is affect to the consumer behaviour.

Table 3.1:



Cognitive Beliefs

Personality Traits


Subjective culture










Behavioural Intentional

Social Norms

Source: Karahanna,E, Eraristo,J., (2005) level of culture and individual behaviour, Journal of global information management.13(2), pp.8.

Above diagram which presents that the consumer behaviour which is based on culture, values and social norms factors. and in addition, it shows that not only national culture is influence to the behaviour but also there are some religion, value, ethnic level which important when any customer is going to buy any product and services, However, Karanhanna and Evaristo (2005) who argued that the levels of the different cultural is based on the nature of consumer behaviour, thus behaviour which is include strong value and sub cultural.

2. Social factors:

Human beings are social animals and our desire is to fit it and or to identify by individuals or groups which are the primary motivation for buying product and services in the services industry. After the cultural factors in the study of consumer behaviour, the Social factors also affect the consumer behaviour. From the early year, Peterson (1987) found that socialization which is determined the way of patterns of behaviour or the process by which the person can adopt social roles. Where the family is more powerful social factors, it affects the consumer behaviour rather than social norms. Furthermore, the social factors include self concept and personality. This social factors is affects by reference groups and family and social roles and statuses (Kotler, 2003; 184). A reference groups of person which include different types of groups like friendships groups, work and shopping groups that impact on consumer behaviour.

3. Personal Factors:

The consumer behaviour also depends on the personal characteristics. The way of the consumer behaviour is determined by buyer's age and stage in the life cycle, personal occupation, economic circumstances and lifestyle of person and also behaviour is affects by personality and self concept (Kotler, 2003). In addition, in the lifetime, people are not buying the same product and services, their need of product and services are changed by time to time. For the example, in the early year, the person used pager for the communication but nowadays, they are different, they prefer to buy mobile for the purpose of communication. Solomon (1999) argued that in the traditional societies, the lifestyle which is affecting a pattern of selecting product and services and also reflecting a person choice of how he/she spends time and money. In addition, today consumer is buying product and services over others because they are connected with other person lifestyles. However, the research found that the lifestyle of the person is changing by time to time.

Nowadays, advertising is become most affecting factor to the consumer behaviour, because advertising is become essential to get information about new product and it result in better products for the public. Furthermore, the personality, product quality, self concept and self power, the way of product display methods are the major factors which impact on consumer behaviour in the services industry (Schiff man and Kanuk, 2007).

4. Psychological factors:

Psychological factors play important role to determine the consumer behaviour. These factors are affected by four major factors like motivation, perception, and learning. This psychological factor decides the personality and lifestyle. The demonstration influence is also dependent upon psychology of an individual. Nowadays, learning is the major factors in the study of consumer behaviour because when people act, at that time, they learn something (Kotler, 2003). Furthermore, Learning can change the consumer behaviour from experience. Most of behaviour is learning from the current environment.

Personality, lifestyles and attitudes are the major characteristics of consumers which provide understanding about consumer behaviour into the services industry (Schiff man, 2007). Consumers have a wide range of attitudes towards the product, services, advertisements, and internet and towards retail store. Whenever, any customers ask him/her self about product and services, at that time, we are being asked to express our attitudes. If any marketer wants to understand about attitudes of consumer, they need to understand about consumer beliefs towards product or services brand (Kotler, 2003). These beliefs and preference is attributing to define consumer's attitudes towards a brand. In the study of consumer attitudes, the lifestyle is the most important concepts to understanding consumer behaviour (Simon, 1999). Most of researchers agree that there are three components like affect, behaviour and cognition. These all components are connected to each other. Where the affect which refers to the attitudes object and in Behaviour, customer involves intentions to do something towards their attitudes object. The cognition refers the belief on attitudes object. This model of attitudes is called ABC model (Simon, 1999; p.207). To define the market, it is important for marketer to know about what customer is like or dislikes. However, from the early years, the researcher was estimated that family decision is one of important factors that affect on consumer purchase decision (Simon, 1999). In addition, Bonnet who identify that attitudes towards food product or high risk involving product is comes from family .However, the peer group, personality are the also major affecting factor which applicable to change customer buying behaviour.


From the early year, the research suggest that following is the way where customers go through five stages for their decision making process to buy product and services. This model is implies that customer pass this all stages in every single purchase process but some time, customer is not going to pass, they often skip or reverse some of the following stages.

Need Recognition


Information Search

Evaluation of Alternatives

Product Decision

Post-Purchase Decision

Table 3.2 (Stages in consumer Decision making model)

(Source: Marketing: Real People, Real Decisions by Solomon p.150 and Kotler, 2003, p.204).

1. Need Recognition:

The process of the consumer buying decision process starts with problem recognition. This steps occurs when customers sees a significant difference between her/him current state or desired state (Bruner, 1987,) .At this phase, the consumer is faced with problem which may be large and small or complex (Solomon, 1999).The problem of the consumer at this steps depends on the nature of her/him needs, it also depends on environment where customers is living. This need which can be drive by either an internal (hunger) or external (passing through burger king stimulates hunger) stimuli. Some of demographic factors like Age, sex, income, education and marital status which are also inferred influence which affects need recognition. In addition, the Psychological factors like motivation are also basic of all consumers (Solomon and Michael, 2007). Moreover, Kotler (2006,) who argues that the perception factors reflect helps how the customers see her/him self as well as their surroundings. This perception is not only important for need recognition phase but also affect to other relevant phase.

2. Information search:

In the consumer decision making process, once the problem has been recognized, they need to search some relevant information to solve it. In this phase, where the customer uses different types of way to gather information to fulfil their needs discussed above.

Generally, the customer is going to search information by internal or external method. Internal sources applicable, when customer has a some memory about product or some have degree of knowledge. (solomon,1999;274-275).In contrast, where there is need more information about their needs, at this situation ,Generally , customer is prefer to use internal sources like to use advertising, friends, family, point-of-sale displays, radio, magazines. Nowadays, Internet is become necessary tools to adopt information. In addition, the use of an internet has rapidly grown from its early years (Comegys and Hannula, Vaisanen, 2006,). Moreever, in the services industry, customers prefers internet to choose product from information.

3. Evaluation of alternatives:

After facing information about their needs, The third phase is evaluation of alternatives where generally, customer is focus to set up rules for choice of product and services, In addition, this phase is evaluate the way of choice of product and services like how does the customer process competitive brand information and make final judgments towards product ( Kotler, 2003; p.205-206).

Kotler also identify the several concepts which contribute to understanding into this phase, where first of all, customer is mostly trying to get satisfaction towards needs. Second, the customer is looking certain benefit for their problem. Third, customer is sees product with different types of brands with their attributes, here attributes of customer is vary by product. However, the customer is try to find the alternatives for their product by set of brand beliefs where the each brands stands on each attributes.

4. Product decision:

After evaluation stages, once the relevant category is established from the above phase , the choice must be made among them (putsis and srinivasan,1994 ).Here is the process which needs more attention on desired choice .The choice can be influence by internal factors like experience on product and services . First is an attitude of the others, where the attitudes of friend, family, social community which affect to the change the decision on desired choice. secondly, there might be some unexpected situational factors like price of choice product is suddenly gone up (Dubois, 2000).Furthermore, Dubois (2000) submits that when the customer is going to make purchase decision, at this time, still there is need to make some sub purchase decision like way of payment method, time of purchasing where the payment method and price is more major factors affects into mobile services industry. However, some times, the purchase decision phase fails because of perceived risk (Taylor, 1974,).Lack of confidence, the amount of attribute uncertainty are the major influence factors in the purchase decision stage.

5. Post Purchase Behaviour:

After the Purchase decision, the post purchase phase occurs. Generally, if any sales representatives want customer come back again towards store, they should be able to understand the behaviour of customers. The post purchase phase is a complex process where satisfaction of customer is utilization. One of Researchers Henard, (1988) submits that the customer satisfaction evaluations can be influenced by consumer expectations and perceptions. Moreover, The Atmospherics is also plays important role in this phase (Hoffman and Turley, 2002).

This phase can be divided into two way: post purchase satisfaction and post purchase actions (Kotler, 2006; 198-199) where generally research suggest that if the customers come back to the store, it means they are dissatisfied but Oliver (1999; 33-44,) argued that it does not mean that when customer come back because of being satisfied, they might be other reason when they come back. In addition to satisfaction in this phase include brand preference and repurchase intentions and how it is affect. Here brand is one of major factors in the services industry which is affect on satisfaction about product and services.


Consumer buying process is an understanding of the appropriate fundamentals that impact upon individual buying decision making and the general process through which individual behave and make the decision is an imperative first stage in the development of any marketing communication plan (Fill, 2002), upon the basis of that understanding, marketer device the plan and try to implement well with the sales figure. But, despite all their efforts to "pre-sell" consumers through advertising, marketers increasingly are recognizing the significant degree to which many purchases are influenced by the store environment. It has been estimated that about two out of every three supermarket purchases are decided in the aisles. The proportion of unplanned purchases is even higher for some product categories (Solomon, 2002).The essay mainly deals with the theoretical approach to the consumer buying behaviour and provided the background about consumer buying behaviour in terms of organisation. However, in the first part of this essay is presented that it is important to understand consumer buying behaviour for firms that why consumers make the purchases that they have done and what type of factors affect to the buying behaviour. This essay also investigated the types of factors affect more to the consumer buying behaviour which is main objectives of the conducting research. Moreover, the essay also contains the theory about consumer buying decision model.