The factors influencing consumer buying behaviour

Updated March 23, 2017

Many factors play into the buying behaviour of the consumer. Successful marketers take into consideration the beliefs and culture of the buyer, as well as the family situation and even the psychological outlook of the purchaser.

The Psychology of Buying

In order to market a product to a target group, manufacturers should determine the needs of the buyer. Some buyers are looking for a sense of safety and belonging, while others want to gain esteem in the eyes of their peers. When providing information to buyers, marketers must understand how the product is perceived. Chances are the buyer will interpret information about the product based on previous knowledge and beliefs, but learning about the product can change the buyer's behaviour. Buyers will also purchase products based on their personalities and lifestyles. For example, people who want to live an active, healthy life may opt for organic foods and reject sun-tanning products.

Family Situation

Many buying decisions are based on what is best for the family. The marketer should be aware of who is making the buying decisions for family products. For newlyweds with no children, purchasing might be a joint decision between husband and wife. For families with young children, it might be a stay-at-home parent making the decisions. Once teenagers enter the picture, they may have buying power on their own, aside from family purchases.

Social Class and Culture

According to Alex Brown, a former professor of marketing at the University of Delaware, “social class determines to some extent, the types, quality, (and) quantity of products that a person buys or uses.” For example, your social class may determine which jeans you will buy. An upper-class woman with inherited wealth would probably buy a different pair of jeans from what would appeal to an inner-city male. Deep-fried food may be an easier sell in the South, where it is a traditional part of the cuisine, than in California where the food has pan-Asian influences.

The Buying Process

The buying process starts with the consumer recognising a need, or a difference between what he now has and what he needs to purchase to change his condition. At the basic, physiological level, hunger stimulates a need to buy food. The next step is to seek out information about the product and evaluate the alternatives. The purchase decision can be based on such elements as packaging, method of payment as well as the features and benefits of the product. Often there is a postpurchase evaluation, with the consumer forming an opinion about the item obtained.

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About the Author

Sharon Penn is a writer based in South Florida. A professional writer since 1981, she has created numerous materials for a Princeton advertising agency. Her articles have appeared in "Golf Journal" and on industry blogs. Penn has traveled extensively, is an avid golfer and is eager to share her interests with her readers. She holds a Master of Science in Education.