Psychological influences on consumer behaviour

Written by jen davis
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Psychological influences on consumer behaviour
Purchases made in stores may be influenced by a variety of psychological input. (Shopping image by Bianca from

There are multiple psychological factors that influence the buying behaviours of consumers. An individual consumer's purchasing decisions are often influenced by his perceptions of his needs, wants and status in life. Some consumer behaviours are caused by subconcious behaviours, while others are influenced by conscious decisions made by the consumer in order to achieve certain goals or fit a specific segment of lifestyle choices.

Personal Motives

An individual consumer may purchase an item that they believe will further their own goals or will satisfy a need they have. For example, a shopper may stop at the mall food court because they are hungry, and may select a salad to eat because they believe it will help them achieve weight loss or a healthier lifestyle.


A person's personality will affect their behaviour as a consumer as well. Individuals have likes and dislikes that are solely their own. For example, two forty-year-old women might be shopping in the same department store and see a pink blouse on sale. The first woman might decide to buy the blouse because pink is her favourite colour, while the second woman might decide not to buy the blouse because she doesn't like pink.


Consumer behaviour is often influenced by individual's perceptions of products or items. If two quilts are for sale in the same store, one mass produced in China and the other marked as handmade in America, the handmade quilt is likely to have a higher price and be perceived as more valuable and desirable by consumers, even though both quilts would keep the consumer warm equally well. Attitudes and knowledge, whether justified or implied, heavily influence individual consumers perceptions about products.

Social Class

Certain consumer behaviours, especially the popularity of designer items and the desire to purchase them, are fuelled by social class. Certain items are perceived to belong to members of certain classes. Consumers are likely to purchase items they view as a part of their social standing, or that they believe will elevate them to a higher social standing.


Consumers may be driven to certain behaviours by the culture to which they belong. Some items may be viewed as normal in one culture, yet strange in another. Ethnic background and geographical locations play a large part in culture and establishing culturally acceptable and unacceptable consumer behaviour.

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