consumer behavior

Who is a Consumer ?
Any individual who purchases goods and services from the market for his/her end-use is called a consumer.
In simpler words a consumer is one who consumes goods and services available in the market.
Example - Tom might purchase a tricycle for his son or Mike might buy a shirt for himself. In the above examples, both Tom and Mike are consumers.
What is consumer Interest ?
Every customer shows inclination towards particular products and services. Consumer interest is nothing but willingness of consumers to purchase products and services as per their taste, need and of course pocket.

Both Maria and Sandra went to the nearby shopping mall to buy dresses for themselves. The store manager showed them the best dresses available with him. Maria immediately purchased two dresses but Sandra returned home empty handed. The dresses were little too expensive for Sandra and she preferred simple and subtle designs as compared to designer wears available at the store.
In the above example Sandra and Maria had similar requirements but there was a huge difference in their taste, mind set and ability to spend.

 Consumer behaviour consists of activities/process followed in making any buying decision of goods as well as a service. In recent time service (holiday, travel, etc.), decisions are forming large part of consumer behaviour.

Consumer behaviour consists of activities/process followed in making any buying decision of goods as well as a service. In recent time service (holiday, travel, etc.), decisions are forming large part of consumer behaviour.

 According to Belch and Belch, whenever need arises; a consumer searches for several information which would help him in his purchase.
Following are the sources of information:
  • Personal Sources
  • Commercial Sources
  • Public Sources
  • Personal Experience
Perception also plays an important role in influencing the buying decision of consumers.
Buying decisions of consumers also depend on the following factors:
  • Messages, advertisements, promotional materials, a consumer goes through also called selective exposure.
  • Not all promotional materials and advertisements excite a consumer. A consumer does not pay attention to everything he sees. He is interested in only what he wants to see. Such behaviour is called selective attention.
  • Consumer interpretation refers to how an individual perceives a particular message.
  • A consumer would certainly buy something which appeals him the most. He would remember the most relevant and meaningful message also called as selective retention. He would obviously not remember something which has nothing to do with his need.

 There is a difference between consumer behaviour and buying behaviour. Consumer behaviour as highlighted before talks about process and actions taken by the final or end users where as buyer behaviour looks at intermediate users (who add value to goods and service) and final users.
Understanding of the consumer behaviour begins with study of the consumer buying process. Consumer buying process is five step activities. The starting with need recognition, which leads to information search, once information is obtained from different sources next step, is the evaluation and intent where in consumer evaluates various parameters of the product or service. The next step in five-step activity is the purchase decision where in intent is converted into an actual purchase of the good or the service. The final step is post-purchase reaction where in customer if she is satisfied with goods or services recommends to other prospective customers or repeat the purchase. If the customer is not happy with purchase, a bad word of mouth follows, and she looks for alternative product or service.
Three factors are identified as determinants to consumer behaviour namely economic determinants, psychological determinant and sociological determinant. Economic Determinants are personal income (individual’s purchasing power), family income (total purchasing power of the family), the future income expectations (expected increase or decrease in availability of disposable income), availability of liquid asset (asset, which can be converted to cash), consumer market credit (if market conditions are good credit easily available) and social class (effluent class, upper-middle class, middle class, etc.).
In compare the industrial buying process is much more formal process done according to pre-defined policy and norms. The key features of organization buying are it’s a formal and standardized process, it is done in large quantities and may be done at periodic intervals of time, and decision-making process usually involves more than one individual.
As there are determinants for consumer behaviour, similar industrial buying behaviour has its own set of determinants, which are overall objectives of the organization, technological capabilities of the organization which consist of information systems and network capabilities and finally organization structure, which includes its capital and number of employees.
From above it can be comprehended that consumer behaviour is important factor in determining marketing policies.
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