Consumer buying behavior

Why do people buy? Understanding this buying behavior is the most important factor. Human behavior is very complex, and so is the buying behavior. There are many factors, which triggers the human mind to buy product or a service.

Buying behavior is greatly influenced by many factors. Buying behavior and customer markets have to be understood before sound marketing plans can be developed. People buy to satisfy a need. These needs are distinct. We have discussed various human needs in detail in my previous blogs.

The buying behaviour is influenced by four major factors


  • Cultural
  • Social
  • Personal
  • Psychological


Cultural factors: Culture is the most fundamental determiner. Culture influences the buying behavior in  a great deed. Humans are conditioned to learn. We acquire many habits from the culture we are conditioned to. These habits influence us to buy accordingly.. A person growing in India is distinctly different from the person living in America.

Culture is the most fundamental determiner. Culture influences the buying behavior in a great deed. Humans are conditioned to learn. We acquire many habits from the culture. We are conditioned to these habits. These habits influence us to buy accordingly.. A person living in India is distinctly different from the person living in America.
Indian culture comprises joint families. Western countries have nuclear families. Western countries are liberal societies. Their needs are liberal, while the needs of the Indian would differ in great deed. An electronic gadget, like a computer may be an essential need in America but it may be a useless hardware in rural India. An American would willingly pay to buy a computer; the decision would vary in India. We would need a strong reason to buy a computer.
Certain advertisements are culturally restricting and are being viewed either as offensive or forbidden and therefore would find no attractive reason to buy the advertised product. Which is appealing for one culture is unexciting for the other culture. That is the reason we will see a huge difference of buyer percentage of one culture over the other for the same product. 

Subculture:  Each culture consists of smaller subcultures that provide more specific identification and socialization for its members. Even in west or European countries, we would see  groups like American, Italian, Irish, Polish. The  behavior of subcultures would also differ from their own culture.

There are four types of subcultures which can be distinguished within the culture.

  • Nationality Groups
  • Religious groups
  • Racial Groups
  • Geographical areas

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Nationality Groups:  The buying behavior is also influenced by their ethnicity and ethnic identity. a subculture  within a culture shares the same interests form a loose-knit group with a distinctive identity. They are sometimes called Consumer Tribes . Subcultures develop their own norms and values regarding cultural, political and sexual matters. Cultures can be divided into subcultures like Tribes bikers, skinheads, hippies. Their perception towards life and human necessities are distinctly different from others. Researchers have found a great difference between the people comprising subcultures than others

Religious Groups:  Some needs are acquired habits from the conditioning religious groups. Even within a culture or a subculture we have different religions. These religious groups will buy differently. A catholic, Muslim, Hindu or a Buddhist will buy according to their religious beliefs and convictions. There is an increasing cultural and religious gap between the western and Muslim world. Their beliefs are different and so are the buying behaviors. Many multinational companies are experiencing a lot of problems  to fill the gap between the demands of the two

Geographical Areas: Geographical areas also determine the buying behavior . A north Indian would buy different than a south Indian. Even the eating, living and lifestyle preferences would be different south Indian would prefer food from rice and dosas ( made from rice flour) and idli (made from rice flour) while a North Indian would prefer bread from wheat flour like Roti. the demand of a fashion clothes would differ in a great deal.

Consumer’s behavior is also influenced by social factors  a reference groups based on the status and the income.

These groups can be divided into 

  • Upper upper class
  • Lower upper class
  • Upper middle class
  • Middle class
  • working class
  • Upper lower class
  • Lower Lower class

Personal Factors:  A buyer’s decisions are also influenced by personal characteristics.. Buyers behavior, age, lifestyle personality and perceptions would influence the buyer behavior a great deal. Occupation, economic circumstances would also impact the buyer behavior.

Age and lifestyle change: People buy baby foods for the newborn. In mature years they need protein shakes and powders to improve their muscles. In old age they need health supplements to sustain their life. within one lifespan the food preferences change considerably. Consumption is also shaped by the family life cycle.

Occupation: A person’s consumption is also influenced by one’s occupation. The rich will buy costly clothes, while the poor would satisfy their needs in cheaper clothes. A rich will buy a luxury car while the Middle class is an economical model and poor a bicycle. 

Psychological: within the same culture or a subculture people will lead different lifestyles. Their behavior pattern is varied. One’s pattern of living is expressed in a person’s activities lie his habits, interests, opinion, understanding and perceptions.. Lifestyle portrays a whole person into a social class he wants himself to be classified.

Lifestyles are independent of social class and independent. He would give more importance Psychological aspects than physical aspects. Certain people will enter into a criminal to satisfy this psychological behavior.

“Consumerism is not bad, but reckless and mindless consumerism is not just bad, but downright injurious to the health of not just the individual, but of the entire society.”

― Abhijit Naskar

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