Meaning and Nature of Consumer Behaviour

23/02/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

Consumer behaviour is the study of how individual customers, groups or organizations select, buy, use, and dispose ideas, goods, and services to satisfy their needs and wants. It refers to the actions of the consumers in the marketplace and the underlying motives for those actions.

Marketers expect that by understanding what causes the consumers to buy particular goods and services, they will be able to determine—which products are needed in the marketplace, which are obsolete, and how best to present the goods to the consumers.

The study of consumer behaviour assumes that the consumers are actors in the marketplace. The per­spective of role theory assumes that consumers play various roles in the marketplace. Starting from the information provider, from the user to the payer and to the disposer, consumers play these roles in the decision process.

The roles also vary in different consumption situations; for example, a mother plays the role of an influencer in a child’s purchase process, whereas she plays the role of a disposer for the products consumed by the family.

Some selected definitions of consumer behaviour are as follows:

According to Engel, Blackwell, and Mansard, ‘consumer behaviour is the actions and decision processes of people who purchase goods and services for personal consumption’.

According to Louden and Bitta, ‘consumer behaviour is the decision process and physical activity, which individuals engage in when evaluating, acquiring, using or disposing of goods and services’.

Nature of Consumer Behaviour

  1. Influenced by various factors

The various factors that influence the consumer behaviour are as follows:
(a) Marketing factors such as product design, price, promotion, packaging, positioning and dis­tribution.

(b) Personal factors such as age, gender, education and income level.

(c) Psychological factors such as buying motives, perception of the product and attitudes towards the product.
(d) Situational factors such as physical surroundings at the time of purchase, social surroundings and time factor.

(e) Social factors such as social status, reference groups and family.

(f) Cultural factors, such as religion, social class—caste and sub-castes.

  1. Undergoes a constant change

Consumer behaviour is not static. It undergoes a change over a period of time depending on the nature of products. For example, kids prefer colourful and fancy footwear, but as they grow up as teenagers and young adults, they prefer trendy footwear, and as middle-aged and senior citizens they prefer more sober footwear. The change in buying behaviour may take place due to several other factors such as increase in income level, education level and marketing factors.

  1. Varies from consumer to consumer

All consumers do not behave in the same manner. Differ­ent consumers behave differently. The differences in consumer behaviour are due to individual factors such as the nature of the consumers, lifestyle and culture. For example, some consumers are technoholics. They go on a shopping and spend beyond their means.

They borrow money from friends, relatives, banks, and at times even adopt unethical means to spend on shopping of advance technologies. But there are other consumers who, despite having surplus money, do not go even for the regular purchases and avoid use and purchase of advance technologies.

  1. Varies from region to region and country to county

The consumer behaviour varies across states, regions and countries. For example, the behaviour of the urban consumers is different from that of the rural consumers. A good number of rural consumers are conservative in their buying behaviours.

The rich rural consumers may think twice to spend on luxuries despite hav­ing sufficient funds, whereas the urban consumers may even take bank loans to buy luxury items such as cars and household appliances. The consumer behaviour may also varies across the states, regions and countries. It may differ depending on the upbringing, lifestyles and level of development.

  1. Information on consumer behaviour is important to the marketers

Marketers need to have a good knowledge of the consumer behaviour. They need to study the various factors that influence the consumer behaviour of their target customers.

The knowledge of consumer behaviour enables them to take appropriate marketing decisions in respect of the following factors:

(a) Product design/model

(b) Pricing of the product

(c) Promotion of the product

(d) Packaging

(e) Positioning

(f) Place of distribution

  1. Leads to purchase decision

A positive consumer behaviour leads to a purchase decision. A consumer may take the decision of buying a product on the basis of different buying motives. The purchase decision leads to higher demand, and the sales of the marketers increase. Therefore, marketers need to influence consumer behaviour to increase their purchases.

  1. Varies from product to product

Consumer behaviour is different for different products. There are some consumers who may buy more quantity of certain items and very low or no quantity of other items. For example, teenagers may spend heavily on products such as cell phones and branded wears for snob appeal, but may not spend on general and academic reading. A middle- aged person may spend less on clothing, but may invest money in savings, insurance schemes, pension schemes, and so on.

  1. Improves standard of living

The buying behaviour of the consumers may lead to higher stan­dard of living. The more a person buys the goods and services, the higher is the standard of living. But if a person spends less on goods and services, despite having a good income, they deprives themselves of higher standard of living.

  1. Reflects status

The consumer behaviour is not only influenced by the status of a consumer, but it also reflects it. The consumers who own luxury cars, watches and other items are considered belonging to a higher status. The luxury items also give a sense of pride to the owners.