Post a Comment

Consumer behaviour can be defined as the study of how individuals, groups, and organizations select, buy, use and dispose of goods, services, and ideas that satisfy their needs.

It is the study of how consumer emotion, attitudes, beliefs, and preferences affect their buying decisions.

Consumer behaviour can also be defined process through which the ultimate buyer makes purchase decisions.

It refers to a person's activities when using and purchasing goods and services, as well as the psychological and social processes that occur before and after these acts.

Many factors influence consumer behaviour, which can be classified into five categories: Psychological factors, personal factors, social factors, cultural factors, and economic factors.

Psychological factors

This includes motivation, perception, learning, and attitudes and beliefs.


Motivation is an internal state that drives us to satisfy needs. Once, a consumer identified a need, a state of tension exists that drives the consumer toward some goal that will reduce this tension by eliminating the needs.

When a person is motivated enough, he is likely to make a purchase.

Different motivation theories have been proposed by psychologists, but Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs is the most popular.

In Maslow's view, human needs are arranged hierarchically from the most pressing needs to the least pressing need. 

He gave 5 categories of needs which are: psychological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization needs.

He believes consumers will try to satisfy the most pressing needs first, after which he will move to the next pressing needs.

Consumer perception

Consumer perception refers to how a customer feels and perceives a business and its market offering.

Consumer perception is an important determinant of consumer behaviour because consumers who have a negative perception of a particular brand will not purchase from their brand even if they are motivated to do so.

For example, consumer A and consumer B both need computers. However, Consumer A perceives Apple computer as the best brand while computer B perceives Dell computer as the best brand. 

Therefore, Consumer A will purchase an Apple computer whereas Computer B will purchase a Dell computer.


Learning is a process by which a person's behaviour changes as a result of new information.

Most times, people learn from their experiences with a product. For example, if you purchase an iPhone today and had a rewarding experience with it, your response to iPhone and apple products may be positively reinforced and you may want to purchase such phones next time you need a phone, believing that the Apple iPhone is a good phone.

Beliefs and attitude

Consumer behaviour is also influenced by beliefs and attitudes. Belief refers to a consumer's knowledge and inferences about a product, as well as the benefit (or aversion) of that product.

Attitude, on the other hand, is the favourable and unfavourable feelings that a consumer has about a particular product.

If a consumer believes a product is good, he would have a positive attitude towards it.

Conversely, if the consumer believes the product is bad, he would have a negative feeling toward it.

Because consumer attitudes and beliefs are so important in determining consumer behaviour, marketers go to great lengths to improve their brand image among their target market.

Social factors

Because humans are social animals, they interact with one another. Consumer behaviour is, therefore, affected by social factors such as Social groups, family and roles, and status.

Social groups

Humans, as earlier stated, are social animals who must interact with different social groups to satisfy their needs.

As human beings, we observed one another and take clues from one another on how to act to fit in and please one another in our social group. 

We are, therefore, influenced both directly and indirectly by the norms of these social groups.

The term "reference group" is used to describe social groups that have direct and indirect influences on a person's perception, aspiration, and attitudes to a product.

There are two types of reference groups that can affect an individual behaviour viz: membership and non-membership groups.

A membership group is a group to which an individual belongs and which has a direct and indirect influence on his or her purchasing behaviour. 

An example of a membership group that directly affects a person's buying decision is a primary group. Family and neighbours are examples of primary groups.

Religious groups and coursemates are examples of secondary groups that have an indirect influence on an individual's purchasing behaviour.

A non-membership group is one to which individuals do not belong but which can influence their purchasing decisions.

These groups are mainly anticipatory, as the individual aspires to join the group later in the future.

There are three forms of reference group influence: informational influence, utilitarian influence, and value-expressive influence. 

Informational influence occurs when a person seeks information regarding various brands from an association of professionals or independent groups of experts.

If an individual's decision to purchase products from a certain brand is influenced by the preferences of the people with who he or she has social interaction, this is known as a utilitarian influence.

Value-expressive influence occurs when an individual believes that purchasing a certain brand improves his or her image and self-respect among others. 


Of course, nobody fell from heaven, we all originated from a family. One of the most important influences on consumers' behaviour, attitude, and perception is the family. 

The family has such a strong influence on individuals that it outweighs the influence of other social groups.

Family shapes our self-concept, values, and beliefs. They are responsible for passing the cultural norms and values to children and these children automatically learn the consumption pattern of their parents. 

Most time, the consumption patterns of children are identical to their families.

Roles and status

As humans, we have different roles and statuses in society. Depending on the position we found ourselves in, we perform different roles associated with the position.

For example, a man employed as the general manager of a company may have several roles in various groups. 

In his company, he may play the role of a general manager. with his family, he will play the role of a father. With his church, he may perform his role as a member.

As a performer of various roles, his purchasing behaviour would vary depending on the role he is playing. 

His buying behaviour as a general manager of the company will not be the same as when he is with his family.

For example, a general manager is expected to spend according to the company budget. with his family, he will have the freedom of spending and buy what he prefers.

A related factor is status. As a general manager, he has more social status than the role of a husband or church member. Therefore, he may choose to buy products that would reflect his social standing.

Personal Factors

Age and life-cycle stage, occupation lifestyle, economic circumstances, personality, and self-concepts are all personal factors that can influence consumer behaviour.

Age and life cycle

As people grow older, their consumption pattern tends to change. Taste in food, clothes, and furniture is generally age-related and tends to change as an individual grows older.


A person's occupation can also affect his or her buying decision. People typically buy product that is related to their occupation.

After all, no one buys a football boot unless they play football, and no one buys cement unless they are a bricklayer.

Economic circumstances

The buying tendency of a person is always related to the economic condition of such a person, which is determined by his/her purchasing power.

As research has shown, people with more purchasing power tend to buy more expensive and premium goods than people with less purchasing power.

Indeed, what a person buys reflects his or her economic and financial situation. For example, When you hear that someone has purchased a new car, you usually assume that the person's financial situation has improved.

There is a positive relationship between the economic situation of a person and his spending. The more purchasing power he has, the more likely he is to purchase more goods and services.

Marketers, therefore, target consumers with large purchasing power, charging high prices to match. 

That is not to say that marketers completely ignore low-income earners. Marketers also target low-income earners, albeit not as aggressively as high-income earners.


The way an individual lives also determines his consumption behaviour. According to Kotler et al, “Lifestyle is a person’s pattern of living as expressed in his or her activities, interests and opinions”. 

Lifestyle refers to a person’s whole pattern of acting and interacting. Everything a person loves and buy is captured by his or her lifestyle.

So, If a person is interested in a sport, without a doubt, such a person's buying behaviour will be related to sports. 

If an individual is an avid reader, his consumption patterns will be closely associated with the consumption of books.

Cultural factors

Consumer buying behaviour is also influenced by culture, subculture, and social class.


Culture is one of the strongest factors influencing consumer behaviour.

According to Edward Taylor, "culture is the complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of a society".

It includes all the value systems, beliefs, and norms of a consumer that can shape consumers' buying behaviour.


Within a cultural group, there exist several subcultures that provide more specific socialization for their member.

A subculture is a distinct subgroup within a larger cultural group that holds beliefs that distinguished it from the mainstream culture.

Subcultures such as racial groups and religious groups provide individuals with some kind of socialization that may be different from mainstream society.

Because subcultures share some form of variant culture, they form the basis of most market segmentation.

Social class

Every society has a relatively homogenous division which is called social class.

Because consumers often make the same kind of purchases as their peers, social class is a very important influencer of consumer behaviour.

Economic factors

Of course, there is no effective demand without the ability to pay and this ability to pay is shaped by economic factors such as Disposable income, family income, and savings.

Disposable income

This is the most fundamental factor that can dictate consumer behaviour. Disposable income represents the amount that an individual has left to spend or save after deducting taxes.

Usually, consumer increases expenditure as disposable income increases and decreases such expenditure as disposable income fall.

However, this is highly contingent on the consumer's decision to save or consume.

Family income

Family is simply the total income earned by members of a family. Generally, as family income rises, we see an increase in consumer expenditure.

Conversely, as family income falls, consumer expenditure usually falls.

Related posts


This is closely related to disposable income.  For instance, if you decide to save more than you spend,  your expenditure on goods and services will reduce even if your disposable income rises.

Found this post helpful? Subscribe to our telegram channel so you won't miss any of our updates.

Help us grow our readership by sharing this post

Related Posts

Post a Comment

Subscribe Our Newsletter