The Aspects Marketing Consumer Behavior Assignment report is concept of consumer behavior has been defined by Sparks et al. (2013), who explains that consumer behavior refers to the various processes involved and associated with the study and understanding of the purchase decision making processes of the consumers.According to Camerer et al. (2013), there are multiple factors like their needs, experiences and product attributes that affect the purchase and use of different products and services and hence it is extremely important and crucial for the companies to identify and understand the behavior of their consumers to ensure the adoption of adequate marketing strategy. Camerer et al. (2013), states that the consumer behavior has significant impact on the marketing strategy of firms and even the marketing strategies have a significant impact on the behavior of the consumers.Hence, the present study evaluates the purchase behavior of a consumer to identify and understand the impacts of multiple factors on his/her purchase and to understand the motivations behind the same.
The theory presented by Mullen and Johnson (2013) has identified economic, social, personal, cultural and psychological to be among the most important factors that affect the behavior and purchase decisions and behavior of the consumers. Mullen and Johnson (2013) also discuss the point further and has established that in order to understand the purchase behavior of the consumers adequately, it is important to understand these factors. The social factors of the consumer behavior includes the society he/she lives in, economic factors include the economic conditions, cultural factors refer to the cultural background, personal factors refer to the personal preferences and psychological factors refer to the motivation behind the same.
The consumer being evaluated or studied in the research is a 25 years old male student, who is originally from India and is currently studying in Australia and stays with friends. This provides the basic demographic business information about the consumer, which highlights his cultural background.Also, the age, gender and residence choice explain and identify the personal and the social attributes of the consumers, which are expected to affect his purchase behavior. The consumer also belongs to an upper middle class family and hence the spending power of the consumer is high. Thus, the information gathered about the consumer can be used to evaluate his purchase behavior and can also help in correlating the both.
The purchase behavior of the consumers as observed for a period of one week has been recorded.The data highlights that the consumer spends on an average $77 per day.The Black Box Model of external behavior explains that there are two types of influences on the behavior of a consumer, internal and external (Wilken et al. 2010).While external factors refer to marketing stimuli and other external political, social and technological factors, internal factors refer to buyers’ characteristics and include social, psychological, personal and cultural.
Figure 2 represents the consumption and buyer behavior of the student as observed on weekdays and on weekends. It is found that the consumer made around 67% of the purchases on weekdays, i.e. in 5 days and made around 33% of the purchases over the weekend, i.e. Saturday and Sunday. Thus, on an average he made around 13.4% of the purchases on a weekday and 16.5% of the purchases on a weekend. Hence, this behavior can be explained from his social needs as a student, which would definitely increase over the weekend when there are no lectures in colleges. As observed from figure 3, maximum purchases were made on Sunday.
Also, since the Black Box model suggests that the external factors also influence the purchase decisions made by the consumers. Hence, the impact of multiple external factors and their average importance weighting that affected the purchases made by the consumers are highlighted in figure 4.
Figure 4: External Influences on the Purchase of the Consumer
Figure 4 demonstrates that two of the most important external factors that influenced the buying behavior of the consumers were education and social.The consumer spent $8 everyday for the return ticket of the train, which he uses everyday to commute to his college and hence it was the external factor of education that affected his purchase decision.Secondly external social factors led to purchases like clothes that he had to purchase for a social function, beer that he had to buy for social needs while hanging out with friends etc.Hence, the purchases made by the consumer can be explained on the basis of the Black Box Model, which explains and identifies the external and internal factors affecting consumer behavior (Wilken et al. 2010).
Figure 5: Personal Improtance of Purchases
Huang and Hseuh (2010) have said that irrespective of the external or internal factors that affect consumer behavior, the most important attribute that motivates a consumer to buy a particular product or service is the importance and the intensity of the interest in the product or customer service he/she is buying.Huang and Hseuh (2010) explain that consumers first buy the products that are of higher personal importance. This finding can be confirmed from the findings of the consumer, whose purchase behavior is being evaluated herein.Figure 5 presents the number of purchases made by the consumer with respect to the ranking of personal importance of each of the products.It has been observed that there were no purchases made for the products with importance ratings of 0 and 1.The numbers of purchases are shown to increase with increase in their personal importance ratings and hence it can be established that the theory proposed by Huang and Hseuh (2010) holds true.
One of the most commonly theories that explain the behavior of consumers is the theory of buyer behavior.As explained by Howard and Sheth (1969), the theory of buyer behavior divides the model of purchase behavior of a consumer in three parts, i.e. input, constructs/intervening variables and the outputs. While the impact of external factors and personal importance on the purchase behavior of a consumer has been identified, it is important to evaluate the impacts of other inputs, i.e. stimuli on the same. As the consumer can be categorized as a user, buyer or payer of the product, the impacts of different internal stimuli keep on changing (Kotler and Armstrong, 2013).Hence, the influence of each factors is discussed below.
Figure 6 highlights the scores allotted to each of the factors with respect to their impact on the purchase behavior of the consumers. It has been found that price and convenience have been the two most important factors that have influenced the consumers. The purchase data of the consumer highlights that the when the consumer is a payer, the price becomes the most important determinant of purchases, when the consumer is the buyer, convenience is the most important factor followed by service and personalization and when the consumer is the user of the product or service, the performance of the products is the most important factor (Kotler and Armstrong, 2013). Hence, the findings comply with the theory of buyer behavior as explained by Howard and Sheth (1969).
The exogenous variables that affect the purchase decision and behavior of the consumers are the personality variables, social class, customer, financial status etc (Kotler and Armstrong, 2013). Figure 7 presents the impacts of personal context on the purchase made by the consumer.As observed, the consumer’s purchases were not influenced by the culture or the social class but rather were influenced by the personal worth of the buyer. For example, the purchase of shoes as made by the consumer was a result of his personal worth. As the majority of the purchases of the consumer were of basic nature including coffee, travel, vegetables, food etc., the impact of culture would have been low .
Further, the data of the purchase behavior of the consumers also represent the significance of the impact of the major exogenous variables on their purchase decisions. Price, health, quality, convenience, incentive, taste and service have been taken as the major factors and their impacts on the purchase behavior have been evaluated (Oliver, 2010). Figure 8 presents the findings of the market research on the basis of these variables.
Figure 8 highlights that the consumer while price has been a moderating factor in the purchasing decision of the consumer, health has not been of much significance but quality, convenience and taste were of extreme importance for majority of the purchases of the consumer. The buying theory of consumer behavior explains that these exogenous variables affect the motivation, attitude and choice of the consumers (Kotler and Armstrong, 2013). Hence, the use of the theory helps in explaining that the buying behavior of the consumer being studies has been highly affected by variables of quality, convenience and taste.
As the decision making is the last step in the consumer behavior process, it is important to determine the decision effort that the consumers make while making their purchase. Moller-Hassan (2013) explains that according to the theory of buying behavior, consumers usually purchase products that require less effort in making decisions. Figure 9 highlights the decision effort made by the consumer while making his purchases. It can be seen from the figure that the maximum purchases of the consumers have been of low decision efforts. While 21 purchases of the consumer involved a low decision effort, only 1 purchase required the highest decision effort.
While, the impacts of different variables on the purchase behavior of the consumers have been evaluated, it would also be beneficial to determine the purchasing decisions on the basis of different needs. The Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs states that when people buy a particular product or service, they fulfill one of the five needs, i.e. physiological (basic needs), safety, social, esteem and self-actualization with low to highest importance in that order (figure 10). (Maslow, 1970)
Figure 11 highlights the impacts of different needs of the consumers on their purchase decisions. The findings comply with the Maslow’s hierarchy and demonstrate that most of the purchases made by the consumer were to fulfill his physiological needs.
The study thus highlights that the purchase behavior of the consumer was highly based on his social, personal and cultural factors and hence it can be proven from the findings that the theories of consumer behavior are valid in real life and help in defining and identifying the impacts of different factors on the consumers. Hence, the marketers must definitely evaluate the behavior of their target customer service before deciding on the strategies related to their products including their prices, promotions, convenience etc.
Purchase Behavior of High-Involvement Product
A nominated, high-involvement product that has been identified by the consumer to be purchased in the near future is a car. As explained by Kotler and Armstrong (2013), a high-involvement product is a product that is of high value and is generally bought after the consumer has spent enough time on evaluating its needs and costs. Kotler and Armstrong (2013) explains that the purchase of a high-involvement product is also largely dependent on the Maslow’s needs of hierarchy and only once is a customer able to satisfy the basic needs, does he/she would move on to the next needs. As discussed above, the basic physiological and social needs of the consumer are fulfilled with the general purchases he makes. However, the self-esteem and self-actualization needs are shown to be still left unmet.
Thus, the purchase behavior of the high-involvement need would be different than the normal purchase behavior of the products. Mills and Law (2013) have explained that the consumers spend a lot of time in gathering information regarding the high-involvement products in contrast to the other products. Also, the decision efforts taken in the purchase of high-involvement products are shown to be way higher as compared to the regular purchases. The consumer on being asked about the purchase of the car said that he had researched and gathered information on cars for over a month and the decision efforts involved in the same is definitely extremely high because it is a high value purchase. He also said that though the car would cater to a basic need of commuting to college, it is also more of a personal and self-esteem choice.
Hence, the comparison of the purchase behavior of the nominated product and the regular products highlights that the consumers actually spend more time in researching and making decisions about buying the high-involvement products as compared to the regular and normal products. This is an useful point of difference that must be kept in mind by the companies while positioning their products in the market.
The key insight that has been discussed and obtained from the study is the way different factors as described in the theory of buyer behavior and the way different needs as identified in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs affect the purchase behavior of the consumers. The study of the purchases made by a consumer for a period of one week highlighted that the purchase of consumers is highly dependent on the external as well as the internal factors. The results also demonstrated that the regular purchases cater to the basic needs of Maslow’s hierarchy, while the high-involvement purchases made by the consumers are made in order to cater to their needs that come at higher positions in the hierarchy. Thus, the marketing manager and marketing value of consumer goods must identify the type of need that the goods are catering to and must also identify the factors that are most likely to affect the purchasing patterns of the consumers because this would help the marketing manager in selecting the right marketing strategy for the products.
- Camerer, C.F., Loewenstein, G. and Rabin, M.(2011), “Advances in Behavioral Economics”, 3rd edition, Princeton University Press
- Howard J.A and Sheth J.N (1969), the Theory of Buyer Behavior, New York: John Wiley and Sons.9-28
- Huang, C.F. and Hseuh, S.L.(2010), “Customer behavior and decision making in the refurbishment industry‐a data mining approach”, Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, vol.16, no.1, 75-84
- Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G.(2013), “Principles of Marketing 15th Global Edition”
- Maslow, A. H. (1970), Motivation and Personality, New York: Harper & Row
- Mills, J.E. and Law, R.(2013), “Handbook of Consumer Behavior Tourism and the Internet”, Haworth Hospitality press
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