What is consumer behaviour?

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consumer behavior

Definition of consumer behaviour

Consumer behaviour is defined as ‘the acts of individuals directly involved in obtaining and using economic products and services, including the decision processes that precede and determine theses acts’ (Lancaster and Reynolds, 2004, p.50).

According to Kotler et al (2009), consumer behaviour is the study of how individuals or groups buy, use and dispose of goods, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy their needs and wants.

Consumer behaviour is about how consumers buy and use products and services in order to satisfy their desires. No doubt that, consumers buy products and services in line with their desires; however the decision to purchase goes through a process particularly if the products or services are not frequently purchased. The definitions above have addressed this process of purchasing.

Factors affecting consumer behaviour

A number of factors e.g. culture, religion, life style, education etc. affect consumer behaviour. For example, some people buy very frequently whereas some others are occasional buyers. Likewise, some belief systems allow their followers to drink wine while some others do not. These differences actually make consumer behaviour an interesting area of academic study. Read the article 5 factors which affect buyer behaviour for more information.

Why understanding consumer behaviour?

It is very important for the marketing managers to understand consumer behaviour in order to implement promotional strategies. For example, the type of customers will determine whether a company should advertise on TV or in a particular magazine.

Big companies take account of consumer behaviour and factors affecting it very seriously in order to ensure that they are satisfactorily addressing the requirements of the customers. For example, some retailers sell ‘halal’ meat for Muslims and ‘Kosher’ meat for Jews.

Consumer behaviour is an important subject to understand from both academic and corporate perspectives. Therefore, many companies and educational establishments carry out research regularly to understand it more and better.

The article publication date: June 2016

Further reading/references

Lancaster, G. & Reynolds, P. (2004) Marketing, 1st Edition, Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: M Rahman

M Rahman writes extensively online with an emphasis on business management, marketing, and tourism. He is a lecturer in Management and Marketing. He is a graduate of Leeds Metropolitan University and London South Bank University.