Consumer behavior refers to the selection, purchase and consumption of goods and services for the satisfaction of their wishes. There are different processes involved in consumer behavior. Initially, the consumer tries to find which products he would like to consume, then he selects only those products that promise greater utility. After selecting the commodities, the consumer makes an estimate of the available money that he can spend. Finally, the consumer analyzes the prevailing prices of basic products and makes the decision about the basic products to consume. Meanwhile, there are several other factors that influence consumer purchases, such as social, cultural, personal, and psychological. The explanation of these factors is given below.
1. Cultural factors
Consumer behavior is deeply influenced by cultural factors such as: buyer’s culture, subculture, and social class.
Basically, culture is part of all societies and is the important cause of people’s desires and behavior. The influence of culture on buying behavior varies from country to country, so marketers need to be very careful when analyzing the culture of different groups, regions, or even countries.
Each culture contains different subcultures like religions, nationalities, geographic regions, racial groups, etc. Marketers can use these groups by segmenting the market into several small slices. For example, marketers can design products according to the needs of a particular geographic group.
• Social class
Every society has some form of social class that is important to merchants because the buying behavior of people in a given social class is similar. In this way, marketing activities could be adapted to different social classes. Here we must bear in mind that social class is not only determined by income, but there are also other factors such as: wealth, education, occupation, etc.
2. Social factors
Social factors also affect the purchasing behavior of consumers. Important social factors are: reference groups, family, role and status.
• Reference groups
Reference groups have the potential to form a personal attitude or behavior. The impact of reference groups varies between products and brands. For example, if the product is visible, such as clothing, shoes, car, etc., the influence of the reference groups will be high. Reference groups also include the opinion leader (a person who influences others because of their special ability, knowledge, or other characteristics).
The behavior of the buyer is strongly influenced by the member of a family. Therefore, marketers are trying to find the roles and influence of the husband, wife, and children. If the wife influences the decision to purchase a particular product, marketers will try to target women in their advertisement. Here we must bear in mind that purchasing roles change with the change in consumer lifestyles.
• Roles and status
Each person has different roles and status in society depending on the groups, clubs, family, organization, etc. to which it belongs. For example, a woman works in an organization as a financial director. She now plays two roles, one as a finance manager and the other as a mother. Therefore, your purchasing decisions will be influenced by your role and status.
3. Personal factors
Personal factors can also affect consumer behavior. Some of the important personal factors that influence buying behavior are: lifestyle, financial situation, occupation, age, personality and self-concept.
Age and life cycle have a potential impact on consumer buying behavior. It is obvious that consumers change the purchase of goods and services over time. The family life cycle consists of different stages such as young singles, married couples, unmarried couples, etc., which help marketers develop suitable products for each stage.
A person’s occupation has a significant impact on their buying behavior. For example, a marketing manager in an organization will try to buy business suits, while a low-level worker in the same organization will buy sturdy work clothes.
• Economic situation
The economic situation of the consumer has a great influence on their buying behavior. If a customer’s income and savings are high, they will buy more expensive products. On the other hand, a person with low income and savings will buy inexpensive products.
The lifestyle of customers is another import factor that affects consumer buying behavior. Lifestyle refers to the way a person lives in a society and expresses himself in the things around him. It is determined by interests, opinions, activities, etc. of the client and shapes their entire pattern of action and interaction in the world.
Personality changes from one person to another, from time to time, and from place to place. Therefore, it can greatly influence the buying behavior of customers. In reality, personality is not what you wear; rather it is the totality of a man’s behavior in different circumstances. It has different characteristics such as: dominance, aggressiveness, self-confidence, etc. that can be useful in determining consumer behavior for a particular product or service.
4. Psychological factors
There are four important psychological factors that affect consumer buying behavior. These are: perception, motivation, learning, beliefs and attitudes.
The level of motivation also affects the buying behavior of customers. Each person has different needs, such as physiological needs, biological needs, social needs, etc. The nature of the needs is that some of them are the most urgent while others are the least urgent. Therefore, a need becomes a motive when it is most urgent to direct the person to seek satisfaction.
Selecting, organizing, and interpreting information in a way that produces a meaningful experience of the world is called perception. There are three different perceptual processes which are selective attention, selective distortion, and selective retention. In the case of selective attention, marketers try to attract the customer’s attention. Whereas, in case of selective distortion, clients try to interpret the information in a way that supports what clients already believe. Similarly, in the case of selective retention, marketers try to withhold information that supports their beliefs.
• Beliefs and attitudes
The customer has a specific belief and attitude towards various products. Since such beliefs and attitudes shape brand image and affect consumer buying behavior, marketers are interested in them. Marketers can change the beliefs and attitudes of customers by launching special campaigns in this regard.