Consumer behaviour – Meaning, Nature, Scope, Elements, Importance

Consumer behaviour can be defined as the decision making process and physical activity involved acquiring, evaluating, using and disposing of goods and services. Consumer behaviour refers to the behaviour that consumer display in searching, purchasing, using, evaluating and disposing of products and services that they expect will satisfy their needs.

According to Walter – “Consumer behaviour is the process where by individual decides what, where, when, how, from whom to purchase the goods and services.” 

According to Webster – “Consumer behaviour is the psychological, social & physical behavior or potential customer as they become aware of evaluation, purchase, consume and tell others about product and services.

Consumer behaviour focuses on how individuals make decisions to spend their available resources to satisfy their consumption needs. This includes questions like what to buy? When to buy? Where to buy? How often to buy? How much to buy?

 

Consumer – A consumer is a person who evaluates, uses and disposes a good or service to satisfy a need.

Customer – Customer is the person, who actually purchases the product.

Consumers can be divided into two types –

  1. Household consumers – Who buy products for their own consumption.
  2. Industrial consumers – Who buy products for further value addition, as inputs for manufacturing or for retailing.

Nature of Consumer behaviour:

  • It is complex as each customer has a unique set of needs
  • It is dynamic in nature, human behaviour is constantly altered by its environment
  • It varies from consumer to consumer, product to product and from country to country
  • It is influenced by various cultural, social, personal and psychological factors
  • The buying behaviour and pattern of an individual reflects his/her status in the society

Elements/ Aspects of Consumer behaviour

The core of consumer behaviour is to answer the questions related to the following aspects:

• Who buys? i.e. Who makes the purchase decision? Who does the actual buying? What does he actually buy?

• When does a consumer buy? Season, festival, event, holidays, Day of the week, Time of the day, Buying frequency?

• How does a consumer buy? Buying habits of the consumer, Level of Involvement, Selection criteria, market trends

• Where does he buy from? Buying Convenience? Buying experience? Situational factors affecting purchase decision

• Why does he buy? Buying motives of the Customer, Customer needs and expectations, User taste and preferences

Scope of Consumer behaviour

The scope of Consumer behaviour lies in:

  • Demand Forecasting – Estimating the demand for products and services
  • Marketing – Understanding the needs, expectations, problems of consumers, Formulating Marketing Mix Strategies
  • Advertising – Understanding human behaviour towards different advertising appeals and message, selecting the type of media
  • Human Behaviour – Understanding the various motives that influence behavior of a consumer
  • Operations – Formulating production, pricing and distribution policies

Importance of Consumer behaviour

  • It helps to understand human behavior and various internal and external motives that influence human behavior.
  • It helps marketers to determine customer needs, expectations, problems, preferences etc. which help them to estimate demand for a product or service.
  • It helps marketers to understand what a customer buys, why he buys it, when and from who he buys which helps them to formulate an effective marketing mix (4P`s).
  • It helps advertisers to understand how consumers react to different advertising appeals, thereby helping them to select the appropriate media and advertising message for a particular target audience.
  • It helps organizations to analyze market opportunities and develop competitive strategies accordingly.
  • It helps in rapid introduction of new products.
  • It helps the government to understand the social and economic trends in the country and formulate policies regarding price controls, subsidization, consumer protection etc.

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