Consumer behavior is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services. Consumer behavior consists of how the consumer’s emotions, attitudes, and preferences affect buying behavior. Consumer behavior emerged in the 1940–1950s as a distinct sub-discipline of marketing, but has become an interdisciplinary social science that blends elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology, anthropology, ethnography, ethnology, marketing, and economics (especially behavioral economics).
According to the American Marketing Association, consumer behavior can be defined as “the dynamic interaction of affect and cognition, behaviour, and environmental events by which human beings conduct the exchange aspects of their lives.” As a field of study, consumer behavior is an applied social science. Consumer behavior analysis is the “use of behaviour principles, usually gained experimentally, to interpret human economic consumption.” As a discipline, consumer behavior stands at the intersection of economic psychology and marketing science.
Here are some of the key factors that influence consumer behavior:
- Personal factors: These include the consumer’s age, gender, income, education, occupation, and personality.
- Social factors: These include the consumer’s family, friends, social class, and culture.
- Psychological factors: These include the consumer’s motivation, perception, learning, and memory.
- Environmental factors: These include the consumer’s physical environment, the marketing environment, and the economic environment.
Consumer behavior is a complex and dynamic process, but by understanding the key factors that influence it, marketers can develop more effective marketing strategies.
Here are some of the benefits of understanding consumer behavior:
- Increased sales: By understanding what motivates consumers to buy, marketers can develop products and services that are more likely to be successful.
- Improved customer relationships: By understanding the needs and wants of consumers, marketers can build stronger relationships with them.
- Reduced costs: By understanding how consumers make decisions, marketers can reduce the costs of marketing and sales.
- Increased profits: By understanding consumer behavior, marketers can make better decisions that are more likely to lead to increased profits.