Consumer Buying Behavior

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Customers make purchases in order to satisfy needs. Some of these needs are basic and must be filled by everyone on the planet, example: food and shelter, while others are not required for basic survival and vary depending on the person. Sometimes in the consumer market people are involved in a purchase decision, example: in planning for a family vacation the father may make the hotel reservations but others in the family may have input on the hotel choice. Therefore, understanding consumer purchase behavior involves not only understanding how decisions are made but also understanding the dynamics that influence purchases.

Consumer buyer behavior refers to the buying behavior of final consumers (individuals and households who buy goods and services for personal consumption). All of there final consumers combine to make up the consumer market.

Customers go through a five-stage decision-making process in any purchase: 1.Need Recognition & Problem Awareness
2.Information Search
3.Evaluation of Alternatives
5.Post-Purchase Evaluation

The model implies that customers pass through all stages in every purchase, however, in routine purchases, customers often skip or reverse some of the stages. For example: a student buying a favorite hamburger would recognize the need (hunger) and go right to the purchase decision, skipping information search and evaluation. However, the model is very useful when it comes to understanding any purchase that required some deliberation.

The buying process starts with need recognition, where the buyer recognizes a problem or need (example: I am hungry or we need a sofa) or else responds to a marketing stimulus (example: you pass a café and are attracted by the aroma of coffee and muffins). At this stage the decision-making process may stall if the consumer is not motivated to continue. However, if the consumer does have the internal drive to satisfy the need, they will continue to the next step.
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