Factors that influence consumer buying behavior

Topics: Social class, Working class, Middle class Pages: 5 (1731 words) Published: October 7, 2013
Factors that influence consumer buying behavior

There are a lot of subjects for marketers to understand in order to get more customers purchasing their companies’ products or brands. Consumer buying behavior is one of the studies that marketers need to understand. Factors that influence consumer buying behavior can be classified into four classes which are social factor, cultural factor, personal factor and psychological factor.

One of the factors that influence consumer buying behavior is social factors. Social factors can be classified into three classes which are reference groups, family, and social roles and statuses (Kotler, 2000). Reference groups comprise of people that directly or indirectly influences a person’s behavior (Kotler, 2000). Membership groups are groups that have a direct impact on an individual (Sarangapani, 2009). Family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are some examples of primary membership groups in which the interaction that takes place is informal and large groups such as professionals and trade-union groups fall under secondary groups where the interaction is likely to be more formal (Kotler, 2000). According to Bearden and Etzel (1982), consumers’ reference groups can influence their selections on products and brands. In addition to this, Kotler (2000) stated that people are exposed to new behaviors and way of living by their reference groups, attitudes and self concept causing peer pressure affecting their choices of products and brands. Individuals often select products and brands that are recommended by their peers. This is mostly due to their peers having purchased it and was satisfied with the product and finally has come to an agreement to buy the product with the same model or brand. Also, reference groups affect the aspiration levels of individuals thus contribute in creating satisfaction and frustration (Stafford, 1966).  Apart from reference groups, family members also influence the behavior of a buyer. Kotler (2000) claimed that the most significant consumer-buying organization in society is the family. The roles and relative influence of the family members in purchasing of different products and brands has been of keen interest to marketers (Kotler, 2000). Most of the families’ buying decisions are made by the family members, depending on the roles. For example, housewives, who are responsible with the grocery shopping, do almost all the buying decisions in purchasing grocery items. Sarangapani (2009) proposed that children may give a potent influence on family consumption behaviors. Spiro (1983), in her study on the persuasion in family decision-making, hypothesized that “while children may be particularly influential in categories such as food and toys, they are not usually influential in the purchase of major durables” (p. 393). The role and status of a consumer can be determined by his or her position in each group, such as family, clubs or organization, that he or she takes part in (Kotler, 2000). Kotler (2000) concluded that consumers purchase products that convey their role and status in community.

Another significant factor that influences consumer buying behavior is cultural factor. Culture is defined as “the sum total of learned beliefs, values, and customs that serve to direct the consumer behavior of members of a particular society” (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2010, p.348). Culture includes almost all things that affect our thinking and how we behave. Our decision making of buying a product is affected by the culture that people share in the group. We like to do as the most of what the others are doing and act without any thoughts since it seem odd if we do not do so. For example, American’s culture of eating fast food influences the world including Malaysia. Another phenomenon that we can obviously notice is that the young generation prefers to use high technological product like smart phone and computers. There are many small parts of culture called subcultures. A...
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