What is Consumer Behaviour: Meaning, Types and Examples

What is Consumer Behaviour: Meaning, Types and Examples

Consumer behaviour is a well-known term in the world of businesses. There also exist several misconceptions and myths around consumer behaviour. In today’s blog, we are going to uncover the true meaning of such terms and explain them in depth! 


Consumer Behaviour: Meaning

Consumer behaviour is just understanding why people buy stuff. It's about figuring out what makes someone pick a particular product or service and what influences their decision. Businesses study this so they can sell things better by knowing what customers like and why they like it. It's a multidisciplinary field that draws from psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, and marketing.

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What are the 4 types of consumer behaviour?

Consumer behaviour can be categorized into four main types:

  1. Complex Buying Behavior

This occurs when consumers are highly involved in a purchase decision, especially for expensive or important items. They invest time and effort in researching different options, comparing features, and evaluating alternatives before making a decision.

Imagine someone is looking to buy a pair of running shoes for marathon training. They may spend a lot of time researching different brands and models, reading reviews, comparing features like cushioning, stability, and durability, and even trying on several pairs at the store. This decision is complex because it involves a significant investment of time and money, and the buyer wants to ensure they make the best choice for their specific needs.


  1. Dissonance-Reducing Buying Behavior

In this type of behaviour, consumers feel a bit unsure or conflicted after making a purchase, especially for products that are relatively expensive or have many similar options available. To reduce this discomfort, they may seek reassurance or gather more information after the purchase.

After purchasing a pair of expensive hiking boots for an upcoming trip, the buyer may experience some doubt or uncertainty about whether they made the right decision. To reduce this dissonance, they might seek reassurance by reading more reviews, asking friends for their opinions, or inspecting the boots closely to confirm their quality and suitability for the trip.


  1. Habitual Buying Behavior

This behaviour involves low involvement and minimal decision-making effort. Consumers have a strong brand loyalty or habit, so they repeatedly purchase the same product without much thought or consideration of alternatives. 

Someone who regularly wears sneakers for casual everyday use may have a strong habit of purchasing a particular brand or style of sneakers without much thought. They might simply walk into the store, grab their preferred brand off the shelf, and make the purchase without considering other options. This behaviour is habitual because they have developed a loyalty to that brand or style over time.


  1. Variety-Seeking Buying Behaviour

Consumers exhibiting this behaviour enjoy trying new products or experiences, but they don't necessarily stick with them for the long term. They like to switch things up and explore different options to avoid boredom or routine. 

A fashion-forward individual who loves experimenting with different styles may exhibit variety-seeking behaviour when it comes to buying footwear. They might enjoy trying out new trends, colours, or designs, frequently purchasing different types of shoes to match their ever-changing outfits or moods. This consumer is motivated by the desire for novelty and enjoys exploring a wide range of options in footwear.


Understanding these types of consumer behaviour helps businesses tailor their marketing strategies and product offerings better to meet the needs and preferences of their target customers.

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Why is consumer behaviour important?

From the perspective of a product developer or a marketer, consumer behaviour serves as an invaluable tool. It helps businesses with a clear picture of their consumers and their pain points. In turn, this data helps marketers to: 


Business Success: Knowing why people buy things helps businesses make products and services that people actually want. This means more sales, happier customers, and more money for the business.

Understanding Customers: Businesses can target their marketing better by figuring out what different groups of people like and how they shop. This means they can sell more stuff to the right people.

Beating the Competition: If a business knows what customers want before their rivals do, they can stay ahead. Understanding consumer behaviour gives them an edge over other companies.

Making Better Products: Listening to what customers say helps businesses make products that people actually need and like. This means fewer duds and more winners in the market.

Avoiding Pitfalls: By keeping an eye on what customers are doing and saying, businesses can spot problems early and fix them before they become big issues. It's like a heads-up to avoid trouble down the road.

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5 factors influencing consumer behaviour

Everybody is a consumer. And nothing spreads faster than feedback. So several factors can create a positive or negative influence on a consumer’s behaviours. Let’s understand these 5 factors: 


  1. Social Factors: Social factors such as family, friends, reference groups, and social class influence consumer behaviour. People often seek approval and validation from their social circles, leading them to make purchasing decisions based on social norms, trends, and peer influence.

  2. Psychological Factors: Psychological factors such as perception, attitudes, and beliefs influence how consumers interpret information, make decisions, and respond to marketing stimuli. 

  3. Perception: Perception refers to how individuals interpret and make sense of information from their environment. Perception influences consumer behaviour by shaping people's attitudes, preferences, and purchase decisions. 

  4. Motivation: Motivation drives consumer behaviour by influencing individuals' needs, desires, and goals. People are motivated to satisfy their physiological, social, and psychological needs through their purchasing decisions. 

  5. Learning: Learning refers to the process by which individuals acquire new knowledge, behaviours, and attitudes through experience and observation. Consumer behaviour is influenced by learning processes such as classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning. Marketers use learning principles to create associations between their products and positive outcomes, encourage repeat purchases, and shape consumer preferences over time.


These factors interact in complex ways to shape consumer behaviour, making it essential for businesses to understand and consider them when developing marketing strategies and targeting their audience.

Difference between Consumer Behaviour and Consumer Insights

Now is the time to bust some misconceptions! People think that consumer behaviour and consumer insights are similar. But they’re not. Let’s understand how consumer insights are closely knitted to each other, yet are different terms complimenting consumer research. 


Consumer Behaviour: Think of consumer behaviour as the big picture. It's about understanding the whole process of why people buy things. We look at factors like culture, social influences, personal preferences, and psychology to figure out why someone chooses one product over another. 

For example, why does someone buy a specific brand of shoes or prefer shopping online instead of in-store? Consumer behaviour helps us answer these questions by studying people's habits, preferences, and decision-making processes.


Consumer Insights: Now, let's zoom in a bit. Once we've studied consumer behaviour, we gather insights. These insights are like golden nuggets of information that help businesses understand their customers better. It's the actionable knowledge we gain from analyzing data, conducting surveys, and studying consumer behaviour. 

For example, we might discover that a particular group of customers prefers eco-friendly products, or that they're more likely to make impulse purchases during certain times of the year. These insights help businesses tailor their products, marketing strategies, and customer experiences to better meet the needs and preferences of their target audience. So, while consumer behaviour is the big picture of why people buy things, consumer insights are the valuable details that help businesses make smarter decisions.


We hope this blog has busted all the misconceptions that you have had about consumer research. Well, we have good news! 

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