Black Box Model Of Consumer Behavior Explained


There are many models used to describe consumer behavior. But do you know what is the black box model? This is a simple but powerful model that provides an insight into consumer behavior. The black box model gives us an idea of how consumers make decisions, and how these decisions translate into behaviors. Let’s explore this concept with some examples.

What is the Black Box Model Of Consumer Behavior

The model (or framework) of consumer behavior was first devised by Professor Geoffrey Jones and his colleague at the Center for Marketing Studies, Cambridge University. It has been elaborated on further by Australian academics such as Rodney Hitchin. They suggested that often consumers are not sure about what influences their buying decision process. The answers to those questions are often buried within the customer’s mind. The model consists of three major components namely: Environment, Buyer’s black box, and Buyer’s responses.

Three major components of the model

Three major components of the black box model
Three major components of the black box model


According to this model, the environment consists of stimuli given by the firm as well as external stimuli. This marketing stimuli given by the firm will be in the form of the marketing mix. For example, the firm might be sending advertising messages for products. The external stimuli refer to the marketing environment which indirectly influences the customers. It is important to note that we differentiate between “environment” and ‘people’ here as people influence the choices but people cannot create decision situations.

Buyer’s black box

As mentioned, the buying decision is made by a person that does not fully understand all factors influencing him or her. This refers to the customer interacting between past experience, beliefs, desires, and objectives when making a buying decision. The buyer’s “black box” consists of his/her personal preferences and attitudes towards the product-market fit as well as the value creation process itself.

Buyer’s Characteristics

The buyer’s characteristics work closely with the buyer’s black box. A buyer’s character depends on many factors such as information and motivation. It is believed that buying characters are relatively stable over time while people can change attitudes of their personal preference during a lifetime for an item which has influenced them in the early years. The buying characters are determined by other people’s information, purchase behavior, and brand attitudes.

Buyer’s Decision Process

The buyer’s decision process is the sequence of steps that the buyer will follow when making a buying decision. It can be broken down into five phases: Concept selection, Search, Evaluation, and Selection (SEES), Evaluative experience, Calculating purchase motives, and Adaptation to new feelings for this item over time. The mentality, needs, and expectations of the buyers are important to take into account when making a purchase but hard data may not always show influence on pricing decisions since there can be no direct association between quality perceptions and these actual buying motives.

Buyer’s responses

After purchase, the product performance can also affect the reaction of buyers. If a person who is angry or upset with an experience suffers from buyer’s remorse, s/he may be inclined to purchase to revise the past event in order for this negative feeling to be removed although it seldom happens because many people are purchasing a product without first having any thoughts to it.

When the sales of a particular brand decrease rapidly, this implies that customers are dissatisfied with their experiences from those experienced brands which create an insufficient demand for those products as well as declines its value itself which also causes other people not to buy that brand. If the customers are loyal enough to return to “solve” their problem, this can positively impact the sales…oftentimes more than no longer offering those products will negatively contribute due to overall damage caused by not gaining any client or losing the client.


The black box model of consumer behavior is a good way to understand how the consumer’s decision-making process works. While it is difficult to see exactly why someone would make a particular purchase, it is possible to deduce some patterns that are relevant in understanding the buyer’s thinking. When designing products or services, you can use this knowledge to make sure your product or service meets the needs of the customer and drives their behavior towards making more purchases from you.

The black box model also suggests that consumers will continue to purchase products they do not need just because they have been habituated into doing so by previous purchases. Therefore, you should not be surprised if your customers continue to buy the same products over and over again. This model does not take into account the situation in which the customer has already made a purchase; it only looks at how people make new purchases. Read our other blogs on consumer behavior models to gain a comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior.