Ultimate Guide on Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior

What are the factors influencing consumer behavior?

How consumers buy and what they buy, and how they react to the messages of brands are changing. They are influenced by cultural, social, personal, and psychological characteristics. Consumers today are more technology-savvy than ever before, with mobile devices and social media at their fingertips. They also have a multitude of choices when it comes to purchases, such as online retailers and private label products. Brands must adjust to this new landscape if they want to stay relevant in the market.

Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior
Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior

Cultural Factors

Culture

Many factors can influence consumer behavior. One of the most important is culture. Culture refers to the shared attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors that are specific to a particular group of people who share a common history and geography. These shared elements give rise to social norms, customs, practices, traditions, institutions, and artifacts that make up a culture. Culture influences how consumers view products or services as well as how they use them.

Cultural factors play a prominent role in consumer behavior because they are an important aspect of people‚Äôs lives. The values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors exhibited by individuals are the driving factor for how brand styles are portrayed. Similar to other things in life, cultures have developed their own ways of living, dressing, acting, and behaving. One culture might view different brands of underwear differently than another. A brand’s reputation is dependent on how it behaves when interacting with other people within a specific demographic group outside its target market. Culture can be used by marketers in many ways. Some of these include:

  1. Identifying what consumers care about in their culture.
  2. Identifying what consumer values in their culture that they can build on.
  3. Providing products or services that fit with consumer needs and values in their culture.

Subculture

Subculture is “a group within a larger culture which has its own norms for its members”. Subcultures can all be described as unique subgroups of a larger culture. Subcultural norms are different from the dominant standards that influence mainstream society, but they have influenced millions of people’s lives throughout history.

For example, there are many subcultures in India. The most important subcultures are Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Christian. Hinduism is the dominant religion in India with more than 80% of Indians adhering to it. Hinduism is a collection of various religious philosophies that arose from ancient Indian culture. The caste system is also an important part of Hinduism which dictates how people are born into their castes or social groups, as well as what they do for a living and their relationship with other castes. Muslims make up about 14% of the population in India, while Sikhs make up about 2%. Christianity makes up 1% of the population while Buddhism makes up 0.5%.

Subculture can be used to market brands to the desired demographic. For example, subcultures are often associated with music genres such as rap or hip-hop. When marketing your brand to this particular demographic you can include different elements of the subculture in your branding strategies like using color schemes or symbols that are related to the culture.

Social Class

It is the relatively permanent and ordered divisions in a society whose members share similar values, interests, and behaviors. The way in which consumers act, react and perceive is largely influenced by their social class. The most common example of this is that the middle class has a higher tendency to purchase luxury items while the lower class has a higher tendency to purchase basic necessities.

A study conducted in 2012, involving 10 countries including Canada, found that when it comes to buying decisions of basic necessities like food and clothes for their children, the lower classes are more likely to buy these items online rather than at physical stores. On the other hand, the middle-class buys about 40% of its groceries online while only 20% of its groceries are bought from physical stores.

There are many ways in which marketers can use social class to their advantage. The first and foremost way is through advertisement and marketing strategies. For example, one of the most effective methods of getting consumers interested in a product is by appealing to them based on how they identify themselves socially. Marketers should try to identify whether or not a person’s social identity matches the target audience for their products and services so that they can appeal to this group more effectively. Additionally, there are other benefits such as increasing brand awareness or improving reputation management for companies that may be viewed differently because of their customer base, such as big businesses with large income disparities among employees.

Social Factors

Groups and Social Networks

Groups refer to two or more people who interact to accomplish individual or mutual goals. One way groups influence consumer behavior is by providing a sense of belonging. A study done by the University of Minnesota found that people who belonged to a group were more likely to buy products from their particular group.

Another way groups influence consumer behavior is by serving as a resource for information and opinion. One study done by Northwestern University found that individuals who belonged to a reference group would be more likely to trust the opinions of other members in the group, regardless of whether or not they actually agreed with those opinions. In conclusion, consumers are influenced by groups in two ways: through belonging and through providing information and opinion.

Information is spread through groups in the form of word-of-mouth marketing. It can be verbal or written and it can occur naturally in social interactions, such as in conversation, via media (such as blogs, news stories, and articles), or through social networking. When a product or service is successfully marketed by word-of-mouth, it may generate increased demand and lead to greater market share.

Influencers are the individuals who have an impact on what is happening in a group. They can be thought of as someone with power or strong influence within a particular sphere of interest, such as celebrities in Hollywood, politicians in Washington D.C., religious leaders, and business executives. These individuals use their influence to persuade others into making decisions that support their goals. They also often serve as role models for followers, providing them with information about what behaviors are valued by the influencer’s community and how they can act accordingly.

The influence of social networks on consumer behavior is quite extensive. As per a study, “Social media use influences the number of time consumers spends shopping and what they buy.” In other words, people spend more time browsing social media than they do visit physical stores. And as a result, the impact of social networks has been seen to lead to an increase in online sales. Social media has been a great tool for marketing and promoting products to the masses. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have created an opportunity for companies to connect with their potential customers in a more personal way. This allows companies to target the right audience and provide them with valuable information that can help improve their shopping experience. 

For example, there are many different apps that allow you to make your purchase decision before you even leave your house. They include apps like Shopkick which offers deals at nearby stores based on what you buy and Trackable which sends coupons when items go on sale. Many people also use social media as a means of customer service because it provides a quick response time while providing assistance from other consumers who have gone through similar experiences.

One of the main benefits of using groups is that it helps you gain a wider audience and reach people who would otherwise not be interested in what you have to offer or what your company does. In addition, social media platforms like Facebook allow marketers to connect with other businesses and engage with them on their own terms rather than following strict social media rules set by companies such as Twitter.

Family

Family influences consumer behavior by providing the individual with the opportunity to learn and grow. They also offer social support which can make people feel like they are not alone in their struggles. However, family influence is not always positive. For example, if an individual does not have a close relationship with their parents or other relatives, then it may be difficult for them to receive help when needed. Another way that family influences consumer behavior is through mentorship. Mentors provide advice on how to conduct oneself in different situations and teach valuable skills that will allow the person to succeed in life.

With all this said, it makes sense that family members would influence consumer behavior as well. Families typically have a set budget for certain items such as groceries and vacations which they prioritize before purchasing anything else. It has been found that consumers tend to make fewer purchases when there is a lack of money due to the fact that money is an integral part of family dynamics and decision-making processes.

Family is an important part of marketing because it has the power to create a bond between customers and businesses. In order to do this, marketers should use family-friendly activities such as hosting a family event, doing a giveaway for family members, or even giving free products to children in exchange for their parents purchasing from your business. Additionally, you can also use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to promote your business with pictures of families that have visited your place of business.

Roles and Status

Marketers can use social status to their advantage by using it as a form of brand loyalty. Let’s understand what is social status first. Social status is the relative position of an individual in a society, group, or other entity on the basis of social standing, influence, prestige, and power. So marketers can leverage the concept of social status to build customer loyalty by offering discounts or freebies for loyal customers or for those who are higher up on the ladder.

By offering discounts and other benefits, marketers also give incentives for consumers to do business with them. With all this said, brands should use social status as a way of making their customers feel important because they are the ones that brought about positive change in your life. The following are some ways marketers can use the concept of social status to their advantage:

  1. Use your high-status personas as reference points for pricing strategies: A study found that high-status individuals were willing to pay up to 40% more for luxury goods than low-status individuals. 
  2. Create an experience around an event or product that makes it seem like you’re “above” the competition: People who attended a concert, show, or sporting event will be more likely to purchase a product if they feel like they got something special from the experience, rather than just paying for access to what everyone else has access too. 
  3. Let your customers feel as though they’ve achieved something by giving them perks such as early access, special offers, and VIP treatment: Giving these perks to select customers can create a sense of exclusivity and elevated self-worth in your target market so that they’ll be more likely to purchase your products and services when they need them most.

Personal Factors

Age and Life Cycle Stage

Age is also an important factor to consider when determining consumer behavior because as people age, they have different needs, desires, and priorities. In general, consumers are more likely to be influenced by age than the life-cycle stage due to the changes in responsibilities associated with age. Younger consumers tend to have more discretionary income than older consumers due to their smaller family size and fewer responsibilities at home or work. Younger consumers are also much more likely to purchase products for fun or recreation rather than necessity while older consumers may be inclined towards purchases for necessities such as health care services.

There are two main life-cycle stages in which consumers make purchase decisions: Early adulthood and late adulthood. In early adulthood, people are still forming their identities and making choices based on a set of values and beliefs. In late adulthood, consumers have established their social roles and typically make more informed decisions with the support of family members or friends. While in early adulthood, an individual is more likely to seek out products that reinforce a new identity (new job, new town) whereas later they may buy into a more traditional identity such as being a parent or grandparent.

Occupation

Job has an influence on consumer behavior as well. When people have good jobs, they will have higher disposable income and are more likely to buy products that are related to their job because they want their work clothes or tools to be up-to-date and functional. However, when people have low-paying jobs or no job at all, they tend not to purchase products for themselves due to a low personal income or other priorities in life.

There are a number of ways in which marketers can influence an individual’s economic status to their advantage. One way is by providing an opportunity for people to get the products they need at a price that suits them. Another way is by choosing the right target audience for your business. This means that you should identify who your target market is and what their basic needs are before selling them any product or service.

Economic Situation

Consumer behavior is influenced by the economic factors in a country. The economy of a country can be either in recession or boom. When there is an economic boom, consumers are more likely to spend their money on luxury items and other things that will make them feel better about themselves. They are also more likely to buy products that have been advertised heavily by large companies because they believe these companies have the best products.

On the other hand, when there is an economic recession, consumers are more likely to save money instead of spending it on luxuries or expensive goods because they do not believe that these goods will provide them with enough value for what they paid for them. Instead, they spend their money on necessities like food and housing so that they can keep up with their bills while still maintaining some degree of comfort.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle influences consumer buying behavior in the following ways:

  1. The first thing that comes to mind is how you think about your lifestyle. How do you perceive yourself? What are your values? What are your dreams and aspirations? 
  2. Second, what type of things influence how you act as a consumer. Are there certain products or services that you find appealing because they reflect who you are as a person? Or do you feel like other people’s lifestyles can be copied through their products and services? 
  3. Third, how does the world around us influence our consumer behavior? For example, if something is trending now, it might be because society believes it will make them happy in some way. This has been proven by studies done on social media users.

One of the ways to influence an individual’s lifestyle is through branding. Brands are powerful tools that can change your customers’ perceptions about your company, different products, and services. One way is by creating good content that educates people on different aspects of life. Another way is by engaging in activities that consumers enjoy and have a strong emotional connection with.

Personality and Self Concept

Personality is the overall sense of an individual’s unique character. It includes the patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make up a person’s temperament or typical ways of behaving in different situations. The goal of consumer behavior is to understand what drives individuals’ choices so that they can provide effective marketing solutions for their customers. There are a number of ways to influence the personality of an individual, for example:

  1. Advertising messages can change people’s attitudes and behaviors. 
  2. In-store displays can influence consumers’ moods and different perceptions. 
  3. Consumer reactions to advertising can be influenced by the extent to which they agree with or disagree with a particular product or brand. 
  4. Advertisers may also use a combination of some or all these tactics in order to achieve their objectives.

Psychological Factors

Motivation

Motivation is a powerful force that can influence consumer behavior. There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic motivation is when people do something because they enjoy it or find pleasure in it, such as playing sports, cooking, gardening, etc. Intrinsic motivation is often linked to self-determination theory which states that intrinsic motivation comes from within the individual and does not require external rewards to maintain the activity (such as money). Extrinsic motivation is when people do something because they believe there will be some kind of reward for them like getting a promotion or recognition from others. Extrinsic motivation requires external reinforcement like receiving money for doing an activity.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in human psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow. It describes the hierarchical structure of human needs and how they relate to one another. The hierarchy goes like this:

  1. Physiological needs 
  2. Safety Needs 
  3. Belongingness / Social Needs 
  4. Esteem Needs 
  5. Self Actualization Needs
Maslow's hierarchy of need
Maslow’s hierarchy of need

When customers are motivated, they are more likely to make purchases and return again in the future. For example, you could use motivation techniques like discounts, contests, bonuses, or incentives. If your product is on sale for 50% off during the holidays then it will lead to increased sales over time due to customers returning to purchase their favorite products year after year.

Perception

Perception is a person’s mental construction of the external world that is based on experience. It influences consumer behavior because it can influence what a person thinks about a product or service and whether they will purchase it. For example, if a company provides amazing customer service, consumers are more likely to perceive their products as high quality and want to buy them. On the other hand, if companies provide poor customer service then consumers are less likely to perceive their products as high quality and want to buy them.

Marketers use perception to their advantage in order to get the attention of their target audience. A brand uses visual images, logos, slogans, and other design elements to convey a particular idea or message that helps the target audience identify with the brand. Using well-known celebrities or influencers who have large followings and know how to market effectively so customers will buy into the idea that these items must be good quality and worth spending money on even if there isn’t any proof of this statement yet.

Learning

Learning is one of the main factors that influence consumer behavior. When learning about a product, consumers develop an opinion about it which can then be used to make buying decisions. Consumers also tend to learn more when they are in the process of buying something. They gain knowledge about how things work and what benefits they will get from using them.

Learning can also influence how consumers use a product. If a consumer learns about a new feature of a product, they may use it more often than if they did not learn about it at all. For example, consumers who read an article online might try out the feature of the product described in the article before buying it because they have learned about this new feature.

Beliefs and Attitudes

Belief is the thought a person holds about something whereas attitude is a person’s favorable or unfavorable evaluations, feelings, and tendencies toward an object or an idea. Beliefs and attitudes influence consumer behavior because they can lead to behaviors that create a desire for products. Consumers may buy the product as a result of their set of beliefs or attitudes, or as a result of the perceptions of others who hold those beliefs or attitudes.

Some people believe that drinking green tea will help them lose weight. Because consumers have this belief, they drink green tea and purchase the product because it helps them lose weight and keep fit. This is an example of how belief can influence consumer behavior in relation to purchasing products. There are many ways to use beliefs and attitudes in marketing campaigns including:

  1. Product placement – If you want to be seen as trustworthy, then place your product or service in an environment where people trust their opinions (for example, food on a dinner table). 
  2. Social proof – Showing that other people like your product will make it more appealing. 
  3. Brand recognition – It is easy for people to recognize the brand name of something they know about already (for example, Apple or Nike).

Conclusion

Marketing is the process of influencing consumer behavior to achieve an intended response. Understanding what motivates consumers to buy a product or service, how they are influenced by external factors, and how the marketer can influence their buying decisions is key in marketing. Understanding that people have different needs in terms of products and services will help you create a strategy that caters to these needs. Read our blog on top 7 consumer behavior models to explore this topic further.

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