Nicosia Model of Consumer Behaviour and its Limitations

What is the Nicosia Model of Consumer Behaviour?

Nicosia model shows the relationship between attributes of customers, consumer decision-making process, and marketing communications of an organization, as well as, the feedback from the customer to the organization. It particularly deals with the formulation of customer needs, standards of the comfort zone, and potential willingness to pay. The attributes include personality, demographics (age, sex, etc.), social influences in which consumers live in different parts of a city or country, etc.

The model also shows how customers perceive value from a product or service, make their price comparison between different products or services, use various inputs to assess the value of a product, etc. Marketing communications are represented as advertisements in newspapers and television channels. The feedback is obtained from customer surveys, focus group meetings, etc which tell about whether there were differences among customers according to different communications elements.


Nicosia Model of Consumer Behavior was developed in 1966, by Professor Francesco M. Nicosia, an expert in consumer motivation and behavior. Professor Nicosia was a Professor of Marketing at the Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Pittsburgh. He developed this model to facilitate marketing management by identifying universal factors which are found in all population segments. The test market data used on his theory is called “Urban” or Familiarity Test Market. This Test Market consists of buyers in a particular city who are familiar with the product.

Four Stages of Nicosia Model

  • Transfer of information, Evaluation stage, Act of Purchase, and Feedback
  • Nicosia Model of Consumer Behaviour
    Nicosia Model of Consumer Behaviour

    Stage 1 – Transfer of Information

    The first stage consists of two substages:

    Firm’s Attributes

    In this substage, the information about the product originates from the organization. It takes into consideration of factors such as marketing strategy, product quality, etc. In this first subfield, the firm’s attributes are analyzed thoroughly to make consumers dependent on the product. Information about message frequency and information flow is taken into account as well. The firm tries to influence the consumer and the consumer is influencing the firm by his/her decision.

    Consumer’s Attributes

    The message from the organization flows into substage 1, which comprises of psychological factors of the potential consumers, including the predisposition of the consumer. The predisposition of the consumer is affected by his exposure to various information and message, which are media-related or non-media-related. The interpretation of the message is also shaped and influenced by the environment surrounding him and the personality of the consumer.

    Stage 2 – Evaluation Stage

    The output of the above step will shape the consumer attitudes towards the brand, as well as, it’s market offering. This is an evaluation stage that determines the inclination to use a firm’s product/service, or purchase it. Factors for evaluation of alternatives include lack of information about competitors’ offers, brand commitment & consumer characteristics. The tendency towards purchasing the alternate brands may be influenced by factors like quality assurance and consumer satisfaction analysis during

    evaluation of the product attributes, after delivery of the product/ service, etc.

    Stage 3 – Act of Purchase

    Stage 2’s positive response can give the necessary motivation for the consumer to make the purchase decision. However, it is entirely possible that a negative response during the decision process can completely derail the purchase decision of that particular brand or product.

    Stage 4 – Feedback

    The final stage of Nicosia’s model is feedback, which is considered the most vital stage. The first type of feedback is about the organization where sales data will be obtained and the second is about the experience and how satisfied customers are with the use of the products, leaving them either happy or not so happy. The results of this success or failure can be used to modify its marketing strategy and make it more effective. The individual customer may use the product, but if he does not enjoy it, one must react and modify its offer to accommodate for his feedback. This is an innate and natural response that all people have towards brands and their marketing strategies. The firm must devise strategies to address the cognitive dissonance of the consumer, in case of a negative experience.

    Limitations of Nicosia Model

    Due to its simplicity, Nicosia’s model may not be suitable for complex variables. There are three major criticisms against the Nicosia model.

    1. The questionable assumption that the consumer has no prior knowledge or experience of the product
    2. Limited understanding of the role of consumer psychology in the decision-making process
    3. Engel, Blackwell & Kollat (1978) criticize the Nicosia model because they say that it has not received enough support and research to prove itself. Also, that the model had not been revised to reflect changes in task complexity or other factors.