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Scope and Relevance of Consumer Behaviour Studies

1. According to Engel, Blackwell, and Mansard, 

‘Consumer behaviour is the actions and decision processes of people who purchase goods and services for personal consumption’.

2. According to Louden and Bitta, 

‘Consumer behaviour is the decision process and physical activity, which individuals engage in when evaluating, acquiring, using or disposing of goods and services’.

 NATURE OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR :-

1. PROCESS 

Consumer behaviour is a systematic process relating to buying decisions of the customers. The buying process consists of the following steps; 

  • Need identification to buy the product .
  • Information search relating to the product.  
  • Listing of alternative brands.
  • Evaluating the alternative (cost-benefit analysis)
  • Purchase decision.
  • Post-purchase evaluation by the marketer.

2. INFLUENCED BY VARIOUS FACTORS

Consumer behaviour is influenced by a number of factors. 
The factors that influence consumers are : marketing, personal, psychological, situational, social, cultural etc.

3. DIFFERENT FOR ALL CUSTOMERS

All consumers do not behave in the same manner. Different consumers behave differently. The difference in consumer behaviour is due to individual factors such as nature of the consumer’s life style, culture, etc.

4. DIFFERENT FOR DIFFERENT PRODUCTS

Consumer behaviour is different for different products.  There are some consumers who may buy more quantity of certain items and very low/no quantity of some other items.

5. REGION BOUNDED

The consumer behaviour varies across states, regions and countries. For instance, the behaviour of urban consumers is different from that of rural consumers.

Normally, rural consumers are conservative (traditional) in their buying behaviour.

6. VITAL FOR MARKETERS

Marketers need to have a good knowledge of consumer behaviour. They need to study the various factors that influence consumer behaviour of their target customers. The knowledge of consumer behaviour enables marketers to take appropriate marketing decisions.

7. REFLECTS STATUS 

Consumers buying behaviour is not only influenced by status of a consumer, but it also reflects it. Those consumers who own luxury cars, watches and other items are considered by others as persons of higher status.

8. SPREAD – EFFECT 

Consumer behavior has a spread effect.

The buying behaviour of one person may  influence the buying behavior of another person. For instance, a customer may always  prefer to buy premium brands of clothing, watches and other items etc. 
This may influence some of his friends, neighbors, colleagues. This is one of the reasons why marketers usecelebrities like Shahrukh Khan , Sachin to endorse their brands.

9. STANDARD OF LIVING 

Consumer buying behaviour may lead to higher standard of living. The more a person buys the goods and services, the higher is the standard of living.

10. KEEPS ON CHANGING 

The consumer’s behaviour undergoes a change over a period of time depending upon changes in age, education and income level. Etc, for instance,, kids may prefer colorful dresses, but as they grow up as teenagers and young adults, they may prefer trendy clothes.

SCOPE

The scope of a subject refers to everything that is studied as part of that subject. When we set out to explain the scope of consumer behaviour we need to refer to all that which forms part of consumer behaviour. 

Consumer behaviour includes not only the actual buyer and his act of buying but also the various roles played by different individuals and the influence they exert on the final purchase decision.

APPLICATIONS OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR

1. ANALYSING MARKET OPPORTUNITY 

Consumer behaviour study helps in identifying the unfulfilled needs and wants of consumers.

This requires examining the trends and conditions operating in the marketplace, consumers’ lifestyles, income levels and emerging influences.

The trend towards increasing number of dual income households and greater emphasis on convenience and leisure have led to emerging needs for household gadgets such as washing machine, mixer grinder, vacuum cleaner and childcare centres etc. 

Mosquito repellents have been marketed in response to a genuine and unfulfilled consumer need. 

2. SELECTING TARGET MARKET 

A review of market opportunities often helps in identifying distinct consumer segments with very distinct and unique wants and need.

Identifying these groups, learning how they behave and how they make purchase decisions enables the marketer to design and market products or services particularly suited to their wants and needs.

For example, consumer studies revealed that many existing and potential shampoo users did not want to buy shampoo packs priced at Rs. 60  or more and would rather prefer a low priced sachet containing enough quantity for one or two washes. The finding led companies to introduce the shampoo sachet which became a good  seller. 

3. MARKETING MIX 

Once unsatisfied needs and wants are identified, the marketer has to determine the right mix of product, price, distribution and promotion. Here too, consumer behaviour study is very helpful in finding answers to many perplexing questions.

4. USE IN SOCIAL AND NON-PROFITS MARKETING 

Consumer behaviour studies are useful to design marketing strategies by social, governmental an not-for-profit organisations to make their programmes such as family planning, awareness about AIDS, crime against women, safe driving, environmental concerns and other more effective. 

UNICEF (greeting cards), Red Cross and CRY etc. make use of consumer behaviour understanding to sell their  services and products  and also try to motivate people to support these institutions.

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