The key factors influencing consumer behavior are listed below briefly:
Personality is often a good predictor of one’s consumer behavior. Early attempts at understanding consumer behavior relied heavily on psycho-analytic theory, which said that the human personality system consists of the id, ego and superego. Freudian theory was the foundation for this application, and produced the field of Motivation Research. Socio-psychological theory recognizes the connection between the individual and society. The theory says that social rather than biological instincts are the most important factors in building personality, and that our behaviors are motivated to meet those needs.
An understanding of the same enables marketers to create ‘personalities’ for their brands. Consumers thus identify with a specific brand that best matches their own personality. A good example is cigarettes which are fairly homogeneous yet are marketed with dozens of brand names each with its own personality.
Another good indicator of consumer behavior is a person’s lifestyle. Technically, a lifestyle is the way in which a person lives and sends his money. Stated simply, it seeks to understand, what a person does with his life. What kind of vehicle does he drive / what type of house does he live in? What type of vacation does he take? How much leisure time does he have? How does he use it? All of these are important questions. Lifestyles and demographics are often combined to create complex market segments. Like active age 44-55. This allows marketers to tailor their products and promotional campaigns to match the needs and wants of these select groups.
Culture provides its members with an identity, and also the parameters of what is expected and/or acceptable as well as what is unacceptable. In so doing, it actually makes it easier for its members to lead their daily lives, even though they may not necessarily agree with everything that society has set as standards. Culture an influence many aspects of our daily; lives, including how we view ourselves, how much space we need (physical and social) how we communicate (and what types of communication are appropriate) how we dress, how we eat, our attention to time, value placed on family and friends our values and norms, our beliefs an attitudes, our work ethic, and much more. Culture influences consumer behavior throughout the buying process, starting at the pre-purchase levels, an extending all the way to purchase, tile the actual consumption of the product. It can influence the recognition of the problem, the search for information how the information is evaluated and what type of store is patronized. Furthermore, it can even influence how the purchase is paid for (e.g. in India, the increase in spending on credit cards is many a times attributed to the change in culture of the new generation).
A final factor to consider is the role of social lass, which is normally the result of the interaction of education, occupation and income. While some individuals my have high income without the benefit of education or occupational prestige, social class tends to be determined by these three. The result is a stratification of the population into different levels of class. Social class brings with it a number of expectations for what is considered appropriate behavior and consumption. Usually a person’s birth class is a solid predictor of the class they will be a member of for a large part of their lives.
The family unit is a very important consideration when examining consumer behavior. Many products that are purchased are for consumption by some or all; of the family. Furthermore, other members of the family may heavily influence the buying decisions of one family member. Exactly how the family behaves as consumers depends in a large part, on the roles played by individuals within that family unit. The increase in trends towards nuclear households, the increase in the number of working women and children becoming key influencers in any buying decision, need to be considered wile understanding buying behavior.