Factors influencing buyer behavior


A number of factors influence buyer behavior. They can be grouped under three broad categories:

1. Factors that are part of the buyer as an individual

2. Buyer’s social environment (group influence)

3. Information from a variety of sources.

Factors that are Part of the Buyer as an Individual:

An individual’s religion and cultural background, his personality traits, self-concept, his general endowments, his upbringings in short, his overall bio-data play a crucial role in his conduct as a buyer/consumer. These can be grouped broadly into three categories

(i) Personal Factors
(ii) Cultural Factors.
(iii) Psychological Factors.

Personal factors—Age, Education, Economic Position, Status, Self-concept

An individual’s age level of education, his occupation, overall economic position and lifestyle, all influence his role as a buyer. They decide what products he will buy and consume. A person’s self-concept and his concern about status also influence his buying decisions.

In fact, today people are very concerned about their image and status in society. It is a direct outcome of their material prosperity. Status is announced through various symbols like dress, ornaments, possessions and general lifestyle. The desire for self-expression and self-advancement is closely linked with social status. For several people, status is a major motive force guiding and shaping their life. Their concept of status decides what material possessions they should have. Even if a product that constitutes a status symbol is beyond their immediate reach, their aspiration to possess it will influence their decision-making process.

Cultural Factors:

Every culture, every religion and every language group dictates its own unique patterns of social conduct. Within each religion, there may be several sects and sub-sects; there may be orthodox groups and cosmopolitan groups. In dress, food habits, or marriage—in almost all matters of individual life—religion and culture exercise an influence on the individual, though the intensity may vary from society to society. The do’s and don’t listed out by religion culture impacts the individual’s lifestyle and buying behavior.

Psychological Factors: Beliefs, Attitudes, Motivation, Perception

Just like the economic and social conditions, a man’s disposition too has a close bearing on his purchase decisions. Individuals coming under the same economic and social groups can be vastly different when it comes to certain personal believes, faiths and attitudes. One may be timid and plain, while another may be outgoing and aggressive. One may be traditional in the overall view of life, while another may be modern. One may be least innovative, while another may welcome anything new. In fact, the maximum variations are seen here, and in the matter of analysis and assessment too, this area poses maximum problem to the marketers.

Market segmentation and Market targeting show us how personal believes, faiths and attitudes otherwise termed psychographics influence purchase and how buyers can be segmented based on these characteristics.