Consumer Traits and Behaviors

Consumer behavior involves the psychological processes that consumers go through in recognizing needs, finding ways to solve these needs, making purchase decisions (e.g., whether or not to purchase a product and, if so, which brand and where), interpret information, make plans, and implement these plans (e.g., by engaging in comparison shopping or actually purchasing a product). Companies to determine the best, and useful marketing of their product and services must study consumer traits and behaviors. By doing this extensive research, companies are sure to develop marketing plans directly aimed to the customer base they would like to attract. Sources of influence on the consumer.

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The consumer faces numerous sources of influence. Often, we take cultural influences for granted, but they are significant. An American will usually not bargain with a storeowner. This, however, is a common practice in much of the World. The cultural influence can also impact the actual things people feel are needs versus wants. The American culture, unfortunately is a greedy culture that can at times take for granted the fact that all of their needs are met and often times confuse them with their wants. The cultural impact makes a fancy new sports car a need when there are children in third world countries that need food and water. Physical factors also influence our behavior. We are more likely to buy a soft drink when we are thirsty, for example, and food manufacturers have found that it is more effective to advertise their products on the radio in the late afternoon when people are getting hungry. There are also documented instances where a person’s obsessive want of an item can physically make a person ill when they cannot have them.

A person’s self-image will also tend to influence what he or she will buy—an upwardly mobile manager may buy a flashy car to project an image of success. Self image issues can also be closely related into cultural issues we all can face also, leading consumers to adopt an image of beauty that is not obtainable such as larger women developing a complex to become super model thin, and in return cause people to develop self hate towards the things about themselves and others that cannot be changed. Often times a person’s self worth is measured in the things they have versus the content of who they are on the inside. Social factors also influence what the consumers buy—often, consumers seek to imitate others whom they admire, and may buy the same brands. The social environment can include both the mainstream culture (e.g., Americans are more likely to have corn flakes or ham and eggs for breakfast than to have rice, which is preferred in many Asian countries) and a subculture (e.g., rap music often appeals to a segment within the population that seeks to distinguish itself from the mainstream population).

Thus, sneaker manufacturers are eager to have their products worn by admired athletes. Something as simple as a Facebook like can take a product from obscurity to relevancy just like being listed on Oprah’s favorite things. Finally, consumer behavior is influenced by learning—you try a hamburger and learn that it satisfies your hunger and tastes good, and the next time you are hungry, you may consider another hamburger. We are also a culture of people to purchase the things that our family customarily purchased our band loyalty can be passed down from generation to generation. Consumer Choice and Decision Making: Problem Recognition. One model of consumer decision-making involves several steps. The first one is problem recognition—you realize that something is not as it should be. Perhaps, for example, your car is getting more difficult to start and is not accelerating well.

The second step is information search—what are some alternative ways of solving the problem? You might buy a new car, buy a used car, take your car in for repair, ride the bus, ride a taxi, or ride a skateboard to work. The third step involves evaluation of alternatives. A skateboard is inexpensive, but may be ill suited for long distances and for rainy days. Finally, we have the purchase stage, and sometimes a post-purchase stage (e.g., you return a product to the store because you did not find it satisfactory). In reality, people may go back and forth between the stages. For example, a person may resume alternative identification during while evaluating already known alternatives. Consumer involvement will tend to vary dramatically depending on the type of product. In general, consumer involvement will be higher for products that are very expensive (e.g., a home, a car) or are highly significant in the consumer’s life in some other way (e.g., a word processing program or acne medication).

It is important to consider the consumer’s motivation for buying products. To achieve this goal, we can use the Means-End chain, wherein we consider a logical progression of consequences of product use that eventually lead to desired end benefit. Thus, for example, a consumer may see that a car has a large engine, leading to fast acceleration, leading to a feeling of performance, leading to a feeling of power, which ultimately improves the consumer’s self-esteem. A handgun may aim bullets with precision, which enables the user to kill an intruder, which means that the intruder will not be able to harm the consumer’s family, which achieves the desired end-state of security. In advertising, it is important to portray the desired end-states. Focusing on the large motor will do less good than portraying a successful person driving the car.


Consumer attitudes are a composite of a consumer’s (1) beliefs about, (2) feelings about, (3) and behavioral intentions toward some “object”—within the context of marketing, usually a brand, product category, or retail store. These components are viewed together since they are highly interdependent and together represent forces that influence how the consumer will react to the object Consumer attitudes are both an obstacle and an advantage to a marketer. Choosing to discount or ignore consumers’ attitudes of a particular product or service—while developing a marketing strategy—guarantees limited success of a campaign. In contrast, perceptive marketers leverage their understanding of attitudes to predict the behavior of consumers. These savvy marketers know exactly how to distinguish the differences between beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors while leveraging all three in the development of marketing strategies. beliefs or feelings toward a product or service. A behavioral intention is defined by the consumer’s belief or feeling with respect to the product or service.

The cellular phone industry is one of the rare bright spots in Asian business (Roberts, 1998). China’s cell phone market has increased at an annual growth rate of 80% since 1990 (Statistics of CMII, 2005). In 2001, China’s cell phone market grew into 130 million users, exceeding the U.S.’s market for the first time An attitude in marketing terms is defined as a general evaluation of a product or service formed over time (Solomon, 2008). An attitude satisfies a personal motive—and at the same time, affects the shopping and buying habits of consumers. Dr. Lars Perner (2010) defines consumer attitude simply as a composite of a consumer’s beliefs, feelings, and behavioral intentions toward some object within the context of marketing. A consumer can hold negative or positive (Robertson, 2001). Chinese cell phone user population reached 335 million (25% of the total Chinese population), 65 million more than 2003 (Statistics of CMII, 2005).

Social and Cultural Settings Influence Consumer Behavior The study of consumers helps firms and organizations improve their marketing strategies by understanding issues such as how the psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different alternatives (e.g., brands, products, and retailers). The psychology of how the consumer is influenced by his or her environment (e.g., culture, family, signs, media); The behavior of consumers while shopping or making other marketing decisions; Limitations in consumer knowledge or information processing abilities influence decisions and marketing outcome; How consumer motivation and decision strategies differ between products that differ in their level of importance or interest that they entail for the consumer; and How marketers can adapt and improve their marketing campaigns and marketing strategies to more effectively reach the consumer.

Consumers Interpret Marketing Messages Differently
Consumers’ interpretations of advertising messages have long been an important and controversial topic in advertising research (Jacoby and Hoyer 1982a, 1982b, 1987; Mick 1988b; Russo, Metcalf, and Stephens 1981; Shimp and Preston 1981). [The terms comprehension and interpretation are used interchangeably here. Readers who question the synonymy of those terms are also likely to believe that denotation and connotation are separate constructs- -likely because they associate comprehension with denotation and interpretation with connotation. This article seeks to defy the denotation/connotation distinction with respect to advertising illustrations. Comprehension itself is conceptualized generally in this article from a level of processing perspective, specifically as a cue-induced spread of activation of semantic concepts (knowledge structures). Inference is the basic mechanism of this activation and also accounts for the meanings constructed as a function of bridging two already – activated concepts.]

Historically, most empirical work has centered on consumers’ processing of linguistic information; recently, researchers have paid increased attention to nonlinguistic features (e.g., Childers and Houston 1984; Edell and Staelin 1983; Johnson, Zimmer, and Golden 1987; Richards and Zakia 1981; Rossiter and Percy 1980; Zakia 1986). Lengthy theoretical writings on visual communication in advertising have also appeared (Rossiter and Percy 1983). Despite this trend, few have actually studied the semiotic substance of consumers’ interpretations of advertising illustrations. For instance, Thematic Apperception Tests remain widespread in the advertising industry for Pretesting visual content. Yet, advertising scholars have exerted little effort to employ such semantic -unveiling methods to inform theory and assess propositions about consumers’ interpretations of nonverbal ad information.

In this document, we have been able to showcase the psychological processes and presented three social processes that impact and influence consumer behavior. As we explore the fabulous relationships between traits and behavior we can establish the marketing and tools that are needed to develop effective marketing strategies that will influence the way people buy the products that are purchased. Understanding these consumer traits and behaviors can make the company a very successful and profitable company. Understanding or a lack there of, this relationship between consumer traits and be the making or breaking of any corporation. This class and the training of being able to understand just how important it is to be able to interpret the messages that are being sent both to and from the consumer.

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(2011, 04). A Structural Equation Model of Perceived Price on Value Perceptions: a Consumer Psychology View. Retrieved 04, 2011, Retrieved From:

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