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  • Writer's pictureSamradni

What are the factors influencing Consumer Behaviour?

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

As a consumer, whenever we buy anything, knowingly or unknowingly there are multiple factors that influence your buying choices.

These can be further divided into the following categories

1. Cultural

2. Social

3. Personal

4. Psychological

For a marketer, it becomes extremely crucial to be aware of each of these factors in order to come up with that perfect marketing strategy.

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Now let’s look at each of these factors in detail.

1. Cultural Factors

Now culture is the most important factor that influences a consumer right from birth.

As a growing child you look at your parents and make some general list of Do’s and Don’ts that helps you to choose products even later in life.

So as marketer’s it’s extremely crucial to determine the ‘cultural shifts’ that may take place in the minds of the consumers.

Let’s look at some examples of these cultural shifts, one of the biggest example can be the sudden movement towards healthy food products and healthier lifestyle!

Other example can be that of ensuring that your leisure is not compromised and hence you end up buying a microwave or another product like that!

It’s important to note that eventually we also need to take into account ‘sub-cultures’, these may be with respect to religion, social class, nationalities etc.

Social Class is not only determined by income, and this is crucial to know because there are multiple other factors that determine the social class of an individual.

2. Social Factors

Social factors take into account the kind of influences a consumer may come across when he/she belongs to a specific group.

The behaviour tends to be in-sync with how that group generally behaves!

The people belonging to this particular group may be further broken down into the following categories:

1. Initiator

This is the first person who suggests an idea to buy or try a specific product

2. Influencer

This is the person whose views or advice affects the way the purchases take place within that group.

3. Decider

This is any person within the group, who has the financial authority to make the final choice with respect to the purchase of the product.

4. Buyer

This is the person who will actually make the purchase, please note that it may be the case within a group that the decider and the buyer may be different individuals.

5. User

This is the person who will actually use the product that is bought, this individual may not be the buyer and hence as marketers we must be able to understand the difference and target our communication accordingly!

It’s important to ensure that your communication is perfectly targeted towards each of these categories of individuals, for best results!

3. Personal Factors

Now these factors are exclusive in nature, what I mean to say by this is that these factors are unique to individuals.

And cannot be generalized for a group in total.

These will include factors like who in the family of this individual is responsible for the purchase decision etc.

Other personal factors will include age, sex, race, etc.

4. Psychological Factors

Now psychological factors are quite interesting and take into account the following factors:

1. Motives

Let’s understand what are motives.

In simple terms, a motive is any internal force that shifts a person’s direction towards satisfying a need.

In most cases, a consumer’s action are determined based on a set of motives instead of a specific motive, alone!

We can analyze motives in consumer behavior through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model, but we will not look at that here.

2. Perception

Now perception can be defined as the process where a consumer selects, organizes and interprets information in order to derive some meaning out of it!

So this just means that any and everything that the consumer comes across, may not be directly linked to their minds, some of this information may be eliminated, this is done through any of these ways:

a. Selective Exposure- This means we tend to select inputs to be exposed to our awareness

b. Selective Distortion- This means we bring in changes or try to twist the information we are exposed to, if the same is inconsistent with our beliefs

c. Selective Retention- This means that we only give importance to or remember those inputs that support our beliefs and forget the rest

3. Attitudes

In simple terms, attitudes are former opinions, positive or negative that are developed by consumers on regular basis.

Most of the times, we as marketers may not be aware of the root cause of the development of these attitudes, but we need to ensure that the attitudes are changed or altered in a way that our product benefits from it.

Also, attitudes can influence consumer choices very strongly, hence it is always better to have a thorough understanding of the same before coming up with any communication to target.

4. Prior Knowledge

Now this is an important parameter that takes into account the information that consumers are already aware of.

The task for marketers then is to ensure either of these two things:

a. Make the information stronger by providing more knowledge

b. Provide such knowledge that the existing information is replaced with new information

Our communication needs to be centered around either of these two options

5. Family Influences

In consumer behaviour, the most important consumer group is that of family.

Family plays a major role in choosing or not choosing certain products.

And hence, as marketers, we must ensure that our communication targets those crucial members of a family, who are responsible in the decision-making process.

6. Social Class and Lifestyles

This is another important group that influences consumer behaviour.

It all depends on which social class you belong to, if it’s a higher class, your choice of products will be altered accordingly, and a lower-class consumer may settle for cheaper products.

It’s important to note that based on the social class, you are more likely to prioritize certain parameters before purchasing a product.

For example, if we were target the consumers in a lower class segment, we need to be aware that these consumers are bound to be price sensitive and hence the emphasis must be made on those things.

I hope you enjoyed this read, please subscribe to my newsletter for more content on Consumer Behaviour!

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