Characteristics of Consumer Behaviour

Consumer Behaviour Meaning, Definition, Characteristics

Table of Contents:-

  • Meaning of Consumer Behaviour
  • Definition of Consumer Behaviour
  • Characteristics of Consumer Behaviour
  • Nature of Consumer Behaviour

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour

Consumer behaviour studies why, when, how, and where people do or do not buy a  product. It blends elements from sociology, psychology, social anthropology, and economics. It attempts to understand the decision making process of a consumer, both individually and in groups.

The terms consumer buying behaviour, end-user behaviour and buyer behaviour all stand for the same. The study of consumer behaviour is the study of how people make decisions to spend their available resources (time, money, effort) on consumption-related items. It includes studying why they buy it, what they buy when they buy it, where they buy it, how often they buy it, and how often they use it.

Related Post: Organisational Behaviour

Take the simple product toothpaste. Consumer researchers want to know what types of toothpaste consumers buy (regular, gel, striped, in a tube, with a pump); what brand (national brand, private brand, generic brand), and why they buy it (to remove stains, to prevent cavities, to brighten or whiten teeth, to use as a mouthwash, to attract romance); where they buy it (supermarket, drugstore, convenience store); how often they use it (when they wake up in the morning, after each meal, when they go to bed, or any combination thereof); and how often they buy it (weekly, biweekly, or monthly).

Consumer behaviour may be defined as the decision process and physical activity people engage in when acquiring, evaluating, using, or disposing of goods and services.

Definition of Consumer Behaviour

According to Belch and Belch, “Consumer behaviour is the process and activities people engage in when searching for, selecting, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services to satisfy their needs and desires”.

According to Solomon, “Consumer behaviour is the process involved when individuals or groups select, purchase, use, or dispose of products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and wants”.

Related Article:- Consumer Decision Making Process

According to Leon G. Schiffman and Leslie Lazar Kanuk, “Consumer behaviour can be defined as the behaviour that consumers display in searching for, purchasing, using, evaluating, and disposing of products and services that they expect will satisfy their needs”.

So in consumer behaviour, it is not only learnt, what is the behaviour of the consumer when he buys a product but also before the consumption, during the consumption and after the consumption.

Characteristics of Consumer Behaviour

The characteristics of consumer buying behaviour are discussed below: 

Characteristics of Consumer Behaviour

1) Systematic Process

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

i) Need identification to buy the product,

ii) Information search relating to the product,

iii) Listing and evaluating the alternative (cost-benefit analysis),

iv) Purchase decision,

v) Post-purchase evaluation by the marketer.

2) Influenced by Various Factors

Consumer behaviour is influenced by several factors. The factors that influence consumers include marketing, personal, psychological, situational, social, cultural etc. 

3) Different for Different Customers

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

4) Different for Different Products

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

5) Varies Across Regions

Consumer behaviour varies across states, regions and countries. For example, the behaviour of urban consumers is very different from that of rural consumers. Generally, rural consumers are conservative (traditional) in their buying behaviour. 

6) Vital for Marketers

Marketers must have a good knowledge of buyer behaviour. They need to study the various factors that influence the consumer behaviour of their target audience. The knowledge of buyer behaviour enables marketers to make suitable marketing decisions.

Related Article:- Importance of Marketing

7) Reflects Status

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

8) Result in Spread-effect

Customer behaviour has a spread effect. The buying behaviour of one individual may affect the buying behaviour of another person.

For example, a customer may always prefer to buy premium brands of clothing, watches other items etc. which may influence some of his friends, neighbours, and colleagues. This is one of the reasons why marketers use celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, and Sachin Tendulkar to endorse their brand.

9) Improves Standard of Living

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

10) Undergoes a Change

The consumer’s behaviour changes over time depending on age, education, income level changes, etc. For example, kids may prefer colourful dresses, but as they grow up as teenagers and young adults, they may prefer trendy clothes.

11) Information Search

The search for information is a common characteristic of consumer behaviour. Consumers cannot purchase goods and services if they are not aware that a good or service exists.

When a consumer decides to buy a certain item, his decision must be based on the information he has gathered about what products or services are available to fulfil his needs. There might be a product available that would be better suited to the consumer’s needs, but if a person is not aware of the product, he will not buy it.

12) Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is another characteristic of consumer behaviour. Brand loyalty is the tendency of a consumer to buy products or services from a certain company that one likes or equates with having high-quality goods and services.

For example, if Naina’s first car was a Honda as a teenager and the car lasted 200,000 miles, she might tend to buy Hondas in the future due to her previous positive experience. This brand loyalty may be so strong that she forges the information search altogether when considering her next vehicle.

Nature of Consumer Behaviour

The nature of consumer behaviour is discussed as follows:

1) Varies from Product to Product

The behaviour of consumers also varies according to product. The consumers may buy large quantities of one product, whereas they may consume very little or nothing of some other product

2) Important for Marketers

Marketers need to have an understanding of consumers behaviour. They need to understand the tastes, habits, likes and dislikes of their customers as well as prospective customers. This knowledge helps the marketers in making decisions regarding marketing mix and in designing other marketing programmes

3) Varies from Customer to Customer

How all the consumers behave is not the same, ie. it varies from one consumer to another. Several individual factors like the person’s culture, lifestyle, social class, etc., are responsible for this variation.

4) Results in Spread-Effect

The buying behaviour of consumers also has a spread-effect, ie., the purchase of a certain product made by one consumer may encourage another person to buy the same product. A person may decide to purchase those brands of cars, electronic items, watches, TVs, etc., which his friends and colleagues usually buy. This is one of the reasons why companies use celebrity endorsements to promote their products.

5) Varies Across Geographical Regions

The behaviour of consumers also varies across regions and geographical locations. For example, the behaviour of consumers in rural and urban areas differs from each other. Rural consumers purchase sachets of different products, whereas urban consumers buy large packs. Similarly, the consumers of South India differ in their behaviour from the consumers of North India for products like edible oil, hair oil, etc.

6) Varies from Time to Time

The behaviour of consumers can also evolve. This is because of changes in the person’s education, social status, stage in the family life cycle, disposable income, etc. For example, a person who travels by scooter may decide to buy a car after receiving a promotion and experiencing an increase in family members.

7) Reflects Status

The buying behaviour of a consumer depends on his status. At the same time, the kind of products and services that he buys also reflects his status. A person who buys luxury products like a Mercedes Benz or a Rolex watch is considered a person of superior social status in society.

8) Improves Standard of Living

Consumers behaviour also results in an improved standard of living for the consumer. The consumer increases his quality of life by buying superior quality products and services.



1. What do you mean by consumer behaviour?
Consumer behaviour is a field of marketing that deals with understanding how consumers make decisions, what they think and feel while going for a product, what makes them buy a particular product or service or brand and so on. In this context, the entire market orientation focuses on the consumer, placing the consumer at the core of marketing strategies. Therefore, consumer behaviour is characterized as the actions consumers exhibit in acquiring, utilizing, evaluating, and disposing of products and services, all aimed at meeting their needs.


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