Howard Sheth model of consumer behaviour

Howard Sheth Model of consumer behaviour

Understanding Consumer Choices: The Howard Sheth Model

John Howard and Jagadish Sheth introduced the Howard Sheth model of consumer behaviour in 1969 through their publication titled “The Theory of Buyer Behavior.” Over the years, this model has become a fundamental concept for understanding consumer behaviour and decision making processes.

The Howard Sheth model helps us understand why people choose certain products. It looks at how our thoughts, the people around us, and our culture all affect our decisions. It’s a useful way to find out why consumers do what they do.

Howard and Sheth’s research looks at how people make decisions when they shop. It says that feelings, how things look, and what happened to people before also affect what customers buy, not just thinking logically. This model helps us figure out the secret reasons behind why people buy things.

The Howard Sheth model says that when people decide what to buy, they’re not just thinking about it by themselves. They’re influenced by the people around them, like family and friends, and what’s considered normal in society. Also, their culture, like their values and traditions, affects what they prefer and how they decide what to get. So, it’s not just about personal choice; it’s also about what’s happening around them.

The Howard Sheth model provides a thorough understanding of consumer behaviour by taking various aspects into account. It assists marketers and businesses in crafting strategies that resonate with their target audience. When companies grasp the complexity of consumer decisions, they can adapt their marketing efforts to align with what motivates, interests, and inspires consumers.

The Three Levels of the Howard Sheth Model

The Howard Sheth model of consumer behaviour talks about how people make decisions when buying things. It divides these decisions into three levels:

1. Extensive Problem-Solving: When people don’t know much about a brand or have no specific preferences, they carefully research different brands before deciding what to buy.

2. Limited Problem-Solving: People at this level have some knowledge but not all the details. They actively look for information to compare brands and make a choice.

3. Habitual Response Behavior: Here, people know a lot about different brands and what makes each product unique. They’ve already made up their minds about what to buy.

For businesses, understanding these levels is important. It helps them create marketing strategies that fit each stage of the decision-making process.

Related Articles:

Exploring the Howard Sheth Model of Consumer Behaviour

The Howard Sheth model of consumer behaviour talks about four main groups of things that affect how people make decisions when they buy goods.

Howard Sheth Model of consumer behaviour

1. Inputs:

In the world of consumers, three big sources of information affect how people see products and decide what to buy. These sources are like influencers, and they play a key role in consumer choices. As a marketer, it’s important to understand and use these sources effectively to connect with consumers.

The first source is the marketers themselves. They give out information about their product or brand, like how it looks, what it’s made of, and its quality. This is known as “significant stimuli.” They also use words and visuals, like slogans, logos, and images, to create a specific image in the consumer’s mind. These are called “symbolic stimuli.”

However, not everything is under the marketer’s control. There are other sources, like mass media (TV, radio, internet, etc.) and advertisement, that also affect what consumers know and think about a product or brand. These sources aren’t controlled by the company, but they have a big impact.

There’s another source of input from interactions with sales and service people. They can actively contribute to and improve the company’s marketing efforts by answering questions and providing a good experience.

So, these three sources of information give consumers the details they need about products and brands. Marketers need to understand and work with these sources to reach and engage consumers effectively.

2. Perceptual and Learning Constructs

This model is all about the stuff that goes on in people’s heads when they’re deciding what to buy. It’s like the mental side of shopping.

Perceptual factors are about how we see and understand information from different sources. For example, sometimes the message from ads or the things around us isn’t clear – that’s called “stimulus ambiguity.” We also tend to twist information to match what we already know or want – that’s “perceptual bias.”

The learning part is about what we want, what we know about brands, how we judge different options, what we like, and whether we plan to buy something. All of these things affect how we make decisions when we shop.

What’s cool about this model is that it shows how these mental factors interact with other parts of the shopping process. This helps us figure out why people make the choices they do when they shop.

By looking at these perceptual and learning factors, the model gives us important insights into why people behave the way they do when they shop. Understanding how people see and understand things, and how they learn and make choices, is very useful for businesses that want to connect with their customers and plan their marketing effectively.

3. Outputs

“Outputs” are like the concrete, measurable results that happen because of how people see and learn about things. These results impact how people react, like what they pay attention to, how well they understand a brand, what they think about it, and whether they want to get involved with it.

In the field of consumer behaviour, outputs are the clear and measurable outcomes that occur due to various factors that influence how people understand and learn about a product or brand. These factors involve how people grasp information and how they get to know a specific brand or product.

So, outputs show us how people respond to these factors. They give us valuable information about how well marketing strategies are doing. This helps businesses see how much of an impact their efforts have on grabbing people’s attention, helping them grasp the brand, shaping their opinions, and getting them interested in it.

By understanding these outputs from how people see and learn, organizations can get a deeper understanding of how consumers behave and then adjust their marketing plans accordingly. This knowledge helps businesses improve their strategies, tweak their messages, and make their overall approach better at connecting with and influencing their target audience.

In short, outputs are the results that come from how people perceive and learn about things. By using this knowledge, businesses can enhance their marketing, form stronger connections with consumers, and achieve success in the marketplace.

4. Exogenous (External) variables

These are things that aren’t directly part of decision-making but still have a big impact. Some important external factors include how important the decision is, people’s personalities, their religious beliefs, and how much time they have.

In decision-making, these external factors aren’t the main players, but they influence the final decision. Understanding and considering these external factors can make decision-making better.

The importance attached to a decision is one of these external factors. Different people think different decisions are more or less important. Things like how much money it involves, how they feel about it, or what long-term effects it might have can all affect how they decide.

People’s personality traits are another external factor. Each person has a unique set of characteristics that affect what they like, how they think, and what they do. Some people are careful, others take risks. Some like to be alone, while others are outgoing. Recognizing and thinking about these traits can give insights into how people make decisions.

Understanding the Influence of Faith and Beliefs

Religion is an external factor that can deeply affect decision-making. People’s faith and religious beliefs often guide them in making choices and shaping their values, priorities, and ethics. Understanding the impact of religion can help businesses offer products and services that match their audience’s values and beliefs.

Time pressure is another external factor that can affect decision-making. When people are short on time, they might make decisions quickly, using shortcuts or past experiences. This can lead to different choices compared to when there’s no rush. Knowing how time pressure influences decisions can help decision-makers come up with ways to manage it and make the decision process more efficient.

In short, even though external factors aren’t the main players in decision-making, they have a big influence on the results. By recognizing and understanding the importance of these external factors, decision-makers can make better choices.

Deconstructing Consumer Decision-Making with the Howard-Sheth Model

The Howard-Sheth Model helps us understand how people make decisions when they buy things. It breaks down the decision process into three parts:

1. Significance and Symbolic Factors: These factors focus on things like the price and quality of a product. But, it’s important to remember that these factors don’t apply the same way in every society.

2. Social Factors: This part of the model doesn’t go into detail about how family decisions are made. This can vary from one society to another.

Scholars widely agree that the Howard Sheth Model has improved our understanding of why people buy things.

1. Strengths of the Model: One of its key strengths is its ability to connect many different things that affect the decision to buy something. This helps us understand all the aspects of why people make purchases, thanks to contributions from the behavioural sciences.

2. Religion as an External Factor: Oddly, the model doesn’t talk about how religion can influence people’s decisions. It treats religion as something outside of the decision-making process, even though it can be quite important to people. This is a weakness in the model because it doesn’t consider religion’s role in consumer decisions.

The Howard-Sheth Model helps us understand why people buy things, especially when it comes to factors like price and quality. However, it doesn’t give us the full picture when it comes to how family decisions work in different societies, and it doesn’t consider the role of religion in consumer behaviour.

Unlocking Consumer Behaviour: The Howard Sheth Model

The Howard Sheth Model is like a smart way to understand why people buy things. It looks at how our thoughts, the people around us, and marketing affect our choices. But it doesn’t stop at just explaining; it helps us check if these ideas work in the real world.

This model gives us a big picture of how all these factors work together to shape our decisions. It’s not just theory; we can test these ideas and see if they make a difference in what people buy.

In the world of studying why people buy things, the Howard Sheth Model is a very advanced and complete way to do it. It smoothly combines different parts of how we interact with others, how our minds work, and how businesses sell things. It doesn’t just tell us why people make choices, but it also helps us see if these ideas work in practice.

The Howard Sheth model is like a roadmap for understanding why people buy things. It starts with what catches our eye, like ads or recommendations, and ends with us making a purchase. But in the middle, many things affect how we understand and learn from the information we get. These things are important, but we can’t measure them directly as they happen; they’re more like thoughts.

For businesses, it’s important to understand these things in the middle if they want to influence how people make choices effectively. When companies know how people understand and learn from information, they can make ads and plans that match what people like and need. This helps create better and more convincing ads and increases the chances of people buying their products.


The Howard Sheth model, developed by John Howard and Jagadish Sheth in 1969, changed the way we understand how consumers make choices. This model considers how our thoughts, the people around us, and our culture influence what we buy. It’s like a map that helps businesses make better advertising and sell more to the people they want to. This means more success in the market.

The Howard Sheth model helps us understand how people decide to buy things. It looks at the whole process, starting with what gets their attention and ending with the purchase. When we understand what affects how people see and learn things, it helps businesses make their marketing better and connect with the people they want to sell to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *