Consumer behaviour involves analysis of the reasons why people decide to buy or not to buy a product. This involves the analysis of consumers’ psychology, economics, sociology, and the social anthropology.
Consumer behaviour is aimed at coming up with a clear understanding of consumers’ buying decision making process, either an individual or as a group. In the analysis of consumer behaviour, characteristics of consumers, such as demographics and other behavioural variables, are analysed critically to understand consumers’ wants and needs (Solomon, 2011).
Indeed, it is not possible to predict consumers’ behaviour and clearly outline their needs and wants. In most cases, people do not differentiate them. As a result, most of the times, attempts are made to distinguish needs and wants. Needs refer to basics that make up one’s survival kit; on the other hand, wants refer to desires that may not be basic in life such as cars, fashion clothes, and electronics among others.
Consumer needs are basic in nature, and one cannot survive without them; they include food, clothing, and shelter. On the other hand, consumer wants are desires and luxurious in nature; therefore, one is capable of surviving without them except that they are needed to improve the living conditions.
The conflict that typical consumers experience when deciding between what they need and what they want
In most cases, consumers experience challenges when deciding on whether to settle a need or a want. In addition, sometimes, consumers are not able to differentiate between a need and a want, thus they face difficulties in decision making. However, it is essential that consumers learn to manage their decisions appropriately.
This is important because consumers should be able to make a reasonable decision among several alternatives subject to a wide range of matters. There are several styles used in decision making, just as there are several issues that need clear decisions. While making a decision, it is all about uncertainty and risk, since consumers have varying levels of risk aversion.
In addition, making decisions involves either quantitative or qualitative analysis (Solomon, 2010). As a result, consumers can make a decision using any of these decision making styles. The wide range of decision making styles pose conflicts when consumers try to choose between what they want and what they need.
The main conflict arises when a consumer is trying to make a rational judgement. Some of the issues that bring the conflict while consumers are trying to make decisions include consumers’ personality, peer pressure, social surrounding, social statures, and prices charges among others.
Based on the consumer personality, most of the times consumers try to buy products that may not be in line with their status. When a consumer buys a product that is above his or her status, and then it is clear that it is based on wants and not needs.
In most cases, consumers buy products or services that go in line with their status. In such a case, possibly the consumer obtains it based on a want and not on a need. There are several factors that have a significant impact on consumer choice regarding a want and a need (Hoyer & Macinnis, 2009).
How often have consumers seen the advert of the product in question?
How much of a brand have often been sold over the past few years?
Has the product or brand in question been bought by a wide range of customers of varying social classes?
What are the impacts of buying a brand that is expensive compared with your social life?
From the research, it is clear that most consumers or individuals want to improve their living conditions, their family conditions, community condition, and nation condition. It is worth nothing that consumers’ wants are infinite. This is true to the wealthy as it is to the poor. On the other hand, needs can easily be defined but vary depending on an individual’s age, health, and physical environment among others. Some of the issues are considered to be wants among the poor communities and may be needs in the rich community.
In real life, it is impossible to define strategies for meeting all consumer needs. As a result, measures have been set to define the minimum well being level of consumers so that it can be easy to state that an individual is poor or rich. These are the main issue that cause conflicts when consumers are trying to define a product or service as a want or a need.
At times, consumers visit the market to buy something they regard as a need, but in the minds of other consumers, it is a want. Therefore, it is conflicting to decide and buy a product based on the decision made (Wright, 2006). For instance, how a decision could be made when faced marketing focused on something one may want but does not need.
In a situation where a consumer experiences conflicting interests regarding a need and a want, relevant strategies will have to be incorporated. When trying to come up with a decision regarding an issue that one wants, but does not need, one must determine whether he wants it or needs it.
In addition, one has to analyse the status regarding the want. This is important because, failure to analyze the situation may make one risk missing a wide range of existing alternatives. Regarding the want in question, consumers should be able to ask relevant questions based on aspirations, interests, goals, objectives, and fears. This will help them consider possible consequences of their actions.
For instance, according to the rich, a refrigerator is a need, but for the poor, it is a want. As a result, it can pose a problem on some situations when an individual with a poor background is deciding on whether to buy it or not. Indeed, he or she can analyze the advantages associated with a refrigerator. The advantages associated with it can provoke a consumer to buy it without considering whether it is a need, or otherwise.
Therefore, it is essential that such people analyze the source of income or money to pay and acquire it. Once the relevant analysis is over, then it will be easy to decide if it is a want or a need, thus deciding to buy or not. At times, consumers make quick decisions based on intuition or gut feeling (Paul Lantos, 2010). They can make a decision based on an uncertainty or condition without gathering all the necessary information.
However, some consumers are cautions in their decisions and try mostly to avoid intuitive approaches. For instance, sometimes consumer may want to acquire some products, but does not have money, he or she can decide to obtain a loan from a credit lending organization. Indeed, the idea of obtaining a credit or loan is noble, but it is necessary to put into consideration several factors.
These factors include the payback period for credit, whether the product is a need, and ability to repay the credit. Clearly analysing these factors, the consumer will automatically decide whether to take a loan or not. Some of the steps used to determine whether one wants something, but does not need it include:
Working out the right decision problem through careful or proper problem statement without using assumptions and prejudices that are option limiting. For instance, when deciding on whether a refrigerator is what one wants and not what he needs. Thus, one has to analyze the prevailing circumstances that make him or her want a refrigerator.
The customer should clearly define or specify objectives regarding a want. For instance, one can regard a car as something he or she wants because of the many demands that make one want a car.
Customers should understand the consequences of their decisions so that they will not be surprised by their move. For instance, one can view a car as what he or she wants based on the demands at that moment. In such a case, appropriate decision should be made to avoid regrets later. The customer should consider when deciding to buy a car that he will later fuel it, pay for its loan, if any, and attend a driving school if necessary. This will mean an increase in expenses; therefore, all these issues should be put into consideration.
How a person’s values links to consumer behaviour
Person’s values are capable of describing an individual’s disposition based on explanations of the surrounding. Some of the person’s values include openness, extraversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness. According to market research, the relationship between consumer behaviour and person’s values is not clear, but researchers are still working on it.
However, according to a research recently conducted, results showed that people who are open are in a better position to respond to adverts placed (Mooij, 2010). Such individuals are exposed to adverts from time to time, and can respond to them by buying products or going for an alternative. As a result, it is worth nothing that consumer behaviour has a close relationship with a person’s values.
Alongside the fact that person’s values might be useful to the marketers, they should be able to explain the reason as to why a consumer decides to make a purchase. For instance, some consumers decide to buy based on their feelings regarding a product, while others decide based on their economic status. All this issues are crucial to customer, since he can develop necessary strategies in marketing that enable it to attract a wide market.
Moreover, knowing the different elements that make the consumers purchase enables marketers to come up with appropriate marketing strategies. At some point in time, complexity of issues has made it difficult to explain the relationship between consumer behaviour and person’s values.
Some of the complex issues that have made it difficult to explain the relationship include the dynamic nature of consumers. Most consumers are dynamic and their purchase behavior changes from time to time. This can affect marketers’ strategies negatively, hence there is a need for frequent modification. As a result, effective marketing will make it possible to easy define the relationship between consumer behaviour and persons values.
In marketing, it is essential to understand the concept of consumer behaviour. This will enable a marketer to define marketing strategies to attract a market. In addition, understanding consumer behavior will enable the consumer to determine the variations between wants and needs. In most cases, consumers experience a difficulty in trying to differentiate between wants and needs.
It is essential for consumers to note that needs are not wants. In addition, it is essential to understand that consumer’s needs and wants are far much different from each other, based on, their definitions. While trying to understand the concept of consumer behavior, the aspect of person’s value is essential.
This will enable a marketer to understand the likes and dislikes of a consumer. Moreover, it will enable the marketer to use these values in marketing of its products. As a result, it will be possible to attract a large market share. Finally, it is vital to note that consumer needs are basic, and an individual cannot do without them. On the other hand, wants are luxurious in nature and needed to improve the living condition. Therefore, in most cases, consumers try to address their needs before addressing wants as much as possible.
Hoyer, W.D. & Macinnis, D.J. (2009). Consumer Behavior. New York: Cengage Learning.
Mooij, M.K. (2010). Consumer Behavior and Culture: Consequences for Global Marketing and Advertising. London: Sage Publishers.
Paul Lantos, G. (2010). Consumer Behavior in Action: Real-Life Applications for Marketing Managers. New York: M.E. Sharpe.
Solomon, M.R. (2010).Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
Solomon, M.R. (2011). Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Wright, R. (2006). Consumer Behaviour. New York: Cengage Learning.