Factors influencing consumer buying decisions

By Jaideep Bhattacharjee & Priya Chetty on March 11, 2019

Consumer involvement in the buying decision can be seen as the decision-making process of the consumers in relation to pre and post-purchase. Through this cognitive process, consumers opt for one choice out of all the alternative options available. The previous article highlighted different types of buying decisions; routine response, limited, extensive and impulsive. Furthermore, this article highlights factors such as cultural, social, individual and psychological which affect consumer behaviour towards their buying decision.

Culture as a factor influencing consumer involvement in buying decisions

Culture is the basic determinant of a consumer behaviour and buying decisions (Anderson et al., 2015). The behaviour of human is generally developed from learning.

For example, children learn to follow rules, perceptions, value and structure their behaviour as per the standards of a culture or society. Culture is made up of religion, nationality, geographical location, race, and ethnicity which affect consumers’ buying decisions (Jisana, 2014).

Consumers are more likely to purchase a product when it is manufactured in their country of origin (Dekhili and d’Hauteville, 2009; Roth and Diamantopoulos, 2009). This is because consumers give importance to the place or ethnicity associated with a product. Thus, their involvement in the decision making process is determined by cultural factors.

Impact of society

Social factors influencing consumer buying decisions are influenced by society (Talloo, 2007). Furthermore, social stratification or classification is very common in every society. It refers to social classes based on which human groups are categorized. They are set in hierarchical order and humans within each class share similar behaviours and values.

For example, an individual from a high social class is likely to buy a luxury car, whereas a middle-class individual would go for a budget car.

Moreover, social factors are classified on the basis of the family, reference groups and roles and statuses (Amos et al., 2014). These are represented in the figure below.

Social factors affecting consumer buying decisions
Figure 1: Social factors affecting consumer buying decisions
(Amos et al., 2014)

Also, family members play a significant role in the moulding of an individual’s behaviour, personality and preferences (Jisana, 2014). Children inherit and imitate the buying behaviour of their parents.

Furthermore, a reference group is a type of group that is likely to associate with and become a member (Lee et al., 2011). Members of these groups are likely to share the same buying decision patterns (Sharma et al., 2010). Marketers influence the different roles within a group such as an initiator, influencer, decision maker and buyer (San Martín & Herrero, 2012).

For example, the popularity of organic food products would also influence other members to shift their focus, thus influencing their buying decision.

The role and status of an individual in a society also impacts consumer buying decisions (Sata, 2013). Sometimes products or services are purchased by an individual only to maintain social status.

Factors limited to an individual

Individual factors such as age, occupation, economic situations, lifestyle and personality also impact consumer buying decisions (Lamb et al., 2015). Consumers keep changing their choices towards a product or service over their lifetime (Talloo, 2007).

For example, consumers change their clothing style and brand as they grow older.

Psychological factors

Psychological factors such as beliefs and attitudes, perception, motivation and learning impact buying decision.

  • Beliefs and attitudes explain the cognitive process that an individual possesses towards buying decision (San Martín & Herrero, 2012). Consumers can have a positive affinity towards a brand when it has been used by the family for years.
  • Motivation refers to the different needs of the consumers at different times and these needs can further be classified as biogenic and psychogenic (Talloo, 2007).
  • Perception reflects how a motivated individual reacts to a situation based on their perception of the situation.
  • Learning explains the behaviour of the individual which has changed through learning and has thus influenced the decision-making process (Rani, 2014).


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