Consumer behaviour can be defined as those acts of individuals (consumers) directly involved in obtaining, using, and disposing of economic goods and services, including the decision processes that precede and determine these acts.

Understanding how consumers make purchase decisions can help marketing managers in several ways.

Consumer behaviour, also called Buyer Behaviour is the process and act of decision-making of people involved in buying and use products.

Consumer behaviour refers to human behaviours which go in making purchase decisions. When consumers make decisions, they are engaged in a problem-solving talks, that is, satisfying a perceived need. This is called Consumer Behaviour.


Consumer behaviour refers to the act of consuming a good or service. Consumer behaviour is the study of how individuals, groups and organizations select, buy, use and dispose of goods, services, ideas, and experiences to satisfy their needs and wants (Kotler).

Learn about the Meaning of Consumer Behaviour

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour

Consumer behaviour can be defined as those acts of individuals (consumers) directly involved in obtaining, using, and disposing of economic goods and services, including the decision processes that precede and determine these acts. Understanding how consumers make purchase decisions can help marketing managers in several ways.

One thing that we have in common is that we are all consumers. In fact, everybody in this world is a consumer. Everyday of our life we are buying and consuming a different variety of goods and services. However, we all have different tastes, likes and dislikes and adopt different behaviour patterns while making purchase decisions.

Mr. ‘X’ may prefer to use Colgate toothpaste, Denim toilet soap and Halo shampoo while Mrs. ‘X’, the spouse may prefer to use Pepsodent toothpaste, Lux soap and Sun silk shampoo. Similarly, different types of people may have a different set of preferences in food, clothing, books, magazines, recreational activities, forms of savings and the stores from where one prefer to shop, which may be different not only from that of our family members but also from our friends, neighbours and colleagues.


Each consumer is unique and this uniqueness is reflected in the consumption behaviour, pattern and process of purchase. The study of consumer behaviour provides us with reasons why consumers differ from one another in buying and using products and services.

‘What’ products and services do we buy, ‘why’ do we buy, “how often’ do we buy, from ‘where’ do we buy, ‘how’ we buy, etc., are the issues which are dealt within the discipline of consumer behaviour.

For example, if a manager knows through research that gas mileage is the most important attribute for a certain target market, the manufacturer can design the product to meet this criterion. For example, an automobile manufacturer can advertise a car’s maintenance-free features and sporty European style while downplaying gas mileage.

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour – (With Characteristics)

Consumer behavior, also called Buyer Behavior is the process and act of decision-making of people involved in buying and use products. Consumer behavior refers to human behaviours which go in making purchase decisions. When consumers make decisions, they are engaged in a problem-solving talks, that is, satisfying a perceived need. This is called Consumer Behaviour. Consumer behavior refers to the act of consuming a good or service. Consumer behaviour is the study of how individuals, groups and organizations select, buy, use and dispose of goods, services, ideas, and experiences to satisfy their needs and wants (Kotler).


An advertising campaign has to be based on the accurate prediction of consumer behaviour and its impact on the market and product promo­tion. The basic determinants of consumer behaviour that control his in­ternal thought process are his needs, motives, personality, bearing, at­titudes and perceptions.

The consumer is continuously influenced by the environment of family, social class, reference groups and his cultural milieu. Consumer behaviour is primarily related to psychology, sociology and anthropology. The psychological factors are known as individual fac­tors; the social factors are related to the sociological behaviour of the socio-cultural environment in which the consumer behaves with other members of society.

Consumer behaviour is analysed under factors affect­ing consumer behaviour, and the advertising process.

A consumer is a person who purchases goods and services for his own personal needs.

Consumer Behaviour can be defined as those acts of ‘individuals’ which are directly involved in making decisions to spend their available resources (time, money, energy) in obtaining and using goods and services.

General Characteristics of Consumer Behaviour:

The reason for studying consumer behaviour lies in its general characteristics, as it may affect present day business operation.

These characteristics can be described as below:

a. The Consumer is the King


b. The Consumer Behaviour can be known

c. The consumer’s behaviour can be influenced

Why study consumer behaviour?

a. It will help to segment the market usefully


b. It will aid in development of an effective marketing mix

c. It will help to assess new market opportunities

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour – (With 2 Main Types)

According to Walter and Paul, “consumer behaviour is the process whereby individuals decide whether, what, when, where, how and from whom to purchase goods and services.”

The term consumer is often used to describe two different kinds of consuming entities:


1. Personal Consumer:

Personal consumers are those set of consumers who buys goods/ services for their own consumption or for their own use, household products or as a gift for near and dear ones. In each of this type if you notice product is bought for final use. Examples of such products are hair oil, shampoo, and all other FMCG products.

2. Organizational Consumer:

Organizational consumer are the second type of consumers. Players from all the sectors are organizational consumer for example in primary sector a poultry firm owner has to buy seeds in bulk to feed chickens, in secondary sector a furniture making manufacturing unit has to buy woods in bulk or heavy machinery to make the final set of furniture’s, in service sector airline industry heavily depend on petroleum industry.

It is the way a person acts or conducts herself, or himself in certain situations and environments.

Consumers are the key players in any marketing activity. All marketing plans and strategies are formulated keeping the consumer in mind. It is done for the consumer so that the consumer can get maximum benefit or value for the products or services purchased by him/her. The consumer is the king. Therefore to keep the consumer happy and to satisfy the ever changing needs of the consumer the marketer must understand how the consumer behaves.


Consumer Behavior can be defined as the process by which the consumer decides to buy a product or decides not to buy a product. It involves all the activities of searching for products, evaluating the alternatives, making a choice, purchasing the product, using or consuming the product and disposing the product. How the consumer acts in all these situations is known as consumer behavior.


If a person wants to buy a car he or she will search for various models, evaluate all the choices and then decide to buy a car. The consumer will then use the car and at some point of time decide to dispose it. In every situation the consumer will display a particular behavior. Understanding this behavior is the key to successful marketing.

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour – Need of Studying Consumer Behaviour

There is an old saying in advertising, “We have met the consumer and he ain’t us. In other words, retailers need to research who their customers are and how their customers make decisions. Retailers cannot rely only on intuition; they must employ outside research methods to gain insights into how and why consumers shop. It is important to realise that management cannot be effective unless it has some understanding of the way in which retail consumers make decisions and act in relation to the consumption of retail products.

There is, therefore, a need to understand the different ways in which consumers choose and evaluate alternative retail services. While the term consumer would seem to indicate a singular concept of demand, the reality is that there is a wide diversity of consumer behaviour — with decisions being made for a range of reasons.

We need to study consumer behaviour to be aware of:


(i) The different effects of various promotional tactics;

(ii) The complexity and process of purchase decisions;

(iii) The needs as well as the purchase motives of individuals;

(iv) How demographic change may affect retail purchasing;

(v) The different market segments based upon purchase behaviour;

(vi) The perception of risk for retail purchases;


(vii) How retail managers may improve their chance of business success based upon understanding what is required as part of the retail experience, and how customers react to that experience process based upon all the retail marketing approaches utilized.

Many variables will influence the way consumption patterns differ. These will change based upon the different types of retailers in the marketplace and the way individuals have learnt to approach purchase opportunities. The variations are countless and this makes it more practical to deal with general behavioural principles which are often discussed within a framework that includes the disciplines of psychology, sociology and economics.

In retailing, the customer is the reason for existence. The people who enter a retailer’s store (or visit its website) and make purchases are the ones who drive the business. In a service economy, the relationships the retailer builds with customers determine its success. Any successful retail establishment understands its customers, including how they think and behave where they live, and their demographic characteristics.

All retailing tactics should be directed toward those individuals who will inevitably purchase the products and services offered. Customers have a wide choice of businesses to patronise. The retailer that understands its customers’ needs and wants is able to provide the products and services that will best satisfy those customers.

In addition, the retailer is able to price the product at an appropriate level and at the same time generate a profit. The retailer can have an effective product mix available to customers when and where they want it if, and only if, there is effective communication with those customers.

The retailer that integrates this information into its retail plan is more likely to achieve profitable sales levels than those that are unaware of their customer base. The retailer’s target market should consist of consumers who have specific needs for its services or products. Consumers may wish to purchase the products as gifts, for daily family use, or for personal consumption. To be able to “talk” to these consumers using integrated marketing communications tactics, the retailer must know precisely who they are.


Retailers can use a number of methods to obtain a good picture of their customer base. The behaviours consumers exhibit when shopping for goods and services, for instance, can teach the retailer a great deal. The information generated can be easily placed into the target marketing section of the integrated retail management plan, which deals with evaluating and understanding the customer.

These data can then be used to help select the target market and are instrumental in the retailer’s site selection activities. It is important to include all consumer data in the retail information system (RIS). This gives all retail decision makers access to the data at the push of a button and significantly reduces the work required to research these data manually.

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour – (With Elements)

Consumer behaviour may be defined as the behaviour exhibited by people in buying and using economic goods and services. It is the buying behaviour of final consumers who buys goods and services for personal consumption. Consumer behaviour is an integral part of human behaviour and cannot be separated from it. In the more specific sense, consumer behaviour refers to the decision making process by which consumers interact with their environment and the actions they take in the market place.

In this process two elements are important:

(i) The thought process by which consumers decide what to buy, when to buy, etc. This may be called buyer behaviour,

(ii) The settlement action— accepting or rejecting a product/service.

In the words of Schiffman and Kanuk, “consumer behaviour is the study of how individuals make decisions to spend their available resources (time, money, effort) on consumption-related items. It includes the study of what they buy, why they buy, when they buy, how often they buy it, and how often they use it.”

Consumer behaviour need not be the result of a single person’s actions but may be the sum total of the behaviour of several persons. For example, a patient might be the actual user of vitamins, his relatives go out and buy the vitamins and the brand is decided by the doctor.

Several factors influence and determine the behaviour of consumers. Wants, needs, education, income, age, habits, motives, attitudes are some of these factors. Buying motives may be rational (price and quality of the product, reputation of the seller, services offered, convenience, etc.) or emotional (pride, habit, prestige, recommendation, affection, etc.)

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour

Consumer behaviour is that process by which the decisions relating to the purchase of any product or brand and the selection. Consumer behaviour is the new and innovative field of study. It is an effort to understand the portfolio of human purchase and making of predictions. Consumption Act, 1960 has further increased the importance of the study on the consumer behaviour.

All the customers have different tastes, likes and dislikes and adopt different behaviour patterns, while making purchase decisions. Your preference for any product will not be the same of your spouse. The detailed study of buyer behaviour provide us with reasons why consumers differ from one another in buying and using provide us with reasons why consumers differ from one another in buying and using products and services.

It is necessary to have due knowledge of the market before analysis of marketing opportunities and the marketing strategy. The market is a joint composition of buyers and consumers. It is therefore, necessary to study the buyer and consumers’ behave jointly as these function like key to the market.

The sphere of consumer behaviour includes the activities of both final intermediate users. The consumers are called as ultimate users in true sense. While the intermediate users are the industrial who do not consume the goods and services but add further more value before they are consumed by the final users.

Therefore, the Buyer Behaviour includes the activities of both End Users and Intermediate Users. The modern marketing concept spells out the significance of buyer behaviour. The modern marketing management tries to solve the problems of consumers in the area of consumption.

Hence, the Consumer Behaviour includes only the End Users and their actions. It is this dynamic nature that makes it more important to study, analyse and interpret the ever changing behaviour.

In brief, the thorough behave resulting purchase is called the consumer behaviour. Prof. R.S. Bushkirka has suggested finding the solution for the following questions in his treatise “Principles of Marketing” so that consumer behaviour can be analysed properly.

The questions are:

1. Who:

(i) Who decides the purchase?

(ii) Who affects the decisions for purchase?

(iii) Who does the real purchase?

(iv) Who does the consumption of the product?

2. What:

(i) What product is being bought by consumer?

(ii) What is an attractive product in the market?

3. When:

(i) When does the product buy?

(ii) When and at which stage of life, the product is bought?

(iii) When and at what time the product is bought?

4. Where:

(i) Where is the decision of purchase made?

(ii) Where is the actual purchase made?

(iii) From where do the retailers buy the product?

5. How:

(i) How much quantity of product does the consumer buy?

(ii) How much efforts the consumer does make so as to buy the products?

(iii) How many times does the consumer buy the product?

(iv) How much service does the consumer desire?

(v) How does the consumer buy i.e., whether in cash or credit?

(vi) How does he want to buy the product?

(vii) How does the consumer want to access the goods to house?

(viii) How does he use the product/goods?

We are giving here the detailed answer of the questions:

1. When do the consumers buy?

It is essential for every seller to know the time when the consumers buy the goods. The term “when” indicates three thing i.e., – (i) weather (ii) the day of a week (iii) day time. These three are most significant in marketing. The marketing efforts are planned according to these.

Some goods are of nature that they are required during a particular weather. For example, the demand of toys by children on festivals, demand of utensils and clothes during marriage season, demand of tea, coffee and woolen clothes in winter season and demand of cold drinks in summer etc. A seller should make necessary adjustment in his production, sale and other activities. So that profit is earned with satisfaction to consumer.

The weather for purchase and the day is not only significant but the time also. Time is meant by the morning, noon, evening or the night. Further, prior to close or after close of market in a day. The sale of product is managed only after these things are known.

2. Who does the buying?

A marketing manager should develop his knowledge to know the customers. It includes three things.

These are:

(i) Who does the actual purchase?

(ii) Who does make decision for purchase?

(iii) Who does actual use of the product?

It is seen oftenly that – (i) The whole family uses the goods but it can be bought by any one member of family (ii) Decision of purchase can be taken jointly by husband, wife and the children. Sometimes, opinion of children is given more importance, (iii) The product can be bought by any person out of husband, wife and children.

However, it is possible that the buyer does not actually use the goods and the user does not actually use the goods and the user is some other person. Generally, the parent buy the goods for their children and the husband buys for wife and the husband may do purchase for themselves too. In an educated family, it is the wife who buys the things for his husband and the children. Similarly, the children may also do purchase for their parent.

Marketing gets affected of the question that who does the purchase? The goods are produced matching with the interests of buyers and the means of distribution is adopted accordingly. The advertisement programmes, advertisement appeals, advertisement copy, radio and television advertisement etc. are the marketing policies and strategies followed.

The design, colour, shape and price of the product are decided by taking feminine approach in mind if the same is to be bought by women. Similarly, the children choices should be kept in mind if it is to be bought by children.

3. How does the customer buy?

Consumers’ purchase relates to their habits and behaviour as this effect the marketing strategies for the product and pricing policies are adopted according to their buying habit and behaviour and managerial decisions are made. The brand, price and the service of the product affect the purchase of consumers.

Some consumers prefer the product of lower price irrespective of its brand while some other consumers prefer buying the product of particular brand on lower price. Some consumers become ready to pay more prices for the desired product.

Similarly, some consumers do not like to buy unpacked product and always prefer the things well packed. The packed product in their view is always clean and tidy and adulteration is not possible. Such thing further is convenient to carry anywhere. The people having this outlook always find ready to pay even additional price. A producer should make the packaging all attractive. Every product should be packed separately if the consumer buys only thing at a time otherwise, he will not buy such thing further.

There are some customers who prefer buying things in cash while there are some others who prefer buying on credit. The businessman should follow the credit policy if the number of creditors is large at any place. Similarly, the consumers preferring purchase of goods in large packing are to be given product in large packing along with discount. Similarly, separate pricing on the basis of service and delivery can be made.

How do the consumer buy the product; effects on his decisions relating to the site of shop or store and layout. If any product is bought mostly by the women, separate shops or stores can be opened for them.

4. Where do the consumers buy?

A seller should know the place from where the consumers buy prior to determine the marketing strategy? Where is meant by two things – (i) where does the consumer decide to purchase? and (ii) from where the actual purchase is made?

The consumer often decides buying goods in home and in sitting with the family. Such decisions are made regarding purchase of furniture, radio, T.V., electrical gadgets etc., sometimes, it is found that the consumer does not go to the market with prior decision at home but decides at the shop or store at once.

It is also found that the consumer makes decision of purchase at home but selects the brand at the shop. The packaging of goods should in the circumstance be made good. Advertisement should be given so that the consumers can introduce with the brand and they can be attracted.

The sites of decision made by consumers, effects the decisions related to sites of sale by mediators and those of the products. Whenever the consumers adopt a new measure for purchase, it generates problem for the manufacturers and the mediators both.

Buyer behaviour can be defined as – “Buying behaviour is the study of all psychological, social and physical behaviour of potential consumers as they become aware of, evaluate, purchase, consume and tell others about products and services.”

Following things are clear from this definition:

1. Buyer behaviours are related to personal and social processes.

2. Buyer behaviour explains the satisfaction availed from the stage of buying to the stage when product is bought.

3. Buyer behaviour includes within it the study of communication system, the purchase and consumption.

4. The system of consumer/buyer basically is a study of social nature.

5. Buyer behaviour is related to the behaviour of consumer and industrial buyers.

The present day seller stresses on understanding the consumer, study of his behaviour and decision relating to marketing should be made in the light of different characteristics of consumer behaviour.

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour

Consumers can be referred to all those individuals who buy products and services either for themselves or on behalf of their households. So they can be either the users of these products or services, or are responsible for the welfare and well-being of those who use them.

Consumers buy products/services in order to meet the physical demands of life, apart from using these purchases, to indicate their roles in the society, to express their personalities, communicate their attitudes and opinions, stress on the values held by them and also to demonstrate their wealth. This means that the products and services purchased by consumers not only satisfy their physiological needs but also their psychological and sociological needs.

The Emerging ‘New’ Consumer:

From early millennium onwards, marketers are having to deal with an emerging new consumer. Of course, the new consumers are not necessarily ‘new’ in the absolute sense, they differ from the old consumer in terms of their expectations, values and patterns of behaviour. As a result, the challenge before the marketer is to have a high degree of understanding of the consumers’ motivations and channelise all marketing efforts to clearly satisfy their ‘specific needs’.

The new consumer can be characterised by a new value system, with greater price sensitivity and more awareness of value for money, willingness to experiment with new ideas and technologies etc.

Consumer behaviour is defined as the behaviour that consumers display in searching/or, purchasing, using, evaluating and disposing of products and services that they expect will satisfy their needs.

As per the above definition, consumer behaviour tries to understand how consumers (individuals) make decisions on consumption-related items. That it, this study tries to seek answers on questions related to the consumer’s decisions on what to buy, why they buy it, when and where they buy it, how often they buy and use it, consumer’s evaluation of the purchased (or consumed) item and the impact of such evaluations on future purchase behaviour and finally on how they dispose off it.

Irrespective of our diverse backgrounds each one of us is a consumer. We are regular consumers of food, clothing, shelter, vehicles, services etc. We, as consumers are also contributing to the overall growth of our economy. However, in order to build, grow and succeed in the evolving marketplace, marketers are required to make all efforts to have a thorough understanding of their consumers.

They need to be clear about their consumers in terms of — what they want, how much they are willing to spend, where do they work, who are their personal and social influences, how they spend their leisure time etc. Marketers make use of consumer behaviour study to understand how consumption related decisions are made, the impact of personal and group pressure on their purchase decisions, the role of the social, cultural influence on the purchase behaviour and so on.

According to Sheth and Mittal, ‘Customer behaviour is the mental and physical activities undertaken by household and business customers that result in decisions and actions to pay for, purchase and use products and services’.

The above definition includes the behaviours of both the household and business (organisational) customers.

The mental and physical activities undertaken by the customer include:

(a) Mental:

Assessing the suitability of the product or service brand, making inferences about a product’s (or services) quality from advertising information and evaluating its performance after consuming the product or service.

(b) Physical:

Visiting stores, searching for information on the product (or services) from various sources, reading various reports (or business magazines) to have an idea about the product or service’s actual performance, talking to sales personnel and issuing a purchase order.

It is to be understood that the term consumer behaviour can be used to describe two different kinds of consuming entities:

a. The personal consumer who purchases goods and services for his or her own use, for the use of the household or as a gift for a friend. In all the above contexts, the products or services are purchased for the use of, by the ultimate consumer (or end-users).

b. The organisational consumers will be inclusive of profit and not-for-profit run businesses, government agencies (local, state and central) as well as institutions (educational, hospitals, hotels etc.) all of which are required to buy products, tools, equipments and services in order to run their organisations.

From a marketer’s point of view, end-use consumption is perhaps the most pervasive of all types of consumer behaviour, because it involves every person of each age group and background carrying out the role of either a buyer or user or both.

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour

Consumer behaviour studies play an important role in framing marketing and in deciding marketing strategies. Consumers are often studied because certain discussions are significantly affected by their behaviour or expected actions. For this reason such consumer behaviour is said to be an applied discipline.

Such applications can exist at two level of analysis. The micro perspective involves understanding consumers for the purpose of helping a firm or organisation accomplish its objectives. On the macro or societal perspective consumers collectively influence economic and social conditions within an entire society.

Before understanding consumer behaviour let us first go through few more terminologies.

Who is a consumer?

Any individual who purchases goods and services from the market for his/her end-use is called a consumer.

In simpler words a consumer is one who consumes goods and services available in the market.

What is consumer interest?

Every customer shows inclination towards particular products and services. Consumer interest is nothing but willingness of consumers to purchase products and services as per their taste, need and of course pocket.

What is consumer behaviour?

Consumer Behaviour is a branch which deals with the various stages a consumer goes through before purchasing products or services for his end use.

Why do you think an individual buys a product?

(i) Need

(ii) Social Status

(iii) Gifting Purpose

Why do you think an individual does not buy a product?

(i) No requirement

(ii) Income/Budget/Financial constraints

(iii) Taste

When do you think consumers purchase products?

(i) Festive season

(ii) Birthday

(iii) Anniversary

(iv) Marriage or other special occasions

There are infact several factors which influence buying decision of a consumer ranging from psychological, social, and economic and so on.

The study of consumer behaviour explains as to:

(i) Why and why not a consumer buys a product?

(ii) When a consumer buys a product?

(iii) How a consumer buys a product?

During Holi and Diwali, the buying tendencies of consumers increase as compared to other months. In the same way during Valentines week, individuals are often seen purchasing gifts for their partners. Fluctuations in the financial markets and recession decrease the buying capacity of individuals.

In a layman’s language consumer behaviour deals with the buying behaviour of individuals. Therefore, Consumer Behaviour is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society.

It blends elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology and economics. It attempts to understand the decision-making processes of buyers, both individually and in groups. It studies characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people’s wants. It also tries to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends, reference groups, and society in general.

The main catalyst which triggers the buying decision of an individual is need for a particular product/ service. Consumers purchase products and services as and when need arises.

According to Belch and Belch, whenever need arises; a consumer searches for several information which would help him in his purchase.

Following are the sources of information:

a. Personal Sources

b. Commercial Sources

c. Public Sources

d. Personal Experience

Perception also plays an important role in influencing the buying decision of consumers.

Buying decisions of consumers also depend on the following factors:

a. Messages, advertisements, promotional materials, a consumer goes through also called selective exposure.

b. Not all promotional materials and advertisements excite a consumer. A consumer does not pay attention to everything he sees. He is interested in only what he wants to see. Such behaviour is called selective attention.

c. Consumer interpretation refers to how an individual perceives a particular message.

d. A consumer would certainly buy something which appeals him the most. He would remember the most relevant and meaningful message also called as selective retention. He would obviously not remember something which has nothing to do with his need.

Customer behaviour study is based on consumer buying behaviour, with the customer playing the three distinct roles of user, payer and buyer. Research has shown that consumer behaviour is difficult to predict, even for experts in the field. Relationship marketing is an influential asset for customer behaviour analysis as it has a keen interest in the re-discovery of the true meaning of marketing through the re­affirmation of the importance of the customer or buyer.

A greater importance is also placed on consumer retention, customer relationship management, personalization, customization and one-to-one marketing. Social functions can be categorized into social choice and welfare functions.

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

It studies characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics and behavioural variables in an attempt to understand people’s wants. It also tries to assess influences on the customer from groups such as family, friend, reference group, and society in general.

Now let us see the Consumer Behaviour from the angle of product decision.

How many times throughout the day do people make product decisions? If you stop to think about it, many product decisions are made every day, some without much thought. What should I wear? What should I eat? What am I going to do today? Many product decisions are answered routinely every day and they help move the economy of cities, countries and ultimately the world.

Product decisions also shape life for the consumer. How can simple decisions be so important? Why do marketers spend millions of dollars to uncover the reasons behind these decisions?

To define consumer behaviour- It is the study of consumers and the processes they use to choose, use (consume), and dispose of products and services. A more in depth definition will also include how that process impacts the world. Consumer behavior incorporates ideas from several sciences including psychology, biology, chemistry and economics.

“All marketing decisions are based on assumptions and knowledge of consumer behaviour.”

Researching consumer behaviour is a complex process, but understanding consumer behaviour is critical to marketers-they can use it to:

a. Provide value and customer satisfaction.

b. Effectively target customers.

c. Enhance the value of the company.

d. Improve products and services.

e. Create a competitive advantage

f. Understand how customers view their products versus their competitors’ products.

g. Expand the knowledge base in the field of marketing,

Apply marketing strategies toward a positive effect on society (encourage people to support charities, promote healthy habits, reduce drug use etc.)

Thus we can say that Consumer behaviour is the study of what, when, why, how, and where people buy a product which blends elements from psychology, sociology, social anthropology and economics. It attempts to understand the buyer decision making process and psychology of how the consumer is influenced by his or her environment, both individually and in groups.

Consumer behaviour analysis is an important domain for a marketing manager as it gives insight into a number of factors which affect sales and relationships that are not in the control of a company. What is in control of a manager is the marketing mix. In consumer behaviour self-learning manual, we shall understand about segmentation, targeting and positioning of customers which forms the uncontrollable elements for the marketing manager.

Segmentation, targeting and positioning are consumer centric. According to Mc Carthy the summation of the efforts of marketing mix and marketing plan is the marketing strategy.

Understanding consumer behaviour will help the marketers to predict the behaviour of the consumer in various buying situations. By making the product or service and the entire delivery to the consumer according to their expectations will enhance customer satisfaction and retention.

Customer retention costs are much lesser than the customer acquisition costs. Hence, the entire efforts of a company lie towards satisfying the needs and desires of the consumer, which help in creating surplus for the company.

Meaning of Consumer Behaviour – Defined by Various Authors

Remember what happened when last time you bought your cell phone. Hadn’t you gone through a series of activities many of them consciously and few unconsciously before you bought one. Don’t you think you were baffled with plethora of mobile brands with countless numbers of features, confusing promotions and price ranges?

Also recollect how anxious was you about the comments that were expected to come from friends, relatives and colleagues. Finally what matters most to a marketer is to understand what made you to settle down for a particular brand.

As a marketer if one knows how, when and where a consumer makes purchase decision it could be a great help to him.

As Indian consumers are being increasingly exposed to new products, services and western lifestyle, the rapidly growing middle class consumers are quickly becoming attractive markets for international firms.

Since, Indian consumers are strongly being influenced by foreign culture and shopping is no exception, it is worth to study the consumer behavior for a better and complete understanding of shift taking place and factors underlying.

Consumers behave in a complex manner. Studying of consumer behavior is about understanding the physiological and psychological processes that consumer goes through while searching, evaluating, buying, using and disposing a product. A consumer while going through this process is influenced by various factors.

If a marketer could create a favorable environment through its marketing program that makes consumers to develop strong and favorable attitude towards brand’s ability to deliver best possible value to him/her, then there are great possibilities that the prospect would convert in to a customer.

Consumer buying behavior refers to the buying behavior of final consumers-Individuals and households who buy goods and services for personal consumption.

According to Professor Waiter C.G. and Professor Paul GW., “the process whereby individuals decide whether, what, when, where, how and from whom to purchase goods and services.”

According to James F. Engel, Roger D. Blackwell and Paul W. Miniard, “Consumer behaviour refers to the actions and decision processes of people who purchase goods and services for personal consumption.”

According to Professor Bearden and Associates, Consumer behaviour is “the mental and emotional processes and the physical activities of people who purchase and use goods and services to satisfy particular needs and wants.”

Consumer behaviour can be defined as “the activities and the actions of people and organization that purchase and use economic goods and services, including the influence on these activities and actions.”

In other words, Consumer behaviour can be said to be the study of how individuals make decisions on how to spend their available resources (time, money, effort) on various consumption-related items.

This simple definition of consumer behaviour tells marketers to resolve every activity around the ultimate consumer and gauge their behaviour by specifically focusing on:

1. Who buys products or services?

2. How do they buy products or services?

3. Where do they buy them?

4. How often do they buy them? When do they buy them?

5. Why do they buy them? How often do they use them?