Research on Consumer Behaviour

Published: 2021/11/08
Number of words: 2822

Part A:

Although consumption can be defined in multiple ways, it is best defined economically as the end purchase of goods and services. In most of the sciences and social sciences, consumption denotes the usage of goods and services (East et al., 2016). Consumption is a critical part of the economy since it promotes the growth and success of economies. If there were no consumption businesses would not be able to sell their products (East et al., 2016). According to Keynesian, in the short run, the current real income is the main determinant of consumption (East et al., 2016).

A consumer refers to any entity or individual who pays to consume specific goods or services. They are fundamental entities in an economy. The main reason why consumers consume goods is to maximise on both utility and satisfaction. Generally, consumers have limited income through which they want to maximise their utility (Parsons et al., 2017). In most cases, consumer refers to a single individual. Nonetheless, it can also refer to groups of individuals or institutions.

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Consumers usually get categorised depending on the nature of their consumption. The first category of consumers is the direct consumers. In the early stages of human civilisation, people used to produce all their fundamental needs of life and those of their families (Parsons et al., 2017; Schiffman et al., 2007). Notably, they produced shelter, clothing and food for their consumption and those of their families. Because of this, such persons often get referred to as direct consumers or producers since they produced goods and services for their consumption.

The second class of consumers is consumers by the exchange of products. As humans increasingly become civilised, they realised the importance of exchanging products. Because of this, people began specialising on given products, which they would then exchange for other products (Szmigin and Piacentini 2018; Wright 2006). Initially, the exchange of the products was based on a barter system. However, currently, the exchange of products has evolved into a monetary system.

The third class of consumers refer to modern consumers. These consumers go to buy products and services using money. Herein, producers do not produce goods for their self-consumption or to exchange with other producers; they produce products and services to sell them directly to the consumers (Parsons et al., 2017; Haugtvedt et al., 2018). The contemporary consumer can thus get regarded as an outcome of the monetary system.

Consumers are important for any given economy. They encourage the demand for goods and services in an economy. All the producers in an economy usually produce goods to meet the demand of the consumers (Rani 2014; Ramya and Mohammed Ali, 2016). Arguably, the production of goods and services in an economy is controlled by their demand. Consumers are also important in any given economy since they encourage the diversification of goods and services in an economy (Bray 2018; Solomon 2010). Ordinarily, various consumers demand different goods and services. Because of this, producers are usually incentivised to produce a wide range of goods and services to cater to the diverse needs of the consumers (Bamossy and Solomon 2016).

Part B:

Various factors influence consumer behaviour. Some of these factors include the price of a product, price of alternative products, culture and societal norms and influence by peers, among others. Depending on either their knowledge or experience, some of the consumers may make quick purchase decisions while others may make lengthy purchase decisions, as they have to obtain extra information before they can make their purchase decisions (Solomon et al.,2012). The level of involvement in making a given purchase decision illustrates the extent to which one is interested in consuming a given product. And the amount of information he/she requires before he/she can make the given purchase decision. It is, however, essential to note that whether a given purchase decision is high or low differs from one customer from another, as opposed to products. However, some of the purchase decisions such as either buying or constructing a house generally require a high level of involvement from all consumers (Solomon et al., 2012). Besides, it is imperative to note that consumers who lack experience in purchasing a given product generally require more involvement when making purchasing decisions compared to those who are replacing the products.

High Involvement Consumption Experience

High involvement consumption experiences refer to the purchase decisions made by customers that have higher price tags or complex or carry a substantial risk when they fail. As mentioned earlier, purchasing a house is one of the examples of the high involvement consumption experience (Solomon et al., 2012). Ordinarily, the items, which require high involvement from the consumers, do not get purchased regularly. However, they are still important and critical to consumers.

Description of the high involvement consumption experience

A purchase decision that required high involvement on my part was the purchase of a laptop, which I did on 6th September 2019, on a Friday evening. The laptop, a Mac Book air costed me about 800 pounds. I bought the laptop from one of Apple’s distribution stores in London. I had bought the laptop for myself as my other laptop had stopped functioning. It was unresponsive. In retrospect, I had not planned to buy the laptop, as I only bought it after my other laptop had stopped functioning abruptly. I could not live without a laptop, as I needed it for my schoolwork. I went to buy the laptop with a friend who was skilled in IT and computer equipment. Admittedly, he influenced my purchase decision. I had wanted to buy an HP laptop, but he advised me that the Mac Book air had comparatively better specs. And it would be long lasting. After the purchase, I had mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I felt that I had parted with a considerably large amount of money for just a laptop. On the other hand, however, I felt relieved since now I had a laptop that could assist me when completing the assignments

Analysis of the high involvement Consumption Experience

Psychoanalytic Theory

The psychoanalytic consumer behaviour theory can be traced back to Sigmund Freud. According to Sigmund, human beings could not fully understand their motivations since the psychological factors, which shape human motivation in most cases, are unconscious. In this regard, consumers are likely to respond to symbolic concerns when making purchase decisions just as they are likely to respond to economic and functional concerns (Berger 2016). Based on the psychoanalytic consumer behaviour theory, it can be argued that external factors such as income and age cannot account fully for consumer behaviour.

In my case, I did not purchase the MacBook Air laptop because I have a higher income. I purchased the laptop partly because of my friend’s influence. And the hope that it would serve me better compared to other laptops that I had bought previously. In the past five years, I had bought a laptop each year after the previous one stopped functioning. Therefore, I bought the MacBook Air hoping that it would serve me for a long time. Admittedly, I also bought the MacBook air because of the perceived prestige and high-level status associated with Apple products. My purchasing decision reinforces Freud’s conclusion that consumers are just as likely as to respond to symbolic concerns when making purchase decisions; as they are likely to respond to functional and economic concerns.

Veblenian Social-Psychological model

Veblen argued that human beings are social beings who conform to the culture and standards of the groups in which they live. According to Veblen, group membership both creates and influences the needs and desires of the consumers (Desmond 2015). In my case, I bought the laptop because of my group membership. As a student, I believed I could not live without a laptop. However, in retrospect, I could have; however, it would have greatly inconvenienced me. Notably, I could have used the computers at the School library to complete my assignments. I could have equally borrowed from friends and family. However, as a student staying without a laptop did not sit well with me.

Low Involvement Consumption Experience

Low involvement purchase decisions refer to the consumption decisions that consumer make without any previous thought or prior planning. Low-involvement purchase decisions are usually either routine or impulse purchases (Solomon et al., 2012). Some examples of low involvement purchase decisions including buying a packet of fish and a cone of ice cream, among others.

Description of low involvement consumption experience

A purchase decision that required marginal involvement on my part was my purchase of a bar of chocolate on 13th November 2019, on a Wednesday afternoon. The bar of chocolate cost me about 2 pounds. I bought it at a local store near my home. I bought the bar of chocolate for myself as I felt I had missed chocolates and I had a craving. The purchase was impulse; I had not planned for it. Specifically, I was leaving school when I thought I should have a bar of chocolate. I was with a friend, with whom we were leaving school together. She also bought herself a bar of chocolate. However, she did not influence my purchasing decision. After the purchase, I felt indifferent. Arguably, it is normal for one to buy him/herself a bar of chocolate.

Analysis of low involvement consumption experience

Marshallian Economics

According to the Marshallian Economics theory, consumers usually purchase the products that give them the most personal satisfaction. Three key principles define the Marshallian economics theory. Firstly, when the price of a product is low, its sales will generally be higher (Desmond 2015). Secondly, when there is a rise in the income of the consumers, the sales of a given product will generally increase provided the given product is not an inferior good (Desmond 2015). Thirdly, where a product has a substitute, the substitute will usually have higher sales if its price is low (Desmond 2015). However, multiple quarters have continually criticised the Marshallian economics theory arguing that it is not informative (Arena 2016). According to the critics, Marshallian economics erroneously assumes that consumers will always purchase various products provided they can afford them.

In my case, it can be argued that I bought the bar of chocolate, as I believed that it would offer me the most personal satisfaction. At the time, I was craving for chocolate, and it is only by buying the bar of chocolate that I could be satisfied. However, the assumption that as the income of a consumer increases, he/she will buy more of a given product is superfluous. Even if I had more income, I could not have bought more than one bar of chocolate. I bought only one bar of chocolate because that is what I needed at the given time.

Pavlovian theory

Pavlonian theory can be traced back to the infamous ‘dog’ experiment that Ivan Pavlov conducted. In particular, Pavlov established that if one rang the bell continually immediately feeding a dog, he/she could get the dog to salivate by only ringing the bell without giving it any food (Desmond 2015). Because of this, Pavlov argued that most human behaviour arises out of conditioned responses.

In my case, I had bought the bar of chocolate on a sunny afternoon. Whenever it is hot, I usually buy either a bar of chocolate or ice cream. Therefore, to some degree, my decision to buy the bar of chocolate was a conditioned response. Notably, I bought the bar of chocolate because it was hot. However, at the time of purchase, I did not realize it.

Part C: Conclusion


From the consumption journey, I realised that I make many purchases in a month than I think. When one is making regular purchases, he/she may not know precisely the number of purchases he/she makes in a month. Arguably, this is because we consider our daily and regular purchases as part of our life. As a result, I plan to be keener when purchasing products in future. For instance, I usually purchase products such as groceries, vegetables and milk daily. However, I could benefit from discounts if I bought such products in bulk. Besides, I would reduce wastage since I never finish most of my daily purchases.

Additionally, the consumption journey has helped me realise that I am an impulse buyer. Notably, I realised each time I visit the mall or shopping centres I usually buy chocolates, ice cream and other junk. In most cases, I usually have not planned to buy them. However, I always end up buying them. I plan to develop a shopping list so that I can reduce impulse buys. I also plan to be using cash when buying small-scale products. When I am using my cards, I am usually tempted to make more purchases as I do not directly feel the pinch of losing money.

Further, I intend to reduce on my purchase of junks. Junks have high calories. Therefore consuming huge volumes of junk increases one’s risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity and other cardiovascular diseases among others.

Moreover, the consumption journey has shown me that my friends and peers easily influence me when making purchase decisions. Partly, this can be attributed to the fact that I conduct minimal research on the various purchases that I plan to make. For example, when I was buying my laptop, I realised that I did not even know the specs that I was looking for. Arguably, this explains why it was straightforward for my friend to convince me to purchase the MacBook Air. However, currently, I have realised that the laptop is not suited to me. I do not have other Apple devices. In this regard, it is proving challenging transferring files from my phone to the PC. Besides, when I conducted further research, I realised that I could have got a laptop from other models with superior specs at a relatively lower price.

Additionally, from the consumption journey, I realised I could control my purchasing decisions. More often, people think that they cannot control their purchases since they think they only buy the products that they need. However, a detailed analysis shows that human beings tend to buy more items than they require. Notably, I discovered that I was buying more groceries and vegetables than I needed, and this is why I was throwing huge volumes of stale food.

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Practical Implications

The entities that will mostly be interested in my consumption logs are marketing companies and researchers. Marketing companies will want to know how they can tailor their products of my clients to their needs. Researchers may want to know the various factors, which influence human consumption.

Marketing managers should consider offering some of the products such as groceries and vegetables in bulk purchases. Most consumers have realised that it is more economical buying such products in bulk as opposed to individually. Therefore, marketing managers should seek to take advantage of this shift in consumer patterns. Marketing managers should also consider educating potential customers more about their products. For instance, when buying the laptop, I had to rely on a friend to assist me in identifying the ‘better’ laptop. Marketing managers should package their products in such a way that a potential customer can make a purchasing decision without external help.


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