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Consumer Decision Process - Essay Example

Consumer decision process is complex and is affected by several factors. In this paper the factors affecting consumer decision process are examined with the help of an actual purchase situation of a vacation and well supplanted with theoretical support.
Grounding Theory
There is a five step process in the consumer buying process: need recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase decision, and post purchase evaluation. Consumers can go through three types of decision-making. The first is routine decision-making which is used when the purchase is simple, inexpensive, and familiar. Another is called limited decision-making. The consumer uses this type when decision-making involves a moderate search and purchasing effort. The final decision-making process is referred to as extensive and is used when the product is unfamiliar or very significant to consumers. Consumers may search for brand and outlets in combinations (Hawkins, 1983). Most consumers are influenced by various groups in the decision-making buying process. Consumer choices are nested and interlocked across the assorted contexts of daily life (e.g., First and Dholakia 1982; Huffman, Ratneshwar, and Mick 2000).We examine these contexts in following paragraphs.
Demographic Influences
Demographic and economic descriptors of a market are often helpful but insufficient to explain what is purchased by consumers. They provide us with directional indicators of the total quantity purchased by variously categorized consumers but they are unable to pinpoint the specific choices of the consumers and what factors determined such choices. These factors can reveal little about the individual assortment of products purchased, brand choice, brand switching etc. Typical examples of such factors are agewise, income wise, region wise, brand wise sales or purchase data. Such data can provide broad leads for future marketing efforts. The marketing efforts however can only be truly guided by deeper analysis of other factors as discussed below.
In consumer motivation there are essentially two views. First view holds the Freudian position that forces shaping people's behavior are largely unconscious. People may be unwilling, or unable to reveal or identify what is motivating them. In such cases identification of motivating factors becomes arduous. They have to be conjectured with the help of patterns of consumer behavior to given stimuli-often in controlled conditions. It has to be supplanted by additional efforts in indirect structured searching. Second view is attributed to the development of Maslow's need hierarchy. This view states that consumers are driven to satisfy certain needs at particular times and these needs can be arranged in a hierarchical pattern. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, there are five categories of needs viz. (1) physiological, (2) safety, (3) social, (4) esteem, and (5) self-actualization. They form a pyramid structure with the lowest and broadest ...Show more
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Consumer buying behavior essentially refers to the buying behavior of final consumers - generally stated to include all categories individuals & households - who buy goods and services for personal consumption. These final consumers add up to form the consumer market…
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