It is of utmost importance for the marketer to know the behavioural patterns of the target consumers much before the product is launched. Therefore, it can be said without any doubt that the study of consumer behaviour has been the arena of constant research for a marketer.
A person can be referred to as consumer if he shows his willingness to obtain goods or services from a seller with the intention of making payments. Consumer behaviour can be defined as the study of variables that determine the purchasing behaviour of any willing person to purchase any product or service. Consumer behaviour is believed to be influenced by the factors like psychology, sociology and economics apart from the product knowledge, product specifications and brand recognition.
Cultural factors - The behaviour of a grown up person often depends upon the set of values, perceptions and his preferences as a child, which he acquired from his family or other influential sources. Each culture also has certain sub-cultures within it which provides more specific identification of their behaviour. A subculture includes religion, nationality, region and racial groups. A proper understanding of the implications and bearings of the sub-cultures assists the marketer to analyse the behaviours of the consumer in an effective way. Another important factor that must be taken into consideration along with the cultural factor is that of social class. Social class is indicated by a cluster of variables like occupation, wealth, income and education among other factors. Social class is a crucial variable because a person is often perceived as inferior or superior based upon the social class. It has been observed that social classes essentially differ in dress, speech, hobbies, etc.
Social Factors - The social factors like reference groups, family, roles and ranks also determine the behaviour of the consumer.
Reference groups are the groups that have a direct influence on the attitude of the buyer, which might affect his purchasing behaviour. Groups that have direct influence on the consumers are known as membership groups. Membership groups can be subdivided into two categories, namely primary group (which consists of family, friends and neighbours with whom the person interacts informally) and the secondary group (which calls for more formal interaction and often based upon profession or religion).
The studies on consumer psychology have also shown that people often get influenced by the groups to which they are not directly related. It might take the form of an aspirational group (it is that group to which the person longs to get associated and behaves the way the group does) or a dissociative group (the consumer do not like the group and so behaves in a way so that is not same as the way the group does). The other major player among the reference group is the opinion leader. Opinion leader is a person who is believed to have a sound knowledge on a product and its usage and takes informal channel of