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Keys to Understanding Consumer Buying Behavior

Updated on October 13, 2014
Consumer buying behavior can be very complex
Consumer buying behavior can be very complex

Types of Consumer Buying Behavior

Consumer buying behavior can be defined as the way in which consumers or buyers of goods and services tend to react or behave when purchasing products that they like. Buyers tend to exhibit different types of buying behavior when they are in the process of purchasing goods and services and the behaviors witnessed are influenced by the type of product he/she wants to buy. Consumer buying behavior involves a long process where the buyer has to identify the product, study well its features, the pros and the cons and lastly deciding on whether to purchase it or not.

Consumer buying behavior would make a certain buyer to purchase product A as opposed to product B or whether to purchase a certain product or leave it alone and all that is as a result of the buying decisions made by the buyer as to whether the product suits his/her needs and requirements.

Consumers of goods and services may possess different types of consumer buying behaviour that are unique to themselves. The buying behavior of consumer A may be different from those of consumer B and the difference may very well boil down to varying buying decision made by a consumer.

To understand more on this let us give a definition to each of the different types of consumer buying behavior that are associated with different buyers and consumers of products. But before we do that let us define the meaning of consumer behavior.

This article categorizes the types of consumer buying behaviors into four different groups and they are as follows.

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1. Complex Buying Behavior

This involves a consumer buying behavior that is associated with rigorous and detailed involvement by the buyer as different brands of the commodity are competing for his/her buying attention. Normally a complex buying behavior is witnessed when the product in question that the buyer intends to purchase is somehow expensive, purchased once in a blue moon or carries itself with a massive risk factor.

As a result of this the consumer will tend to be very careful in purchasing the product. He has to learn about the good and bad side of the said product, evaluate whether it suits his needs and finally makes a well planned and thoughtful choice in whether to purchase it or not.

Typical examples of products that result in complex buying behavior include buying a laptop, house, television, microwaves etc.

2. Habitual Buying Behavior

As the name suggests habitual buying behavior in consumers results when the products in question have few or no significant and major perceived differences and as such the consumer goes for and purchases the product that he/she has been using for sometime without having to think of switching to another brand. It’s a sort of a habit in that when the consumer is presented with a choice between two substitute products that have the same features and characteristics, he/she will go for the one that he has been using before as he is familiar with it. Habitual buying behavior can apply to products like bread, margarine, sugar etc.

3. Dissonance Reducing Buying Behavior

This type of consumer buying behavior is witnessed in situations where the product is expensive or has a risky factor in its purchase but there are different brands that have less or no difference to talk about. For example a buyer purchasing a smart phone (there are many different brands) may encounter a big challenge on whether to purchase it or go for a smart phone of a different brand. They develop a sense of dissonance or feeling a discomfort after they purchase they product in the sense that they fear for the product to become a failure when they have already spent a lot of money on it.

4. Variety Seeking Buying Behavior

Variety seeking consumer buying behavior takes place when the consumer has many different product choice that tend to serve the same purpose. Since the different brands of the same product serve the one and same purpose consumers will find themselves buying any given brand at a given time without having to make a choice between them. A good example of this could be cooking fat. There are indeed many different brands of cooking oil but the thing that is for sure is that they all serve the same purpose; cooking. For this reason a consumer may randomly buy cooking oil A in a given day, then cooking oil B in another day and yet cooking fat C in another instance. Consumers see no significant difference in them and hence purchase the one that comes to their sight first.


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