People buy things to satisfy two basic needs – (1) Physical or Material, and (2) Psychological orMental. The buying decision is influenced by these two basic factors in various combinations, of course along with certain other external factors. Persons buying the same product may havedifferent reasons to do so, and persons having same reasons may buy different products. Thestudy of these Physical & Psychological factors along with various other factors that influence theconsumer to make a buying decision is therefore of utmost important for marketers, and theseconstitute the subject matter of Consumer Behaviour.Consumer Behaviour ( or Buyer Behaviour ) is defined as :1.The acquisition, consumption and disposition of products, services, time and ideas bydecision making units (individual or organisational).2.It is the body of knowledge which studies various aspects of purchase and consumption of products and services by individuals with various social and psychological variables at play.3.The behaviour that the consumers display in searching for, purchasing, using, evaluating anddisposing of products and services that they expect will satisfy their needs.4.The study of consumer behaviour involves search, evaluation, purchase, consumption andpost purchase behaviour of the consumers and includes the disposal of purchased productskeeping environment and personal characteristics in mind.
The study of Consumer Behaviour is quite complex, because of many variables involved and theirtendency to interact with & influence each other and the buyer. These variables are divided intotwo major sections that have been identified as the most important general influences onConsumer Behaviour. Imagine three concentric circles, one at the outer-most, one in the middle& one at the inner-most, and they represent the following :1.External Environmental Variables Influencing Behaviour : The external environments are thebasic or specific influences which are represented by the outer-most circle :a.Culture, and Sub-culture,b.Social Class, and Social Group,c.Family, and Personal Influences,d.Other External Influences (which are not categorised by any of the above six), like political,statutorial, geographical, economical, religious environment, etc.2.Individual Determinants of Behaviour : Major individual determinants of Consumer Behaviourare portrayed in the middle ring. These variables are personal in nature and influence the wayconsumers proceed thro’ a decision making process regarding products & services. They are :a.Personality & Self-concept,b.Motivation & Involvement,c.Perception & Information Processing,d.Learning & Memory,e.Attitudes.3.The Consumer Decision Process : The inner-most circle denotes the consumer decisionmaking process regarding products & services. These are basically the physical attributes of decision making process. The major steps are :a.Problem Recognition,1