What is Buyer Behavior?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2019
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Also known as consumer behavior, buyer behavior has to do with determining which specific factors influence the buying habits of the individual. By accurately assessing the decision-making process of buyers in different situations, it is easier for businesses to identify groups of consumers who are most likely to demonstrate interest in the products produced by those companies. While there are many different concepts of what impacts buyer behavior, most approaches do make use of a core group of factors.

One of the key factors that makes a difference in buyer behavior is the role that the individual fills in society. For example, individuals who are parents to small children will have a different set of priorities when it comes to buying goods and services than individuals or couples who do not have any children in the home. In like manner, the consumer habits of someone who earns an hourly wage is likely to be different from that of someone who is employed in a salaried position. There is even some difference between the buying habits of people who are part of a couple and those who are currently not romantically involved. This is because purchasing products tends to include input from the romantic partner, and may be aimed at meeting the demands of the couple rather than an individual need or want.


The goals and aspirations of the consumer also play a major role in buyer behavior. Often, those goals will help determine if the consumer will attempt to save money in order to achieve the goal, or is open to using credit of some type to purchase the desired goods. For example, an individual may be willing to purchase a home by utilizing a mortgage, while at the same time being somewhat reluctant to buy a new television set on credit. In this scenario, the consumer is likely to look for a mortgage that offers the most desirable terms, including a low rate of interest. At the same time, the consumer will be on the lookout for any sale prices on televisions, and eventually find the right set that meets his or her expectations both in terms of quality and price.

Cultural conditioning and peer pressure also influence buyer behavior. In some cultures, simplicity in living is considered a virtue. In this type of setting, consumers tend to be more focused on purchasing goods that are useful rather than simply decorative. They are also more likely to be interested in purchasing products that will provide satisfaction for a longer period of time, even if the purchase price is higher than the price of similar products with a shorter life expectancy. Someone who desires simplicity may purchase furniture that is made from hard woods that hold up to constant use for decades, while foregoing the purchase of furniture made from pressed wood or other materials that tend to wear out in just a few years.

In evaluating buyer behavior, it is important to consider issues of who, what, when, where, and why. This means manufacturers must ask who is likely to purchase the products they offer, and why they would want those products. At the same time, the questions of when consumers would be interested in buying the products, as well as where they would be most likely to purchase them, is also important. Finally, identifying what factors are most likely to increase the desirability of those products and thus motivate consumers to make a purchase is of utmost important to any attempt to profile buyer behavior. Since circumstances change over time, the process of assessing and responding to consumer behavior is ongoing, and is always in need or adapting to current circumstances.


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