Psychological Factors affecting Consumer Behaviour

Consumer Behaviour deals with the study of buying behaviour of consumers.

Let us understand the effect of psychological factors on consumer behaviour:


Nancy went to a nearby restaurant and ordered pizza for herself.

Why did Nancy buy pizza ?

Answer - She was feeling hungry and wanted to eat something.

In the above example, Hunger was the motivating factor for Nancy to purchase pizza. There are several other factors which motivate individuals to purchase products and services.

An individual who is thirsty would definitely not mind spending on soft drinks, packaged water, juice and so on. Recognition and self esteem also influence the buying decision of individuals.

Why do people wear branded clothes ?

Individuals prefer to spend on premium brands and unique merchandise for others to look up to them. Certain products become their status symbol and people know them by their choice of picking up products that are exclusive. An individual who wears a Tag Heuer watch would never purchase a local watch as this would be against his image.


What is Perception ?

What an individual thinks about a particular product or service is his/her perception towards the same. For someone a Dell Laptop might be the best laptop while for others it could be just one of the best brands available.

Individuals with the same needs might not purchase similar products due to difference in perception.

Catherine and Roselyn had a hectic day at work and thus wanted to have something while returning from work. Catherine ordered a large chicken pizza with French fries and coke while Roselyn preferred a baked vegetable sandwich. Though both Catherine and Roselyn had the same motivation (hunger), but the products they purchased were entirely different as Roselyn perceived pizza to be a calorie laden food. Individuals think differently and their perceptions do not match.

Individuals perceive similar situation differently due to difference in the way they interpret information.

There are three different processes which lead to difference in perception:

  1. Selective Attention - Selective attention refers to the process where individuals pay attention to information that is of use to them or their immediate family members. An individual in a single day is exposed to numerous advertisements, billboards, hoardings etc but he is interested in only those which would benefit him in any way. He would not be interested in information which is not relevant at the moment.

  2. Selective Distortion - Consumers tend to perceive information in a way which would be in line to their existing thoughts and beliefs.

  3. Selective Retention - Consumers remember information which would be useful to them, rest all they forget in due course of time. Michael wanted to purchase a watch for his wife and thus he remembered the RADO advertisement which he had seen several days ago.


Learning comes only through experience. An individual comes to know about a product and service only after he/she uses the same. An individual who is satisfied with a particular product/service will show a strong inclination towards buying the same product again.

Beliefs and Attitude

Beliefs and attitude play an essential role in influencing the buying decision of consumers. Individuals create a certain image of every product or service available in the market. Every brand has an image attached to it, also called its brand image.

Consumers purchase products/services based on their opinions which they form towards a particular product or service. A product might be really good but if the consumer feels it is useless, he would never buy it.

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