Consumer Behaviour

Introduction

Typically, businesses depend on the behaviours of consumers towards products and services for success and competitiveness. Consumer behaviours are linked to different theories that are said to influence a person’s decision-making process. Although the theories vary among different scholars, it is evident that consumer behaviours are influenced by different factors that focus on personal and emotional needs making the consumer identify with specific products. Factors of globalization tend to play part in influencing consumption culture and therefore consumer behaviours. The different consumer behaviour theories narrow consumer behaviours to be elements of globalization and marketization on individual and emotional demands. Therefore, these pages will focus on reviewing the literature on consumer behaviour.

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Purchasing Behaviour and Marketing Responses

Experts evaluating consumer behaviours link the whole concept to varying theories that influence the decision-making processes of different individuals. Importantly, Zukin, & Maguire, (2004) highlight the need for understanding the factors that influence consumption for complex goods and services that appears to grow with world development. According to the scholar, the sale of such products including individual computers, automobiles, and DVD players creates a significant percentage of the national economy and plays part in shaping public culture coupled with the advertising methods employed together with places of their sale. Ahuvia, (2005) highlights that the decision to consume a product is usually linked to the emotion of love. According to the scholar, love appears second in consumer insights about the products and services they are attached to emotionally while happiness is the primary feeling.

Individuals get to love a product to the knowledge they have about the product especially before using the product and their satisfaction after using the product. According to Zukin, & Maguire (2004), the consumption of products is linked to a cultural capital theory explaining the distinguished utilization of consumer products to create social status. Although the scholars perceive consumption as a social aspect, it is perceived on an instrumental basis more so as a social demand influenced by capitalism. The authors note that the capability of controlling consumer product utilization serves as a crucial method for designing social status in market society and society especially when the purchase ability is equal for females and males in a market position. Zukin, & Maguire (2004) has employed Protestant ethic to describe consumption as profligacy while detailed explanations argue that unlimited consumer needs could damage the basic social order ethics.

Experts link consumer identity love theories that include involvement, consumer-brand relationships, special possessions, and cathexis (Ahuvia, 2005). Nevertheless, love is believed to vary among the theories with cathexis being linked to personal products such as grooming or clothing goods. Special possessions, on the other hand, are related to privately possessed physical products while the scholar argues that people love public products such as consumption and natural products. Equally, Ahuvia (2005) notes that involvement varies from love as individuals could involve with products, they despise but love products they are not involved with. On the other hand, consumer-brand relations describe a person’s attachment to specific brand products but all the theories play a crucial role in how consumption is employed to define identity as well as relations with others. According to the scholars, consumers tend to utilize primary possessions for the extension, expansion, and strengthening of self-sense.

In research on consumer behaves in Less Affluent World, the authors highlighted that influencing factors include local economy globalization and marketization. Marketized economies changes thrived after 1989 due to the fall of Eastern Europe Communism with similar growths recorded in Asia and Africa (Ger, & Belk, 1996). Globalization has been displayed in transnational corporations’ banners including those of IBN, Sony, Coca Cola, Marlboro, and Mercedes and is seen in different nations including Tanzania, China, Malaysia, and Russia. Further, Ger, & Belk (1996) notes that global images are reflected in cinema, television, and advertising. The scholars acknowledge that American shopping malls are duplicated in different global cities and as the Less Affluent World (LAW) faces the changes, they target to adjust similar behaviours as those of the global environment thus changing the culture. Ger, & Belk (1996) notes that both globalization and marketization contribute to capitalism as well as related a Western value.

Consumer Decision-Making Process and Influences

According to Ahuvia, (2005), the consumers' decision-making influences relate to their self-identity. The scholar argues that when a consumer gains association with specific products, they possess a core self that becomes a part of their life. Zukin, & Maguire, (2004) notes that factors that play part in influencing consumer decisions include efforts to motivate consumers to purchase the products. For example, the authors note the united states sector utilized strategic business executive statements to conform to the customer how existing models and styles are a dissatisfaction organized development. Further, Zukin, & Maguire, (2004) notes that factors relating to continuous model changes together with the styling method employed by automobile industries have been used to eliminate the undesirable factors of a product as well as the emotional outmodedness to the consumer perspective.

Further, Ahuvia, (2005) notes that the decision-making process results from identity construction and has outcomes of the empty self and the post modem fragmented multiple selves. In addition, notes that factors that include global consumerism tend to influence consumer behaviours (Ger, & Belk, 1996). Consumerism could be described as the increased and unappeasable wish to have material possessions. According to Ger, & Belk, (1996), as the numbers of products increase in the market, some consumers develop gratifying prospects and acquire shopping behaviour as a leisure activity. The scholars argue that when the idea of consumerism influences decision-making behaviours for consumers, consumption becomes a significant factor in how individuals behave.

In some cases, consumers gain satisfaction from their consuming behaviours. For example, Ger, & Belk, (1996) highlights the case of cigarette smoking in Romania. After they were first introduced to the economy in 1977 to act as earthquake relief, they gained popularity as a portion of the subversive economy. Nevertheless, the Kent American brand declined popularity a decade later following the introduction of different brands. Romanians have focused on purchasing the optional brands even though they are expensive by up to 8 times higher while compared to the local brands (Ger, & Belk, 1996). Further, Ahuvia (2005) argues that the products rejected by consumers together with their identities could be utilized to determine the factors influencing consumer behaviours. For example, within the automobile industry, the rejection of certain products that appear improved to the manufacturer such as the electronic vehicles for less polluting diesel cars would tell that the green environmental aspect is not working for consumers. Even as consumers focus on minimizing emissions, limited appreciation of the electronic vehicles should push the manufacturer to consider other factors such as design and battery durability.

Another aspect that influences consumer decision making is the idea of global consumption homogenization (Ger, & Belk, 1996). The idea of globalization has increased the availability of similar products around the globe. The homogenization of the consumer products in different nations around the globe has equally influenced consumer behaviours and more so the consumption decisions. According to Ger, & Belk, (1996), the aspect has changed consumer expectations for global products package standards and consumers have similar expectations that push producers to evaluate the nature of their products. Typically, the consumer decision-making process is complex and entails varying demands that differ from consumers around the world. Nevertheless, issues that relate to globalization such as capitalism, consumption homogenization, and consumerism influence similar consumer decision-making processes.

Self-Identity

According to Zukin, & Maguire, (2004), factors of consumption and identity are normally linked to lifestyle and taste basically describing the practice's systems that people use to define consumer goods as less or more acceptable, valuable, or desirable. Further, the scholars acknowledge the possibility of using legitimacy rules together with status codes to describe the good taste and thus acquire an identity. Zukin, & Maguire, (2004) notes that cultural, social, and economic capital are significant aspects for enabling consumers to conclude their self-identity. The factors create the differences evidenced in aspects of self-identity between the high- and low-income households. For example, while high-income consumers prefer commodities that include travel and art the same products could be relatively expensive for low-income consumers including farmers.

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Social status and class play a significant role in influencing self-identity. Citing research by Ahuvia (2005), consumers focus on creating an integrated, comprehensible but complex identity though they struggle with issues that relate to mobility, increased exposure to different subcultures, and different lifestyle options that present contending symbolic systems and norms. According to the scholar, socio-cultural factors are disputed in defining self-identity since the continuous changes in consumption patterns imply that people are rarely likely to include the patterns in their lives through internal or external measures. While Ger, & Belk, (1996) argue that global consumption patterns play an important role in influencing the identity of individuals.

Further, Ahuvia (2005) highlights that identity conflicts include lifestyle and gender identities. For example, according to the case of Pam, lifestyle conflicts relating to the choice of becoming a businesswoman or a musician pose implications on her sense identity as well. In addition, Ahuvia (2005) argues that Pam’s connoisseurship validation is normally supported by the objects she loves through the unconventional identity. Further, the scholar argues that love objects play an important role in indexical reminders of crucial life narrative relationships and events that are crucial to resolving identity conflicts that are aligned to complex symbolic associations network.

Ger, & Belk, (1996) highlights that individual consumption behaviour could be influenced by factors relating to creolization which describes the inclusion of what is available with the previous and new normally presenting in global consumption culture. As consumers seek to gain self-identify, they utilize different options that include both old and new, local and global sources for positioning in gender, religion, social class, ethnic hierarchies, and local age. Basically, Ger, & Belk, (1996) perceives creolization as an effective rational consumer response to empower, secure, enjoy, and assert themselves, peers, and relatives while coping with sudden and puzzling changes in global images and products. Typically, creolization related to consumption describes the interactions relating to appreciation and opposition to local and global controls.

Even as issues of consumerism are seen as important factors for influencing consumer behaviour, it could contribute to the negative outcomes to the local consumers. Global changes to a local society resulting from consumption changes pose notable implications to relations between global and the local, and within the local as well (Ger, & Belk, 1996). Most of the emerging complications are normally associated with the integration degree of local culture to the global system and would need complex solutions to ensure that negative factors do not influence consumer behaviours. Specifically, the global influences resulting from consumerism should be able to trigger the love for positive activities and objects that would help individuals in self-identification thus trigger both personal and emotional needs crucial to consumption decision-making.

Conclusion

In conclusion, consumer behaviours towards services and products play a significant role in influencing the competitiveness and success of business organizations. In an era of frequently changing business environments, understanding the underlying issues linked to consumer behaviours promotes the efficiency of businesses to cope with presenting changes and challenges. Experts associate the changes in consumer behaviours as responses to theories related to globalization and the advertising methods employed for the products and services. Experts argue that the love emotion among individuals plays a significant role in influencing a person’s response to specific products and services. Factors relating to globalization capitalism, consumption homogenization, and consumerism influence consumer behaviours and the processes of decision-making about products among consumers. The factors are likely to trigger both positive and negative implications to individual identity which varies depending on the integration degree. Self-identity is significantly influenced by the objects and activities that people love. Self-identity and consumption affairs are linked to taste and lifestyle that equally relate to the products loved by an individual in a description of acceptability, desirability, and value.

References

Ahuvia, A. C. (2005). Beyond the extended self: Loved objects and consumers' identity narratives. Journal of consumer research, 32(1), 171-184.

Ger, G., & Belk, R. W. (1996). I'd like to buy the world a coke: Consumptionscapes of the “less affluent world”. Journal of consumer policy, 19(3), 271-304.

Zukin, S., & Maguire, J. S. (2004). Consumers and consumption. Annu. Rev. Sociol., 30, 173-197.

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