Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior.
The behaviour of consumer is dependent on a number of factors which may be economic or non-economic factors and are dependent upon economic factors such as income, price psychology, sociology, anthropology, culture, climate. Therefore, the study is dependent upon all these sciences and consumer behaviour scientists study it through research and they believe that behaviour can be influenced which has been proved by actual sales promotion of a large number of products. However, there is dispute whether customer should be influenced or not and what methods should be applied to influence him. In certain cases objectionable or wrong statements are made to influence the consumer. For instance, producers of certain face creams advertise that with the usage of their creams complexion will become fair but actually it does not happen. There are ads for removing baldness by certain oils or creams. In certain countries there are heavy damages under the contract act or other laws to safeguard the interest of consumers. In India there is Consumer Protection Act to safeguard consumers interest . The basic fact is that marketing personnel believe that it is legitimate socially to influence the consumer behaviour but only objection is with regard to methods used. For instance, the use of sex is objected in many countries including India but still it is widely used in advertisements.
The study of consumer behaviour has proved that following are the main factors which influence the behaviour :
I-Economic factors :
Distribution of Income
Competition with substitutes
2. Social Factors Culture
Attitude of society Social values Life Style Personality
Size of family Education Health standards
Social class like upper class, middle class-urban, rural. It also includes tribes, professions and alike.
Group : In certain societies and tribes group decision is taken or influences the decision.
3. Psychology : It decides the personality, taste, attitudes of individuals or groups, life style, preferences especially on occasions like marriage. The demonstration influence is also dependent upon psychology of an individual.
4. Anthropology & Geography. Climate, region, history all effect, consumer behaviour. In hot countries like India certain products which keep us cool like squashes, sarbatas, are demanded but they have no demand in cold regions. The dress is also influenced by climate along with other factors. Culture is also influenced by climate.
5. Technology : In case of equipments whether for consumer use or industrial use is affected by technological innovations and features. But it is not confined to durable goods only. Even in case of perishable goods the shelf life etc are determined by technological developments. Innovations and introduction of new product also depends upon technological development.
Innovations and introduction of new products also depend upon technological change.
6. Others : Knowledge-technical or otherwise and information.
Government decisions, laws, distribution policies, production policies have also big affect on consumer behaviour. All these factors are studied by consumer behaviour scientists and then they decide what production and marketing strategy should be adopted to develop a particular product, change the existing product and what pricing and marketing mix should be used to attract more customers towards the product/service in question to optimise sales and profits.
The consumer behaviour study in India has been ignored except by MN C’s and a few big companies. lt is because till recently say up to the beginning of 90s there was sellers market and anything could be sold. Therefore, hardly any attention was paid to consumer. For instance. Hindustan Motors continued to produce same car for decades till Maruti appeared on the arena. But with the competition emerging many cars, refrigerators, TV’s to mention a few items appeared on the scene. This resulted into study of consumer behaviour and in future when competition is expected to be fierce for many products and when not only American and European producers will be on the scene but Japan and Korea are emerging big players there will be much greater emphasis on study of consumer behaviour. The establishment of over 700 management institutes are also helping greater use of the tool of consumer behaviour for marketing.