Consumer psychology: characteristics and theoretical models.

Consumer psychology: characteristics and theoretical models.




The confluence of the industrialization process and the development of science has led to the emergence of disciplines devoted to market and consumption analysis. One of them is consumer psychology or behavioral economics.
It is a discipline that studies cognitive and emotional trends with a goal of understanding how they influence the market.
The society in which many developed countries find themselves today is essentially consumerist. This trend is accentuated over time. The role of consumer psychology is therefore becoming increasingly relevant, both in academia and in business. This area of psychology studies the way we make decisions about purchasing a product and the factors that influence the desire to buy and the reasons that ultimately determine buying behavior.
In the rest of this article, we will analyze the main psychological variables of the consumer, as well as the environmental factors that influence them.

How to understand the consumer?
Consumer psychology is concerned with the emergence of purchasing needs and the psychological and environmental factors associated with them. From this discipline, one can also develop a series of strategies focused on the commercial supply of a consumer good.

The main aspects of consumer behavior analysis are:

Personal aspects. It is these characteristics that differentiate us from each other and make us unique. Consumer psychology takes into account the diversity that may exist in each consumer group analyzed.

Cognitive components. It is the ideas and thoughts that drive us. Consumer psychology studies the way we process information and make decisions about consumption.

Elements of behavior. Consumer behavior is studied in order to define a brand’s strategy for approaching potential buyers.

Social aspects. Psychologists in this branch study sociological guidelines to find marketing strategies, based on understanding certain behaviors.

Emotional aspects. They are analyzed to determine what feelings a product generates or should generate.

These principles, in general, and as a whole, define the basis on which consumer psychology operates. This basis is common to any product or service intended to be marketed, whether it is an object or something that is not tangible – like insurance.

Factors influencing consumer psychology :

Consumer psychology analyzes consumer behavior taking into account the group context in which the person operates. It thus delimits different types of groups depending on the type of influence it exerts on the consumer:

Primary group. This group takes into account the family or closest environment in which each person grows up. This is the first group because it is in this one that you learn the first buying habits and how to choose them.

Secondary group. This includes friends, colleagues, couples, and institutions that have been a part of our life at one point in time.

Tertiary group. This group includes media, social leaders, YouTubers, influencers, etc. In short, all those influencing factors with which we have no physical proximity or which may be abstract in essence.

All of these groups have an impact on our psychology and behavior. Consequently, these are determining factors in our consumption dynamics.
Thus, the family defines the consumption habits of the individual to the extent that it is through their habits and beliefs that everyone first learns to behave while consuming, whether we are more or less aware of it.

On the other hand, the secondary group also generates a certain effect on us which affects our behavior as consumers. More particularly in terms of assimilation to the norm. Finally, the tertiary group has a decisive influence, because it is usually the one that creates the most trends, such as athletes, singers, etc.

Other factors influencing consumer behavior :

However, groups are not the only factors that influence us. There are other sources of influence that consumer psychology takes into account:

Culture: Factors such as traditions can generate patterns of behavior related to our consumption needs.

Status: Since we as social beings try to fit into a group that we belong to or want to belong to, it is common to adopt its consumer behavioral dynamics.

Emotions: We show definite psychophysiological reactions to certain situations. This discipline studies the emotions associated with the purchase of products.

Taking into account all of the above-mentioned factors, consumer psychology can not only determine people’s consumption needs and how to influence them but also create specific consumer profiles and thereby help brands.

Models used in consumer psychology :

Consumer psychology specializes in aspects belonging to different fields, such as marketing, economics, and sociology. Here are some of the explanatory models used:

Field theory: It indicates that consumption depends on the environment the person is in at the time of purchase.

Learning model: The elements of the purchase would be: impulses, stimuli, and reactions. These are the things that come into play when a person buys something.

Model-based on psychoanalysis: The thought that we buy according to our morals, our instincts, and our conscious and unconscious aspects.

Sociological field: The suggestion that we buy according to our culture and the groups to which we belong.

Economic theory: The idea that we buy what is most profitable. We, therefore, appreciate the benefit that this purchase will bring us.

We must remember that our purchasing decisions also depend on the needs we have at any given time. Thus, everyone can prioritize according to their conditions and desires when purchasing. But, on many occasions, this is done on the basis of needs generated in us by economic interest.

Other times, our decisions may depend on what’s in fashion. Sometimes we end up buying something just because more people have it and we almost feel obligated to acquire it.

Theories on consumer behavior

There are many theories that could explain consumer behavior. In general, they defend the existence of many influencing factors. They also support the idea that sometimes buying can be done subconsciously.

As we can see, consumer psychology is, in short, a science that attempts to describe and explain our needs based on our behaviors, emotions, thoughts, and context.
Knowing consumer behavior, as is well known in the business world, is extremely useful for brand positioning. Many agencies already have specialized psychologists to help them with their observations and theories.