Consumer behaviour is one of the critical subjects in economics. The consumer or end user forms the basis for production. Firm’s stability and profitability is determined by how target consumers react to the products or service. It is therefore important to understand every aspect of consumer behaviour in order to know how to approach the issue of marketing. Note that marketing efforts should have target consumer in mind. In respect of this, the marketer can be successful if he understands the market and particularly the consumer effectively.
To understand consumer behaviour, one need to analyse factors that influence his decision making process. There are internal and external factors which influence the consumer in different degree. Internal factors have higher degree of influence and are more likely to determine the consumer choice when purchasing a product from the market. Marketers therefore should seek to know these factors and analyse degree of influence in each. Such analysis helps the producers to consider these factors when designing the product and when promoting the same to the target market. This essay seeks to identify some of these internal factors and how each influences the buyer into making a final decision.
Consumer decision making is an integral process that determines the choice of product and the quantity to purchase. It involves several stages that ensure the consumer makes a conscious and accurate purchasing decision (East, Wright, &Vanhuele, 2013). The consumer decision making process begin by identification of particular need. Every individual can only think of purchasing a certain product when he or she has a need to satisfy. After recognising that there is a need to satisfy by buying a specific product, consumer usually looks for information concerning that product (Rodríguez, &Gretzel, 2012). He or she involves friends at this stage or decide to use internet to ensure he obtains the right information. Consumer usually get different opinions from the sources hence need for proper and careful evaluation. Different aspects are identified before making the final choice (Gardiner, 2012). When he or she makes a choice, the consumer proceeds to buy the product.
There are several internal factors that influence consumer decision making process. These factors determine the choice of specific product. They influence the consumer thinking concerning the product hence influencing the whole process (Bray, Johns, & Kilburn, 2011). These internal factors play a crucial role in this process especially when the consumer has several choices and he only need to select one. Internal factors that influence consumer decision making process include personality, perception, motivation and attitude towards the product among others (Darley, Blankson, &Luethge, 2010).
When purchasing a product like a smart phone, these factors play an essential role in arriving at the final decision. It is obvious that every adult need a phone these days for convenient purposes. However, the model of the phone you select is determined by your specific need. What you do with the mobile phone among other factors determine the type of the phone to purchase. A smart phone has various other uses apart from making and receiving normal calls. This paper provides specific internal factors that influence consumer decision making process when purchasing a smart phone.
Internal Factors That Influence Consumer Decision Making Process
Human Needs and Motivation
Consumer needs and motivation are among the most influential factors on decision making process. Existence of a particular need pushes one into taking a certain action. As long as the need is unfulfilled, there is always a driving force towards seeking fulfilment/satisfaction (Appelt, Milch, Handgraaf, & Weber, 2011). Aspect of driving force is what implies motivation which enables one to fulfil the existing need. When someone is in need of a smart phone, there is always a certain action one takes to ensure he or she gets this phone.
The features of smart phone attract consumers’ attention especially when one requires it for multiple purposes besides basic communication. Smart phone has internet enabled features that allow one to surf at his convenient location. It also enables one to send and receive detailed messages thus enhancing thorough communication. Such features attract many people since everybody need such device which can facilitate efficiency and effectiveness in communication.
Without such a device, one is forced to possess gadgets such as a personal computer which is cumbersome. Having a mobile device such as a smart phone which can perform like a computer and access internet from any place is admirable. It is also prestigious hence raises one’s status. This aspect is necessary particularly when one want to be identified with certain class of people in the society. Need for recognition motivates one to acquire a smart phone. The consumer leaves all other models in shops in favour of smart phones. Since there are multiple types of smart phones, the buyer may employ other aspects such as price in order to select the specific product.
Consumer/ Buyer’s Attitude towards the Smart Phone
Attitude is an essential attribute that determines the choice of product. Attitude may refer to a disposition in regard to an object or an individual(East, Wright, &Vanhuele, 2013). It may also refer to orientation of mind that determines one’s behaviour towards an individual or an object. Consumer’s attitude is one of the internal factors that have impact on decision making process. It influences the consumer into accepting or rejecting a particular product. When the consumer develops a positive attitude towards a certain product in the market, it becomes very easy for him to buy it(Appelt, Milch, et al, 2011).
Many people have positive attitude towards smart phones. Whenever the buyer is in the process of making the decision to purchase a phone, it is most likely to go for smart phone. People just believe these phones are classy and prestigious. People tend to associate those who possess smart phones with certain class in the society. In this respect, any phone buyer wishes to have one. Besides normal communication, smart phones have other features that are unique hence have a class of their own. Such attribute makes them attractive and marketable due to consumers’ positive attitude towards the products.
On the other hand, when consumers have positive attitude towards smart phones, this aspect may work against the product in the long run. People tend to buy them until it becomes a common product which everyone has. There are other people who may develop negative attitude in the sense that the product is common. People like being unique in terms of models of phone they possess. Any model that becomes common they tend to run away from it. However, there are any types of smart phones that people can choose from depending on other aspects such as price among others.
Consumer Personality and Self-Concept
Personality refers to distinctive traits of a particular individual which determines one’s behaviour. These traits can be either physical, psychological or both (East, Wright, &Vanhuele, 2013). They have essential influence on personal response towards the social and physical surrounding/environment. Self-concept on the other hand is all about how an individual understands himself or herself in terms of character, strengths and weaknesses. The two aspects have essential impact on consumer decision making process(Appelt, Milch, et al, 2011). They influence the choice of consumer when purchasing products.
According to Neo-Freudian personality theory, consumer can either be complaint, aggressive or detached. The complaint group tend to move towards others hence they do what others are doing in the society(East, Wright, &Vanhuele, 2013). In the case of smart phones market, when many people get attracted to them and develop positive attitude towards these phone models, those who fall under complaint group would actually purchase one to be like others. High percentage of consumers falls in this group which tend to do what others are doing in order to move towards the society. They identify themselves with the society hence moving towards it.
Perception is another crucial internal factor that influences consumer behaviour especially during decision making process(Gardiner, 2012). It refers to the process by which the consumer singles out one stimulus among many and makes interpretation which then determines final decision. When the consumer has several options, he or she selects few of them and then identify the one that suits his needs. This depends on individual perception towards the options available. When making the decision, the choice depends on how the consumer interprets the options available in terms of suitability (Carrington, Neville, & Whitwell, 2010).
Smart phone features alone may send a strong influence in the mind of a consumer until he or she believes it is the best in the market. The phone has almost every aspect that any user can admire. Once it gets the positive perception, the buyer is likely to purchase one. The perception has been one of the factors that have made sales for smart phones to be higher. The advertisement itself is very persuasive such that it creates a strong feeling of greatness in the mind of target market.
Availability of wide variety of products and services in the market today creates stiff competition. Consumer has become a centre of attraction where every marketer tries to influence buyers’ decision in favour of his product. However, internal factors have greater influence on consumers’ decision making process than external factors. They enable the consumer to make a choice among multiple options available. It is important to understand that internal factors act as a driving force hence form the basis for consumer behaviour. They have a significant contribution towards individual preference of particular product over others. The implication of this influence is that consumer’s choice entirely lies on these factors and not suitability of the product at the time of purchase.
In this regard, marketers strive to understand these factors and extent of influence they have on consumer decision making process. Note that there are some that have more influence than others depending on individual consumer. The marketer tries to analyse these factors just to enable him execute his marketing in a manner that would please the consumer. At the end of the day, the consumer determines that fate of products in the market. It is therefore essential to ensure that internal factors are put into consideration when marketing the products or services.
Smart phones marketing captures this idea so well such that it is able to dominate the market. Every manufacturer thinks of how to produce the most appealing smart phone that would beat others in the market. They include unique features that match consumer needs and preference to get their attention. Consequently, different internal factors influence phone buyers into choosing these models when making the purchase.
Appelt, K. C., Milch, K. F., Handgraaf, M. J., & Weber, E. U. (2011).The Decision Making Individual Differences Inventory and guidelines for the study of individual differences in judgment and decision-making research.Judgment and Decision Making, 6(3), 252-262.
Bray, J., Johns, N., & Kilburn, D. (2011). An exploratory study into the factors impeding ethical consumption.Journal of Business Ethics, 98(4), 597-608.
Carrington, M. J., Neville, B. A., & Whitwell, G. J. (2010). Why ethical consumers don’t walk their talk: Towards a framework for understanding the gap between the ethical purchase intentions and actual buying behaviour of ethically minded consumers. Journal of Business Ethics, 97(1), 139-158.
Darley, W. K., Blankson, C., &Luethge, D. J. (2010). Toward an integrated framework for online consumer behavior and decision making process: A review. Psychology & marketing, 27(2), 94-116.
East, R., Wright, M., &Vanhuele, M. (2013).Consumer behaviour: applications in marketing. Sage.
Gardiner, S. (2012). Generational Consumer Decision-making: A Study of Domestic Travel in Australia (Doctoral dissertation, Griffith University).
Rodríguez-Ardura, I., Ryan, G., &Gretzel, U. (2012). Special issue on qualitative approaches to e-marketing and online consumer behaviour: guest editors' introduction. Journal of theoretical and applied electronic commerce research, 7(2), IV-V.
Check the Full Sample in the PDF below.