There are many aspects of life that effect a person’s buying behavior. Buying behavior is the decision process and actions of people involved in buying and using products and services. Influences on buying behavior can be classified into three major categories: situational influences, psychological influences, and social influences. Situational influences include physical surroundings and social surroundings. Depending on who is around at a certain time may sway a person’s decision to buy something. Psychological influences include perception, motives, attitudes, personality, and lifestyles.
Although these psychological influences are very much internal they still effect people’s actions on the outside. Social influences include roles, family influences, reference groups, social classes, and subcultures. Social influences are perhaps the most distinguishable influences and contribute to buying behavior in many ways. Influences on consumer buying behavior come from all aspects of life and have major impacts on the type, brands, and kinds of products people buy everyday. One of the major psychological influences on buying behavior is lifestyle.
A lifestyle is an individual’s pattern of living based on his or her interests, activities, and opinions. A person’s lifestyle is based off what they need, want and do, this in turn effects their buying behavior. It influences what products people need, which brands they prefer, and how and when they shop. A lifestyle develops into a consistent pattern people follow in their lives. An example of how a certain lifestyle affects a persons buying behavior is the new shift in the United States towards a healthy and natural lifestyle.
People who want to become healthier will buy healthy foods and maybe even purchase things such as new running shoes or a gym membership. A person who is not concern with following a healthy lifestyle would not have any motives to buy these things. My lifestyle defines what I spend my money based on my hobbies, opinions, and interests. Every month I pay twenty dollars a month for a gym membership because staying in shape is something that I value. I also shop as stores such as Forever 21 and H&M because they sell trendy clothes for an affordable price.
This suits my lifestyle because I like to keep up with the latest fashion without spending all of my income on clothing. I also spend a lot of money on gas for my car because I commute back and fourth to school. I decide to use my money on gas because getting an education is important to me. A major part of my lifestyle is love for animals. I have recently bought a puppy and now must buy things for him such as food, toys, and medicine. The type of lifestyle a person has, has a major impact on what types and brands of products they buy. One of the major social influences on the buying decision process are the roles a person assumes.
A role is the actions and activities that a person in a particular position is thought to complete based on expectations of the individual and surrounding persons. People can assume many roles in life and must buy different kinds of product for each role. The most common example of how a persons different roles effect their buying decisions is the clothes that they wear. A person has different clothes that they wear at home, at the club, at the gym, and at work. They must adapt to the role they are assuming at a certain time and their clothing must suit each of these roles.
I assume many roles in my life including daughter, student, girlfriend, friend, and worker. As a girlfriend I decide where what do on the weekends and often spend money on going out. As a daughter I buy food, toilet paper, and essential good for everyone’s use in the house. As a student I buy pens, paper, and supplies that make me successful in doing my school work. Buying behavior is very much based on specific roles in life, and because people’s roles are ever changing sequentially so is their buying behavior. One of the major social influences on buying behavior is family influence.
Family influence is the different influences each family member assumes in the buying decision process. All family members play a role in the families decision to buy something. There are four major roles that family members can play. The gatekeeper collects and controls information about price, quality, and location. They do the research on the best product, brands, and places to shop. The influencer expresses his or her opinion and tries to influence the family’s ultimate buying decision. The decider makes the actual buying choice.
They make the final decision on what product will be purchased. However, they do not necessarily make the purchase that role is assumed by the buyer. These various roles show how different family members contribute to the buying behavior of the family as a whole. In my family my brother is the gatekeeper, my mom is the decider, I am the influencer, and my dad is the buyer most of the time. We all are usually the users, which are the household members who consume or use the product. I always help my mom make the grocery list so I can tell her all of the food I want her to buy.
Also I have traveled the most out of anyone in my family and often try to influence where we take our family vacations. My mom does not always take my advice but she always takes it into account when making any decisions. An example of me in the role of the influencer is last year when we were planning our family vacation I kept telling my parents how many things there were to do in Bermuda and how much fun it would be for the whole family. We ended up going to Bermuda much to my persuasion. Family influences can also pass on from generation from generation.
For example when I moved into my own apartment I always bought Snuggle fabric softener because that’s what my mom always used and I always loved the way my clothes smelt growing up. I am now loyal to the Snuggle brand because my mom was always loyal to the brand. Family members can have many direct or indirect influences on buying behavior. Another social entity that affects buying behavior is reference groups. A reference group is a group that a person identities with so powerfully that he or she embraces the values, attitudes, and behavior of other group members.
People often look to others in their reference group for “conspicuous” purchase, or purchases that will be seen by others. They seek out brand patronage, information on products, and brand comparisons from people in their reference group to help them make buying decisions. Reference groups are usually formed with people that are trusted and thus the information given can affect whether a person does or does not buy a product, buys a specific brand, or buys a certain type of product.
Buying behavior can be changed to be more in line with actions of other group members once a member is swayed in a specific direction. A reference group in which I belong to is my three best girlfriends. We are always giving each other advice on the best clothes, nail polish, shampoo, and even hairdressers. We all use the same products and are always sharing positive and negative feed back on brands and services. I think that my reference groups has the most influence on my buying behavior because I have such similar wants, needs, and expectations to the other members.
Social class is another social influence on buying behavior. Social class is an open group of individuals with similar social rank. In the United States it is made up of three major social classes Upper American, Middle American, and Lower American. People in similar social classes also develop many similar social patterns. They have similar values, belongings, needs, and wants. The fact that people in the same social classes are so similar, they are influenced by each other’s actions. These influences include which brands people buy, where they shop, and what kinds of products they buy.
My family falls into the upper middle class. We are careful with money but still spend it on leisure and entertainment. My parents often ask neighbors for advice when buying things such as a new lawn mower, grill, or car. As a result many of the people in the neighborhood all have John Deer lawn mowers and Toyota cars. Another social influence on buying behavior is subculture. A subculture is a group of individuals whose characteristics, values, and behavioral precedents are comparable within the group and different from those in the nearby culture.
Some examples of subcultures are college students, teenagers, Latin Americans, and the West Coast. Subcultures influence attitudes, lifestyles, and beliefs. This affects what people in certain subcultures like and do. For example, people from Japanese culture eat raw fish, and their children learn to like raw fish as well; however, not many children in other places of the world eat sushi. A subculture that I am a part of is college students. College students usually have a small budget so we are looking for quantity over quality.
We buy cheap alcohol and fast food because we can get a lot of product for less money. Another subculture that I belong to is commuters. Unlike people who live at school I must spend money on gas and leave extra time to get to class. As commuters we look for the cheapest gas stations and the shortest routes to school. Subcultures influence buying decisions because most of its counter parts have very similar motives. There are many factors that influence the buying decision process. Some of these influences are social, some are psychological, and some are situational.
When marketers are trying to market their products they need to keep in mind all of these factors. These categories can help marketers discover whom advertisements should be targeted at in order to be the most successful. They also reveal the reasons people buy what they buy which gives marketers key information that they can use to change the marketing mix to suit the buyer’s needs and wants. The decision buying process is a complex process that is affected by many interior and exterior pressures.