Free Essay: The Environmental Factors Affecting Consumer Behavior
According to the product management library of knowledge, consumer behavior refers to ‘the selection, purchase and consumption of goods and services for the satisfaction of their wants’. A number of factors influence consumer behavior. The manifestation is only a small part of a complex process that occurs within as well as around the consumer in question.
The purchasing power of the consumer develops over time. The time frame that a given consumer takes to buy a given product or services differs depending on a number of things. However, the consumer must go through the process of finding out what they like and choosing the option that presents greater utility. The consumer will then estimate what they can afford as well as what they think is worthwhile spending on that particular commodity and eventually select the one they feel will best meet their needs with less inconveniences.
During this entire time, there are a number of factors that influence this whole process including: social, cultural, psychological and personal. Factors that influence the consumer from the outside are referred to as environmental factors. Personal and psychological factors are those that come from within the consumer. Social and cultural factors come from the environment in which the consumer exists. Businessmen need to understand these factors in order to influence them to work to their advantage.
The businessman has to be conscious about the kind of cultural environment in which the consumer the target exists. Different countries, regions and groups have very diverse cultures which affect the consumer behavior. When one is born in a given society the people around them will inculcate the ideas of what is good or bad according to their culture. These ideas are ingrained since early childhood and they are bound to stay as they are throughout the individual’s lifetime. When carrying out, market research, the businessman must seek to find out how these cultural factors will affect the habits, perception, expectations and behavior of their potential consumers.
Big business corporations understand how significant cultural factors are to consumer behavior. For example, McDonald’s a global fast food producer has food chains all over the world. They have come up with a variety of options to appeal to different people found in different cultural settings.
In every society there are social classes. People are grouped into social classes depending on their lifestyles, economic muscle, values, behaviors and interests. Depending on these factors, people are generally considered to fall in either the lower, middle or upper class. People found in the same social tend to have similar consumer habits.
For example, consumers in the upper and upper middle classes will prefer to buy healthy food. Those in the lower classes will be more concerned with buying food that is more affordable. Their greatest concern will be the quantity as opposed to the quality of the food they purchase.
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