Consumer buying behavior forms an important component of marketing. Marketers are interested in the factors that influence a consumer to buy a particular product. According to Waheed and Sandhu, consumer behavior involves the actions that drive buyers to choose a particular product (637). There are internal and external factors that influence the selection of a product. The internal factors include consumer psychology and personal factors. The external factors constitute situational, social and cultural factors. The following paper is a self-reflection on how various factors influence the purchasing decisions. The reflection relates to an iPhone 6S I purchased last weekend. To get a clear glimpse of the purchase, I will use a purchasing mind map to illustrate the combination of the factors that led to the decision.
According to Kotler and Armstrong, combination of the internal and external factors results in consumer value framework (CVF) (28). The factors interact to determine the process of consumption, the value, and the relationship quality. The internal factors include consumer psychology and personality of the consumer (Kotler and Armstrong 29). The consumer psychology factors are subcategorized into perception, implicit memory, attitudes, information processing, and categorization. On the other hand, personality of the consumer entails motivation, personal values, emotional expressiveness, and lifestyles. The external factors are further divided into social, cultural and situational factors.
Purchasing Mind Map
The purchase of the iPhone 6S last weekend was influenced by personal, psychological, cultural, situational and social factors. The following purchasing mind map exemplifies the determinants and the contributors that influenced the purchase.
Every day, people make purchasing decisions. Some of the decisions do not require a lot of thinking. On the other hand, there are other purchases that involve a long decision-making process. For example, purchase of a cell phone requires the consumer to think about the model, necessity and the technological specifications. The personal factors that influenced my purchase included lifestyle, preferences, and emotional expressiveness. According to Waheed and Sandhu personal factors are features that are unique to a person.
The factors include interests and opinions (639). In relation to the lifestyle, I am always attracted to new trends in the market. Furthermore, I admire cell phones that have good music applications, and high-resolution camera. I frequently visit social media sites and use the internet to research on various issues; hence, I preferred the iPhone. The emotional expressiveness entails the motivation and personal values. The iPhone 6S I purchased last weekend had the aesthetic qualities that resonated with my emotions and social class.
The other category of internal factors that influence purchase decisions are the psychological factors. Psychological factors refer to the individual’s ability to learn and comprehend information (Waheed and Sandhu 640). Psychological factors also include attitudes and perceptions. According to Kotler and Armstrong consumers respond to marketing promotions based on the perceptions and attitudes (42). In my case last weekend, the key psychological factors that affected the purchase of the iPhone included attitudes, categorization and perception. Attitudes are acquired ways of thinking about something. Attitudes entail the expression of favor or dislike of an object or someone (Waheed and Sandhu 638).
According to Kotler and Armstrong, attitudes form an important component of choosing a product (30). In my case, I already had a different model of smartphones. However, over the years I have admired Apple’s products. The desire for the brand and the strong conviction that the iPhone 6S has excellent features made me purchase it. Categorization entails grouping of people or things based on their traits (Kotler and Armstrong 43). In the electronic store, there were different genres of phones. However, the value and the superior features of Apple’s smartphones led me to prioritize the iPhone.
Perception is the other psychological factor that informed the purchase. Waheed and Sandhu stated that perceptions are usually formed based on experiences (640). Perceptions result in assigning meaning to particular people or products. In the case of the purchase, my orientation towards the iPhone was due to the perception that the cell phone has superior technological specifications. Perceptions are created in the mind. Other buyers in the store could have been attracted to other models of smartphones, but my passion was in the iPhone.
Social factors affect how consumers make purchasing decisions and respond to marketing messages (Waheed and Sandhu 640). The social influences are diverse and include family, social and peer interactions. In my case, the social factors that influenced the purchase included a reference group, peers, and my online social groups. For instance, during the purchase I was accompanied by a friend who has a smartphone. Earlier, I had seen his phone and wished to have a similar cell phone. In addition, my social roles as a student influenced the decision. The other external factors were cultural. Cultural factors are the set of values and ideologies that define a group. Many people in the U.S own smartphones. Hence, it has become national trend to have smartphones. Apple has penetrated the U.S market; as a result, many people have purchased the iPhones. Furthermore, most of my family members prefer the iPhones to other smartphones. The other subcultural factor was my affiliation with online groups.
Situational factors are the external factors that influence consumer behavior. Extensive research has been carried to examine how situational factors influence the purchase decisions. Marketers leverage on factors that influence purchase due to the situational issues (Kotler and Armstrong 42). For example, during the cold season, people buy warm clothes. Similarly, my purchase was influenced by situational factors. The factors comprised of time, location and income. The time factor related to the increase in academic research work throughout the semester. I required a cell phone that would make it easy for me to browse the internet. The second factor was location. The beautiful display of the phones along a busy street attracted me to the store. If it were not for the display, maybe I would not have purchased the phone last weekend. The other situational factor was the financial ability. I had $300 which I had saved specifically for the purchase of a cell phone.
The decision to purchase a product is influenced by many factors. The factors are categorized into external and internal factors. Similarly, my decision to buy the cell phone was influenced by the combination of internal and external factors. Even though there were similar phones that had the technological specifications such as the iPhone 6S, I settled for the product due to the personal, psychological, situational, cultural and social factors. These aspects pointed that purchase decisions are formed by the interaction of many factors. Therefore, marketers need to put into consideration the various factors that influence the purchasing process.
Kotler, Philip and Gary Armstrong. Principles of Marketing, London: Pearson Education Limited, 2008. Print.
Waheed, Abdul and Ahmand Sandhu. “Factor That Affects Consumer Buying Behavior: An Analysis of Some Selected Factors.” Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 19.5 (2014): 636-641. Print.