Understanding the Different Types of Consumer Buying Behavior

Published: January 17, 2022, Last Updated: May 1, 2024

Writer at Finturf.com
Writer: Martha Pierson
Editor at Finturf.com
Editor: Anais Osipova
Reviewer at Finturf.com
Reviewer: Michael Needham

Are you looking for ways to improve your company? You can’t do it without understanding your customers and studying different consumer behavior types.

Consumer buying behavior is about the actions and decisions that people undertake to purchase products or services. As well-known neuroscientist and author Antonio Damasio has said, “we are not thinking machines that feel; rather, we are feeling machines that think.”

Let’s dive deeper into the topic to reveal more about the types of consumer buying behavior.

What Is Consumer Buying Behavior?

Consumer behavior is also called buyer behavior. It’s the conduct of individuals making decisions to buy products that satisfy their needs.

Such behavior is based on personal, psychological, situational, and social factors. These factors determine consumers’ responses about purchasing, using, and disposing of goods and services. The study of consumer behavior reveals customers’ emotions, attitudes, and preferences affecting their buying decisions. Marketing teams can develop better strategies to target their customer’s needs and wants based on such study.

Consumer behavior represents a branch of the marketing tree. It deals with various disciplines, including psychology, sociology, marketing, behavioral economics, anthropology, and ethnography. An example of consumer behavior is when kids influence their parents’ purchases. Today, children play a significant role in making their parents buy expensive products.

According to neuroeconomics, the consumers’ decision-making process occurs in the unconscious mind. Neuroeconomics is the application of neuroscience methods and techniques to economic research.

Increasingly, neuromarketing is gaining significance in consumer behavior studies. Neuromarketing is about applying neuroscience to marketing.

Thus, your number one task should be the study and understanding of consumer behavior types. It’s crucial to reveal why customers are loyal to a particular brand. Otherwise, you can’t improve your business model and reach out to new customers to increase sales and revenue. 

Consumer Behavior Types

The consumer’s involvement in the buying process and the purchase-related risks play a decisive role in shaping the buyer’s behavior. Such risks may include, e.g., a higher price. Ultimately, the greater the risk, the more involved the consumer is. In 1960, professor of business administration Raymond Bauer was the first to formally propose that consumer behavior should be viewed as risk-taking.

Let’s discuss the consumer behavior types based on different types of consumer buying decisions:  

Complex, Also Known as Extensive or Extended

These customers are highly involved in the buying process. They conduct in-depth research before purchasing because they lack enough knowledge about the product or service. To gain a deep understanding of the product or service, they might ask their family and friends for advice. Also, they might read product reviews online.

This type of behavior is usually targeted towards one-time, expensive purchases. The economic and psychological risks are high, so it takes a long time to evaluate the available options to make the final decision.

Marketing to complex buyers includes creating advertising messages that can affect consumers’ beliefs and attitudes. These may be in-depth product or service reviews. E.g., if you’re selling computer software services to large corporations, you may offer demos from industry professionals.

Dissonance-Reducing or Limited Decision Making

Consumers’ involvement in the buying process is high because of the limited choice. In this case, customers have difficulty picking products or services between brands: they’re worried they might make the wrong choice.  These kinds of consumers are highly involved in the buying process because they have limited product or service options. Typically, these buyers are worried about making the wrong choice.”

Consumers gather information from different sources, draw a parallel among the alternatives, and evaluate them to make the right choice. This type of behavior is about mitigating post-purchase dissonance, and there you have the name. As a result, these consumers will conduct thorough research to mitigate post-purchase dissatisfaction.

For example, buyers may be interested in cars for off-roading or surround sound systems for TVs. Organize after-sale service campaigns aimed at focused messaging. The latter means creating campaigns that support buyers and convince them to go on with their choice of the given brand. Besides, discounts and incentives can help obtain repeat customers and build referrals.


Consumer browsing beauty products.

In this case, consumers’ involvement is low in the purchase decision. They see little difference among brands. You can observe such behavior when consumers purchase habitual goods, such as everyday products. These products are usually cheaper and mass produced. Habitual buyers don’t usually conduct much research, but they are likely to be repeat consumers.

Radio, television, and print media have enough influence on habitual buying behavior. Since buyers are familiar with the brands, focus on repetitive ads to build brand familiarity. Additionally, offer price drops and sales promotions for product trials. Visual symbols and imagery in ads play an essential role when targeting habitual buyers.

Variety Seeking

In this case, customers switch from one brand to another to try different products or services. Consumers show a low level of involvement not because they’re dissatisfied but because they’re curious. They see a significant difference among brands and want to try various options.

Consumers may be interested in skincare products or clothing. Display many related but different product versions. Avoid out-of-stock conditions and higher prices. Additionally, offer frequent ads, discounts, deals, coupons, and free samples to make your business more appealing. Consider using POS financing software to convert more customers at checkout and help them buy now and pay later.

As of June 2021, PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey revealed that buyers weren’t only thinking about price and convenience while making purchasing decisions. They were applying increased price consciousness and data consciousness.

Here are some recent changes in consumer buying trends:

  • Demand for transparency.
  • Accelerated move to the online shopping space and more frequent use of home delivery.
  • Need for a greater “human” element in interactions.
  • Customers need more anonymity.
  • Consumers want a social experience because of the lockdowns.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solutions are gaining more traction as people seek alternative financing methods.
  • Increased importance of content marketing.
  • Focus on better quality and standards instead of lower costs.
  • Consumers choose game-changing brands within different industries and communities.
  • Higher demand for vetted vendors to avoid data breaches and similar threats.

Interestingly, during the holiday shopping season, customers tend to prioritize the benefits of eCommerce over cybersecurity, according to the recent State of Secure Online Holiday Shopping survey. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t understand the risks of online shopping.

Take the time to study the types of consumer buying behavior and purchasing trends. It’s critical to your success and can help you better understand why a business loses customers

Tendencies Shaping Consumer Behavior Patterns

There are different types of shoppers, each with unique buying habits. However, certain tendencies differentiate four buyer behavior patterns:

  • If customers’ choice isn’t limited to only one shop, they aren’t always loyal to one place.
  • People prefer purchasing necessity items in larger quantities and more often as compared to luxury items.
  • With eCommerce offering 24/7 sales, it’s essential to know the hours and the frequency of purchases your customers make.
  • Some consumers prefer cash, and others opt for credit card payments. Those who purchase goods online may pay on delivery or right after placing an order.

What Is a Consumer Buying Behavior Model?

Consumer choosing between products.

Having discussed the types of consumer buying behavior and patterns, let’s move forward with the consumer buying model. It shows how buyers collect information, make a decision, and how the decision influences their future choices.

Based on the Engel-Kollat-Blackwell model of consumer behavior, consumers go through five stages to purchase a product or service:

  • Awareness: consumers recognize that they need a product or service.
  • Information: buyers start looking for information from different sources.
  • Evaluation: they research options from competitors.
  • Purchase Decision: consumers make a purchase decision. For example, they may start a free trial or purchase a paid plan.
  • Post-Purchase Evaluation or Outcome Analysis: after purchasing the product or service, consumers start evaluating whether it has met their expectations. They may turn into repeat customers or express dissatisfaction and return to the evaluation stage.

How to Analyze Consumer Behavior?

Customer behavior analysis requires a qualitative and quantitative examination of how consumers interact with your business. It helps you gain better insight into the nature and essential features of consumer behavior. To analyze, you need:

  • To group customers into buyer personas, taking into account their common characteristics.
  • Observe each group during the customer journey.
  • This way, you can gain a better idea of the different factors that affect your customers. Also, you can get better insight into their motives, priorities, and decision-making process.
  • As a result, you’ll better understand how customers feel about your company and find out if obtained insight aligns with your core values.

Sum Up

Customer behavior has to do with an individual’s buying habits. It’s about how individuals are shopping and not who’s shopping. Various emotional, mental, and behavioral factors influence buying habits. When making purchases, people express different consumer behavior types.

Study customer behavior to understand your target audience and see how you can alter your marketing strategies to better cater to your consumers.

Martha Pierson

Content CreatorMartha Pierson is a marketing strategist and business development expert based in Glendale, California. As a content creator for the Finturf blog, Martha shares her vast knowledge and experience with readers to help them build and sustain successful businesses. Her articles offer practical tips and actionable advice that entrepreneurs can implement immediately to achieve their goals. Martha also provides insightful analysis of current trends across different industries and offers expert guidance on how businesses can adapt to changing market conditions.

Recent Posts