Consumer Behaviour

Consumer Behaviour: Definition, Types, and Strategies

Consumer behaviour is paramount across businesses and industries. Besides helping businesses hold their ground, consumer behaviour strategies will remain a deciding factor for eCommerce players in the future worldwide.

Understanding consumer behaviour is important for companies as it helps them pinpoint their target audience’s needs and preferences and develop persuasive marketing strategies.

While there can be many factors that influence consumer behaviour, some of the essential ones include personal characteristics, psychological factors, social factors and situational factors.

Examining consumer behaviour involves:

  • Looking for consumer demographics
  • Conducting market research
  • Analysing consumer trends and behaviour

By analysing consumer behaviour, organisations can better predict and respond to consumer needs and preferences and tune their products and services to meet those needs and customer satisfaction.

What is Consumer Behaviour?

Consumer behaviour is the way users pick and use your products and services. In other words, consumer behaviour is how people feel and think when deciding whether to buy your products. 

While primarily we will discuss consumer behaviour within the purview of eCommerce, it is not limited to only online stores. 

Consumer behaviour is a holistic marketing approach. It considers the entire lifecycle of an item, including the various stages a buyer goes through, from discovery to purchase, use and disposal.

Mainly, consumer behaviour contains patterns of: 

  • Purchase behaviour: The complete purchase process, including but not limited to how your customers buy and pay for their purchases
  • Product usage: Analyzes how frequently they use the product and whether they are satisfied
  • Product disposal: Considers how long consumers hold onto the product and whether or not they resell it after use.

Why is It Important to Understand Consumer Behaviour?

Globally, internet adoption and online shopping rates are rapidly increasing. With over five billion internet users and US$5.3 trillion worth of retail e-commerce sales worldwide in 2022, online shopping promises well for businesses.

India is no exception. In fact, India has seen unprecedented growth in internet penetration over the past 6-8 years. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) report, the country has seen unprecedented internet and smartphone penetration. In 2021, internet connections stood at a massive 830 million mark, thanks to the ambitious ‘Digital India’ programme.

All these numbers are overwhelming, whichever way you look at them. They promise a significant boom in the eCommerce sector, and it becomes imperative for you to study consumer behaviours to stand out in this ever-increasing competition.

With a proper and in-depth analysis of customer behaviour and patterns, you can determine what buyers want and their reasons for choosing certain products. Additionally, you can analyse your audience’s demands and expectations by understanding their reactions to goods and habits. This way, you can devise a strategy to meet your customers’ needs and expectations.

Understanding consumer behaviour can help online retailers and other businesses in several ways. Here are some of the ways:

  • Keeping pace with change (shifting trends, needs and economics)
  • Knowing the competition
  • Understanding key differentiators and increasing sales
  • Nurturing retention
  • Updating your customers with innovation
  • Offering discounts

Types of Consumer Behaviour

There are several types of consumer behaviour, including:

Habitual Buying

In habitual buying, customers usually do not have a strong mindset toward a brand/product but select it because they are familiar with it. In other words, buyers make repeat purchases from a known brand without much consideration or research.

Complex Buying

Complex buying occurs when a consumer makes an expensive and rare purchase. This typically involves comprehensive product research and increased involvement in the overall purchase process. Complex buying includes high-value items, such as a house or car.

Impulsive Buying

Impulsive buying is the temptation of a customer to execute unplanned purchases without much deliberation, consideration or foresight. Usually, it happens spontaneously without hesitation and occurs after customers feel the appetite to buy. Emotional factors such as the desire for instant indulgence and mood are the key drivers of impulsive buying. 


Buying occurs when customers try different products or brands rather than sticking to the same products or brands. This happens for various reasons, such as boredom with a specific item or brand, a fascination for new products, or a lack of loyalty to a particular brand. We see this behaviour mostly in regular product categories, including clothing and FMCG. 

Notably, variety-seeking behaviour also poses a challenge to direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands and marketers vis-à-vis brand loyalty or repeat purchase patterns. 

How to Leverage Consumer Behaviour in Marketing?

Studying consumer behaviour is as valuable as your products or services. Consumer behaviour analysis depicts how consumers often react to a certain product and the information they want in their decision-making process.

By understanding these characteristics, you may develop trust, increase brand loyalty and create marketing strategies that appeal to buyers’ preferences.

As customers’ reliance on online shopping has accelerated and the competition has intensified, buyers are looking for options, especially regarding quick deliveries, pricing, and quality, more than ever before.

Consumer Behaviour Strategies

As India emerges as the fastest-growing eCommerce market in the World, thanks to its young demography and growing internet penetration, there are immense growth opportunities for e-commerce businesses. To leverage this opportunity, you must develop a winning marketing strategy that cares for your customers and aligns with your business goals. 

These marketing techniques heavily rely on consumer behaviour strategies. The following marketing strategies stand out when it comes to influencing the actions and decisions of a consumer:

Customer Engagement

Customer engagement plays a big part in customer experience. As per Salesforce research, 80% of customers say the customer experience is as crucial to them as products and services.

In the 21st century, people are hyper-connected, and they connect on multiple platforms, including but not limited to your website’s chatbot, contact form, social media, email, and call. You should make the best use of all options to engage your audience. 

What you can achieve with customer engagement:

  • Enhanced brand experience
  • Trust and brand loyalty
  •  Customer feedback and insight
  • Increased sales funnel velocity


Personalisation is a very impactful consumer behaviour strategy in any form of retail. Nearly 73% of customers hope brands understand their needs and expectations. 

Here are some of the ways to personalise your customer experience:

  • Chatbots
  • Product recommendations
  • Targeted content
  • Personalised marketing

Emotional appeal

Emotions play an important role in most strategies, and consumer behaviour strategies are no exception. Emotional campaigns tend to speak to the heart and can be a powerful way to connect with them and drive desired outcomes.

Here is a list of some of the methods that use emotional appeal:

  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Humour
  • Anger
  • Compassion

Be All Ears

There’s nothing better than hearing something directly from your customers. You can request your customers for suggestions, reviews, and virtually anything by conducting relevant surveys. This helps you take stock of the current products and operations and enables you to develop strategies for the future.

Social Proof

Social proof helps you build customer trust and is an essential consumer behaviour strategy. Positive social proof can pectinately influence many users to trust your brand. Having a customer’s trust is worth in gold — over 80% of buyers say they will repeatedly buy from a brand they trust.


In this age and time, users have become more informed and are not afraid to do a little research before purchasing. Therefore, as a brand, you should keep analysing consumer behaviour and create robust, inclusive, dynamic marketing strategies to stay at the top of the game.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the four types of consumer behaviour?

Here are the four types of consumer behaviour:

  • Habitual buying
  • Complex buying
  • Impulsive buying
  • Variety-seeking

Q2. What are the five stages of consumer behaviour?

Here are the five stages of consumer behaviour:

  • Problem recognition
  • Information search
  • Alternatives evaluation
  • Purchase decision
  • Post-purchase evaluation

Q3. What are the seven types of consumers?

The list of the seven types of consumers:

  • The lookers
  • The discount-seekers
  • Impulse customers
  • Need-based customers
  • New customers
  • Wandering customers
  • Loyal customers

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