What is Buyer Behavior? Definition, Nature, Model, and Importance

What is Buyer Behavior?

Buyer behavior is defined as any act or actions taken by the customer while purchasing any product. The customer’s action may be positive and negative as well.

Simply saying, if customers take positive action toward the firm’s offers, it secures the success of the firm. And, when customers give negative action, it primarily threatens the performance and success of the firm. Thus any marketer needs to analyze rightly the buyer’s behavior to survive in this competitive environment.

To understand buyer behavior you first begin with the careful evaluation of activities that people do while selecting, purchasing, and using goods and services to satisfy their needs, desires, and wants. Such activities may involve mental and emotional processes in addition to physical actions.

For successful marketing, a marketer must evaluate the problems faced by potential customers as customers are the main target. A product or service that does not provide an answer to the buyer’s problem, no matter how attractive and beneficial the product is, will not be selected by the buyers. Even if other aspects of the marketing mix such as products, pricing, and promotion are correctly designed and executed they may still be rejected by customers. Thus, it is important for the marketer to understand the customer’s needs and wants and market according to them.

Who is a Buyer?

A buyer is maybe anyone who might buy a given product or service to meet his or her needs and solve problems. A buyer may be either a person or a firm. Generally, an individual buyer buys products for personal consumption and a firm usually buys for both consumption and reproduction purposes.

A person is said to be the buyer when he makes an actual purchase of products. A buyer is also called a customer, purchaser, shopper, or client who has an interest in products and is willing to buy them. Simply, buyers or consumers are the people in families and other kinds of households who buy and use products and services to satisfy their personal needs and wants.

Since the buyers create demand for the products, aggregate individual customers or buyers are called the market for the firm. The success of the firm largely depends on the acts or responses of the market towards the firm’s offerings.

Nature and Scope

The nature and scope of studying buyer behavior can be summarized below.

  • It deals primarily with the behavior of individuals in the marketplace – how they purchase and use products or services.
  • It is multi-disciplinary. Its understanding is enhanced by contributions from areas such as psychology, social psychology, sociology, culture, anthropology, economics, etc.
  • It is concerned with factors that influence product purchase decisions and product usage.
  • It is concerned with the process by which buyers arrive at buying decisions and how that process differs across individuals and products.
  • Finally, buyer behavior includes post-purchase phenomena satisfaction with the outcome of a purchase and usage behavior surrounding a product.

Read More: What is a Micro Environment?


While studying buyer behavior, we should consider not only what people buy, but also other factors such as where, how often, when, and under what conditions the purchase is being made. Broadly speaking, the marketer can develop an understanding of any buyer behavior by answering the following six questions, which can be called the “Six O’s of a market”.


Who is in the market? A market consists of all the individuals and households who buy or acquire goods and services for personal consumption.


What does a market buy? There are a vast number of consumer products and services, which are purchased and used by the people.


When does the market buy? The occasion of product purchasing largely depends upon the rate of use of products, seasons, religions, holidays, etc. Some products are frequently purchased for day-to-day use, some are occasionally purchased, some are seasonally purchased, etc.


Who is involved in the buying? Generally, several parties or personnel might be involved in making a consumer buying decision, such as:

  • Initiator: The initiator is the person who first suggests or thinks to buy a particular product.
  • Influencer: An influencer is a person who explicitly or implicitly carries some influence on the final decision.
  • Decider: A decider is a person who ultimately determines the various aspects of buying decisions such as whether to buy, how to buy, when to buy, what to buy, etc.
  • Buyer: The buyer is the person who makes the actual purchase. It could be a decider or someone else.
  • User: The user is the person who consumes or uses the product or service.


Why does the market buy? Products or services are purchased to satisfy a variety of consumer needs such as physiological, spiritual, etc.


How does the market buy? To make a purchase a consumer follows several steps. Moreover in the process of buying several factors are considered which may affect the buying decision.

Read More: What is a Macro Environment?

Model of Buyer Behavior

Learning about the whys’ of buyer behavior is a very difficult task since the marketer requires searching the answers to whys in the minds of consumers. There are several approaches or models through which the right answer can be obtained. Among many models of buyer behavior, the stimulus-response approach is one. It is a very popular model of buyer behavior also known ‘S-R’ model. Its components are:

Marketing and other Stimuli

Stimuli is something that creates a need in the person’s mind. In other words, the stimulus is a source that helps to inspire or provide ideas in the mind of the buyer so that s/he is interested in acquiring a product or service. For example, advertisements done by companies may be stimuli.

Buyer’s black box (Processing)

A buyer’s black box refers to the information related to a buyer about how he or she analyzes in buying the desired products and services. If a marketer wants to know about the consumer or buyer, he must be able to open and see this black box. In doing so, he must analyze two aspects of the buyers.

  • Buyer’s characteristics
  • Buyer’s decision process

Buyer Response

Buyer response refers to the buyer’s choice of product, dealer timing for buying, frequency of purchase, etc. For example, the buyer’s choice and the purchase of its product may be the response.

Read More: What is Marketing Research?

Importance of Understanding Buyer Behavior

A marketer should analyze and understand buyer behavior carefully because:

  • Different persons, communities, and organizations have different needs because they exist in different environments.
  • Their needs go on changing and may demand different goods and services in different situations.
  • Different persons may demand different goods and services at the same time.
  • Some needs are fulfilled while some are not.
  • The degree of need fulfillment, by and large, depends upon the marketing environment that exists in the market.

A marketer is said to be successful in understanding consumer behavior when he is capable of understanding the consumer needs, especially the unfulfilled needs. At the same time, he must be capable of assuring the Six O’s (mentioned above). When he is capable of seeking the right answers to the questions, it can contribute a lot to the entire strategic planning process in marketing. In this reference, the importance of knowing carefully about buyer behavior is as follows:

To Know the Actual Needs of Customers

The success of a marketer depends upon the degree of satisfaction he can give his customers. The study of buyer behavior helps the marketer to understand the current and actual needs of the target customer and also helps him to adopt the best way to satisfy them.

To Design Marketing Objectives

It helps marketers to understand the customer’s behavior and develop various marketing objectives for the firm. The objectives may be how the products should be marketed, and how the products should be delivered to the customers.

Read More: Marketing Information System (MKIS)

Helps to Understand the Marketing Environment

It helps marketers identify, analyze, and get results from various market segments. Based on the segment having higher need marketers can apply marketing tools to get most of the target segment market.

Helps to Reduce Uncertainty

A thorough study of consumer or buyer behavior enables marketers to understand every aspect of the customers. Thus while designing and implementing marketing programs the risk of uncertainty becomes less.

Measure the Impact of Firms Strategy

The understanding of consumer behavior helps to predict the impact of its strategies. Which acts as a basis for the performance evaluation of the firm. E.g. a marketing firm may know that the local consumers place a high value on friendly service. As such, the goal of its advertising campaign would be to suggest to the customers the friendly nature of the firm. Here, one measure of its effectiveness would be consumer perceptions of the firm on the friendliness dimension.

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