What Are the Different Models of Consumer Behavior?

by Marcus Paine; Updated September 26, 2017

Understanding consumer behavior is one of the keys to establishing a successful business. While it is important to come up with a product or a service with exceptional quality, having a clear grasp of how your target consumers react or behave and what factors affect their buying patterns and behavior will enable you to address their needs and establish a more successful business.

Economic Model

The economic model of consumer behavior focuses on the idea that a consumer’s buying pattern is based on the idea of getting the most benefits while minimizing costs. Thus, one can predict consumer behavior based on economic indicators such as the consumer’s purchasing power and the price of competitive products. For instance, a consumer will buy a similar product that is being offered at a lower price to maximize the benefits; an increase in a consumer’s purchasing power will allow him to increase the quantity of the products he is purchasing.

Learning Model

This model is based on the idea that consumer behavior is governed by the need to satisfy basic and learned needs. Basic needs include food, clothing and shelter, while learned needs include fear and guilt. Thus, a consumer will have a tendency to buy things that will satisfy their needs and provide satisfaction. A hungry customer may pass up on buying a nice piece of jewelry to buy some food, but will later go back to purchase the jewelry once her hunger is satisfied.

Psychoanalytical Model

The psychoanalytical model takes into consideration the fact that consumer behavior is influenced by both the conscious and the subconscious mind. The three levels of consciousness discussed by Sigmund Freud (id, ego and superego) all work to influence one’s buying decisions and behaviors. A hidden symbol in a company’s name or logo may have an effect on a person’s subconscious mind and may influence him to buy that product instead of a similar product from another company.

Sociological Model

The sociological model primarily considers the idea that a consumer’s buying pattern is based on his role and influence in the society. A consumer's behavior may also be influenced by the people she associates with and the culture that her society exhibits. For instance, a manager and an employee may have different buying behaviors given their respective roles in the company they work for, but if they live in the same community or attend the same church, they may buy products from the same company or brand.

About the Author

Marcus Paine started writing in 2002 and has worked with some popular publishing houses in Gloucestershire like Edward Elgar Publishing and Nelson Thornes. His work, "Exploring Cheltenham" was featured in Elgar Publishing's weekly newsletters. Paine earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in mass communication from the University of Gloucestershire and London Metropolitan University, respectively.