Perusal of the literature shows that a broad frame of reference for pricing and availability is not adequately developed in the context of study. These studies have focused on few aspects of consumer behaviour with differing perspective. Although researchers agree that the study of understanding contrasting factors defining buying behaviour in rural viz.-a-viz. setup is interesting and important, there is currently little agreement about how best to define these potentially different factors, and hence understand, the psychology of consumer behaviour from the angle of price sensitivity and availability, in particular. This thesis is an attempt to have an integrated and fresh look into the area.
When suggesting that people may form buying habit by considering price, such behaviour is not irrational, In the current environmental setup, how consumer perceives price rises and alters their behaviour to insulate themselves from monetary losses, the impact of prices on consumption. It empirically attempts to verify this strong actual correlation.
We examine another research stream whether buyer patronize products that are available, although sufficient literature exist in defining availability and related areas in specific context, however, referring the rich body of available literature, including earlier reviews that had relatively limited perspectives, we hypothesize that availability redefined may have its impact on forming consumption habits for the consumer.
The literature on pricing & availability is classified on the basis of the contextual problem in forming buying habits. Researcher objective is to present a comprehensive integrated view on research problem to facilitate further research and practice.
To meet this objective, we de'ne few relevant terms with review of earlier research or define them appropriately. .In this chapter, researcher summarize the research gaps identified in the literature on Pricing & Availability and their impact on consumption. It will describe the research questions in detail and explain the logic undergirding the theoretical framework of my research. Literature review will derive underpinning framework to establish justification for the study so that research is theoretically fertile and managerially relevant.
2.2 Consumer Behaviour
(J. F. Engel, 1986) defines consumer behaviour as 'those acts of individuals directly involved in obtaining, using, and disposing of economic goods and services, including the decision processes that precede and determine these acts'. An elementary observation of this definition contributes a limited wisdom into the complex nature of consumer choice process. Consumer Behaviour is the discipline developing to study 'of the processes involved when either individuals or groups select, purchase, use, or dispose of products, services, ideas, or experiences to satisfy their needs and desires' (Solomon, 1995). In perspective of marketing, the term 'consumer' refers the purchase action and aggregation of possible patterns pre-purchase and post purchase behaviour. Pre-purchase action includes the awareness and searching information to evaluate different products or services, which may potentially satisfy the need or want. Post purchase behaviour is an action essentially to evaluate the performance of purchased item viz.-a-viz. expectations thereof and lessen the angst. These behaviour have consequential implications on consumers repurchase behaviour, therefore they are agreeable to marketer, of course in different scale (Foxall, 1995). Social science researcher have been desiring for far more cultivated and refined theoretical concepts and techniques for analysing consumer behaviour. This provides for better understanding of behaviour, more accurate indicator of futuristic view and ensures effective discipline on consumer behaviour.
(D. Marsden, 1998) suggests to elucidate conceptually undergirded framework for consumer behaviour, understanding of fundamenatal paradigms in consumer research and their sequential evolution is important. Paradigms can be safely studied as hypotheses researcher create to answer what to study and how to go about it (Kuhn, 1962). As discussed here, a set of dimensions can be classified to portray and explain contrasts in the various views on consumer behaviour.
With advent and gradual evolution of discipline of consumer behavior, researcher drew from various disciplines such as psychology, sociology, psycho-sociology to social literature (Solomon, 1995). The reason for involving different discipline by social science researcher is to approach consumer issues from different angles and dimensions. Apart from many disciplinary approaches, fundamentally consumer behavior orientation can be safely bifurcated on the basis of their inherent emphasis on intrinsic forces, of which theories are taken from psychology and extrinsic forces have their underpinning in sociology discipline. Besides this focus of analysis ' consumer attitude differs is fundamental premise, and therefore, different aspects of consumption behavior are described by various approaches.
Consumer research has been looked as growing sub discipline of marketing with an ambition to establish its pivotal application in the area of marketing, thus, study of consumer behavior or consumer research has been regarded as discipline of applied social science. In this context, the evaluation of insight or understanding generated of consumer and their behaviour is solely on its pragmatic application to improve the efficacy of marketing.
With this understanding, marketing management essentially has bearing in few concepts of how consumers behave and their response to marketer's product, price, promotion and distribution and its likely impact on the organizational objective. In developed and rich economies, the accomplishment of marketing is not driven as much by merely controlling marketing mix rather in addition is willingness of consumers to patronize, better then the competitor. Consumer orientation marketing is the result of abundant choices and discretionary power exercised by the consumer. (Foxall, Consumer Behaviour , 1987), choice decision taken by consumer do not have implication just for competing industries, rather, it is expanded beyond the conventional definition of traditional industry and markets.
2.2.1 The Traditional Perspectives on Consumer Research
First part primarily discusses the paradigms emerged in consumer research in the period of traditional positivism, and hence earlier developed buyer behavior models proposed by economists are exhibited and later will be pursued by conventional viewpoints. These perspectives are essentially observable by behavior, mental, character/attitudinal and situational lastly. Comprehensively, the ambition of this portion is to frame attributes and key arguments of these viewpoints. An analysis of perspective is following in part two, however conventional perspective with inherent diversity in many aspects is found to be similar in terms of their fundamentals; Philosophical and methodological while exploring consumer behavior, i.e. the platform foundation is rationalism and adhere to the principle of traditional positivism in consumer research.
2.2.2 The Rational Perspective
Traditionally, economists have influenced the buyer behavior modeling and economics viewed consumer behavior as solo act of purchasing and after purchase actions. This theory dictates that purchase decision is result of balanced and attentive economic calculations. Thus, buyer seeks to spend resources on those goods that will deliver the maximum utility (satisfaction) according to his preferences and relative price. The events of this viewpoint can be found in (A. Smith, 1776, A. Marshall, Principles of Economics., 1975) This theoretical work aimed to simplify acceptance and examine the effects of change in one variables I,e, price while keeping all other variables constant.
'Marginal-Utility Model' based on Marshal theory was pragmatic to give explanation of behavioral assumption that lower the price will result into higher sales of the goods, however this assumption does not hold valid when assuming all individuals are calculating machines while taking their purchase decision. The Marshal model overlooks the fundamental probe in, essentially, how product and brand preferences are formed.
(H.J.Westing, 1975) Pure economics cannot provide all logical explanations to alterations in sales numbers, various sub-viewpoints within the field are apt to offer explanations for psychological, preferential, and accumulated demand alterations. As an example, the empirical analysis of economic variable for choice has been good in providing rationally explaining the changes in consumer behaviors. (A. Lewis, 1995) Many research studies have Several studies have described the effect of price on brand preference, changes in product attributes and respective demand variation, price-demand elasticity and goods shortage on consumer choice behavior. Paradigm such as learning theory, reiterate that internal factors influence the consumer behavior rather than external factors, which fundamentally justifies the economic purview of behavior which forms the basis of rationalism.
2.2.3 The Behavioral Viewpoint
As discussed, an opposition to the economic view which highlights the significance of internal cognitive process, the behavioral viewpoint accentuates the role of external factors in learning which causes decision making. Therefore, consumer behavior is a conditioned response to external stimuli. Therefore, behavioral viewpoint emphasizes on external attributes such as advertising that catalyze consumer reaction with learning. (J.P. Peter, 1982) The long term focus of behavior theories, is to arrange behavior m for example, are to arrange a set of expanded behavior alteration tools which can be employed for influencing or controlling consumer behavior.
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