In recent years, various changes have been witnessed when it comes to consumers purchasing habits and practices, which have been demonstrated when it comes to goods and services. To understand these changes, it is essential to consider the number of factors that are influencing the consumers purchasing behaviors – they can either be internal or external influencers. These factors compete for the attention of the customer when it comes to deciding as to which product or service to settle for.
Among the list of internal and external factors that influence consumers’ buying decisions, we will be discussing a few of them.
Aside from internal factors, some factors that influence the behaviors of consumers also come from outside.
External influences on consumer behavior when it comes to their buying attitude and patterns are as follows.
These elements are not self-sufficient and they are external to people.
These elements incorporate subculture, culture, reference group, family influences, and social background.
Culture can be seen as our customers, traditions, qualities, taboos, significant attitudes of our society as a whole, and the place we live in. It is usually connected with a particular religious or national integrity of a person. An individual learns his social standards from when they are born and live by them daily without fully being aware that they are doing so in their daily activities. Culture shows a person’s right standards and behaviors as well as shows him what is right and what is wrong. When a person goes astray from acceptable standards, some sanctions are forced on him.
The social and cultural qualities of an individual are one of the external factors that influence the consumer's behavior as well as how a business is being directed. The cultural influence can be observed most times when it comes to the consumption of food and how we dress or how people dress. It also impacts the ways people talk or communicate, the ways they act, their beliefs, and eating patterns.
For example, when it comes to being prosperous and secure, the individual’s attitudes are influenced, and they tend to preserve and reduce the way they spend or acquire things. In most Asian countries, prosperity can be measured by the possession of the home you live in. It is seen as an asset and a mark of social status.
Social influences are prominent when it comes to influencing the decision of consumers. Owing to this, a lot of brands decide to direct their messages to fit into the culture of different districts that they work in.
Reference groups are mostly a group of people that influence the decisions and the behavior of another person. Most people make use of this group as a way of learning new behaviors, getting new beliefs and practices, and end up applying them to their daily lives.
Family and friends fall into this category as they are seen as a reference group in a person's life. Due to the amount of interaction they have with the person, they can knowingly or unknowingly influence the behavior of such a consumer. One's Classmates, neighbors, associates, different acquaintances are a part of the secondary reference groups of an individual.
Most times, a person might have to communicate or interact with other people before being influenced by their behaviors. Most times, they observe the behavior of such people and end up acting likewise. The spending behavior of such people can be changed and influenced as well.
Reference groups are one of the primary external influences of consumer behavior and are evident when the result of their decisions can be seen. Where people in a group mostly consume a product, most people in that reference group sees such a product as being acceptable.
A group where a luxury lifestyle is present will affect the purchase pattern of the members, and also a group that saves more affects the spending pattern of the members.
Additionally, when it comes to reference groups, there are people called the opinion leaders. The view of these individuals are usually respected, and most times followed. A lot of people seek the opinion of almost every issue from opinion leaders, including spending opinions.
In a reference group, an opinion leader's word is highly respected among the members and the leaders – the leaders, on the other hand, always make their view known to the members. The credibility of this set of individuals is higher – they are part of the reference groups and, in almost every case, serves as external sources of influence in consumers' behavior.
Social background is seen as the hierarchy of arrangements in a society that signifies one's social status. It is a significant factor that influences the behaviors of the consumers as well as their consumption designs, media, way of life exercises, and interest.
Although there are a variety of ways to achieve social background, Income difference is the most common. The difference in income might not be the only method of comparison, but it is the most significant and can influence consumers' consumption behavior to no small extent. Salary differences do add to comparison in social standing. However, they might not be the solitary reason for the change in eating patterns or ways of life.
For example, two consumers gaining a similar salary may vary significantly in the way of life if one has occupational expertise and is working at the chief administration unit of an MNC, on the other hand, the second one is self-employed, having considerably fewer years of educational background.
When it comes to brands and product purchase preferences, indulgence in leisure activities, and media consumption behavior, there will be a lot of differences among both parties.
Such disclosures during the years provoked advertisers to see social background as being a compound variable that shows not only income variations, but also as an indicator which includes academic qualifications, type of vocation and designation, physical possessions, etc.
Therefore, external influences on consumer behavior are consequential in determining their purchasing and consumption patterns.