Consumer psychology: how it affects the purchase of products

Oct 6, 2022 | Digital Marketing

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Did you know the term consumer psychology? It is a field of study that seeks to understand why customers decide to buy certain products, what makes a customer decide to buy only certain brands and how advertising affects their purchasing decisions.

Below, you will learn about the importance of this area in the advertising decisions of the world's largest companies.

What is consumer psychology?

As we mentioned earlier, it is a multidisciplinary field of study, encompassing social psychology, marketing and economics.

Its role lies in understanding consumer behavior. How? By understanding how people buy.

How to get into the consumer's mind?

Consumer psychology is multidisciplinary, since a purchase decision has many variables that can define it or not. Here is an example:

The purchasing decisions of a 32-year-old woman with a stable job will not be the same as those of a woman of the same age who has not had a good job for months.

The former will have enough purchasing power to buy things they like, in addition to paying for basic necessities such as rent, food and utilities.

The second woman, due to her economic situation, will be using her money only for what is necessary to live, so, tastes, luxuries, outings, birthday details and any other activity that requires her to socialize or enjoy, will be restricted.

Thus, in order to understand a purchase decision, it must be taken into account:

  1. Where does the potential customer live?
  2. Do you belong to a particular religion or culture, how do you relate to it?
  3. What is this person's age?
  4. How much is your purchasing power?
  5. What are your tastes and what brands-products do you feel comfortable with?
  6. What motivates her to buy? Only the bare necessities? Emotional advertising? Brand discounts?
issues in consumer psychology

7 types of consumers

To better understand how each consumer behaves, it is essential to identify what type of consumer he or she is and, for this reason, we will talk about the 7 most common types of consumers in the market:

1. Impulsive consumer

It is the one that reacts to small stimuli and follows the latest trends. Their purchasing decisions are influenced by their tastes and feelings, so they can buy at any time, any product that catches their attention.

2. Skeptical consumer

It is the one who analyzes every little detail of the product before buying it. The transparency and amount of information you give him about the product will be the differential factor to attract him.

3. Optimistic consumer

This type of consumer usually looks for quality and affordability in equal measure. However, they are willing to pay more for a product that is of excellent quality.

4. Traditional consumer

These consumers tend to look for savings and know very well what they are going to buy before they even make the purchase. Their purchasing decisions are mostly driven by necessity and little by other factors.

5. Practical consumer

It is the one that evaluates the product according to the purchase process and, as its name indicates, its practicality. They usually accept purchase suggestions.

6. Undecided consumer

They are those who are exposed to so much information about the products on the market that they become overwhelmed when making a purchase decision. As a result, they may abandon the idea of buying if they find a negative review of the product they were interested in.

7. Prosumer

It is the one who is not only in constant interaction with the market as a consumer, but also as a content producer. In other words, he/she buys products and gives public feedback (through social networks, for example) about their characteristics, which generates voice to voice of the brands.

Importance of consumer psychology in social terms.

We already talked about the consumer as an individual: what makes up a purchase decision on an individual basis, based on tastes, needs and possibilities of the specific person.

However, it should be kept in mind that humans are social beings and many of our purchasing decisions are affected by how others view us.

For example, if I live with my family, what will they say if I buy this? Will they think I spend too much? Maybe I need that latest model cell phone?

The social groups to which an individual belongs are important when consuming a product:

The primary group is the family:

It is the first space to socialize and build individuality. It is in this group that we begin to acquire our tastes and, many times, their opinions drastically affect a purchase decision.

The secondary group is friendships:

Schools or workplaces are places in which the consumer expands or limits his or her development, knowledge and expectations regarding a social group.

He may generate acquired tastes through communication with his friends.

The tertiary group is the media and influencers:

Through their speeches, these people set social expectations for certain products. Advertising through social networks also has an impact on this group.

Illustration consumer psychology

Consumer psychology in marketing

Nowadays, people do not only buy products, they often "marry" a brand or, on the contrary, they prefer not to make a purchase because they do not feel comfortable with the brand offering the product.

This is important for consumer psychology, since the factors that characterize a brand may or may not generate a purchase.

Pepsi or Coca-Cola?Burger King or McDonald's?

The speeches of each brand and what they sell, beyond the product, is important for the market.

Purchasing decisions are influenced by the following factors:


Many brands are dedicated to selling holistic experiences through their products, so they usually sell a specific life model, a status that the consumer can be part of. Would you consider this to be a characteristic of Apple product purchases?


This aspect is, perhaps, one of the least intuitive. However, it is one of the most deeply rooted in the individual's mental processes. Have you seen the Winny commercials?

In each of the videos they show fathers and mothers devoted to their children. If you want to give a love like no other love, Winny gives you the opportunity, right?


This characteristic for the purchase decision is much more routine, it affects a person's daily life. Therefore, if a brand shows its relevance and effectiveness in day-to-day activities, it can make you tip the scales to buy them.

A clear example of this are the multipurpose detergents that satisfy the need for fast cleaning and, in addition, make the cleaner get the attention of the other members of the family.


Surely, you have ever thought something like: why does everybody have x thing and I don't? This is exactly what massification is all about: placing yourself in the consumer's mind and making them notice that they haven't bought that product that everyone else is using.

It usually has a great impact when it is a fashion product. A clear example would be the fidget spinner.

Technological innovation:

Many technology equipment purchasing decisions are based on how innovative the product is. Thus, the improvement in quality of life or service will be impressive. A notorious, everyday example: the switch between frost and non-frost refrigerators.

What do I need to do to reach the consumer's thinking?

Consumer psychology aims to determine exactly why people make the decisions they do. From business operations, this understanding of the consumer is based on the ability to understand why or how people make decisions. They can then use this knowledge to increase their appeal as a brand or the appeal of their products.

Currently, companies have focused their brand presence through social media, through the development of strategies for the integration of digital applications that are closer to consumers. In this case we find: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.

In the digital times we live in, it's important to find niche communities in your industry; engage in conversations; share innovative content; and help your customers and prospects meet their needs and tastes.

Because consumer psychology is interrelated with neuroscience and neuropsychology, many studies seek to identify the areas of the brain that light up when exposed to certain stimuli.

6 ways your brand can identify your consumer behavior

  1. Read published research and studies
  2. Apply the knowledge to your own products and marketing strategies (such as your content marketing strategy).
  3. Partnering with companies from different sectors to explore more behaviors
  4. Addressing customer complaints
  5. Making use of online marketing
  6. Develop new product ranges

As you could see, understanding the consumer does not only mean knowing their network usage schedules, it is based on understanding the individual's universe and making sure that the brand, product or service we are offering fits the consumer's needs, values and tastes.

As a company, it is important to understand why someone needs what I offer and, therefore, to know how to get it to them.

What is your opinion on consumer psychology?

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