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Psychological factors and consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic
Contributed equally to this work with: Adolfo Di Crosta, Irene Ceccato
Roles Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing
Affiliation Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy
Roles Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing
Roles Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Methodology
Affiliation Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences, G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy
Roles Investigation, Writing – review & editing
Roles Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing
Affiliations Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences, G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy, Center for Advanced Studies and Technology (CAST), G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy
Affiliation Department of Business Studies, Grenon School of Business, Assumption University, Worcester, MA, United States of America
Roles Conceptualization, Writing – review & editing
Roles Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing – review & editing
* E-mail: [email protected]
Roles Conceptualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing
- Adolfo Di Crosta,
- Irene Ceccato,
- Daniela Marchetti,
- Pasquale La Malva,
- Roberta Maiella,
- Loreta Cannito,
- Mario Cipi,
- Nicola Mammarella,
- Riccardo Palumbo,
- Published: August 16, 2021
- Reader Comments
The COVID-19 pandemic is far more than a health crisis: it has unpredictably changed our whole way of life. As suggested by the analysis of economic data on sales, this dramatic scenario has also heavily impacted individuals’ spending levels. To better understand these changes, the present study focused on consumer behavior and its psychological antecedents. Previous studies found that crises differently affect people’s willingness to buy necessities products (i.e., utilitarian shopping) and non-necessities products (i.e., hedonic shopping). Therefore, in examining whether changes in spending levels were associated with changes in consumer behavior, we adopted a fine-grained approach disentangling between necessities and non-necessities. We administered an online survey to 3833 participants (age range 18–64) during the first peak period of the contagion in Italy. Consumer behavior toward necessities was predicted by anxiety and COVID-related fear, whereas consumer behavior toward non-necessities was predicted by depression. Furthermore, consumer behavior toward necessities and non-necessities was predicted by personality traits, perceived economic stability, and self-justifications for purchasing. The present study extended our understanding of consumer behavior changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results could be helpful to develop marketing strategies that consider psychological factors to meet actual consumers’ needs and feelings.
Citation: Di Crosta A, Ceccato I, Marchetti D, La Malva P, Maiella R, Cannito L, et al. (2021) Psychological factors and consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. PLoS ONE 16(8): e0256095. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256095
Editor: Marcel Pikhart, University of Hradec Kralove: Univerzita Hradec Kralove, CZECH REPUBLIC
Received: March 8, 2021; Accepted: July 31, 2021; Published: August 16, 2021
Copyright: © 2021 Di Crosta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Data Availability: All data are available from the figshare database (accession number(s) DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.14865663.v2 , URL: https://figshare.com/articles/dataset/RawData_PO_sav/14865663 ).
Funding: The authors received no specific funding for this work.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) refers to an infection (SARS-CoV-2) of the lower respiratory tract [ 1 , 2 ], which was first detected in Wuhan (China) in late December 2019. Since then, the number of contagions by COVID-19 has been increasing globally each day [ 3 ]. In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic [ 4 ]. Subsequently, several national governments implemented long-term full or partial lockdown measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Although these strict measures have proven to be quite effective in containing the further spread of the virus, they have severely impacted the global economic system and caused an unprecedented shock on economies and labor markets [ 5 ]. As a matter of fact, the COVID-19 pandemic can be defined as far more than just a health crisis since it has heavily affected societies and economies. COVID-19 outbreak has unpredictably changed how we work, communicate, and shop, more than any other disruption in this decade [ 6 ]. As reflected by the analysis of economic data on sales, this dramatic situation has greatly influenced consumer attitudes and behaviors. According to a study conducted by the Nielsen Company, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a globally manifested change in spending levels related to consumer behavior [ 7 ]. Specifically, a growing tendency in the sales of necessities has been observed: consumer priorities have become centered on the most basic needs, including food, hygiene, and cleaning products. In Italy, consumer shopping preferences have changed throughout the pandemic. Initially, when Italy was the first country in Europe to experience the spreading of COVID-19 (between March and April 2020). Consumer behavior tended to compulsively focus on purchasing essential goods, especially connected with preventing the virus, such as protective devices and sanitizing gel [ 8 ]. The pandemic changed the consumption patterns, for instance reducing sales for some product categories (e.g., clothes), and improving sales for other categories (e.g., entertainment products) [ 9 ]. Also, research indicated that job insecurity and life uncertainty experienced during the pandemic negatively impacted on consumer behavior of Italian workers [ 10 ].
It comes as no surprise that in such a situation of emergency, the need for buying necessities takes precedence [ 11 ]. However, the investigation of antecedent psychological factors, including attitudes, feelings, and behaviors underlying changes in consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, have received less attention. Nevertheless, understanding the psychological factors which drive consumer behavior and products choices can represent a crucial element for two main reasons. First, such investigation can extend our understanding of the underpinnings of the changes in consumer behavior in the unprecedented context of COVID-19. Second, obtained results could be helpful in the development of new marketing strategies that consider psychological factors to meet actual consumers’ needs and feelings [ 12 ]. On the one side, companies could benefit from this knowledge to increase sales during the COVID-19 pandemic [ 13 ]. Moreover, understanding these needs and feelings could be fundamental to improve the market’s preparedness to face future pandemics and emergencies [ 14 , 15 ]. On the other hand, consumers could take advantage of this new market’s preparedness to respond to their actual needs and feelings. As a result, in case of future emergency, factors such as anxiety and a perceived shortage of essential goods could be reduced [ 16 ], whereas well-being and the positive sense of self of the consumers could be supported [ 17 ]. Furthermore, the novelty of the present study lies in two main aspects. First, based on previous studies highlighting that crises differently affect people’s willingness to buy necessities and non-necessities products [ 11 , 18 ], we adopted a fine-grained approach and disentangled between necessities and non-necessities. Second, considering the unprecedented context of the COVID-19 pandemic, we adopted an integrative approach to investigate the role of different psychological factors such as fear, anxiety, stress, depression, self-justifications, personality traits, and perceived economic stability in influencing consumer behavior. Noteworthy, all these factors have been implicated in consumer behavior in previous research, but, to our knowledge, no study has considered all of them at once. Therefore, considering both the lack of studies that have focused on these factors at once and the unique opportunity to study them in the context of such an unprecedented global pandemic, we adopted an integrative approach to get one of the first overviews of the role of the several psychological factors influencing consumer behavior.
Previous studies in consumer psychology and behavioral economics have highlighted that several psychological factors impact consumer behavior differently [ 18 – 20 ]. Consumer behavior refers to the study of individuals or groups who are in the process of searching to purchase, use, evaluate, and dispose of products and services to satisfy their needs [ 12 ]. Importantly, it also includes studying the consumer’s emotional, mental, and behavioral responses that precede or follow these processes [ 21 ]. Changes in consumer behavior can occur for different reasons, including personal, economic, psychological, contextual, and social factors. However, in dramatic contexts such as a disease outbreak or a natural disaster, some factors, more than others, have a more significant impact on consumer behavior. Indeed, situations that potentially disrupt social lives, or threaten individuals’ health, have been proven to lead to strong behavioral changes [ 22 ]. An example is panic buying, a phenomenon occurring when fear and panic influence behavior, leading people to buy more things than usual [ 23 ]. Specifically, panic buying has been defined as a herd behavior that occurs when consumers buy a considerable amount of products in anticipation of, during, or after a disaster [ 24 ]. A recent review on the psychological causes of panic buying highlighted that similar changes in consumer behavior occur when purchase decisions are impaired by negative emotions such as fear and anxiety [ 25 ]. Noteworthy, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lins and Aquino [ 23 ] showed that panic buying was positively correlated with impulse buying, which has been defined as a complex buying behavior in which the rapidity of the decision process precludes thoughtful and deliberate consideration of alternative information and choice [ 25 ]. The analysis of the different psychological factors involved in consumer behavior and changes in purchase decisions still represents an area that is scarcely explored. Arguably, during an uncertain threatening situation, such as a health crisis or a pandemic, the primitive part of our brain usually becomes more prominent, pushing individuals to engage in behaviors that are (perceived as) necessary for survival [ 26 – 29 ]. Importantly, these primitive instinctual behaviors can override the rational decision-making process, having an immense impact on usual consumer behavior. Therefore, the basic primitive response of humans represents the core factor responsible for changes in consumer behavior during a health crisis [ 16 ]. Specifically, fear and anxiety originated from perceived feelings of insecurity and instability, are the factors driving these behavioral changes [ 30 ]. In line with the terror management theory [ 31 ], previous studies have shown that external events, which threaten the safety of individuals, motivate compensatory response processes to alleviate fear and anxiety [ 32 , 33 ]. These response processes can prompt individuals to make purchases to gain a sense of security, comfort, and momentarily escape, which can also serve as a compensatory mechanism to alleviate stress. However, as such buying motivation represents an attempt to regulate the individuals’ negative emotions, the actual need for the purchased products is often irrelevant [ 34 ].
Pandemics and natural disasters are highly stressful situations, which can easily induce negative emotions and adverse mental health states [ 35 – 37 ] such as perceived lack of control and instability, which are core aspects of emergency situations, contribute directly to stress. In turn, research has highlighted that stress is a crucial factor in influencing consumer behavior. For example, past studies have shown that individuals may withdraw and become passive in response to stress, and this inaction response can lead to a decrease in purchasing [ 38 , 39 ]. However, some studies point out that stress can lead to an active response, increasing impulsive spending behaviors [ 40 , 41 ]. Moreover, event-induced stress can lead to depressive mood. In some cases, the depressive mood may translate into the development of dysfunctional consumer behavior, such as impulsive (the sudden desire to buy something accompanied by excessive emotional response) and/or compulsive buying (repetitive purchasing due to the impossibility to control the urge) [ 41 , 42 ]. In this context, Sneath and colleagues [ 37 ] highlighted that changes in consumer behavior often represent self-protective strategies aimed at managing depressive states and negative emotions by restoring a positive sense of self. Importantly, a recent study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic showed that depression predicted the phenomenon of the over-purchasing, which was framed as the degree to which people had increased their purchases of some necessities goods (e.g. food, water, sanitary products, pharmacy products, etc.) because of the pandemic [ 43 ].
A recent study recommended a differentiation between necessity and non-necessity products to better understand consumer behavior in response to stressful situations [ 18 ]. According to the authors, contrasting findings on the link between stress and consumer behavior may be due to the fact that stress affects certain purchasing behaviors negatively, but others positively, depending on the type of product under investigation. On one side, it has been argued that consumers may be more willing to spend money on necessities (vs. non-necessities) by making daily survival products readily available. Accordingly, recent research documented an increase in buying necessities products (i.e., utilitarian shopping) during and after a traumatic event [ 11 ]. However, other findings showed that impulsive non-necessities purchasing (i.e., hedonic shopping) could also increase as an attempt to escape or minimize the pain for the situation. That is, non-necessities buying is used as an emotional coping strategy to manage stress and negative emotional states [ 44 ]. To reconcile these findings, Durante and Laran [ 18 ] proposed that people adopt strategic consumer behavior to restore their sense of control in stressful situations. Hence, high stress levels generally lead consumers to save money and spend strategically on products perceived as necessities. Importantly, regarding the impact of perceived stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer behavior, a recent study showed that the likelihood of purchasing quantities of food larger than usual increased with higher levels of perceived stress [ 45 ].
Another psychological factor implicated in consumer behavior that deserves special attention is self-justification strategies [ 46 ]. Self-justification refers to the cognitive reappraisal process by which people try to reduce the cognitive dissonance stemming from a contradiction between beliefs, values, and behaviors. People often try to justify their decisions to avoid the feeling of being wrong to maintain a positive sense of self [ 17 ]. In consumer behavior research, it is widely acknowledged that consumers enhance positive arguments that support their choices and downplay counterarguments that put their behavior in question [ 47 ]. Based on previous research, it is plausible that, within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, self-justifications for buying non-necessities products may also include pursuing freedom and defying boredom [ 11 , 48 ]. Further, the hedonistic attitude of “I could die tomorrow” or “You only live once” could certainly see a resurgence during the COVID-19 emergency [ 48 ], and become a crucial mechanism accounting for individual differences in consumer behavior. Based on these considerations, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, self-justifications strategies could be relevant for non-necessities, since products for fun or entertainment could be more suited to the pursuit of freedom and to defy boredom. Conversely, self-justifications strategies related to necessities could be implemented to a lesser degree, due to the very nature of the products. The unprecedented context of the pandemic could already justify the purchase of those essential goods by itself, and additional justifications may not be necessary.
Furthermore, several studies have shown that household income has a significant impact in determining people’s expenses [ 49 – 51 ]. Not surprisingly, the research highlighted a positive relationship between income and spending levels [ 52 ]. Income is defined as money received regularly from work or investments. Interestingly, a different line of research pointed out that self-perceived economic stability is a more appropriate determinant of consumer behavior than actual income [ 53 , 54 ]. Usually, people tend to report subjective feelings of income inadequacy, even when their objective financial situation might not support such attitude [ 55 ]. An interesting explanation for this bias draws on the social comparison process. Indeed, the study of Karlsson et colleagues [ 53 ] showed that, compared to families who considered themselves to have a good financial situation, households which considered themselves to be worse off economically than others reported fewer purchases of goods, perceived the impact of their latest purchase on their finance to be greater, and planned purchases more carefully. Furthermore, a recent study in the context of the COVID-19 emergency showed that people who believed to have limited financial resources were the most worried about the future [ 56 , 57 ]. Therefore, in the present study, we measured both the income and the perceived economic situation of the respondents to respectively consider the objective economic information and the subjective perception of respondents. However, considering the state of uncertainty experienced by many households during the COVID-19 pandemic [ 58 ], we changed the comparison from other families to participants’ economic situation in different time frames. We asked respondents to report perceived economic stability before, during, and after the emergency.
Finally, besides situational factors related to the specific emergency, the individuals’ personality traits are likely to have a role in determining consumer behavior as well. Past research has highlighted that the Big Five personality traits [ 59 ] can differently predict consumer behavior [ 60 ]. Specifically, conscientiousness, openness, and emotional stability (alias neuroticism) were related to compulsive buying, impulsive buying, and utilitarian shopping. Nevertheless, how different personality traits are related to consumer behavior is still an open question [ 61 ].
We conducted a nationwide survey in the Italian population to examine consumer behavior during the lockdown phase due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the COVID-19 emergency has emphasized the usefulness of essential goods (e.g. food, medications, etc.) compared to non-essential products (e.g. luxury items such as clothes and accessories) [ 62 ], in our study, we categorized products in necessities and non-necessities. Furthermore, changes in spending levels (necessities vs. non-necessities) were examined to confirm the effect that COVID-19 had on people’s expenses. Moreover, we tried to clarify the relationship between changes in spending levels and changes in consumer behavior. Finally, we focused on the psychological factors underlying changes in consumer behavior toward the target products. Based on the literature, we expected to find an increase in purchases with a more noticeable rise in necessity products. Specifically, we explored potential underpinnings of consumer behavior by examining mood states and affective response to the emergency, perceived economic stability, self-justification for purchasing, and personality traits. All these factors have been implicated in consumer behavior in previous research, but, to our knowledge, no study has considered all of them at once. Therefore, in this study, we adopted an integrative approach to study the contribution of different psychological factors by considering their mutual influence (see Fig 1 ). Specifically, based on the empirical findings and theoretical accounts presented above, we hypothesized that during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Higher levels of anxiety and COVID-related fear would explain changes in consumer behavior, increasing the need for buying necessities.
- Higher levels of stress would lead consumers to save money or, in alternative, would increase the need to spend money on necessities (i.e., utilitarian shopping).
- Higher levels of depressive state would be associated with an increase in the need for buying, both necessities and non-necessities.
- Higher implementation of self-justification strategies would be associated with a higher need for buying, especially for non-necessities.
- Higher perceived economic stability would be associated with an increase in the need for both necessities and non-necessities.
- PPT PowerPoint slide
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The construct involved in the study is placed in the center of the figure. Arrows depart from these constructs to show the hypothesized relationship between the constructs and the outcomes of the present study (Necessities and Non-necessities). The symbol “±” was used to take into consideration two possible opposite directions.
Materials and methods
Data were collected through a series of questionnaires, using a web-based survey implemented on the Qualtrics software. The survey was active in the period starting from April 1st, 2020, to April 20th, 2020, during the first peak of the contagion in Italy. We used a convenience sample due to the exceptional situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the time constraints to conduct our investigation. Therefore, participants were recruited through word-of-mouth and social media. Inclusion criteria were the age over 18 and be resident in Italy. First, socio-demographic information was collected, including gender, age, annual income, and education. Then, questions on spending levels and consumer behavior, both before the COVID-19 pandemic and during the first week of lockdown in Italy, were presented, separating necessities and non-necessities. Finally, a series of specifically created questionnaires and standardized measures were administered to investigate psychological and economic variables.
A total of 4121 participants were initially recruited. For the present study, we adopted a rigorous approach, excluding 104 participants over the age of 64, since they relied on retirement benefits and -from an economic point of view- were considered a specific population, not comparable to the rest of the sample [ 63 ]. Furthermore, we excluded 184 participants who did not report spending any money before the COVID-19 pandemic on buying necessities and/or non-necessities. Therefore, 3833 Italian participants (69.3% women, age M = 34.2, SD = 12.5) were included in this study. All participants provided their written informed consent before completing the survey. The study was conducted following the ethical standards of the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Psychology (IRBP) of the Department of Psychological, Health and Territorial Sciences at G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara (protocol number: 20004). Participants did not receive monetary or any other forms of compensation for their participation.
A demographic questionnaire was administered to collect background information. The questions considered age, gender, annual income, and education. The annual income was then categorized into five levels, based on the income brackets established by the Italian National Statistical Institute [ 64 ]. Education was categorized into five levels, from elementary to school to postgraduate degree.
Consumer behavior during COVID-19
We created this questionnaire from scratch to get a comprehensive overview of people’s economic attitudes and behaviors during the COVID-19 emergency. The idea of this new questionnaire was developed based on a series of previous studies on consumer behavior [ 43 , 65 – 67 ]. However, specific items were developed from scratch adapting them to the specific unprecedented context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, these items were created following a series of group discussions between all co-authors of the present study. To directly measure changes in consumer behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants were requested to compare their actual behavior to their normal behavior before the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, the initial statement in the questionnaire underlined that answers had to be given by referring to the COVID-19 emergency period compared to everyday life before the outbreak.
The factor structure and reliability were evaluated in the larger sample ( n = 4121), using principal component analysis (PCA) and Cronbach’s alpha. The results revealed a six-factor structure and satisfactory reliability values (see S1 Table for more details). Note that the PCA and reliability analyses were also conducted on the current subsample, and the pattern of results did not change.
For the present study’s aims, we focused on three scales: “Necessities”, “Non-necessities”, and “Self-justifications”. Items are shown in Table 1 . The first two scales investigated consumer behavior toward the different framed products. Specifically, items addressed the individual’s attitudes, feelings, and behaviors toward necessities and non-necessities. Thus, higher scores reflected greater value (e.g., need, utility) placed on the target products.
The self-justifications scale referred to consumers’ thoughts to justify their purchases, with no distinction between necessity and non-necessity products. Higher scores reflected a frequent use of self-justifications in purchasing items.
For all these scales, responses were given on a Likert scale ranging from 0 ( not at all ), to 100, ( extremely ). Total scores on each scale were obtained by averaging all items.
Change in spending levels due to COVID-19
A fourth scale, i.e. “Spending Habits,” was extracted from the questionnaire mentioned above. As we aimed at measuring changes in the spending levels due to the COVID-19 emergency, we decided to use single items instead of the total scale score (items are presented in Table 1 ). Specifically, we created three percentage scores: “Changes in General Spending”, “Changes in Necessities spending”, and “Changes in Non-necessities spending” considering the difference between the money spent during the first week of lockdown, and the money spent on average in a week before the emergency (see Table 1 notes). Scores reflect the change in the amount (in Euro) that people devolved in purchasing the target products (hypothetical range from -1999 to +1999).
Big Five Inventory 10-item (BFI-10)
Big Five Inventory 10-item (BFI-10) is a short scale designed to briefly assess the five personality traits with two items for each trait. Specifically, these traits are: Agreeableness (example item: “I see myself as someone who is generally trusting”), Conscientiousness (example item: “I see myself as someone who does a thorough job”), Emotional stability (example item: “I see myself as someone who is relaxed, handles stress well”), Extraversion (example item: “I see myself as someone who is outgoing, sociable”), and Openness (example item: “I see myself as someone who has an active imagination”) [ 68 ]. In addition, respondents are asked to indicate whether they agree or disagree with each statement on a 5-point Likert-type scale, ranging from 1 ( not agree at all ) to 5 ( totally agree ). A previously validated Italian version was used in the present study [ 69 ].
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD-7)
The GAD-7 [ 70 ] is a 7-item self-reported measure designed to screen for generalized anxiety disorder and to measure the severity of symptoms, based on the DSM-IV criteria. This measure is often used in both clinical practice and research. Specifically, respondents are asked the frequency they have experienced anxiety symptoms in the past two weeks (e.g., “Not being able to stop or control worrying”) on a 4-point Likert scale, ranging from 0 ( not at all ) to 3 ( nearly every day ). The total score ranges from 0 to 21, with higher scores indicating worse anxiety symptomatology.
Patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9)
The patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9) is a 9-item self-reported brief diagnostic measure for depression [ 71 ]. Specifically, respondents are asked of the frequency they felt bothered by several depressive symptoms during the past two weeks (e.g., “Little interest or pleasure in doing things”) on a 4-point Likert scale, ranging from 0 ( not at all ) to 3 ( nearly every day ). Total score ranges from 0 to 27, with higher scores indicating higher depressive symptoms.
Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)
The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is a 14-item self-report measure designed to assess the degree to which situations are appraised as stressful [ 72 ]. Each item (e.g., “In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?”) is rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 0 ( never ) to 4 ( very often ). Thus, the total score ranges from 0 to 56, with a higher score indicating a higher level of perceived stress during the COVID-19 emergency.
Fear for COVID-19
We administered the Fear for COVID-19 questionnaire to measure fear and concerning beliefs related to the COVID-19 pandemic [ 35 , 36 , 73 ]. This questionnaire was created from the assumption that, during a health crisis, the individual’s fear is determined by both the hypothesized susceptibility (i.e., probability of contracting a disease) and the expected severity of the event (i.e., perceived consequences of being infected) [ 25 ]. Therefore, the 8 items dealt with the perceived probability of being infected by COVID-19 (Belief of contagion) and the possible consequences of the contagion (Consequences of contagion). See Table 1 for the complete list of the items. Previous studies have reported the PCA and reliability of the questionnaire [ 36 ]. Responses were given on a Likert scale ranging from 0 ( not at all ), to 100, ( extremely ). A total score was obtained by averaging the items (range 0–100).
Perceived economic stability
This questionnaire was developed to assess the subjective perception of an individual’s economic situation. The PCA in the larger sample revealed a unidimensional structure (see S2 Table for more details). The scale assessed perceived economic stability in three different timepoints: before, during, and after (in terms of expectation) the COVID-19 pandemic. Responses were given on a Likert scale ranging from 0 ( not at all ), to 100, ( extremely ). The total score was calculated by averaging these three items (range 0–100).
We preliminary investigated changes in spending levels due to the COVID-19 pandemic, comparing expenses before the emergency to expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. First, we analyzed changes in the average general spending level. Then, we performed dependent (paired) sample t -tests between “Changes in necessities spending” and “Changes in non-necessities spending” to examine differences between products framed as necessities and non-necessities.
Afterward, we checked whether changes in spending levels were associated with changes in consumer behavior by conducting Pearson’s correlation analyses, respectively between “Changes in necessities spending” and “Necessities”, and “Changes in non-necessities spending” and “Non-necessities” scores.
Finally, to investigate the psychological underpinnings of consumer behavior, we performed two hierarchical multiple regressions, respectively, with “Necessities” (Model 1) and “Non-necessities” (Model 2) as outcomes. The same predictors were entered in Model 1 and Model 2. Specifically, the order of the steps was designed to include at first the socio-demographic information as control variables. Hence, we entered the age, gender, annual income brackets, and education in the first step. In Step 2, we included the personality measures (i.e., Big-Five personality traits) since these traits are stable and are not affected by the specific situation. In Step 3, Anxiety, Depression, and Stress were entered, to analyze the impact of emotional antecedents of consumer. Further, we decided to include Fear for the COVID-19 in a separate fourth step to evaluate the effect of this specific aspect. We included perceived economic stability at Step 5 after the psychological variables. This choice allowed to analyze the impact of the perceived economic stability after controlling for the role of emotional antecedents on consumer behavior. Finally, following the same logic, we included self-justifications strategies.
Considering “Changes in General spending”, our results showed that our sample reported, on average, an increase of 60.48% in the general spending level during the first week of lockdown. Furthermore, significant differences between “Changes in Necessities spending” and “Changes in Non-necessities spending”, t (3832) = 11.99, p < .001, were detected. Indeed, the spending level for necessities products showed an increase of 90.69%, while for non-necessities products, the average increase was only 36.11%. Means and standard deviations are presented in Table 2 .
The results of the correlation analyses indicated that there was a significant positive association between “Changes in necessities spending” and “Necessities”, r (3831) = .22, p < .001. Furthermore, a significant positive association was highlighted between “Changes in non-necessities spending” and “Non-necessities”, r (3831) = .23, p < .001. Therefore, people’s changes in spending levels were related to their attitudes and feelings toward specific products. This finding supported our choice to investigate the psychological underpinnings of people’s consumer behavior.
Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed on the two consumer behavior scores. In addition, control variables, psychological factors, and economic variables were entered as predictors as detailed above.
Regarding Model 1 (Necessities), results showed that all the steps explained a significant amount of additional variance (see Table 3 for detailed results). When personality traits were entered in the model (Step 2), only agreeableness, openness, and emotional stability negatively predicted the outcome. However, when anxiety, depression, and stress were entered in the model (Step 3), only openness remained statistically significant. The variables entered in Step 3 contributed to explaining 7% of the variance, with anxiety and stress positively predicting the outcome. Adding fear for COVID-19 in the following step increased the explained variance by 6%, reduced the impact of anxiety, and completely overrode the effect of stress, which became non-significant. In the following steps, perceived economic stability offered a small but significant contribution (1%), and Self-justifications explained even further variance (4%). Overall, in the final step, the final model explained 23% of the variance in Necessities. Inspecting coefficients, we found that, after accounting for control variables, openness ( p < .001), anxiety ( p < .001), fear for COVID-19 ( p < .001), perceived economic stability ( p < .001), and self-justifications ( p < .001) emerged as significant predictors.
In Model 2 (Non-necessities), results indicated that each step significantly contributed to explaining the outcome (see Table 4 ). In Step 2, personality traits explained 2% of the outcome variance, with consciousness and openness emerging as significant predictors and remaining significant until the final step. Notably, consciousness was negatively associated with non-necessities behavior, while high scores in openness were associated with higher scores on the Non-necessities scale. In Step 3, only depression was significantly and positively related to the outcome and remained so in subsequent models. Both fear for COVID-19 and perceived economic stability further significantly explained the outcome, albeit weakly (about 1% of variance each one). Higher levels of fear and perceived economic stability were associated with higher scores on the Non-necessities scale. Noteworthy, adding Self-justifications in the final step explained a substantial share of variance, equal to 12%. Specifically, higher scores on self-justifications were associated with higher scores on the Non-necessities scale. Furthermore, self-justifications also had a greater impact on non-necessities compared to those had on necessities, t (7664) = -10.60, p < .05. Total variance explained in the final step was 22%, with conscientiousness ( p < .001), openness ( p = .001), depression ( p = .002), perceived economic stability ( p = .009), and self-justifications ( p < .001) being significant predictors.
The present study aimed to examine changes in consumer behavior and their psychological antecedents during the lockdown period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were specifically interested in separating necessity and non-necessity products since previous studies suggested that such a distinction is helpful to better understand consumer behavior[ 18 , 74 ]. First, our results indicated a 61% increase in spending levels during the first week of the lockdown, compared to the average expenses before the health crisis. Furthermore, spending levels were differently increased for buying products framed as necessities (91%) and non-necessities (36%). Second, we examined consumer behavior through Necessities and Non-necessities scales, which included measures related to the psychological need of buying, the specific aspects of the purchase experience (e.g., impulsiveness, perceived utility, satisfaction), and the number of products purchased. Our results highlighted that changes in consumer behavior were positively associated with changes in spending levels during the COVID-19 emergency.
Finally, we focused on psychological factors that can explain these changes in consumer behavior. In this context, our hypothesis about the role of the identified psychological factors in predicting consumer behavior during COVID-19 was supported. Also, our findings confirmed the importance of separating necessities from non-necessities products, as we found that they had different psychological antecedents. Regarding the investigation on spending levels, our findings are in line with sales data reporting that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer priorities have become more centered on necessities, including food, hygiene, and cleaning products[ 7 , 62 ]. Therefore, the present study confirmed the greater tendency to buy necessities products during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is noteworthy to mention that our sample also reported an increase in spending levels related to non-necessities products. These data can be explained by referring to previous research that considered increases in non-necessities spending levels to respond to the hedonistic pursuit of freedom, defying boredom, restoring the sense of self, and compensatory mechanism, to alleviate negative psychological states[ 16 , 32 , 34 , 37 , 44 , 75 ]. However, as highlighted in the study by Forbes and colleagues[ 76 ] these hedonic needs and compensatory mechanisms can have a different impact during or in the aftermath of a crisis. In addition, the authors highlighted that the consumption of non-necessities products increased, as a way of coping to alleviate negative psychological states, particularly in the short term after a natural disaster. According to these results, a recent study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic suggested that some factors, such as the degree of perceived threat, may vary during the COVID-19 pandemic, thus, having a different impact on consumer behavior[ 77 ]. Therefore, future research could delve into the analysis of changes in consumer behavior over time in relation to the different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding our investigation of consumer behavior’s antecedent psychological factors, we found partly different antecedents for necessities and non-necessities. Regarding demographic effects, in the present study, we found that men were more oriented in terms of needs and feelings toward non-necessities than women. A possible explanation could consider the context of the COVID-19, whereas the lockdown has imposed the closure of physical stores. In this context, it could be appropriate to refer to those studies that found several gender differences between consumer e-commerce adoption and purchase decision making. Specifically, research has shown that men and women have different psychological pre-disposition of web-based purchases, with men having more positive attitudes toward online shopping[ 78 , 79 ]. Furthermore, a study conducted during COVID-19 showed that women spent more time on necessities such as childcare and chores compared to men[ 80 ]. Regarding age differences, we found that younger people were more oriented toward non-necessities products. A study conducted in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted that older adults showed lower negative emotions than younger adults[ 73 , 81 , 82 ]. In this view, it is possible that lower emotional antecedents, such as depressive states, lowered the need to buy non-necessities for more aged people. Another study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic showed that older adults, aged 56 to 75, had significantly reduced the purchase of non-necessities goods compared to younger people[ 83 ]. Furthermore, considering the closure of physical stores, it is possible that younger people were more able and got used to buy a broader range of non-necessities products by e-commerce. However, it is important to note that we excluded in the present study people aged over 65. We also found a positive effect of income on necessities. A possible explanation is that people more stable from an economic point of view were more oriented to feel the need to buy products. However, surprisingly we did not find this effect for non-necessities. Finally, we found a positive effect of education on non-necessities. This data is congruent with another study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, showing that people with higher education (e.g., bachelor’s degrees and graduate or professional degrees) tended to buy an unusual amount of goods than people with lower education[ 84 ].Furthermore, another study highlighted that during COVID-19 pandemic entertainment and outdoor expenses significantly varied across different education groups[ 85 ]. Considering the present results, further studies should better investigate the impact of socio-demographic factors on the need to purchase necessities and non-necessities during health emergency and natural disaster.
Furthermore, after accounting for control variables (gender, age, income brackets, and education), consumer behavior toward necessities was explained by personality traits (openness), negative emotions (anxiety and COVID- related fear), perception of economic stability, and self-justifications. On the other side, consumer behavior toward non-necessities was explained by conscientiousness, openness, depression, perceived economic stability, and self-justifications.
Present findings showed that negative feelings have a considerable role in predicting changes in consumer behavior related to necessities products. This result is consistent with previous literature showing that, during a health crisis, fear and anxiety are developed from perceived feelings of insecurity and instability[ 30 ]. To reduce these negative feelings, people tend to focus on aspects and behaviors that can help them regain control and certainty, such as buying[ 86 ]. Therefore, changes in consumer behavior could be explained as a remedial response to reduce fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 emergency. According to our hypothesis, present findings indicated that fear and anxiety play an important role in predicting changes in consumer behavior related to necessities. In contrast, no significant effects were found on non-necessities. A possible explanation for this remarkable difference can be provided by research in survival psychology, which highlighted that individuals might undergo behavioral changes during events such as natural disasters or health crises, including herd behavior, panic buying, changes in purchasing habits, and decision making[ 8 , 76 ]. Following these changes, individuals can be more engaged in behaviors that are necessary for survival[ 26 , 87 ]. In this view, COVID-related fear and anxiety could lead individuals to feel the need to buy necessities products useful for daily survival.
Stress is another factor suggested to differently affect changes in consumer behavior toward necessities and non-necessities[ 18 ]. It is noticeable that consumers experiencing stressful situations may show increased spending behavior, explicitly directed toward products that the consumer perceives to be necessities and that allow for control in an otherwise uncontrollable environment[ 18 ]. Our results partly support this position, showing that stress has a specific role in predicting changes in consumer behavior related to necessities but not to non-necessities. However, the role of stress was no longer significant when fear was entered in the regression model. Noteworthy, we focused on fear for COVID-19, therefore, it is possible that in such an exceptionally unprecedented situation, fear had a prominent role compared to stress. Moreover, previous literature shows that the relationship between fear and consumer behavior increases as the type of fear measured becomes more specific[ 88 ]. In this sense, further studies could delve into the relationship between fear and stress in relation to consumer behavior.
Notably, past studies had found a relationship between depressive states and consumer behavior, suggesting that changes in consumer behavior can represent self-protective behaviors to manage negative affective states[ 37 ]. The role of depression was highlighted by our results in respect to consumer behavior only related to non-necessities. Therefore, conversely to the study conducted in the UK and Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic by Bentall et colleagues (2021), we did not find a relationship between depression and buying necessities. It is important to note that we described non-necessities products as “products for fun or entertainment”. In our opinion, people with higher levels of depressive symptoms may feel a greater need for this kind of product. Thus, people were drawn more toward this category of purchases because it was better suited to satisfy compensatory strategies to improve their negative emotional states. However, future studies are required to investigate this possibility and deepen the relationship between depressive states and the need to buy necessities and non-necessities. Furthermore, considering that depressive mood can be related to severe dysfunctional aspects of consumer behavior, such as impulsivity and compulsivity, future clinical studies should further investigate this relationship.
Furthermore, based on the limited and contrasting literature on this topic, we considered the role of personality traits. As suggested by previous studies, conscientiousness and openness were found to be associated with consumer behavior[ 89 – 91 ]. Interestingly, we found that personality traits were more relevant in consumer behavior toward non-necessities than necessities products. Only openness had a role in (negatively) predicting consumer behavior toward necessities, whereas conscientiousness (negatively) and openness (positively) predicted consumer behavior toward non-necessities. Unexpectedly, we found that people with a high level of openness showed high scores in consumer behavior toward non-necessities but low scores in necessities products. We speculated that individuals with higher levels of openness, which are more inclined to develop interests and hobbies[ 92 ], might have experienced a higher need to purchase non-necessities products during the lockdown. On the other hand, individuals with lower scores of openness, which tend to prefer familiar routines to new experiences and have a narrower range of interests, might have been more focused on purchasing necessity products. However, further studies should investigate the different roles of openness on necessities vs non-necessities consumer behavior. Globally, we acknowledge that the specific role and directions of these different personality traits on consumer behavior toward necessities and non-necessities is still an unexplored question, fully deserving of further investigations.
Finally, in both regression models, perceived economic stability and self-justifications predicted changes in consumer behavior. It comes as no surprise that individuals who perceived themselves and their family as more economically stable were prone to spend more in both products categories, necessities and non-necessities [ 52 , 53 ]. More intriguing, we found that the self-justifications that consumers adopted to motivate their purchases were a strong predictor of consumer behavior, especially in relation to non-necessities, where it explained the largest amount of variance (12%). Therefore, our hypothesis on the greater impact of self-justifications strategies on non-necessities compared to necessities was confirmed. Non-necessities, framed as products for fun or entertainment, seem more suited to satisfy that pursuit of freedom and the need to defy boredom that people increasingly experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic[ 48 ]. Therefore, we confirmed that the hedonistic attitude is an important predictor of consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. This result supported and extended previous literature showing that, during a crisis, changes in consumer behavior are related to self-justifications and rationalizations that people formulate to feel right in making their purchases, including the pursuit of freedom and the reduction of boredom[ 11 , 48 ]. Companies and markets can acknowledge this process and use it to develop new marketing strategies to meet consumers’ actual needs, feelings, and motivation to purchase during the COVID-19 emergency[ 12 ]. On the one hand, satisfying these needs could support and favor well-being and the positive sense of self, which are essentially sought by the consumer developing such self-justification strategies[ 17 ]. On the other hand, focusing on strategies that consider these psychological self-justifications could be a winning marketing strategy for increasing sales, contributing to the economic recovery after the COVID-19 outbreak[ 13 ].
The results of the present study highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic had a considerable impact on consumer behavior. In our sample, this impact resulted in increased spending levels accompanied by an increase in the psychological need to purchase both necessities and non-necessities products. Furthermore, our findings demonstrated that several psychological factors predicted these changes in consumer behavior. Notably, consumer behavior respectively toward necessities and non-necessities differed on some psychological predictors.
Some limits of the current study need to be acknowledged. First, we studied consumer behavior from a broad perspective on a non-clinical sample, therefore we did not include dysfunctional aspects related to consumer behavior, such as impulsivity and compulsivity buying and hoarding behavior, which the emergency may elicit. Hence, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be interesting to integrate our results with investigations of dysfunctional aspects of consumer behavior. Furthermore, since the unique opportunity to study psychological factors and consumer behavior during this unprecedented period, we adopted an integrative approach to consider the impact of several psychological factors at once, obtaining one of the first overviews of consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, combining all these psychological factors could have led to an aggregation bias[ 93 ], which could have masked the specific roles of each of the individual factors influencing consumer behavior. Therefore, future studies could adopt a more fine-grained approach to disentangle the role of each factor. Another limit is that we collected data during the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy. Notably, we reasoned that focusing on the very first period of the lockdown would likely allow us to capture the greater shift in consumer behavior, thus offering compelling evidence on the first impact of the pandemic on consumers. Nevertheless, it is likely that consumer behavior will undergo further changes in the longer term. Hence, future studies should investigate the evolution of consumer behaviors in relation to the development of the pandemic. Indeed, it is likely that when the “sense of urgency” and the negative affective reaction to the emergency will decrease, also the need for buying and purchases preferences would change. Furthermore, since we asked participants to estimate their weekly expenditures before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to keep in mind that our study focused on the people’s perception of changes in expenses. We did not know how much reliable these estimations were, and it is possible that objective assessment of change in the amount of money spent before and during the pandemic diverge from subjective views. In the present study, we focused on individual internal factors that could influence consumer behavior. However, other external factors, including the lockdown restrictions as the closure of physical stores, had certainly had a further impact on consumer behavior. Notwithstanding these limitations, this study represents one of the first attempts to examine changes in consumer behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic from a behavioral economic perspective, providing a thorough analysis of the psychological factors driving changes in consumer behavior, with a direct link to previous psychological research in consumer behavior. Furthermore, our results provided new evidence on the role of psychological factors influencing necessities and non-necessities spending and extended our knowledge of the antecedents of consumer behavior changes during the unprecedented health crisis we are experiencing.
In conclusion, the present study, by shedding new light on changes in people’s behavior due to the pandemic, fits into the growing body of research which helps increase economic and psychological preparedness in the face of future health emergencies.
S1 table. pattern matrix of the pca for the questionnaire on consumer behavior during the covid-19 pandemic..
S2 Table. PCA for the “Perceived economic stability” questionnaire.
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Advertising, Consumerism, Materialism, Marketing
Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff
Consumer behavior—or how people buy and use goods and services—is a rich field of psychological research, particularly for companies trying to sell products to as many potential customers as possible. Since what people buy—and why they buy it—impacts many different facets of their lives, research into consumer behavior ties together several key psychological issues. These include communication (How do different people respond to advertising and marketing?), identity (Do our purchases reveal our personality ?), social status, decision-making , and mental and physical health.
- Why Consumer Behavior Matters
- The Psychology of Buying and Spending
- How Advertising and Marketing Work
- How to Appeal to Consumers
Corporations, political campaigns, and nonprofit organizations all consult findings about consumer behavior to determine how best to market products, candidates, or issues. In some cases, they accomplish this by manipulating people's fears, their least-healthy habits, or their worst tendencies. And consumers themselves can be their own worst enemy, making rash purchasing decisions based on anxiety , faulty logic, or a fleeting desire for social status. But consumers aren’t powerless: Learning more about the different strategies companies employ, as well as the explanations for people's often confusing purchasing decisions, can help individuals more consciously decide what, why, and whether to buy.
In developed countries, people spend only a portion of their money on things they need to survive, and the rest on non-essentials. Purchasing decisions based on want, rather than need, aren’t always rational ; instead, they are influenced by personality , emotion , and trends. To keep up, marketers continuously investigate how individuals and groups make buying choices and respond to marketing techniques.
Political marketing is, in many ways, similar to product marketing: it plays on emotions and people’s desire for compelling stories , rather than pure rationality, and aims to condense complex issues into short, memorable soundbites. Smart politicians use marketing research to tailor their messages, connect with voters who share their values, and counter their opponents’ narrative.
Humans are social animals. We rely on a group to survive and are evolutionarily driven to follow the crowd . To learn what is “correct,” we look to other people—a heuristic known as the principle of social proof . Fads are born because a product’s popularity is assumed to signal value, which further bolsters its popularity.
Natural or man-made disasters can trigger panic buying or hoarding behaviors, either before the disaster or after it has passed, usually of products deemed necessary for survival. In the weeks and months after a disaster, some evidence suggests that “hedonic purchases”—such as alcohol or unhealthy foods —rise as victims of the disaster attempt to cope.
After large-scale recessions, such as the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, consumers typically become more frugal and sensitive to price. These changes become permanent for some consumers, especially for those who were particularly hard-hit; for others, behaviors revert back to baseline once the economy has stabilized and any personal financial challenges have been overcome.
It already has. Consumers are buying less , shifting more purchasing online, and spending less on travel and in-person events. Whether those changes will endure, though, is unclear. Some experts predict that most people will revert back to old habits post-COVID; a small few, it’s predicted, will become more frugal and less materialistic in the long term.
Much of what people purchase—like food, shelter, or medical care—is necessary for their health and security. But what compels someone to buy things that aren’t necessary, like the latest iPhone or an impractical pair of high-heeled shoes? The study of why people make such purchases—which are often irrational—is closely related to the field of behavioral economics , which examines why people deviate from the most rational choice available.
Behavioral economists, marketing professionals, and psychologists have concluded that extraneous purchases may be driven by a need to display one’s social status, or in response to an emotion like sadness or boredom . In other instances, retailers may successfully manipulate the desire for a “good deal” by making an unneeded item seem especially affordable or portraying it as being in limited supply.
Learning how to recognize common manipulation tactics may help individuals and families save money—and stress —in the long term.
Many human behaviors are driven by reward. Purchasing a new gadget or item of clothing triggers a surge of dopamine , which creates pleasurable feelings. Though the glow of a new purchase may not last long, the desire to once again be rewarded with a burst of dopamine drives us to buy more .
It depends. Some research suggests that experiential purchases like vacations bring more happiness than material goods, in both the short- and long-term . However, this rule may not apply universally. For lower-income people, spending on material goods that meet basic needs is often more conducive to happiness, especially if the items remain useful over time.
Consumers are often irrational. Instead of only buying things they need, they also buy unnecessary items—often because the purchase makes them feel good, soothes negative emotions, or boosts social status. A consumer may also buy something that has been framed by a marketer as especially attractive; “buy one get one free” offers, for instance, are hard to resist and encourage people to buy things they don’t need.
Certain buying impulses can ultimately be harmful , but they often serve a psychological purpose. Purchasing unhealthy foods or excessive alcohol, for instance, can temporarily offer comfort from painful emotions; buying a new pair of designer jeans might break the bank, but can also help the purchaser prominently display their social status.
Dissonant buying impulses—or purchases that conflict with one’s resources, needs, and goals —can be difficult to manage, especially when they’re driven by negative emotions. Learning emotional regulation skills —such as naming any negative feelings, redirecting attention to productive activities, or practicing mindfulness —or creating physical “barriers” (such as freezing credit cards so they can’t be used impulsively) can help.
Anxiety is known to spur impulsive purchases —in part because buying things offers a sense of control and can be used to self-soothe. Anxiety can also lead someone to prioritize products that promote safety or a sense of security—such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, or canned goods.
In a word, panic. Anxiety and fear make the world appear frightening and senseless; stocking up on certain items like toilet paper is one way to restore a feeling of control. Panic buying is also driven in part by herd mentality; if people see that others are hoarding hand sanitizer, they assume they should too.
Impulse buying may be motivated by negative emotions, as purchasing something often temporarily boosts mood. It may also be driven by personality—the naturally more impulsive or less conscientious may be driven to more frequently purchase items on a whim. Marketing strategies, like advertising products as “limited time offers,” can increase the tendency to impulse buy.
Two vast, interrelated industries—advertising and marketing—are dedicated to introducing people to products and convincing them to make purchases.
Since the public’s desires tend to change over time, however, what works in one product’s campaign won’t necessarily work in another’s. To adapt messages for a fickle audience, advertisers employ focus groups, market research, and psychological studies to better understand what compels people to commit to purchases or become loyal to brands.
Everyone has heard the advertising maxim “sex sells,” for instance—but exactly what, when, and why sex can be used to successfully market a product is the subject of much debate among ad makers and behavioral researchers. Recently, some evidence has suggested that pitches to the perceived “lowest common denominator” may actually inspire consumer backlash.
Marketers regularly use psychology to convince consumers to buy. Some common strategies include classical conditioning —training consumers to associate a product with certain cues through repeated exposure—creating a scarcity mindset (suggesting that a product only exists in limited quantities), or employing the principle of social proof to imply that everyone is buying a product—so you should, too.
Marketers often exploit cognitive shortcuts , known as heuristics, to convince consumers to make purchases. One example of this is the anchoring bias , or the brain’s tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information it learns. A savvy marketer may say, for instance, that a car costs $20,000, then quickly offer to take $1,000 off. Since the consumer “anchored” on to the initial $20,000 price tag, a $1,000 discount seems substantial and the consumer may leap at the offer. But if the car was truly worth $15,000, it would still be overpriced, even with the supposed discount factored in.
Renowned marketing researcher Robert Cialdini found that advertisements are perceived very differently depending on consumers’ state of mind. Fearful consumers, for instance, are more likely to respond negatively to ads that promote standing out from the crowd. However, consumers in a positive state of mind respond well to ads encouraging uniqueness; thus, timing and context are often critical to an ad’s success.
Limited time offers trigger a sense of urgency and force consumers to make quick decisions. A product only being available “for a limited time” (either at all or at a lower price) creates a sense of scarcity. Scarcity—whether real or manufactured—increases a product’s perceived value, heightening the chance of an impulsive purchase.
Because the majority of humans desire and seek out sex, sexual stimuli naturally capture attention; thus, marketers often make use of attractive models or erotic imagery simply to make consumers take notice. Being “primed” with erotic content can change behavior, too; research has found that sexual priming can lead consumers to make riskier financial choices.
The effectiveness of sex in advertising likely depends on several factors, including gender and context. Women appear to respond more negatively to sexual ads than men, research finds. When the product is unrelated to sex, using erotic imagery in ads can trigger dissonance and trigger negative feelings about the brand.
In a crowded marketplace, anyone hoping to sell a product or service will need to stand out. To succeed at this, marketers often turn to psychological research to identify and target their most likely consumers, grab their attention, and convince them that a product will fill a specific need or otherwise better their life. Aiming to inform and persuade consumers—rather than manipulate them—is widely considered to be the most ethical approach, and is likely to help build brand loyalty more than cheap marketing tricks.
Both the message and the messenger matter for persuasion . Marketing researcher Robert Cialdini has found that first impressions matter greatly—a company (or individual) that appears trustworthy and warm is more likely to gain their audience’s trust. Cialdini also coined the term “pre-suasion” to argue that marketers must grab consumers’ attention before making an appeal—by offering free samples, for instance, or couching a product pitch in an amusing commercial.
Turning to psychology can help. Appealing to consumers’ emotions and desire for connection with others are often powerful marketing strategies, as long as they’re not interpreted by consumers as manipulative. Introducing novelty, too, can be effective—research shows that consumers respond to surprising ads, humorous ads, or even “experiential” ads (such as parties or events designed to promote a product). Repeating an ad enough times so that a consumer remembers it—but not so much that they become frustrated—is also a critical part of any effective ad campaign.
Humans are creatures of habit and slow to adapt to change. To spread a new message or idea, advertisers have learned that simplicity is key; overcomplicated appeals can be frustrating or confusing for consumers. Summarizing the benefits of a new product, service, or political campaign in pithy, memorable phrases or images—and then repeating the message as often as possible—is more likely to grab consumers' attention and convince them to take a chance on a new object or idea.
Customers trust businesses that are honest with them, sharing accurate information about everything from the benefits of using their products to how they run their business. Other guidelines for ethical marketing include clearly distinguishing ads from other types of content (news, entertainment, etc.), prioritizing the interests of children or other vulnerable groups (by not marketing unhealthy products to children, for example), avoiding negative stereotypes, and respecting consumers’ intelligence and privacy.
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Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Society 5.0 pp 545–558 Cite as
A Study on Social Media Impact on Consumer Behavior of Commercial Bank Customers: The Case of Bangalore City
- Donston Sharwin 4 ,
- C. Nagadeepa ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-9615-958X 5 &
- M. Bala Koteswari ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-5491-8835 6
- First Online: 09 November 2023
Part of the Studies in Computational Intelligence book series (SCI,volume 1113)
More study is required to comprehend how social media influences marketing and consumer behaviour. This study examines how social media influences the choices of Bangalore commercial bank customers. The present study investigated the influence of social media on banking transactions. 69% of customers purchase using social media. Facebook influenced 73% of consumer purchases. By 63%, interactivity influences social media and customer purchases. These findings suggest commercial banks in Bangalore should promote and use social media.
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Sharwin, D., Nagadeepa, C., Bala Koteswari, M. (2023). A Study on Social Media Impact on Consumer Behavior of Commercial Bank Customers: The Case of Bangalore City. In: Hannoon, A., Mahmood, A. (eds) Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Society 5.0. Studies in Computational Intelligence, vol 1113. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-43300-9_45
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Consumer Behavior Research Paper Topics
Consumer behavior research paper topics are essential to students studying this field. This comprehensive guide from iResearchNet provides a comprehensive list of consumer behavior research paper topics divided into 10 categories, expert advice on selecting a relevant topic, and a step-by-step guide on writing a successful research paper. Additionally, iResearchNet offers writing services with expert degree-holding writers, custom written works, in-depth research, custom formatting, top quality, customized solutions, flexible pricing, short deadlines, timely delivery, 24/7 support, absolute privacy, easy order tracking, and a money-back guarantee. By following the expert advice provided and using iResearchNet’s writing services, students can produce high-quality research papers that make meaningful contributions to the field of consumer behavior.
Understanding Consumer Behavior Research
Consumer behavior research is an essential field of study that explores the processes and activities that individuals undertake when making decisions related to purchasing goods and services. This field is particularly important for marketers, advertisers, and sales professionals who seek to understand how consumers make purchasing decisions and how they can influence these decisions.
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For students studying consumer behavior, research papers are a common assignment that require them to explore various topics related to this field. However, selecting a relevant and feasible research paper topic can be challenging. Furthermore, writing a successful research paper requires attention to detail and adherence to academic standards. This comprehensive guide from iResearchNet is designed to assist students in selecting appropriate consumer behavior research paper topics and providing expert advice on how to write a successful research paper. The guide also provides information on iResearchNet’s writing services, which offer students a valuable resource for producing high-quality research papers that meet the academic standards of their instructors. By following the guidelines and using iResearchNet’s writing services, students can produce research papers that make meaningful contributions to the field of consumer behavior.
100 Consumer Behavior Research Paper Topics
Consumer behavior research encompasses a wide range of topics, each of which explores different aspects of how individuals make decisions related to purchasing goods and services. Here are ten categories of consumer behavior research paper topics that students can consider when selecting a research topic, along with ten sample topics for each category:
Perception and consumer behavior:
- The impact of package design on consumer perception of food products
- The effect of product display on consumer attention and purchase intention
- The role of brand familiarity in consumer perception of luxury goods
- The influence of product color on consumer perception and behavior
- The effect of music in advertising on consumer perception and recall
- The impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer perception of products
- The effect of font type on consumer perception of brand personality
- The role of scent in retail environments on consumer behavior
- The influence of product label claims on consumer perception of health and wellness
- The impact of product design on consumer perception of eco-friendliness
Motivation and consumer behavior:
- The influence of brand personality on consumer motivation to purchase
- The role of scarcity in marketing on consumer motivation and behavior
- The impact of rewards and incentives on consumer motivation and loyalty
- The effect of social proof on consumer motivation to purchase
- The influence of emotions on consumer motivation to purchase
- The role of self-congruity in consumer motivation and brand preference
- The impact of brand trust on consumer motivation to purchase
- The effect of personalized marketing on consumer motivation and engagement
- The influence of product involvement on consumer motivation and purchase intention
- The role of value perception in consumer motivation and price sensitivity
Attitudes and consumer behavior:
- The impact of brand image on consumer attitudes and loyalty
- The role of social responsibility in consumer attitudes towards brands
- The influence of culture on consumer attitudes towards luxury goods
- The effect of perceived risk on consumer attitudes and behavior
- The impact of celebrity endorsement on consumer attitudes towards products
- The role of nostalgia in shaping consumer attitudes towards brands
- The influence of brand authenticity on consumer attitudes and behavior
- The effect of word-of-mouth communication on consumer attitudes and behavior
- The impact of service quality on consumer attitudes and loyalty
- The role of price perception in shaping consumer attitudes towards products
Learning and consumer behavior:
- The impact of advertising on consumer learning and recall
- The role of sensory marketing in consumer learning and behavior
- The influence of online reviews on consumer learning and purchase decisions
- The effect of product placement in movies on consumer learning and recall
- The impact of social media on consumer learning and brand awareness
- The role of brand familiarity in consumer learning and recall
- The influence of product packaging on consumer learning and memory
- The effect of information overload on consumer learning and decision making
- The impact of brand slogans on consumer learning and recall
- The role of perceived value in consumer learning and purchase behavior
Memory and consumer behavior:
- The influence of brand familiarity on consumer memory and recall
- The role of nostalgia in consumer memory and brand preference
- The impact of product design on consumer memory and recall
- The effect of advertising repetition on consumer memory and brand awareness
- The influence of mood on consumer memory and recall of advertising
- The role of social media in consumer memory and brand awareness
- The impact of story-telling in advertising on consumer memory and recall
- The effect of novelty in advertising on consumer memory and recall
- The influence of age on consumer memory and recall of advertising
- The role of emotions in consumer memory and recall of advertising
Culture and consumer behavior:
- The impact of cultural differences on consumer behavior and preferences
- The role of religion in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
- The influence of gender roles on consumer behavior and preferences
- The effect of country-of-origin on consumer behavior and brand perception
- The impact of subcultures on consumer behavior and preferences
- The role of ethnicity in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
- The influence of language on consumer behavior and perception
- The effect of cross-cultural marketing on consumer behavior and perception
- The impact of cultural values on consumer behavior and decision making
- The role of consumer ethnocentrism in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
Emotions and consumer behavior:
- The impact of emotions on consumer decision making and behavior
- The role of mood on consumer decision making and purchase intention
- The influence of emotional branding on consumer behavior and loyalty
- The effect of emotional appeals in advertising on consumer behavior
- The impact of emotions on consumer satisfaction and loyalty
- The role of self-expression in shaping consumer emotional responses to brands
- The influence of nostalgia on consumer emotional responses to brands
- The effect of humor in advertising on consumer emotional responses and behavior
- The impact of product design on consumer emotional responses and behavior
- The role of perceived authenticity in shaping consumer emotional responses to brands
Social Influence and consumer behavior:
- The impact of social norms on consumer behavior and preferences
- The role of social comparison in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
- The influence of reference groups on consumer behavior and brand perception
- The effect of social media on consumer behavior and decision making
- The impact of social identity on consumer behavior and brand loyalty
- The role of social class in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
- The influence of social networks on consumer behavior and brand perception
- The effect of social proof in marketing on consumer behavior and preferences
- The impact of peer pressure on consumer behavior and decision making
- The role of social responsibility in shaping consumer behavior and brand perception
Decision Making and consumer behavior:
- The impact of information overload on consumer decision making
- The role of decision heuristics in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
- The influence of product complexity on consumer decision making and preferences
- The effect of decision context on consumer decision making and behavior
- The impact of decision fatigue on consumer behavior and decision making
- The role of decision-making style in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
- The influence of decision-making strategies on consumer behavior and preferences
- The effect of cognitive dissonance on consumer behavior and decision making
- The impact of choice architecture on consumer decision making and behavior
- The role of decision framing in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
Ethics and consumer behavior:
- The impact of corporate social responsibility on consumer behavior and brand perception
- The role of ethical consumption in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
- The influence of perceived ethicality on consumer behavior and brand loyalty
- The effect of green marketing on consumer behavior and purchase intention
- The impact of fair trade on consumer behavior and brand perception
- The role of animal welfare in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
- The influence of social justice issues on consumer behavior and brand perception
- The effect of cause-related marketing on consumer behavior and brand loyalty
- The impact of transparency in marketing on consumer behavior and trust
- The role of consumer activism in shaping consumer behavior and preferences
These ten categories provide a broad range of consumer behavior research paper topics for students to explore within the field of consumer behavior. By selecting a topic that aligns with their interests and research goals, students can produce a high-quality research paper that contributes to the knowledge base of consumer behavior.
Choosing a Consumer Behavior Topic
Choosing a topic for a research paper in consumer behavior can be a challenging task, especially given the vast array of potential topics. To help students navigate this process, it is important to consider a few key factors when selecting a topic.
- First , it is essential to choose a topic that aligns with your interests and passions. When you are passionate about a topic, it is easier to stay engaged throughout the research process and to produce high-quality work. Additionally, having a personal connection to the topic can inspire new and unique perspectives, leading to original research.
- Second , consider the relevance and significance of the topic. The best research papers are those that make a meaningful contribution to the field of consumer behavior. Look for topics that are timely, relevant, and offer a new perspective on existing theories or practices. A topic that is of current interest to industry professionals, policymakers, or academics can also provide opportunities for real-world impact.
- Third , consider the available resources and access to data. Research papers require a significant amount of data and research, so it is important to choose a topic that allows for access to relevant data and resources. Consider the availability of data sources, academic journals, and industry reports that may be needed to support your research.
- Fourth , consider the scope and focus of the research paper. A topic that is too broad or too narrow can make the research process more challenging. It is essential to identify a specific research question or hypothesis that can be effectively addressed within the scope of the research paper. Additionally, it is important to consider the level of analysis, such as individual or group-level behaviors, and whether the research will be qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods.
- Fifth , consider seeking guidance from your instructor or a research advisor. They can provide valuable insight and feedback on potential topics and can help guide the research process. Additionally, they may be able to offer suggestions for data sources or research methodologies that can strengthen the research paper.
Ultimately, the key to choosing a successful topic for a consumer behavior research paper is to identify a topic that aligns with your interests, offers relevance and significance, has available data sources and resources, has a focused research question or hypothesis, and seeks guidance from a research advisor or instructor. By carefully considering these factors, students can select a topic that inspires them and leads to a high-quality research paper.
How to Write a Consumer Behavior Research Paper
When it comes to writing a research paper on consumer behavior, there are several key steps to follow to ensure a successful outcome. Here are some tips to help guide you through the writing process:
- Develop a clear and concise research question : The first step in writing a research paper on consumer behavior is to develop a clear and concise research question. This question should be focused and specific, and should guide your research and analysis throughout the writing process.
- Conduct a thorough literature review : Before beginning your research, it is important to conduct a thorough literature review to identify existing theories and research related to your topic. This review will help you to identify any gaps in the existing research that your paper can address.
- Choose appropriate research methods : There are a variety of research methods that can be used in consumer behavior research, including surveys, experiments, and case studies. Choose the appropriate method(s) based on your research question and the data you are trying to collect.
- Collect and analyze data : Once you have identified your research question and chosen your research method, it is time to collect and analyze your data. This may involve conducting surveys or experiments, analyzing existing data sets, or conducting interviews or focus groups.
- Organize and present your findings : After analyzing your data, it is important to organize your findings in a clear and concise manner. This may involve creating charts or graphs to visually represent your data, or using tables to compare and contrast your findings. It is also important to provide a clear and concise summary of your findings in your conclusion.
- Use appropriate formatting and citation styles : When writing a research paper on consumer behavior, it is important to use appropriate formatting and citation styles. Most papers in this field will use either APA or MLA style formatting and citations.
- Revise and edit your paper : Once you have completed your first draft, it is important to revise and edit your paper to ensure clarity, conciseness, and accuracy. This may involve reorganizing sections, cutting out extraneous information, or rephrasing sentences for clarity.
By following these steps, you can produce a high-quality research paper on consumer behavior that contributes to the field and provides valuable insights for academics, policymakers, and industry professionals alike.
iResearchNet Writing Services
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In conclusion, writing a research paper on consumer behavior can be a challenging task, but it is also a rewarding one. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can produce a high-quality research paper that contributes to the field and provides valuable insights for academics, policymakers, and industry professionals alike.
Remember to choose a clear and concise research question, conduct a thorough literature review, choose appropriate research methods, collect and analyze data, and organize and present your findings in a clear and concise manner. Additionally, using appropriate formatting and citation styles and revising and editing your paper are also important steps in producing a successful research paper on consumer behavior.
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Consumer Behavior Research Paper Sample
- Author Sandra W.
How Consumer Behavior Changes for Telecommunication Gadgets Affect On Marketing: A Case of Samsung
Abstract From Deloitte Company predictions, the overall demand for consumer technologies is likely to increase in the next twenty-five years or so. Consumers are more likely to purchase the tablet computers and smart phones. However, computers of all types are likely to sell due to a higher demand expected in the next coming decade. For global televisions, the change in growth in terms of sales will decrease compared to the previous years, but sales may be relatively high in the emerging countries. In addition, those countries experiencing mild recession or stagnant growth will also experience the overall growth in consumer technologies. In relation to Moore’s Law, the total dollar can remain to be flat as prices of commodities fluctuate while other new factors will also affect that growth. Samsung is one of the growing companies globally in terms of technology producing handsets such as Smartphone’s, Tablets, Televisions, and various electronics. This paper will focus on ways in which the consumer behavior is likely to change over the next decade on telecommunications gadgets manufactured by the Samsung Company for instance, the hand phones. The paper will also focus on how some consumer behavior changes will relate to culture, situational factors, and perception of the consumers, attitude, motivation socialization, adoption, and diffusion and their implications on the market segmentation, price, product, promotion, and place strategies of Samsung.
Introduction While the global economic growth forecast for the next decade is much stronger compared to the previous years, the outlook appears positive for most regions even the developing regions. The already developed markets might experience the weakest growth. In these countries, consumers might defer on expenditure on big items trying to maintain expenditure on smaller items, which includes the consumer technology. Emerging markets, where consumer technology is relatively low will also enjoy the high overall growth and this will eventually affect the consumer behavior. Cheaper computers and less expensive Smartphone’s will further drive the demand for the devices in the developing countries. Currently, the modern society is spending a lot in technology than one might expect. On average, a household in the united state of America spent $1,200 on consumer technology in 2012. This is less than 2.5 % of the median income. The consumer technology purchases starts with low prices of tens of dollars for mobile phones (basics), and rises to hundreds of dollars for smart phones, laptops, televisions, tablets, and computers. Organizational Overview For more than seventy years, Samsung Company has a reputation of making the world better through diverse businesses that currently span advanced technology, skyscraper, semiconductors, and plant construction, fashion, petrochemicals, hotels, and finances (Chang, 2011). The flagship company, Samsung Electronics, leads in the global market in high technology electronics producing and digital media. Particularly, Samsung is South Korean multinational conglomerate company. It has its headquarters in Samsung town in Seoul (Kim, 1996). The company has numerous affiliated businesses and subsidiaries that are under the Samsung brand. Lee Byung-Chull founded the company in 1938 as a trading company. The company advanced in the next three decades and diversified into food processing, insurance, textiles, and securities (Kim, 1996). In 1960s, the company ventured into electronics and the shipbuilding and construction in mid 1970s. Through reliable, innovative services and products, talented people, and a responsible approach to the business, the company is taking the world at a different with imaginative new directions (Chang, 2011).
Technological Changes that Will Affect Samsung In the Next Decade Today, an exceptional technology purchase cracks the four figures in terms of dollar (Consumer Behavior, 2010). A decade ago, a big screen TV or an average PC purchased for than a thousand dollars. An average TV purchased at $1,800 more an in inflation-adjusted prices a decade ago. Currently, the $1,800 can purchase two tablets, two large flat screens TVs, three smart phones, two notebooks and still leave a consumer with some change to take home. For most consumers, the value for money is not quantifiable when purchasing or upgrading a service or a device (Noel, 2009). Most consumers have an idea on what to purchase or the amount they might use. Consumer technology gives a good analysis of the consumer behavior. On average, a tablet costing $500 is generally used between 350-700 hours in year with an hourly cost as low as $0.70 with an assumption that, the tablet is used for one year (Samli, 2012). An average TV set is used five to seven hours in a day. Assuming that the price of a flat screen TV is $400, the hourly cost is $0.45 and assuming that, the TV stays for one year. In contrast, purchasing a car, oversees music concerts, vacation or sporting events with at least ten dollars in an hour, while major events can cost more than hundred dollars in an hour (East, Wright, & Vanhuele, 2008). Consumer technology offers such good value for various reasons. Moore’s Law allows vendors to provide always-improving devices for fluctuating prices (Blythe, 2008). The other drive is the high level of competition for various categories of consumer technology. For various vendors dealing with televisions, analysts have estimated a margin lower than two percent while others remain negative (Consumer Behavior, 2010). On the hand, analysts estimated a low single figure for some tablets, with their profits generated from their accessory sales. The expenditure on consumer technology in the previous years may stronger than producers expects because of a structural shift in priorities in the next decade. A high number of individuals, across many regions, may be putting emphasis on purchasing, enjoying, and owning technology than there before (Noel, 2009). Buying a car or a good house was one of the rights of passage to becoming an adult. Dating from a year ago, buying a car, or buying a house may as well cause a reset. Taking a public transport or renting an apartment is preferable than owning either of them especially on the congested cities (Samli, 2012). Spending little on transportation and housing enables consumers to spend more money on technology devices (Consumer Behavior, 2010). In developing countries, consumer technology appears to remain a significant purchase as households evolve from a subsistence-level existence. In emerging countries, purchasing a television set comes first even ahead refrigerators, electricity (since their TV set operate by use of a car battery), and other items for instance, showers (Samli, 2012). For emerging countries, a television set may cost relatively low considering its entry-level price. This is lower in comparison to developed countries, with thicker flat screen television, and CRTs televisions still selling well. Generally, consumer technology is likely to perform well in the coming decade, even where markets experience little growth, rising prices and declining profits. There are several reasons to consumer technology changing the consumer behavior for instance, consumer technology rises because of new markets regionally and globally. The other reason is the steady increase in value for the dollar considering various devices and growing importance of the new technology as a status symbol (East, Wright, & Vanhuele, 2008). However, in relation to consumer technology, there is a limitation to budgets and the allocation of spending differs (Noel, 2009). In many instances, consumers are readily persuaded to shift their spending on seemingly unconnected groups, and marketing should exploit these kinds of tendencies (Samli, 2012). For instance, consumers with limited budgets may be unwilling to choose between a computer and a television, instead they may choose for a vacation and later use the traveling savings to purchase both devices. Various factors relate to consumer behavior and eventually affect the purchase of particular products. These factors include culture, situational factors, perception, motivation, attitude, adoption and diffusion, and socialization (Noel, 2009). Culture is a significant factor that relates to consumer behavior and plays a major role in determining how a product will sell in certain geographical area (Samli, 2012). It is important to note that, local culture plays a great role of a certain population in a given region, country, or city. If a certain product does not impress the local culture, it is difficult for that product to reach buyers outside that place. It is vital for marketers to understand that, each culture or society has some form of social class (Blythe, 2008). Buying behaviors of people in a particular culture is similar in a particular society. In such situations or places, marketing activities should conform to the society needs and wants. However, in given society, each person has different needs for instance, social needs, biological needs, and psychological needs. The common nature of needs is that, some needs are pressing than the others. Therefore, some needs become motives when they are more pressing directing buyers to seek their satisfaction (Samli, 2012). This implies, level of motivation affects the consumer behavior in a given society. Now that the technology is changing rapidly, the needs of people changes as the technology changes (East, Wright, & Vanhuele, 2008). Perception of consumers will greatly change in the next decade in relation to telecommunication gadgets (East, Wright, & Vanhuele, 2008). Perception is the organization, selection, and interpretation of information with a motive of producing a meaningful experience to the consumers. As the telecommunication keeps changing, the perception of consumers keeps changing also (Noel, 2009). Basic phones are becoming extinct, personal computers changing and even the television sets changing from Cathode Ray Tubes to flat screens. According to Samsung Company, the rise use of mobile phones with Operating Systems like Android will present a total different communication landscape. Challenging this tremendous change will entail changing the old processes from measurement to compensation. This will depend on different perception of consumers in relation to their needs. What now matters is how the program for the advertising or promotion industries and their leadership will take on these pressing problems in future (Samli, 2012). However, other factors like beliefs and attitudes will significantly affect the consumer behavior for the Samsung Company. Consumers possess some specific attitudes and beliefs towards different products (Consumer Behavior, 2010). Most of the beliefs and attitudes make up the brand image and affect the consumer behavior, which interest marketers. It is the role of promoters to change the attitudes and beliefs of consumers through launching particular changes in this regard (Samli, 2012). In the word of telecommunication, there ought to be advertisements spending on mobile phones, which currently comprises of one percent of budgets according to a study conducted by Marketing Evolution (Blythe, 2008). According to other analysis conducted by Marketing Evolution, the figure will raise by seven percent after the penetration of smart phones. In the next five years, the figure will rise by ten percent. Deloitte Company on other hand predicts that, in the next decade, five percent of the tablets sold will likely be to households or individuals who already own a tablet, which equates to five million tablets. From the belief of various consumers, it is apparent that, some individuals or households will not own a tablet or a smart phone since some consumers do not accept change easily (East, Wright, & Vanhuele, 2008). Most of the products merge with various communities in relation to price and budget constraints of individuals or households (Blythe, 2008). Target audience and the situational factors will also affect the consumer behavior in the next decade for telecommunication gadgets. For developed countries, individuals owning tablets would want a newer version of the tablet that is faster and with more features (Consumer Behavior, 2010). Changing a product to merge with a community sometimes is the biggest challenge promoters might experience. In the last decade, an industry attempted to replace frequency with engagement but failed. Engagement implies that, producers already understand what the society wants when consumers see advertisements (East, Wright, & Vanhuele, 2008). This led to the failure of the engagement since they could not deliver on that. According to Ted McConnell, the measurement is supposed to go directly to the minds of the consumers. Such measurements would offer more insights to the consumer’s behavior starting from browsing an advertisement to the changing channels, thereby eliminating negative that comes along (Blythe, 2008). Other predictions from the Deloitte Company show that, big data will experience tremendous growth and market penetration (East, Wright, & Vanhuele, 2008). In 2009, big data predictions and the total industry revenues amounted to $100 million. In the next decade, big data will likely project to 90% of the fortune 500. Most industries will be at a range of $1-$1.5 billion. Pilot projects will dominate the big data in the next decade, which the consumer behavior will play a great role (East, Wright, & Vanhuele, 2008). Dating from history, databases were the central point of locating stored data. Only certain tools could access, analyze, report, and manage data with business intelligence data. The ability of those software and tools has grown as the technology keep changing over time but generally, any data that was big and needed the results fast required a bigger new set of tools referred as big data tools (Samli, 2012).
Recently, the capacity of the data tool managed to keep the pace of the growing data sets. However, consumer behavior, social networks, sensor networks, mobility, and other sources that generated data caused organizational warehouse to overflow (Consumer Behavior, 2010). The size of the data has not grown much from the previous decades. For organizations to analyze data in real time, most organizations have to consider the big data again (Noel, 2009). This eventually will have implications to the consumer behavior. However, many consumers do not notice technological changes as they occur. Various factors such places and price affects the trend at which consumer’s moves while new changes occur. The consumer behavior varies from region to region and the available information (Samli, 2012).
In conclusion, various predictions by different telecommunication industries indicate a tremendous change in the next decade. For instance, the demand for tablets is likely to change, and the supply will follow suit. Smart phones on the other hand, which currently describes a number of devices; tablets will diversify in terms of size, operating system, processor power, and business model. To many consumers, size will be significant for multiple tablets, smart phones owners. Deloitte Company projects that; there would be an increase in the popularity and the number of smaller tablets. The screen size, efficiency, and the size of these gadgets will determine the consumer behavior in the next decade. The purchaser of the new gadgets in the new markets will comprise the first time owners of for instance, smart phones, tablets, and the new flat screen Televisions. The existing gadgets owners would want newer might be lighter, smaller that fits into their pockets or purse.
Blythe, J. (2008). Consumer Behaviour. Belmont: Cengage Learning EMEA. Consumer Behavior. (2010). Frank Kardes; Frank R. Kardes: Cengage Learning, . East, R., Wright, M., & Vanhuele, M. ( 2008). Consumer Behaviour: Applications in Marketing. Newcastle: Sage. Noel, H. (2009). Basics Marketing 01: Consumer Behaviour. Elburn: AVA Publishing. Samli, A. C. (2012). International Consumer Behavior. Greenwood: Greenwood Publishing Group.
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150 Excellent Marketing Research Topics to Achieve Top Grades
Table of Contents
If you are a marketing student, then you will have to write several assignments on marketing research topics. Right now, are you looking for the best marketing research paper topics? Don’t worry! We know how difficult it is to search and find hot marketing topics. So, to help you, here, in this blog post, we have shared a list of exclusive marketing research topic ideas worthy of fetching top grades.
How to Write a Marketing Research Paper
Marketing is a complex field of study that focuses on the innovative activities used by a company to promote and sell its products or services to the target audience. When you are asked to write a marketing research paper, you can consider writing on topics from business marketing strategies, marketing issues, or any other research areas related to the field of marketing.
First, a good research topic is needed for writing an excellent marketing research paper. So, based on your interest, identify a perfect marketing topic with a wide research scope. After you have identified a marketing research topic, go ahead and do a complete analysis of the topic.
Before you begin writing your research paper, sketch an outline based on your research analysis. Then, with the help of the outline, draft a well-structured marketing research paper with components such as introduction, body, and conclusion. When writing your research paper, make sure to provide relevant evidence to claim your key arguments and also include examples and references to support your claim.
List of Marketing Research Paper Topics
In marketing, you have a lot of research areas to focus on. For writing your marketing research paper, you can consider choosing topics from marketing research areas on consumer behavior, digital marketing, distribution, influential marketing, and so on.
As marketing is a broad subject, identifying the best research topic from it might consume a lot of time. So, to make your topic selection process easier, here, we have grouped different categories and have listed some interesting marketing research topics for you to consider.
Explore the complete list of topics and pick an ideal marketing research topic that will help you score an A+ grade.
Marketing Research Paper Topics on Distribution
- Compare the distribution systems used by small companies and multinationals.
- Brand manipulation tactics that marketers used to get more clients.
- Analyzing the best distribution strategies for new companies in offshore marketing.
- Marketing mix application: A closer look at Facebook.
- The relationship between marketing research and business sales
- The best strategies for integrating new products into the targeted clients’ lifestyles?
- Is it effective to use Black Friday for driving sales?
- Modern business marketing tactics and paradigms.
- The main factors that determine customer satisfaction in young adults
- Mistakes to avoid when crafting new marketing distribution channels.
- How do businesses use technology in the marketing of distribution?
- What manipulation tactics do brands use to get more customers?
- How can social media impact the buying choices of shoppers?
- Discuss the pros and cons of offshore marketing
- Describe some best distribution strategies for new companies
- Compare and contrast reverse logistics and dual distribution channels
- Pros and cons of direct selling
- Evaluation of the most effective distribution channel to use for selling through intermediaries
- Compare and contrast the distribution mechanism in large-scale corporations and SMEs
- Discuss the strategies of Sensory marketing and their impact on advertising
- Opportunities and threats of marketing research in the twenty-first century
- Critical analysis of digital marketing trends over the past decade
- Discuss the future of traditional marketing channels
Marketing Research Topics on Consumer Behavior
- Analyze the consumer’s buying behavior for wedding suits.
- Analyze the importance of studying consumer behavior when taking your business abroad.
- The effects of women’s status on their buying behavior.
- How do ads influence consumer behavior?
- Using loyalty programs as tools of marketing.
- Are well-known brands always good in quality?
- Analyze marketing challenges in family-owned enterprises.
- Does the customer pay attention to product labels?
- Are customers properly equipped to protect themselves from direct marketing?
- Leadership in marketing teams.
- How does advertising impact consumer behavior?
- How does global marketing incorporate standardization?
- How to apply the Learning Model of Consumer Behavior in Marketing
- Compare and contrast the Engel-Kollat-Blackwell (EKB) model and the Hawkins-Stern impulse buying model
- Critical analysis of the Webster and Wind model of Consumer Behaviour
- How to use Sociological Model and Psychoanalytic Model to identify and track consumer behavior?
- Discuss the challenges associated with different consumer behavior models
- Review the effectiveness of the initiatives of Internet marketing critically
- Discuss the differences between digital marketing and traditional marketing
- Assess strategies, trends, and realities of digital marketing
- Investigate the impact of WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing on consumer behavior
- How influencer marketing helps companies to manage their reputation?
Impressive Market Research Topics
- Harmful impacts of advertising on children.
- Is radio a good method of advertising today?
- Marketing strategies used in the fashion industry.
- Is display marketing declining?
- Is centralized marketing for global brands a good idea?
- Analyze the strategies used in marketing baby and maternity products.
- Brand marketing and political campaigns.
- Evaluate the success factors in global marketing: A case study of Apple.
- Comparing the new market entry strategies: Uber versus Netflix.
- In-store branding and brand salience.
- How do marketing strategies differ across different cultures?
- How do brands exploit impulsive buying?
Internet Marketing Research Ideas
- Do customers prefer buying their products online?
- What are the latest trends in online marketing?
- What do customers look for when purchasing products online?
- Compare and contrast the effectiveness of traditional versus modern marketing strategies.
- Why does marketing content in online advertising go viral?
- How did Google’s mobile-first index affect online marketing?
- Online marketing and internet security.
- Can a business succeed without social media marketing?
- Why do you need to do competitor analysis to succeed in marketing your brand?
- Analyzing the effectiveness of Internet marketing in growing sales: A case study of American companies.
- Successful social media marketing approaches that helped break through the strong market monopoly
- Effect of TV Advertising on top of mind awareness
Influential Marketing Research Topics
- Is influencer marketing the most powerful form of marketing?
- Identify the most powerful promotion techniques.
- Relevance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in brand development.
- Analyze the most effective techniques to produce leads.
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of social media platforms.
- Video marketing is a new marketing trend
- What is the impression of click-baited sponsored content on the consumers?
- Briefly explain the content promotion of Pinterest.
- How do business sales and marketing research relate to one another?
- Analyze the significance of an email in marketing.
- Is direct marketing welcomed by people?
- Do people like being click-baited into sponsored posts?
Excellent Marketing Research Topics
- Marketing distribution channels and the mistakes you might avoid.
- The development and execution of investment banking in developing markets.
- Review Starbucks’ international market-entry strategy.
- Customer buying behavior and the sensory marketing role.
- The influence of performance management for both huge and diversified organizations.
- Gender influence on business startups.
- Logistic management and its inherent risks
- Conventional business marketing techniques and dimensions.
- Supply chain management and the impact of Information Technology.
- The benefits of a smartphone to understand customer thinking.
- Advertising and the application of humor.
- Significance of studying consumer behavior in an international business.
- Telemarketing- Evaluate the concept.
- Instagram versus Facebook- which is a better marketing platform?
- The impact of Brexit on the UK’s financial institutions.
- Women’s sentiments around comparison advertising
- Do consumers prefer purchasing routine grocery products online?
Best Marketing Research Topics
- What is the most effective form of marketing?
- Discuss the steps to implement Efficiency e-CRM.
- Study the influence of multinational trade agreements on the growth of developing economies.
- How does marketing content in online marketing get viral?
- Brand promotion and the use of celebrities- Discuss its impact on the ROI.
- The influence of Automated Service Interaction in retaining existing customers as well as attracting new ones.
- The influence of advertising on the recession period.
- Analyze the functions of mobile marketing.
- A look into marketing approaches that broke through strong market monopoly
- A study on how to make customers purchase goods and services in the luxury category
- Explain the concept of Artificial Intelligence in marketing.
- Comparison of advertising versus building brand equity
- Analysis of the consumer buying behavior for Coca-Cola.
- Manipulation tactics: how brands get more customers
- What makes people want to share content with their friends?
- Marketing challenges around the evolving family structures
- Is centralized global marketing a good idea for brand health in the local market
Read more: Top Human Resources Research Topics and Ideas for Students
Popular Marketing Research Paper Topics
- Creating compelling content marketing campaigns in 10 steps
- Working more micro-content into marketing efforts
- The five Cs when creating content marketing copy
- Repurposing marketing content for small businesses
- The 10 biggest graphic design mistakes companies make in their marketing pieces
- The benefits of inbound marketing
- Are YouTube videos more engaging than TV ads?
- Will immersion marketing through VR technology be accepted?
- Does social media affect SEO ranking?
- Social media campaign ideas from big brands
- How to generate subscribers for your blog faster than ever
- How to effectively capitalize on the wearables market
- The best SEO strategies that increase site traffic
- Creating brand awareness by utilizing global event marketing
- The importance of a marketing plan to the success of a business or product launch
- How to find profitable niches in affiliate marketing?
- How to market products on an international level?
- Are grey SEO techniques safe?
- Video content marketing myths you must discard
- An exploration of the differences in marketing strategies across cultures
- How is augmented reality going to enhance marketing experiences?
- Harmful effects of advertising to kids
- Effect marketing strategies for restaurant businesses
Innovative Marketing Research Topics
- Discuss the Environmental determinants of international market entry strategies.
- Conduct an ethical examination of advertising deception.
- Explain the determinants and benefits of global product marketing.
- Analyze the marketing strategies of non-profit organizations.
- Discuss the evolution of relationship marketing.
- Essential content marketing strategies for SMEs.
- Analyze the psychology of sports marketing.
- Discuss the efficiency and usage of Social media marketing communication.
- Analyze the impact of search engine optimization on web accessibility.
- Examine the rise of storytelling as an essential element of content marketing strategy.
Out of the different topics suggested in this blog post, go with any topic of your choice and craft a well-structured, informative marketing research paper deserving of an A+ grade. In case, you are unsure how to compose a research paper on marketing topics, quickly avail of our marketing assignment help service. On our platform, we have several writers who are experts in the field of marketing to offer assignment help as per your needs for all kinds of academic papers. Without compromising the quality, our subject professionals will prepare and deliver plagiarism-free marketing research papers ahead of the deadline and will assist you in boosting your overall academic scores.
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