Market Research Data About Propensity to Buy

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Market researchers have observed that the attributes of consumers have an influence on their impulsive buying decisions. These individual tendencies are often referred to as trait behaviors since they are considered to be integral to the personalities of the consumers. Indeed two consumer attributes that strongly influence spontaneous buying behavior are: 1) The trait for buying impulsiveness; and 2) the mood of the consumer at the time of purchase.

The term trait is used by psychologists to indicate a propensity to act or feel in some way. The psychological line of research associated with this term is Big 5 Trait theory. The counterpoint to the trait for spontaneous purchasing is the consumer inclination to plan their shopping. 

With regard to consumers, the trait for spontaneous purchasing is considered to be an enduring inclination...

...to buy spontaneously, unreflectively, immediately and kinetically...” (Rook and Fisher, 1995, p. 306).

Influencing Impulse Buying

The people who are interested in the impulse buying behavior of consumers include academics, manufacturers, marketers and advertisers, researchers, and retailers.

  • Retailer promotion design: Promotion is a fine art and one that is well supported by market research. Many variables in the market mix have fairly strong influence over impulse purchasing. Consumers are definitely responsive to certain types of promotions and to pricing.  
  • Overall retail performance: Many variables influence consumer impulse decisions and the retail environment is complex. The “noise” of the retail environment and even the content of an online environment can compete for consumer attention, either supporting or diminishing their tendency to make a spontaneous purchase. It is important for retail strategy to be based on a clear demarcation of the elements that contribute to or impel spontaneous purchasing. Equipped with this information, retailers can create optimally designed store environments and maximize consumer's opportunities for impulse purchases.
  • Manufacturer product development: So many new products are developed every season that difficult decisions are forces by the sheer volume and the constrained shelf space. When retailers enlist market research, they are better able to cull the low-performing products, reduce redundancy, and weed out the sluggish SKUs (stock-keeping units).  Information about consumer impulse buying helps manufacturers to hone in on product development ideas that are likely to result in increased sales performance. 
  • Understanding consumer buying behavior: The consumer impulse purchase behavior literature tends to examine the variables that influence buying behavior in individuals, but do not take a holistic approach. It is important to observe and measure consumer behavior within the actual context of a shopping experience, whether online or in a bricks-and-mortar store. 

Now That You Know

Paying attention to the market research data gathered about consumers purchase decisions can help to identify the retail strategies that are likely to be the most profitable.  Exploring the multiple variables that influence buying behavior can be considered an aspect of marketing strategy. Indeed, it is important to recognize that the attributes of a bricks-and-mortar retail store influence consumer loyalty, consumer satisfaction, and impulse buying.