Family Buying Influences Consumer Behaviour

Family Buying Influence on Consumer Behaviour

Family is a social group. It is also an earning, consuming and decision-making unit. All purchasesare influenced by family members. Family is a closely-knit unit, and the bonds in afamily are more powerful than in other groups. A reciprocal influence operates in all familydecisions. There are three main influences which are father, mother and other family members.Every member has his own motives, beliefs and predisposition to the decision process.Every member is influenced and influences other family members. There is a reciprocal influenceexerted in the decision process other family members. It becomes important for a marketer to sort out all family influences, and formulate a strategy for effective marketing.

Reciprocal-influences in a family

Consumer socialisation is the process by which young people acquire the skills, knowledgeand attitudes relevant to their functioning as consumers. Interactions take place in afamily which develops tastes, preferences, shopping styles, choice of clothes to wear. Howmuch money to spend, where to buy from, what to use at which occasions. The figure showshow a consumer is socialised. There are a number of background factors like the age, sex,social class, etc. Then there are the socialising agents from whom they learn. These are media,family members, peers and teachers.

These influence the learning mechanism and the result is a socialised consumer. Advertising and promotional activities have a strong influence on consumer socialisation. It can alsobe done by the family members through:

  • Instrumental training: In this the parent teaches the children the value of food, whichto consume which to keep away from. What choice is to be made for clothes, whatproducts to refrain from. How to avoid dysfunctional behaviour.
  • Modeling: When a child learns the behaviour by observing others. It can be consciouslyor subconsciously learnt. One such example is smoking.
  • Mediation: To make the children realise the facts by discussion, or by demonstration,or by any other method available.

A-Model-of-Consumer socialisation

Inter-generational Influences
By this we mean that children learn from their fathers and fore fathers. A child is influenced through generations, which develop religious and cultural values. The attitudes are developed towards sports, leisure, education, social life. This is known as the intergenerational carry over. Children learn to use products and services used by their family members, mostly parents and grand parents and some take pride in it too.
Family Decision-making
In a family there is the
Instrument role: Taken by the head of the family for the achievement of special goals.
Expressive role: Undertaken by the wife and other family members to provide emotional support
The concept of intergenerational carry over
Important buying roles are:

  1. The instigator (initiator): Person who first suggests the idea of a product/service and initiates the purchase process.
  2. The influencer: Person having direct/Indirect influences, on final purchase decision.
  3. The decider: Person who makes the final decision.
  4. The purchaser (buyer): Person who actually purchases the product, pays for it, takes it home.
  5. The consumer: User of goods/service.

Family Decision Stages

  1. Problem recognition
  2. Search for information
  3. Evaluation of alternatives
  4. Final decision

Husband-wife influence studies, classify consumer decisions as:
Wife-dominant decisions, e.g., food, purchase of groceries.Husband-dominant decisions, e.g., automobiles, life insurance.Syncratic decisions (joint), e.g., vacations, choice of schools for children.Automatic decisions (unilateral)
Decisions may either be:
Consensual: Everyone in the family may agree with the desired outcome.
Accommodative: Need conflict resolution by persuasion or bargaining.
Element of power within the family is obtained from:
Economic resources: Persons making greater economic contribution have more economic power.
Cultural norms: In a male dominated society husband has greater powers.
Expert power: More knowledge a person possess. Husband may know more about cars wife may know more about household items.
Legitimate power: This depends on the role the family members play.
Bargaining power: Power through give and take method.
Reward/referent power: Giving rewards to others which are liked and appreciated. Emotional power: Purchase decisions are influenced by emotions, sentiments and feelings of one partner.

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