What Is Consumer Behavior?
Consumer behavior, or how people buy and use goods and services, is a hotbed of psychological research, particularly for the companies trying to sell their products to as many consumers as possible. Since what we buy—and why we buy it—impacts many different facets of our lives, research into consumer behavior ties together issues of communication (how do different people respond to advertising and marketing?), identity (does what you buy impact who you are?), social status, decision-making, and mental and physical health.
Corporations use findings about consumer behavior to determine how best to market products—in some cases, through manipulating our unhealthy habits or our worst tendencies. But consumers aren’t powerless; learning the different strategies companies use, as well as psychological explanations for our often confusing purchasing decisions, can help you more consciously decide what, when, and why to buy.