4 Types Of Consumer Buying Behavior & How to Leverage Them

Updated Apr 19, 2023.
Types Of Consumer Buying Behavior

The world of commerce is driven by one key factor: consumer buying behavior. But what drives consumers' purchasing decisions, and how can businesses capitalize on those drives? The key is understanding the intriguing and complicated topic of customer buying psychology.

Every purchasing choice consumers make is influenced by a specific combination of variables. No matter if it's an impulsive purchase at the market or carefully planned shopping. We'll examine customer purchasing process and behavior in this article and the major factors that shape these choices. So, grab a seatbelt and prepare to delve into the realm of consumer psychology!

4 Types of Consumer Behavior

The 4 types of consumer behavior we will discuss with you describe the buying behavior differently. They can tell us how consumers make purchasing decisions and how much consumer involvement and risks are associated with these decisions.

These four types of consumer behavior are:

  1. Complex buying behavior
  2. Dissonance-reducing buying behavior
  3. Habitual buying behavior
  4. Variety-seeking buying behavior
Types of Consumer Behavior
Source: Terakeet

Let's start!

Complex buying behavior

As a business owner, you know that consumers don't always make purchasing decisions lightly. In fact, when it comes to high-involvement and high-risk purchases, customers become highly involved in the purchasing process and exhibit a complex type of consumer behavior called complex buying behavior.

By getting a deeper understanding of complex buying behavior, your business can increase its chances of making successful sales and building long-term relationships with satisfied consumers. Let’s explore how complex buying behavior is shaped:

Market Research:

Consumers with complex buying behavior conduct extensive market research to gather information about their choices. This can include everything from reading online reviews to seeking recommendations from friends and family.

Evaluation of Alternatives

Once customers have gathered information, they evaluate their options based on price, quality, durability, and brand reputation. They may compare products side by side, read product features, and consider the pros and cons of each option.

Consideration of Consequences

Consumers exhibiting this behavior are concerned about the potential consequences of their buying decision. They want to ensure that they are making a wise investment that will meet their needs and provide them with satisfaction over the long term.

The five step Decision Making Process
Source: Inlinemanual

But how can you appeal to consumers who show complex buying behavior? Here are the tips that might help:

  • Provide detailed information about your products and services

Make sure that your website, product descriptions, and marketing materials provide detailed information about your products.

  • Offer competitive pricing and warranties

Customers engaging in complex buying behavior often seek the best deal. By applying various pricing strategies and warranties, you can attract their purchase.

  • Emphasize quality and features

This behavior prioritizes high-quality products with desirable features. Highlight these aspects of your products to attract this type of customer.

Dissonance-reducing buying behavior

Sales returns are inevitable to a business. But what consumer behavior explains these? This type of consumer behavior is called dissonance-reducing buying behavior. It occurs when consumers experience purchase anxiety after their initial purchase.

By understanding and addressing this post-purchase anxiety, your business can build customer trust and credibility, increasing the likelihood of loyal customers and positive referrals.

Here's what it exactly constitutes:

Cognitive Dissonance

Dissonance-reducing buying behavior is driven by cognitive dissonance, which is the feeling of discomfort or anxiety. In this case, the customer may doubt whether they made the right decision to buy your product.

Cognitive Dissonance
Source: Verywellmind

Seeking Reassurance

To reduce cognitive dissonance, consumers may seek reassurance or confirmation that they did frugal spending. They may turn to sources like online reviews, customer service representatives, or friends and family for validation.

Mitigating Negative Consequences

Consumers who engage in dissonance-reducing buying behavior may also try to mitigate any negative consequences of their purchase decision. This could include returning the product or complaining to customer service if they are not satisfied.

The question here is how to reduce these returns and increase customer loyalty. Here are some tips:

  • Provide excellent customer service

Ensure your customer service representatives are knowledgeable, friendly, and responsive to customer inquiries and concerns.

  • Encourage customer feedback

Encourage consumers to leave reviews and provide feedback on their experience with your product. This can help to validate their purchase decision and reduce cognitive dissonance.

  • Offer a satisfaction guarantee

Consider offering a satisfaction guarantee or a return policy, a technique of retention marketing, to reassure customers that they can mitigate any negative consequences of their purchase decision.

Habitual buying behavior

Some customers make frequent, repetitive purchases of the same product with little consideration or active decision-making. This consumer behavior is called habitual buying behavior.

A deep understanding of this behavior can increase the chances of building a loyal customer base and generating consistent revenue over time for your business.

Habitual buying behavior consists of the following:

Automatic Response

Habitual buying is often an automatic response to a specific stimulus, such as a favorite brand or a routine purchase.

Low Involvement

Consumers who often engage in habitual buying behavior have low involvement with the product or service. They may only actively seek out information or compare options after purchasing.

Brand Loyalty

Habitual buying behavior is often driven by brand loyalty. Consumers may strongly attach to a brand based on past experience, advertising, or social influence.

Customer Loyalty
Source: Fabrikbrands

Here are the tips you can use to mold habitual buying behavior in your favor:

  • Build brand recognition

By investing in branding and frequent advertising, you can build brand recognition and increase the likelihood of repeat purchases from consumers who exhibit habitual buying habits.

  • Focus on convenience

Customers who often engage in habitual buying behavior value convenience and ease of purchase. Ensure your products or services are easy to find, purchase, and use.

  • Offer loyalty rewards

Encourage brand loyalty by offering rewards or incentives for repeat purchases, such as offering discounts, free samples, or exclusive access to promotions.

Variety-seeking buying behavior

Some consumers always want to try something new. These types of consumers desire new and novel experiences and are more prone to product and brand switching. Their behavior is characterized as variety-seeking buying behavior.

Businesses can use different market segmentation approaches to increase the chances of retaining and attracting potential customers over time. This type of consumer behavior consists of the following:


Variety-seeking buying behavior is driven by a desire for novelty and variety. Customers who engage in this behavior may seek new and different experiences to satisfy their need for stimulation and excitement.

Tendency to switch

Consumers who exhibit this buying behavior are likelier to switch between various brands or products than those who exhibit habitual buying behavior. They may be less loyal to a particular brand and more willing to try something new.


Variety-seeking behavior often involves an element of risk-taking. Customers may be willing to try something new, even if they are unsure of the outcome.

The question here is how to attract and retain consumers who seek variety. Here's how:

  • Offer new products or services

By regularly introducing new and innovative products or services, you can appeal to consumers who are seeking novelty and variety.

  • Emphasize uniqueness

Highlight your products' unique features and benefits to differentiate yourself from competitors and appeal to customers' desire for new and different experiences.

  • Leverage social media

Use social media platforms to showcase new products and encourage consumers to share their experiences and feedback. This can generate excitement and interest among variety-seeking consumers.

The Factors That Drive Consumer Behavior

A good way to understand consumer behavior is to understand the factors that drive it. A group of factors influences consumer behavior. Let's explore them individually.

3 Major Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior
Source: Tidio

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors play a vital role in defining consumer behavior. These factors can influence a consumer's decision-making process when purchasing a product. Businesses can also utilize these factors to initiate emotional marketing campaigns. Here are some of the factors that affect consumer behavior:


Perception is how consumers interpret and make sense of information about a product. A consumer's perception of a product can be influenced by previous experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. For example, a consumer may perceive a clothing brand as fashionable based on past experiences.


Attitude refers to a consumer's overall evaluation of a product or brand. A consumer's attitude can be either positive or negative and can be influenced by various factors, such as the product's quality, price, and marketing messages.


Motivation refers to the driving force behind a consumer's purchase decision regarding a product. A consumer's motivation can be either rational or emotional. For example, a consumer may be motivated to purchase a luxury car for the prestige and status associated with the brand perception. They may also be motivated to purchase a fuel-efficient car to save money on gas.

Learning Process

The learning process refers to how consumers acquire knowledge about a product or brand. Consumers can learn about a product through personal experience, observation, or communication with others. For example, a consumer may learn about the benefits of a particular skincare product through extensive research, online reviews, or recommendations from friends.

Social Factors

Social factors can have a significant role in consumer behavior. These factors include the influence of family, friends, and other social groups. Here are some of the social factors that influence consumer behavior:


The family plays an essential role in influencing consumer behavior. Family members can influence purchasing decisions of consumers through their opinions, preferences, and behaviors. For example, parents may influence their children's purchase decisions by selecting safe, healthy, or appropriate products.


Culture refers to a particular society or group's shared beliefs, values, and customs. Cultural factors can impact consumer behavior by shaping their preferences and attitudes toward certain products or brands. For example, certain cultures may value sustainable products more, while others may prioritize luxury and status.

Social Media

Social media platforms have become an increasingly influential factor in shaping consumer behavior. Consumers can access information about products, brands, and services quickly and easily through social media.

Reference Groups

Reference groups refer to groups of people that consumers identify with or aspire to be like. These groups can greatly impact consumer behavior by influencing their buying behaviors. For example, consumers buy a particular clothing or accessory brand because it is popular among their social group to maintain their social status.

Personal Factors

Personal factors are unique to each individual and can greatly influence their buying decisions. Here are some of such factors that affect customer behavior:

Age and Life Stage

Age and life stage can alter customer behavior. For example, a young adult may be more likely to purchase technology products, while an older adult may prioritize health and wellness products.

Income and Occupation

Income level and occupation can affect a consumer's purchasing power and preferences. Higher Income consumers buy luxury items, while those with lower incomes may prioritize affordability.

Lifestyle and Personality

Consumers' lifestyles and personalities can move their preferences and purchasing behavior. For example, a consumer with an active lifestyle may prefer spending money on sports-related products, while someone with an introverted personality may prioritize books.

Attitudes and Beliefs

Buyers' beliefs and attitudes can largely control their buying behavior. For example, a consumer who prioritizes sustainability may be more likely to purchase eco-friendly products, while someone who values convenience may prioritize products that save time.


Consumer behavior is a complex and multifaceted concept. Understanding consumer behavior and the factors that influence it can help businesses shape their marketing efforts effectively and boost sales. Utilizing consumer behavior data available online and considering various marketing mix elements, businesses can attract new customers and boost customer loyalty. They can also establish marketing strategies that can create significant differences between their brand and competitors.

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Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.