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In order to survive the high competition in business term, it is crucial to understand how
to attract consumer. When consumers make decision for purchasing products, they can
be influenced by many factors. Understanding those factors, in other words, consumer
behavior leads to better business decision. Consumer behavior is defined in the
“It is the study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select, purchase,
use or dispose of products, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and desires”
(Solomon, Bamossy et al. 2006 cited in Jeff, 2008 p3).
To achieve the deeply understanding consumer behaviour, this paper will analyse case
study, Mr and Mrs Bradford visit IKEA LEEDS, from theoretical perspective.
In terms of involvement, it seems to be relatively high. The reason is discussed in
following sentences. Firstly, as Bradfords who are a professional couple and whose age
are both in mid-thirties, they can be in Upper-Middle Class (Table1).
Although they are in Upper-Middle Class, they spent a great deal of money for moving
from previous place to new one, which can lead them to be more sensitive for price tag
and research beforehand. This is supposed by the fact that they plan to visit IKEA,
where reasonable products are sold. Also, it seems that they have already been
knowledgeable in terms of purchasing furniture since they had experienced movement
before. Moreover, furniture and accessories tend be high-priced product even in IKEA.
Considering of these facts, the level of involvement can be identified as limited problem
In the family decision making, According to research conducted in 1974 by Davis and
Rigaux, traditionally each members plays an important role and as for Bradford’s case,
three types of group purchase decision might be found depending on which types of
product they would buy (Figure1). First type of group purchase decision is
Husband-dominant decision making, where the purchase decision is made by husband
such as Electronics. Second is Wife-dominant decision making, in which wife makes a
final purchase decision such as kitchenware. Final category is Joint decision making
(Autonomic), where both husband and wife contribute to decision-making such as
dining table and sofa. As for the Bradfords’ case, living furniture is on the category of
syncratic, which means both spouses may jointly make a purchase decision. This Figure
1 also provides a brief view of who plays a strong role in family purchase decision
among a couple.
Also, children can strongly influence on family decision-making. According to family
life cycle (FLC, Figure2), Bradfords can be categorised into Young couples more
specifically in Married Couples with Children. In this stage, the ages of the children
influence critically on the pattern of the family (Mediamark research, 1990).
As a matter of fact, children in the US, who are under twelve year, affected $500 billion
in terms of family consumption, which implies that children can have potential
influence over family purchase decision-making. In Bradford’s case, it could be possible
that Bradford’s child, Ted, also influence on the decision making of family purchase
indirectly. In other words, Bradfords might purchase living room furniture with taking
into future perspective toward Ted into consideration. For instance, purchasing bigger
table and large sofa.
Another critical viewpoint can be applied for examining the individual roles of Bradford
family members at each stage of consumer decision making process (Figure3), which is
consisted of five stages: Need recognition, Information search, Alternative evaluation,
Purchase decision, Post-purchase behaviour. In the each stage, different family members
could have different roles in influencing on decision-making. In this decision-making,
an individual could be regarded as five roles at the same time, or more than two family
members could get involved at each stage.
In this stage, one or more family members can be the role of the initiator and they
recognise their needs for products. In Bradford’s case, Bradfords both admitted need of
products for living room in order to entertain their friends (social need, which refers to
Maslow’s hierarchy). At the same time they recognized the problem that they had not
much money to purchase products to decorate the new room even thought it is lager
than previous one (need change).
In the information search stage, consumers start to look information for solving the
problem (purchasing living room furniture in tight budget as for this case). It can be said
that since Bradfords have experienced moving before, Bradfords already have known
about the price of furniture and accessories in some extent (internal information).
Therefore, it is possible to regard Bradfords both as a search influencer. Also, the fact
that they consider living room as important place for entertaining friends shows that
they might get information from their friend as well (external information).
In this stage, customers evaluate the most suitable choice with information that is
collected in the previous stage. IKEA is the well-know supermarket for furniture and
accessories with reasonable price (positive perception). In addition IKEA has various
products not only for adults but also for kids (positive perception). According to the
research conducted by Hopper in 2000 (Table2), wives are more dominant position
when deciding where, what colour and style, and which brand to buy so in this case,
wife of Bradford can be decider. As Bradfords spent great amount of money for moving,
they do not have a choice of other supermarkets that have high-priced products (inept
Since consumers have evaluated different alternatives, they can make a decision. When
considering alternatives, Bradfords might decide IKEA through taking into
consideration with allowed budget, well-known brand, and previous experience. In this
stage, table 2 shows that decision about how and how much to pay is regarded as
husband dominant. Therefore, husband of Bradford can be buyers.
As for post purchase behaviour, customers can identify whether they has chose the right
way in purchasing this product or not by evaluating sufficiency with their original
desires (caused the punching behaviour). Bradfords may satisfy with their purchase of
furniture and accessories (positive review). However, it can be assumed that they would
waste money since they decided to visit IKEA instead of online shopping that would
give them more chance to compare with similar products in terms of price. It is revealed
that women tend to be gatekeeper and they do more research than men to upgrade the
information about items (Ziene and Deirdre, 2004). It implies that wife of Bradford can
make a negative feedback about IKEA when she recognises price difference through
online comparison after purchase.
In conclusion, it is recommended that retailers need to figure out the families purchase
decision habit and arrange the interior of shops depending on segments where husbands
or wives are dominant. For example, cleaning products should be located closed to
Kichen-ware, which both are considered as wife dominating product (Figure1). This can
reduce the conflict between husbands and wives in terms of making decision, and they
therefore purchase smoothly while perceiving positive review, which might be affect on
future purchase decision. Although there are many factors influencing on consumer
behavior, in Bradfords’ case, wife may be main decision maker about which products to
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