What are Consumer Buying Decision Process?

Meaning of Consumer Decision-making Process 

The consumer decision-making process is a series of steps that a buyer goes through when deciding to purchase a product or service. 

It is important for businesses to understand this process because it allows them to tailor their marketing efforts to match the needs and wants of their target market.

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Consumer Buying Decision consumer decision process
Source: Pixabay 

Definitions of Consumer Decision by Different Authors

Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller define consumer decision as “the process by which consumers select, purchase, use, and dispose of goods, services, ideas, or experiences to satisfy their needs and wants.”

Gerald Zaltman defines consumer decision as “a complex process that involves a series of interrelated steps, including problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase decision, and post-purchase evaluation.”

John Dewey defines consumer decision as “the process of making choices among alternatives in order to satisfy a need or achieve a goal.”

Herbert Simon defines consumer decision as “a process of selecting the best alternative from a set of possible alternatives.”

Rational choice theory defines consumer decision as “the process of selecting the alternative that maximizes the individual’s expected utility.”

5 stages of the Consumer Decision Process

The five stages of the consumer decision process are:
  1. Problem recognition, 
  2. Informational search, 
  3. Alternatives evaluation, 
  4. Purchase decision,
  5. Post-purchase evaluation

Problem recognition

This is the first stage in which the consumer acknowledges the need for a product or service. This need can arise from internal or external stimuli. 

Information search

The consumer gathers information to understand how they can fulfill their need. This involves gathering information from various sources, such as family, friends, advertisements, and online reviews. 

Alternatives evaluation

The consumer weighs the choices against comparable alternatives. They consider factors such as price, quality, features, and benefits. 

Purchase decision

The consumer makes the final decision about which product or service to buy. This decision is influenced by many factors, including product reviews, detailed descriptions, and pricing information. 

Post-purchase evaluation

After purchasing the product or service, the consumer reflects on their decision. They may experience satisfaction or dissatisfaction, which is a function of the closeness between the buyer’s expectations and the product’s perceived performance. 

Consumer decision-making Theory

The consumer decision-making process theory is a widely accepted framework for understanding how consumers make purchasing decisions. 

Philip Kotler, a renowned marketing expert, developed a model of the consumer decision-making process that includes seven stages. 

The additional stages are problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, post-purchase evaluation, feedback, and disposal. 

These points including these things:

Additional stages 


In this stage, the consumer provides feedback to the company about their experience with the product or service. This feedback can be in the form of reviews, surveys, or direct contact with customer service. 

Companies can use this feedback to improve their products and services and build stronger relationships with their customers.


The final stage of the consumer decision-making process is the disposal of the product or service. This could involve recycling, donating, reselling, or simply throwing away the product. 

Companies can influence the disposal stage by designing products that are environmentally friendly and encouraging customers to recycle or donate their products.

Approaches of Consumer Decision-making Process 

There are several approaches that businesses can take to influence the consumer decision-making process. These include:

Rational approach

This approach involves providing consumers with factual information about the product or service. This can include features, benefits, and pricing information. 

Emotional approach

This approach involves appealing to the emotions of the consumer. This can be done through advertising, storytelling, and branding. 

Social approach

This approach involves appealing to the social needs of the consumer. This can be done by highlighting the social benefits of the product or service, such as how it can improve the consumer’s social status. 

Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, and businesses should consider which approach is best suited for their target market. 

My Perspective 

Consumer decision-making is a complex, strategic, and interactive process that enables a company to boost and increase revenue, sales, and profitability. 

Basically, it is important for business to understand the process and use their marketing efforts to fullfill their needs and wants of their targeted market. 

There are several approaches that businesses can take to influence the consumer decision-making process, and each approach has its advantages and disadvantages.

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