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Consumer behaviour is the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services, including the consumer's emotional, mental and behavioural responses that precede or follow these activities. Consumer behaviour emerged in the 1940s and 50s as a distinct sub-discipline in the marketing area.
Consumer behaviour is an inter-disciplinary social science that blends elements from
The study of consumer behaviour is concerned with all aspects of purchasing behaviour – from pre-purchase activities through to post-purchase consumption, evaluation and disposal activities. It is also concerned with all persons involved, either directly or indirectly, in purchasing decisions and consumption activities including brand-influencers and opinion leaders. Research has shown that consumer behaviour is difficult to predict, even for experts in the field. However, new research methods such as ethnography and consumer neuroscience are shedding new light on how consumers make decisions.
In the 1940s and 50s, marketing was dominated by the so-called classical schools of thought which were highly descriptive and relied heavily on case study approaches with only occasional use of interview methods. At the end of the 1950s, two important reports criticised marketing for its lack of methodological rigor, especially the failure to adopt mathematically-oriented behavioural science research methods. The stage was set for marketing to become more inter-disciplinary by adopting a consumer-behaviourist perspective.
From the 1950s, marketing began to shift is reliance away from
In its early years, consumer behaviour was heavily influenced by motivation research, which had increased the understanding of customers, and had been used extensively by consultants in the