The advent of the Internet, the growing prevalence of mobile shopping, and other seismic shifts in the global economy have drastically modified the lives of consumers around the world. Consumer behaviors have changed dramatically as a result of these developments. But even as consumers adjust their purchasing tendencies, factors influencing consumer behavior remain the same.
Age, gender, and education still hold sway in how consumers look at and interact with brands. Enterprise organizations need to dive deep into these factors and learn how to leverage them to further drive engagement and impact their bottom line.
Here at Reach, we conducted a consumer research survey to touch base with consumers and know what drives their purchasing tendencies. This allows us deeper insights as to how enterprises can fully leverage these drivers influencing consumer behavior so they can meet their targets and realize their goals.
Age: More Than Just A Number
Of all the factors influencing consumer behavior, age is arguably the most important marketing segment of them all. That’s because consumer behavior, preferences, tendencies, and priorities continually change with age. Age also affects people’s lifestyle, personal values, and needs as they grow older.
Because age is such a fundamental factor in influencing consumer behavior, it significantly affects marketing strategies. This is why almost all marketing campaigns are aimed at age-specific audiences:
- Life cycle stage-based age segmentation: babies, children, adolescents, adults, middle-age, and seniors.
- Generation-based segmentation: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.
Various studies have proven that consumer behaviors differ among age groups and generations. They also differ in how they react to marketing messages.
In our recent consumer survey, we found that consumers aged 30-39 (Millennials) are more receptive to providing their data in exchange for fair value, including compensation, connection, and control, compared to other age groups.
The manner in which they interact with brands varies as well. For instance, Millennials get in touch with brands through Instagram and Facebook, while younger people aged 16 to 20 years spend more time on TikTok and WhatsApp, according to a separate study.
Gender: Influencing Consumer Behavior
Men and women generally have different needs and wants, and they also respond differently to marketing campaigns.
Of course, males and females will naturally veer towards products and services designed for their gender-based needs. But gender, as a factor influencing consumer behavior, is much more complex.
Emotions, expectations, relationships, mode of payments, discounts, finances, and brands are just some of the many sub-factors that determine buying behaviors and differences between sexes.
According to an article on gender-based advertising, men prefer advertising messages that are concise and to the point and prefer products that give solutions to problems. On the other hand, women are responsive to descriptive consumer messaging and assimilate more information faster, but have to be exposed more to ads to be convinced by it.
Our consumer study, on the other hand, shows that male consumers (74%) are more inclined to participate in brand loyalty programs than women (57%). Women are also more likely to purchase from unknown brands than men.
Moreover, females are also more price-sensitive than males and display greater propensity to buy online when products are on promotion. Women are also often in charge of product purchases for their households.
Education: Consumer Behaviors Inspired by Informed Judgment
If observed carefully, education’s effect can easily be seen on consumer behaviors. Education has become more pronounced in this era where immediate access to information helps form purchasing decisions.
Education directly affects the level of discretion they employ when they decide to make a purchase or not. Simply put, the more educated a consumer is, the higher the level of discretion they will employ before buying a product. In our study, we found most of the participants that joined 2 or more loyalty programs have at least attained college education.
Highly educated customers seek information and do thorough research when considering a product or service. They do not rely on ads alone. Educated customers also weigh in comments from their fellow educated peers, product reviews from social media influencers, and in-depth recommendations from authorities within their industry.
In a recent consumer survey, Gen Z consumers, in particular, consider product reviews and comments made by social media personalities on Instagram (31.69%) and TikTok (28.67%) as genuine. On the other hand, 31% of Baby Boomers say they consider Facebook as an influential platform when making a purchase decision.
Another particular behavior amongst educated consumers is that they often question the information served before them. Over 80% of consumers now conduct online research prior to making a purchase decision.
Consumers are now more discerning than ever. An educated customer, even more so.
Leveraging Consumer Behaviors for Effective Marketing
To effectively target audiences based on these segments, enterprises have to rely on consumer data. But consumers are now wary as to whom they give their information to.
Enterprises and their marketing teams need to form policies and find strategies to transparently, and with permission, gather data directly from people – what’s come to be known as “zero-party data” in the marketing world.
To do that, enterprises need to find a value exchange that is significant enough to stimulate the desired consumer behaviors. When brands can realize this exchange value for data, consumers are more willing to share their information.
Brands need to give consumers the power to choose who they share their data with and what data they share. But paying people for their data is not enough. Enterprises need to go beyond financial compensation. They also need to engage consumers in meaningful experiences, within communities of shared interests and values.
Finally, brands must leverage other effective forms of engagement. This includes gamification (games, leaderboards, quizzes), digital sampling, and exclusive benefits.
Learn more here about how your brand can provide this kind of relationship with your customers.
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