The 4 Types of Purchasing Behavior Models



Purchasing behavior models are used to understand customers and their interaction with the market. Understanding the motivations of customers is a key element in marketing strategies.

Different types of purchasing behavior models provide companies with different perspectives on customer decision-making and influence when selecting products and services.

In this guide, we will explore four types of purchasing behavior models:

  • Economic
  • Psychological
  • Sociological
  • Domestic family buying patterns

We will outline main characteristics for each type of behavior model, as well as applications and implications for marketing strategies. By understanding these four types of purchasing behavior models, companies can use customer data to develop more effective marketing strategies aimed at increasing sales.

Types of Purchasing Behavior Models

Purchasing behavior models are invaluable tools used by marketers in order to identify their target audience and their buying preferences. There are a variety of different models to choose from, each of which offer a different insight into consumer behavior.

The four main purchasing behavior models are:

  1. The Consumer Decision-Making Model
  2. The Influence of Family and Friends Model
  3. The Low-Involvement Model
  4. The Risk-Reduction Model

Let’s explore each of them in detail.

The Utilitarian Model

The Utilitarian Model is a type of purchasing behavior model that is focused on providing the greatest value for the lowest cost. Consumers using this model tend to make decisions based on the functional aspects of a product or service, and are particularly concerned with the practicality of their purchase. These types of consumers are often looking to save money and do research before making a purchase in order to find options that best fit their needs.

In this type of purchasing behavior model, consumers look at features such as utility, quantity, price and quality; they often consider functionality over emotion when making their decision. Additionally, utilitarian consumers tend to spend more time weighing the pros and cons of each option in order to get the best deal possible. This type of consumer may be more likely to purchase items on sale or shop around in search of discounts. Furthermore, they might be willing to sacrifice some comfort or style in exchange for greater value at a lower price point.

The Hedonic Model

The Hedonic Model is based on utilitarian and hedonic values, which refer to the practical benefits of a product or service and the subjective emotional experience associated with obtaining it, respectively. According to this model, consumer preferences depend not only on tangible factors like price, but also on more intangible characteristics such as brand image and social meaning.

The major principle of the Hedonic Model is that utilitarian benefits merely provide the basic conditions for purchase and consumption; it’s emotion-related components that are thought to drive consumers’ decisions in terms of buying behavior. In other words, consumers will make purchasing decisions based on how they feel about a product or service – especially in regards to its external attributes such as packaging, design or branding – rather than a strict evaluation of its purpose for use.

This model is best suitable for high involvement products where customers have access to plenty of information about the product from different sources before making them purchase decisions. The Hedonic Model can be divided into four categories:

  1. Emotional stimulation: Consumers respond favorably if the product design evokes positive emotions.
  2. Identity reinforcement: Consumers select products that match their desired image or self-concepts.
  3. Social desirability: Consumers generally prefer products which reflect positively upon themselves in front of other people.
  4. Experiential stimulation: Consumers view products through their own personal experiences, which may differ from those professed by experts in the field.

The Behavioral Model

The Behavioral Model examines the various stages that customers go through in the buying process. This model is based on the idea that customers move from one state to another and that understanding these stages can help predict customer behavior. The four stages of the Behavioral Model are awareness, knowledge, liking, preference and conviction.

  • Awareness: During this stage, potential customers become aware of the product or service being offered by a particular company. They may be exposed to advertising or other promotion activities by the business, or they may learn about it through word-of-mouth. Companies must set aside marketing funds to keep their products top-of-mind with potential customers.
  • Knowledge: After becoming aware of a product or service, customers need to learn more about it in order to make an informed decision about whether they want it or not. Companies should provide useful information to prospective buyers so they can gain a better understanding of their offerings and how these products might fit with their needs and lifestyle.
  • Liking: After gaining knowledge about a product and its features, customers begin to form an opinion about it – they may like it or dislike it based on their personal preferences and experiences. Companies should create marketing messages that appeal directly to target audiences on an emotional level in order to help build brand loyalty and trust among buyers.
  • Preference: At this stage in the model, consumers have gone beyond just liking – they now have made up their mind about whether they want that particular product instead of something else available in the marketplace. Companies must understand what makes them distinct from competitors so they can craft their marketing messages in order to persuade consumers toward purchasing their products instead of others’ offerings.
  • Conviction: Finally, consumers go down the path of intent – they are convinced enough that they actually plan on buying something rather than just talking about it hypothetically any longer. Marketers should continue providing helpful information to buyers even after they’ve developed preferences as this helps boost satisfaction levels among loyal patrons while also discouraging them from switching over to competitor brands during future purchase cycles.

The Social Model

The Social Model of purchasing behavior is the most complex of the four types and is based upon customer decisions that are driven by social aspects such as status, family life cycle, and reference group influence. It takes into account more than just a customer’s tangible needs. This model looks at psychological factors that influence why people buy what they do.

Because this model considers social and personal factors it looks at cultural elements such as beliefs, activities, interests, opinions, socioeconomic status and lifestyle. These variables can be broken down into smaller pieces in order to better understand a customer’s thought process when making purchases.

For example, reference groups or social networks have a big impact on how decisions are made. A person’s family can also play a big part in decisions as stages of life can dictate different needs when buying products or services. Finally, Status considerations are also important when buying items that fulfill unique desires such as luxury items or trendy technological gadgets.

The Social Model considers all these dimensions before examining actual purchase behaviors in order to get an accurate representation of the influences driving purchasing choices. Ultimately this means understanding both tangible and intangible motivations for customers so that marketing approaches can be adapted accordingly in order to effectively reach target markets.


The 4 types of purchasing behavior models discussed in this article are the R-D-I model, the two-factor model, the Burke motives inventory and the Price Sensitivity Meter. All of these models help inform companies of their customers’ purchasing behaviour and provide a better understanding into how marketing efforts should be implemented to appeal to different customer segments.

When creating marketing campaigns, it is important to tailor them to each segment’s needs and wants in order to maximize responses. The 4 purchasing behaviors models described in this article can provide useful information on how to do just that. Companies should constantly reassess what works and what doesn’t so that strategies can be further refined over time. This will lead to improved efficiency in campaigns, which will result in an increase in sales and revenue for the company.