The 4 Types of Purchasing Behavior Models



The four types of purchasing behavior models are the Theory of Buyer Behavior, Customer Decision-Making Model, Five Stage Decision Making Model, and Transactional Decision Making Model. Each model explains how consumers make decisions when deciding whether or not to purchase a product or service. Understanding the different models can help marketers and other businesses better predict customer behaviors and ensure they create successful strategies to satisfy their customers’ needs.

The Theory of Buyer Behavior is an established model that seeks to understand the individual characteristics that lead people to make different buying decisions. This includes factors like personality traits, values, attitudes, lifestyles, demographic features and social norms.

The Customer Decision-Making Model outlines how a customer will go through a series of steps when making a purchase decision. It involves four distinct stages in which customers become aware of a problem or opportunity, search for relevant information about possible solutions, evaluate the merits of each option before finally deciding on something specific.

The Five Stage Decision Making Model is similar to the previous two models but also considers how external factors affect consumer decision-making; this includes societal influences like word-of-mouth marketing and trends as well as current economic conditions.

Finally, The Transactional Decision Making Model attempts to identify customers’ requirements during each unique transaction in order to create tailored strategies that best suit their needs throughout their buying journey – from awareness all the way through satisfaction after usage/consumption.

The 4 Types of Purchasing Behavior Models

As a seller, it is important to understand the behavior of the buyers so that you can plan your strategies accordingly. There are four types of purchasing behavior models that are used to explain the behavior of buyers in different buying contexts. These models are:

  1. The cognitive model
  2. The affective (emotional) model
  3. The conative (motivation) model
  4. The social model

Let’s take a look at each of these models in detail.

Rational Model

The Rational Model of consumer behavior is characterized by a purchaser making what they feel is the most logical and informed decision. This type of behavior assumed to be focused on maximizing utility, or benefit, by evaluating the potential outcomes and choosing the one that offers the greatest advantage. People engaging in this model of behavior are assumed to carefully weigh their options, conduct thorough research, and ultimately make decisions based on facts, not emotions.

This model is most commonly used when it comes to major purchase decisions such as buying a car or investing in a pension plan. The consumer views these products as too expensive or too important to make decisions without initially applying rationality. Since cost and quality often go hand-in-hand in these types of situations, shoppers are more likely to sacrifice price for a superior product.

By relying on research and making comparisons between models or offers, consumers can make more economical purchases without sacrificing their overall satisfaction with the chosen product. This type of purchasing behavior is based on both financial planning and logic as buyers try to maximize their value for every purchase they make through minimizing risk and cost while attaining maximum benefits.

Limited Decision Making Model

The limited decision making model is a type of consumer buying behavior model that assumes the consumer purchases with limited research or decision-making effort. The consumer differentiates between brands, but does not use their knowledge to select the best product out of several alternatives. Rather, they use only enough information to go ahead and make a purchase decision. This kind of behavior results in actions that might be considered irrational and inconsistent by some.

The limited decision making model focuses primarily on the importance of product characteristics and attributes such as brand, quality, price, convenience, packaging style, size/quantity and even availability. Consumers in this category are more likely to purchase items with fewer variables (such as white bread), as opposed to complex products with more features or particulars (such As TVs).

When choosing products within this framework, consumers will take into account the benefits associated with it – such as convenience or pleasure derived from it – without putting too much effort into researching other options. Additionally, physical evidence can contribute to perceptions and opinions formed by consumers – such as when viewing displays in stores – resulting in a purchase at that time.

In conclusion; while this is an effective method for acquiring common products quickly and conveniently the development of more rational purchasing methods are recommended for evaluating complex products with multiple features that contribute significantly more value to their owner’s life.

Habitual Decision Making Model

The Habitual Decision Making Model is the most widely used and studied model of purchasing behavior. It suggests that customers often make decisions in an unconscious, spur-of-the-moment kind of way, relying on established routines and past experiences. Consumers typically approach buying decisions with little effort to search out information or compare products and services from different providers. This model is based on the idea that consumers are guided by their past purchase decisions and reinforced by gratification from recurring utilization.

When customers use this type of purchase decision making process, they base their decision primarily on memory or familiarity with a product or service provider. In addition to previously buying a particular item or brand name, consumers may remember a good marketing program – such as attractive pricing or timely promotions – associated with the product or brand name, which influences their overall decision making. Customers may also remember (or think they remember) positive experiences from previous interactions with retail store personnel who made recommendations about the best products to buy for certain circumstances/situations.

Essentially, when using the Habitual Decision Making Model in order to evaluate purchasing options, customers tend to prefer “safe” purchases without needing substantial cognitive effort because they are utilizing existing beliefs, attitudes learned through past experiences and preferences established through previous purchases all of which influence their current purchase decision making process.

Variety Seeking Model

The Variety Seeking Model is a widely accepted behavior model that describes the way in which consumers approach the purchasing of goods and services. The model suggests that customers show different types of behavior when shopping, dependent on which product they are purchasing and how familiar they are with it.

Although there are four distinct types of models, the Variety Seeking Model is one that looks at how customers go about making decisions as well as how they approach their sizing up alternatives in order to decide upon a purchase.

The Variety Seeking Model works on a ‘trial and error’ basis, recognizing the fact that customer choices often fluctuate rather than stay constant over time. Consumers may purchase similar products but will also look for new options or try different ones out in order to find something more suited to their needs or desires.

Typically, the Variety Seeking Model suggests this process occurs from an initial level of low familiarity with the products they are considering up until they become more experienced in what type of products are available and how much better certain options may be compared to others.

This model can help businesses understand customer behaviour and its motivations behind their decisions making processes better, thus allowing them to be proactive when it comes to understanding their own business performance as well as terms like market preferences or brand loyalty for targeted marketing campaigns. Ultimately, this model aims to aid corporations in becoming better equipped in understanding customer lifestyles, enabling them to effectively manage promotions regarding particular commercial items or services according to buyers’ individual needs profile.


There are four key models of purchasing behavior including the economic model, functional model, personal/emotional model and social model. Each of these models helps explain why shoppers buy certain items or services and sheds light on different facets of the buyer decision process.

The economic perspective mainly focuses on cost-benefit analysis, where shoppers evaluate their purchase decision for maximum value for their money. This involves an analysis of features versus price to make a logical purchase choice.

The functional perspective views buying decisions as necessities that provide an essential purpose. Shopping behaviors associated with this perspective focus not just in price comparison but also functionality and practicality needed for a good purchase choice.

The personal/emotional perspective takes into account emotional drivers such as self-image and status when weighing a purchase decision. Shoppers may be more likely to purchase items for social prestige or to fit in with a particular group even if the price tag is steep.

Finally, under the social spectrum, consumers look to family or friends when making their purchases as they rely on emotional connections or need advice before making a substantial purchase commitment such as a car or piece of furniture. Consumers often look within their social circle when attempting to understand the complexities around completing such purchases with relative ease.