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The Impact of Product Category on Buying Behaviour

Created at August 10th, 2016

The Impact of Product Category on Buying Behaviour

A Background on Buying Behaviour

When looking at people’s buying behaviour across different categories, both habitual and value-savvy behaviours are at play to varying degrees, and even simultaneously.

When buying clothes or cosmetics more than a third would claim that they usually choose their favourite brands but just 16% and 14% would do this when buying electronics or furniture respectively. Conversely people are more likely to want to shop around when buying items in the electronics or furniture category, and be more prepared to buy from a new brand.

Understandably, consumers can tend to view brands as mere commodities when they are buying more functional products/items (such as a new sofa or laptop) and thus it is these categories that will be more susceptible to scrutiny and disloyalty. Too high a price point for items in these categories will naturally encourage greater price sensitivity.

This said, considerable proportions sit in the middle; likely to want to choose brands they know but will not do so blindly, two fifths will consider deals and offers available during the process even if they end up choosing brands they know.

Chart 1 | Thinking about when you buy the following items/products, which of the following best describes how you choose the brands/shops/sites you use?

chart 1 - buyer behaviour blog

Consumer types and the loyalty spectrum

To further understand how consumer approaches to loyalty range across a spectrum, we examined people’s attitudes towards their shopping habits for everyday purchases and then for important purchases – assessing whether they agree or disagree that they tend to stick to brands they know in these instances.

This analysis created 4 consumer types defined by their distinct buying behaviour approaches to shopping:

  • Active Loyals: These people tend to stay loyal to brand/shops and sites for both everyday and important purchases; 40% of the sample fall into this category. Older and younger consumers are both slightly more likely to be in this segment.

  • Habitual Loyals: These people tend to stay loyal for everyday purchases but less so for important purchases; 23% fall into this category. Men are slightly more likely to be in this segment than women.

  • Situational Loyals: These people tend to be loyal when making important purchases but are more flexible and fleeting when making everyday purchases – when it matters most these people will default to using their trusted brands. Just 9% of the sample falls into this category, rising to 15% of 16-24s.

  • Active Disloyals: These people tend to disagree with the statements and are hence much more likely to be disloyal in their approach to brands. Women and 45-64s are more likely to fall into this segment compared to other groups. Twenty seven percent of the sample makes up this segment.

Chart 2 | Consumer loyalty types, by demographics

Chart 2 | Consumer loyalty types, by demographics

Pinpoint the deal

Given consumers range from being open to assessing offers/comparing prices, aspiring to get the best deals to tending and defaulting to use brands they know across their shopping experiences, when do promotions and offers most engage shoppers?

In this context, getting the timing and relevance of deals right to capture consumers’ interest is crucial. Indeed, only 1 in 5 will admit to being purely driven by discounts, and agreement levels are statistically the same across the different loyalty types.

Instead, consumers more readily agree that they are often swayed by deals and offers when they are actively shopping and are persuaded to change their mind during their experience (54%) – rising to 7 in 10 among the Situational Loyals.

Consumers are more likely to engage buying behaviour with deals that precisely target them when they are actively considering a purchase, or when they are ready to buy. As an engagement tactic offers are less relevant when presented at the research stage. It’s only a tipping factor when consumers might not be 100% sure of a purchase but are at least partly implementing the behaviour.

DMA Customer Engagement 2016 CTA