Consumer psychology and market research

Market researchers conduct research to help companies better understand the markets in which they work. Market researchers explore almost every aspect of the marketing process; conducting research into product development, researching into sales figures and product placement - how the product is actually displayed or made available to the consumer. They also carry out research into the customers who are buying the products, and what their distinctive characteristics might be.


Consumer psychology looks into how our thoughts, beliefs, feelings and perceptions influence how people buy and relate to goods and services. Psychologists in this field are interested in understanding the thought processes and emotions behind the decisions consumers make when shopping and the motivations behind choosing a particular product over another. Also they are interested in how different environmental factors such as friends, family and media influence what we buy.* 

Global brands

Psychological research of consumer behaviour allows companies to use the findings to decide the most effective way to market products to their target audience. 

Consumer psychologist’s work in different areas of the consumer industry, such as; advertising, bringing in psychological knowledge to bear on the design, construction and placing advertisements. In marketing research, they identify and analyse trends and patterns in what people are buying and when. They also work in product appraisal, conducting research projects studying people’s responses to new products; and conduct research into consumer behaviour, looking at how people actually go about spending their money.**

Consumerism is so much part of our lives, our lifestyles indicates that consumerism is focused around an idealised self-image. The concept of lifestyles allows advertisers to group together and classify various products. It works by both framing and directing choices, and by reinforcing the social images that people have of themselves. Some new products are not targeted on a single lifestyle, but on many. The iPhone and its range of apps, for example, was marketed in a very successful series of advertising campaigns which could relate to a wide range of lifestyles – not by going for a common market, but by emphasising diversity and choice.

Psychology is very relevant in market research and marketing, for example, advertising design and planning, package design, pricing, marketing strategy development, merchandising and in store displays all have psychological influences. Marketing works psychologically at the level of the individual and also of the group. Marketing initiatives try to gain customers attention to exploit biases in perception and to embed brands and brand ‘values’ into short and long term memory. The psychologies of group influence, social learning, cognition, reasoning and decision making, identity and self-perception all seem particularly relevant to marketing.***

By Zara Raza, Market research intern & psychology student


Image source

**Nicky Hayes, Understand Applied Psychology

***Bayne, R. and Jinks, G., Applied Psychology

This entry was posted in Market research, tagged Retail & leisure, Shopping, Consumer psychology and posted on February 18, 2016

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