A buyer’s set of personal characteristics such as age and life cycle stage, occupation and economic circumstances, lifestyle, and personality have implications for marketing decisions.
Age and Stage in the Life Cycle
Age is an important determinant of buyer behaviour with products like food, clothing, shoes and cars appealing to different age groups. In the same vein, consumption and behaviour is Influenced by the family life-cycle (FlC). Wells and Gubar (1966) proposed a nine-stage FLC that highlights the different and changing financial situation and priorities of the family as it moves through the nine stages. These stages include:
Bachelor stage (young, single people living at home).
- Newly married couples (young, no children)
- Full nest 1 (youngest child under six)
- Fun nest 2 (youngest child six or over)
- Full nest 3 (older married couples with dependent children)
- Empty nest 1 (older married couples, no children at home, head of household still in the workforce).
- Empty nest 2 (older married, no children living at home, head of household retired).
- Solitary survivor (in the workforce).
- Solitary survivor (retired)
Occupation and Economic Circumstances
The type of job people do is another major determinant of what they buy, eat, drink and wear. For instance, a bank chief executive officer will patronize highbrow and exclusive stores for his suits, shirts, ties and wristwatches whereas, a young officer working with low earnings will buy his suits, shirts, ties and wristwatches on the street or used cloth market. Also, general economic circumstances like disposable income, savings and assets, debts and borrowing power affect purchases. Marketers must monitor tile direction of all these variables and their effect on sales.
Lifestyle describes a person’s interests, activities and opinions in relating with his or her environment. Based on value, attitude and lifestyles (VALs) framework, a survivor’s need for product will be limited to basic things of life-food, clothing and shelter, while on achiever’s interest in product will cover the good things of life. For instance, MTN has linked its product to customers’ life style, that even in the face of challenges and difficulty, they still strive to achieve.
Personality is an individual’s pattern of traits that influence behavioural responses. People can be described as confident, aggressive, shy, domineering, extrovert or introvert. These traits tend to influence the clothes they wear, the cars they ride, the restaurants they eat in and a host of other purchases. To a very large extent, personality is useful in consumer behaviour because it enable marketer to categorize consumers into different groups on the basis of personality.