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Consumer Behavior: Internal and External Factors


Consumer behavior can be defined as the analysis of how, what, when, and why individuals purchase certain commodities and leave out others. The analysis tries to comprehend what drives the making of decisions by consumers either as an individual or as a group. It further attempts to evaluate what influences consumer decision-making in determining the right commodity to purchase. In this instance, the study focuses on the influences of relatives, friends, significant people in one’s life, and the community as a whole.

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Consumer behavior can further be expressed as the procedure and the actions that consumers utilize when finding, choosing, acquiring, utilizing, assessing, and ordering commodities for the purposes of suiting their basic requirements and preferences. In addition, before the consumers make their decisions on the right product to purchase, they first collect the relevant information or data that assists them to make the right decisions. Lack of this information may lead to the wrong decision hence the acquisition of the wrong commodity that an individual did not desire or need. However, despite the presence of this information, consumer behavior is influenced by both the internal and external factors that determine what an individual will finally purchase.

Internal factors

Motivation influence

Mary McKinnon wanted to buy a car but choosing the right model and brand was a bit hard. Before her purchasing the car she wanted her decision was influenced by a number of factors as she reported to me. Firstly, she became inspired to buy a car as she considered the car necessary and important in her considering that she had been promoted in her workplace and most people in the organization owned cars. Therefore, she considered a car as a need in her life hence she wanted to choose the right for her mainly because there are many car models nowadays calling for her to take the right action by buying the model that fits her desires and needs. In this case, Mary utilized the motivation theory of consumer behavior where consumers are convinced to purchase a certain product as they consider it an important need hence they attempt to achieve their desires by purchasing the commodity.

Perception influence

Mary had to consider the brands she had come across or had significant information on, for instance, the car advertisements on billboards, TV, and even the car she had encountered physically. However, she had to consider the information that seemed realistic to her before making the decision of the model to purchase. To her, she believed that the car advertisements are exaggerated and therefore would not them to make his decision of the right model. In this case, her perception theory played a major role in making her decisions. Perception refers to the estimation of the actual situation. In this regard, our minds try to make the right judgment out of the information we get exposed to. There is a number of factors that influence our perception, this includes the number of times we come across the stimulus. For instance, Mary argued that many of the advertisements she had encountered somehow were exaggerated from the reality because after visiting these car dealers and inquired on the car information somehow there was some advertisement exaggeration.

Learning influence

On the other hand, before Mary could make the decision on the right car model to purchase she had to use the information she knew on various models to assist her in choosing the right model. For instance, she knew that most Mercedes cars were of high quality and considered as of the rich however they needed so much fuel compared to others. Secondly, the Toyota cars were cheaper and never used so much fuel however she doubted their quality. However, Mary reported that she won’t rely on that information so much as some innovations could have been made on these models. In this regard, Mary utilized the learning theory where consumers utilize their knowledge or experiences to make their decisions. The theory is not entirely based on the consumer’s knowledge of a given product rather on how well the consumer is informed and their behavior. For example, Mary liked the Hummer model of cars just because they treat customers well yet she knew very about the model but when I asked her why? She had conscious justification for her preference.

Attitude influence

In addition, with the use of the available information and knowledge on the car brands and models she had, Mary had to compare and contrast these models to choose the best among them. Mary beliefs that hummer are the best however they are fit for a lady they are more of the gents than ladies. On the other hand, she considered Chrysler the best of all because they are manufactured in America hence obtaining the spare parts is easy and cheap. Further, she felt that the Chrysler convertibles look cute and fit her class in society, and due to the fact she felt the need to own a car she had planned to purchase one without wasting much time. Mary applied the attitude theory of consumer behavior where Mary depended on her belief, feelings, and her intended use of the car she wanted to buy to decide on the best model.

External factors

Group influence

Mary acknowledged that her decisions of the car to purchase were consequently influenced by external factors that she could not ignore. For instance, Mary said that most of her workmates owned high-quality cars such as Mercedes, BMW among others. Therefore, she could not buy a car that would make her feel out of that status therefore she had to choose the car that fit the class. In addition, her family members believed in purchasing homemade cars just as a family tradition. Hence, the group’s influence theory played a major role in determining the kind of car she bought. Considering also that she wanted a car had owned few in the workplace. Therefore, the group influence theory played in Mary’s decisions it states that “people are naturally social animals and they greatly influence each other life.”

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Culture influence

Further, Mary reported her decision was influenced by the American’s belief that they should first embrace their own before venturing outside the country. She said that her family believed in buying cars made in America as well as many of her workmates in her workplace. Most members of the family own cars made in the country. Furthermore, most Americans believe in owning fast and classic cars hence she could exclude herself from that belief as she had also learned and adopted it and felt that it was part of her life. Hence, after considering all the factors she ended up buying a Chrysler convertible. In this regard, her decision was influenced by the cultural beliefs of the society, where her decision was influenced by the way of life of the people in the society. Culture forms part of one’s behavior as one learns it when still young and in most cases, she will behave as per her society’s culture. In this regard, the cultural theory of consumer behavior influenced Mary’s decision on the kind of car to buy.


Neal, Quester and Hawkins, Consumer Behavior: Implications for Marketing Strategy, Boston: McGraw-Hill publishers, 2006.

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1. StudyCorgi. "Consumer Behavior: Internal and External Factors." October 23, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Consumer Behavior: Internal and External Factors." October 23, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Consumer Behavior: Internal and External Factors." October 23, 2021.


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