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Consumer Buying Behaviour and Advertising in UK

For consumers to make a purchase, they go through a decision making process which requires them to recognise their needs followed by searching for information that will influence their purchase. They then go through the other available alternatives which are vital in the choice they will make and finally settle on what is more appealing than the other alternatives (Mason, 2010). There are various categories of the behaviour exhibited by buyers’ namely routine response, extension decision, limited decision and finally impulse buying. These types control the consumer buying behaviour not only in the United Kingdom but in other parts of the diaspora according to Tirmizi et al (2009). This paper seeks to explore the impact of advertising on consumer buying behaviour within the UK retail market (food and grocery) featuring the Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Mark and Spencer supermarkets.

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These supermarkets stock various products such as clothing, housing materials, textiles and interior merchandise among others but we shift our focus to their food and grocery sector. Marketing communication is of essence when it comes to advertising commodities as it influences the decisions buyers make either negatively or positively. Consumer buying behaviour according to Engel et al (1995) is influenced by people’s financial status, their psychological and physical needs.

In addition, socio psychological needs according to Mullen and Johnson (1990) are also crucial as consumers engage in the purchase decision making process. External influences are a contributing factor in the decision making process and it all goes back to how consumers have been socialised. The models put in place help people understand more why consumer buying behaviour varies from one individual to another. This helps marketers, those in supermarkets like Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Mark and Spencer supermarkets not excluded to formulate ideal advertising strategies geared at attracting more customers (Erasmus, 1998).

As a result, various theoretical models have been established in an effort to understand the customers needs better as well as learn what influences their decisions when it comes to buying a certain product (Rajagopal, 2005). There are various factors that influence the consumer decision making process and they include the perception that consumers have on the product. Motivation is also a factor in the fact that consumers will at times buy a product due to its branding, the way it is laid on the shelf or just the way it is advised on print media or television (Stavkova et al, 2002).

The knowledge that consumers have on a certain product will influence their decision to buy it or not to (Piana, 2004). Attitudes, values and beliefs also play a great role in consumers buying behaviour. Issues such as lifestyle, personality and self concept also dictate if a product will be bought or not. If a product is not being bought, it is automatic that there is a problem somewhere and marketers are required to embark on the problem recognition process which will lead to problem solving (South Western College, 1997).

Problem solving is at times used interchangeably with decision making and it follows five steps that define consumer buying behaviour. First of all, the problem has to be identified to be solved and this is followed by an exploration of the available alternatives (Esch et al, 2003). A favourable alternative is then selected and the solution reached is implemented. The last step in the problem solving process is evaluating the situation (Decision Innovation, 2010). There are several models that are used with the response hierarchy which are either traditional or alternative. All these models revolve around the buying process where marketers aim at creating attention in the buyer, generating interest, provoking the desire to buy the product and finally prompting a necessary action according to Perner (1999).

The consumer on the other hand becomes aware of the product, becomes interested in it, evaluates it, tries it and decides on its adoption. A supermarket speaks volumes with the brands it stocks, the attitude portrayed by its staff, the layout of the stores, online advertising, promotions as well as television commercials (South Western College, 1997). This chain of supermarkets in the UK need to have a clear advertising strategy which will ensure that they attract enough customers in their food sector. The research objectives I would suggest for this paper are based on the advertising objectives.

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To make an impact in the market, marketers must ensure that their customers have the information on the product at their fingertips and this call for intensive advertising (Sutherland and Sylvester, 1999). The next objective is about persuading customers to buy a product regardless of the other available alternatives by making the product competitive. A reminder objective is a must and this ensures that a product remains relevant in the market over the years. According to Prathiraja and Ariyawardana (2003), nutritional labelling on foods as well as the advertising message on them has to be catchy for them to appeal to customers and in the long run prove effective. Communication is vital and a product must convey the desired message to the consumer and thus create an emotional bond which ensures repeat business (Knowledge transfer, 2010).

Consumer behaviour is influenced by several factors as evidenced by this paper and in order to attract more customers to their food sector, the aforementioned UK supermarkets ought to employ the advertising objectives. These will create an emotional bond between the product and the consumer and this is where loyalty comes in. The decision making process, the problem solving process as well as the response hierarchy need to be followed to the word if marketers will realise the impacts of advertising in the UK retail market.


Decision Innovation. (2010) Integrated problem solving decision making is really the way we work

Engel, J.F. et al (1995) Consumer Behaviour. International ed. Florida. Dryden.

Erasmus, A. (1998). Consumer decision-making models within the discipline of consumer science: A critical approach. Journal of family ecology and consumer sciences, Vol. 29 (4).

Esch, R. (2003) Promotional efficiency and the interaction between buying behaviour type and product presentation format – evidence from an exploratory study. Justus Liebig University, Vol. 4 (3).

Knowledge transfer. (2010) Objectives of advertising. Web.

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Mason, W. (2010). Consumer behaviour. Reference for business.

Mullen, Brian and Johnson, Craig. (1990) The psychology of consumer behaviour. Lawrence erlbaurn associate Publishers, New Jersey.

Perner, L. (1999) Consumer Behaviour: The psychology of marketing. University of Southern California, Vol. 9 (21).

Piana, V. (2004). Consumer decision rules for agent-based models. Webby Economic Institute, Vol. 2 (4).

Prathiraja, K. (2003) Impact of nutritional labelling on consumer buying behaviour. Sri Lankan Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 5 (1).

Rajagopal, P. (2005). Impact of advertising variability on building customer based brand personality under competitive environment: Empirical analysis in reference to Mexico. Monterrey Tec University, Vol. 2 (22).

South Western College. (1997) Consumer decision making. Marketing. Oxford, South Africa. Vol. 06 (2), 1-6.

Stavkova, J. (2002) Factors influencing consumer behaviour. Mendel University of Agriculture, Czech Republic, Vol. 54 (6).

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Sutherland, Max and Sylvester, Alice. (1999). Advertising and the mind of the consumer. Routledge, USA.

Tirmizi, M. (2009) An empirical study of consumer impulse buying behaviour in local markets. European Journal of Scientific Research. Vol. 28 (4).

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