In this article we will discuss about the consumer psychographics, its determinants and its impact on marketing decisions.

Consumer psychographic is a term used to explain the life-style of the consumer. It is a subjective tool. For instance, one has to study the life­style of the consumer in order to market expensive Raymond Terry-wool suiting.

The same is true for ‘North Star Bata shoes, Colour T.V. sets, Hero Honda’ Motor cycle or domestic appliances like Videocon’s Washing machines etc. The study of consumer psychographics requires the study and understand­ing of perception and cognition concepts associated with the consumers.

The determinants of consumer psychographics are:


(1) Motivation,

(2) Cognition,

(3) Personality, and

(4) Reference groups.


These are discu­ssed below:

(1) Motivation:

It is a term used in behavioural science to des­cribe the forces within an individual that account for the level and direc­tion of effort aimed at meeting his needs. It depends on: psychological needs, safety needs, love needs, and esteem needs.

The so-called cultural progress and social emancipation have now-a-days contributed to the multi­plication of human needs and wants. It is the function of the marketing management to understand and discern the nature of such needs so that acti­ons can be taken to satisfy those needs.


(2) Cognition:

It is a term used in psychological theory to des­cribe the attitudes and interests of an individual. It demonstrates that there is a consistency between a person’s expressed attitudes and his or her actual behaviour. According to this theory, a person’s intended behavi­our (i.e. result) is conditioned by his or her feelings (i.e. attitudes) which are the outcomes of his or her beliefs and values (i.e. antecedents).

In other words, the beliefs and values of a consumer create attitudes that influence his or her buying behaviour. The beliefs and values when strong are difficult to be modified. That is why, special advertisement appeals and campaigns are resorted to by the marketing management with a view to influencing a person’s emotional response to a new product and its related characteristics.

(3) Personality:


It is a term specifically used to represent the overall profile or combination of traits that characterise the unique nature of a person. Just as with values and attitudes, attempts to classify perso­nalities are important to consumer behaviour analysis because of the expec­tation that personality may influence behaviour in certain predictable ways.

It follows that a knowledge of personality as an individual difference factor can help the marketing managers understand, predict, and even influ­ence the buying behaviours of the consuming public. Thus, different brands of cigarettes (i.e. brand personality of product) are manufactured to attr­act different personalities of smokers.

(4) Reference group:

The term includes family and others who exert influences on the behaviour of an individual. An individual consumer buys those items which his or her reference group buys. The purchases of fashion garments and dresses by younger generation are mostly influenced by their reference groups who may be social friends or relations.


Here, a reference group plays the role of an opinion leader or an influential. Thus, the marketing management often adepts such promotional devices which will reach the influential first and through them to their followers.

The above discussion was limited to the consumer psychographics with respect to consumer products. So, consumer psychographics are also needed to be studied with respect to industrial products such as machinery, raw materials, spare parts, lubricants, office supplies, etc.

The studies reveal that unless these products match the needs of the industrial consumers, the company’s marketing management does not attain success. Here, there is no ‘impulse buying’.


Mostly, it is rational buying based on relevant factors like:

(i) Cost reduction,

(ii) Improvement of profit,


(iii) Increase in output,

(iv) Improvement in comparative ability,

(v) Purchasing officer’s ability to assess the benefits of industrial pro­ducts,

(vi) Vendor’s analysis,

(vii) After-sales service,

(viii) Warranty and


(ix) Personal selling.

The last mentioned factor should not be ignored thinking that it is necessary only for consumer products. How the image of the selling company is projected before the buying company is very impor­tant, according to the studies made by Prof. Levith in 1967.