Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior

Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior

by Pamela Danziger
     
 


Consumers shop to satisfy emotional needs and desires-if a company is selling to emotion, then it's in the business of luxury.

What motivates consumers to buy? Is it pleasure? Education? Entertainment? Status? Or just an impulse? Knowing why consumers buy what they do is the secret to predicting how they will behave in the ever-changing marketplace. In most

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Overview


Consumers shop to satisfy emotional needs and desires-if a company is selling to emotion, then it's in the business of luxury.

What motivates consumers to buy? Is it pleasure? Education? Entertainment? Status? Or just an impulse? Knowing why consumers buy what they do is the secret to predicting how they will behave in the ever-changing marketplace. In most cases, much of what people buy are items they really don't need.

Focusing on the ""whys"" of spending, Danziger has meticulously profiled customers in more than 30 categories of discretionary spending through research based on surveys, interviews, and focus groups from a variety of people who make discretionary purchases. She provides readers with a vision of the future, giving them the foresight to anticipate the needs and desires of their customers.

This groundbreaking guide will help marketers of all products understand the underlying motivators consumers use to both make their purchases and become satisfied, loyal customers. In Why People Buy Things They Don't Need, Danziger examines:

* The 14 justifiers that give consumers ""permission"" to buy.

* Trends impacting why people purchase what they do.

* How to sell even more to these customers.

* The future of discretionary spending.

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Editorial Reviews

Fast Company magazine
"... the best study of consumer purchasing trends since Paco Underhill's seminal Why We Buy..."
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Danziger, who owns a marketing research and consulting company, dismisses people who worry that too much personal spending imperils individual financial security and crowds out public spending; she even cites the World Trade Center attacks to argue that overshopping is a patriotic duty. Right-thinking Americans, according to the author, encourage people to buy things they don't need by focusing on the shopping and ownership experience rather than on the good or service itself. This "sell the sizzle, not the steak" advice is not original, but this book elaborates on it by defining five types of consumers using 14 different "justifiers" to make unnecessary purchases; some of these are illustrated by a company that exploits the niche. The bulk of the book consists of statistical summaries of 37 different product areas. The sales approach is one-dimensional and described only in sketches, though the marketing text covers the theoretical ideas with more depth and balance. The book appears to be aimed at marketing consultants who need to brainstorm ideas in different product categories, and for this audience the author provides the enthusiasm to inspire proposals and enough data for the first draft. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
The Motivation Behind Discretionary Spending
People like to spend. Consumers, and their spending on the things they want but do not need, make a tremendous contribution to the U.S. economy. Of the $10 trillion gross national product, 30 percent, or $3 trillion, is made up of consumer discretionary spending. Pamela Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, explores the motivations behind consumer discretionary spending to find out why people are spending their money on things other than necessities, such as food, homes, medical care and gasoline.

After performing extensive research into her subject and conducting numerous focus groups, Danziger concludes that understanding why consumers behave the way they do will help marketers understand and predict future consumer spending behavior. While revealing the information she has uncovered, she develops insight into how predictable changes in consumer demographics will shape their behavior. She then aims to help marketers develop strategies that are grounded in consumer intelligence rather than impersonal data. Taking a new look at the consumer, she offers a better perspective on the future habits of these fickle, emotional, yet predictable consumers.

Types of Discretionary Spending
Danziger writes that consumers are looking for emotional satisfaction when they buy the things they do not need. This discretionary spending can be broken down into four types. These are:

  1. Pragmatic. This type of spending is made up of the things that people buy not because they need them, but because they perceive them as making their lives better in meaningful, measurable ways.
  2. Indulgences. These are theluxuries that people buy without guilt. They bring emotional satisfaction by being frivolous, a little extravagant, but not so expensive that they lead to remorse.
  3. Lifestyle Luxuries. These purchases fill a practical need, but are well beyond the basic items needed to effectively serve essential purposes.
  4. Aspirational Luxuries. These purchases are bought purely for the joy that owning them brings. They include original art, antiques, yachts and fine jewelry.

In her research, Danziger writes, she has found that in order for consumers to buy these things they do not need, they use justifiers as excuses and reasons that provide them with permission to buy. Some consumers need better justifiers than others, and some need no excuse to buy something that they do not need. The author has identified 14 distinct justifiers that consumers manipulate to give them permission to buy of which marketers must be aware. Some of these are: to improve quality of life, to derive pleasure, to beautify the home, to learn something new, for emotional satisfaction, and to achieve a state of relaxation.

Play to the Justifiers
The need to make discretionary purchases influences consumers' decisions about where they make their purchases, how they research the purchases they plan, and how they find the things that will satisfy their unfulfilled emotional needs. Danziger writes that marketers must learn better ways to apply their insights to strategically position their products and play to the justifiers consumers use to make their discretionary purchases. To help marketers do this, she examines both the conceptual side of the purchase decision, and the practical side by profiling best marketing practices, and those who use them.

Her advice to marketers who want to establish long-term, emotion-based strategies for success include: make customers feel like winners every time, help customers fulfill their fantasies, and entertain them. Marketers can do these things, she writes, by asking the simple question, "Why do people buy?" and being open to the implications of customers' answers.

Why Soundview Likes This Book
Danziger provides a plethora of data and revealing stories from national marketers who have tapped into the emotional decisions made by today's consumers. By focusing on specific products and the ways companies can market them better to fulfill the emotional needs of their customers, Danziger creates a fact-based blueprint for marketers to use when facing big decisions. Her abundance of trends, figures, charts and timely industry data makes this book a fact-filled journey into the emotional buying patterns of the American consumer that modern marketers should not ignore. Copyright (c) 2002 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780793186020
Publisher:
Kaplan Publishing
Publication date:
07/01/2004
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)

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