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Personal Consumer Behavior Patterns

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By understanding your own behavior, you can begin to understand the psychology behind consumer behavior. The objective of this Portfolio is for you to:

Develop an understanding of the factors motivating your purchases
Develop an understanding of the consequences of your purchases, and
Reassess and potentially change your purchasing patterns.

This requires you to maintain a journal of your personal consumer behavior patterns over three separate seven-day periods. It is highly recommended that you begin working on this as early in the term as possible so that you have sufficient time for gathering and assessing all the required information.

There are two parts to this Portfolio:

Journal of your personal consumer behavior patterns
Response analyzing three key products that you noted in your journal, drawing connections to the theories and ideas you learned in this course.

Consumer Behavior Journal (3-4 pages)

Over three one-week periods, you will keep a diary of your purchasing activity. Very simply, this will include listing the products, the time, and the location where you made the purchase. You'll do this on a daily basis over each of the three one-week periods. The effort is to capture specific products and/or brands in your consumer behavior patterns, and to those ends you can ignore most fresh produce (a head of lettuce, unless the brand is known,e.g., Dole bananas). Please do not collect data for 21 disparate days. We're trying to find patterns in your behavior. The optimum collection period is 21 straight days. Next best can be three separate seven-day-straight periods.

At the end of each seven-day period (seven consecutive days), you will identify three products you seem to "consume" most regularly or consistently. Thinking back on that week, answer the following questions in your journal for each product:

Why did you select that product over a competing brand or product?
What advantages or disadvantages resulted from purchasing that product over other choices? Was it convenient, for example, or did you have to go out of your way because of desire? Was it on sale? Was it a [perceived] quality matter?
Articulate your satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the product and/or the purchase experience.
Discuss your intent to continue that purchase (or note if you decided to change your purchase pattern and why).

At the end of the three weeks, choose three key products. You should cover the following assessment for each of the three products:

Discuss the one major psychological factor or processes (e.g., peer pressure, learned behavior, general advertising, subliminal messages, image, convenience, price, etc.) that contributed most to your pattern of consumption. Be sure to discuss at least one different process for each of the three products.
Provide a summary of the psychological process that you're describing. This summary should demonstrate that you understand what the process involves, how it works, how it influences consumer behavior in general, and how it is relevant to your purchasing pattern.
Be sure to clearly describe both the psychological process and its application to your specific purchase pattern. Give specific reasons why you think it was that process that was most influential for that product.
Include at least three outside sources that support your discussion.

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Solution Preview

Step 1
Consumer Behavior Journal:

You should make entries in your journal in this manner:

10th November: Regular Gas, Sam's Club, Maple Grove
11th November: Fairy laundry soap, Ivory soap, & Safeguard hand wash, Wal-Mart, Dunkirk Lane North.
12th November: No purchase;
13th November: Regular Gas, Sam's Club, Maple Grove
14th November: Fresh Produce, Two crates of Diet Pepsi, Ivory soap, Wal-Mart, Dunkirk Land North
15th November: No purchase;
16th November: Fresh produce, Heinz tomato sauce, Fairy, Wal-Mart, Dunkirk Land North. Regular Gas, Sam's Club, Maple Grove.

The three products that have been most consistently consumed over the week are regular gas, Ivory soap, and Safeguard hand wash.

The most consistently used product is regular gas. It has been selected over competing brands/gas stations because the Maple Grove Sam's Club offers very low prices. It was close to $2.86 per gallon. The other advantage was that Sam's is close to my residence and is convenient. I use regular gas. It is not a quality matter. I do not use mid-grade or premium gasoline. I am satisfied with regular gas as it is available everywhere and Sam's Club gives me the best price. I will continue to purchase regular gas from Sam's Club.

The second consistently used product is Ivory. I select this brand because it is a pure soap. I am told that Ivory soap is supposed to float in water but I have not tried it. The advantage I perceive is its distinct perfume. It is not only safe. It is the quality that matters. I have been using Ivory for the past 12 years and I am satisfied with the product. I will continue to buy Ivory.

The third consistently used product is Safeguard. It is an anti-bacterial hand wash. I have selected Safeguard because it is from a company I trust. I trust Procter & Gamble. The advantage is that Safeguard is reasonably priced and provides value for money. The perceived quality matters. I believe that after I started using Safeguard, the incidence of coughs and colds in my house has gone down. I am satisfied with Safeguard and I intend to continue purchasing it.

17th November: Regular Gas, Sam's Club, Maple Grove
18th November: One Long Sleeve Sweater, Alfani Pants, & Style&Co jeans, Macy's Nicollet Mall,
19th November: Fresh Produce/unbranded groceries, Dove Soap, Lay's Chips, Fairy, Wal-Mart, Dunkirk Land North
20th November: Regular Gas, Sam's Club, Maple Grove.
21th November: No purchase;
22nd November: No purchase:
23rd November: Fresh produce, unbranded Groceries, Lays potato chips, Ivory, Safeguard, & Fairy; Wal-Mart, Dunkirk Land North.

The three products that have been consistently used are the Club Sweater, Jeans, and Regular Gas.

I bought the sweater at Macy's because I had heard that there are special savings at Macy's. The sweater had been listed at $119 but was sold at $39.99. The price was close to one third the regular price. The quality was Charter Club. The advantage was a high quality sweater at low prices. The quality mattered. I am satisfied with the sweater and will buy sweaters at Macy's.

Jeans at Macy's were also heavily discounted. The jeans that I bought had a price tag of $49.00 and I bought them at $24.99. The Style&co jeans were selected because they were available at a huge discount at Macy's. I did not compare it with other brands. However, It came to my mind that cheaper jeans are available at Wal-Mart. However, Wal-Mart ...

Solution Summary

This posting gives you a step-by-step explanation of products that are most consistently consumed. The response also contains the sources used.

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