This textbook is available Logo
Marketing 2018 19th Edition

Marketing 2018 (19th Edition)

Book Edition19th Edition
Author(s)Ferrell, Pride
PublisherCengage Learning
Chapter 7, End of Chapter , Discussion and Review Questions , Exercise 1
Page 222

What are the major stages in the consumer buying decision process? Are all these stages used in all consumer purchase decisions? Why or why not?

Here is a tip:

Consumer buying decision process refers to the series of steps that consumers engage in while buying and using products.


The consumers' purchase decision process involves a series of steps which are as follows:

  • Problem recognition: The consumer identifies the need to make a new purchase.
  • Information search: He/she gathers relevant information related to the product. Search for information can be further classified into:
    1. Internal search: Use of past knowledge and experiences.
    2. External search: Search information from outside sources, such as TV, internet, websites, etc.
  • Evaluation of alternatives: He/she compares various available choices on the basis of objective characteristics and subjective characteristics. The objective characteristics include size, capacity, etc and the subjective characteristics include design, color, etc.
  • Purchase: It is the stage at which the consumer finally decides and makes the purchase out of available alternatives.
  • Post purchase evaluation: Consumer evaluates his/her choice and measures the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction derived from the product.


However, not all consumers necessarily go through these five stages, while making purchase decisions. Consumers may begin a process of searching for information and stop after that, deciding not to purchase. Therefore, not all intentions to necessarily result in actual purchase behavior. Additionally, consumers can make decisions based on an impulse, rather than the steps discussed, which is known as impulse buying (e.g. wheat, rice, etc).

Hence, not all decision processes translate into an actual purchase, and not all decision steps are involved in consumers' purchases.

Verified Answer

The five major stages involved in the consumer buying decision process are: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase, and postpurchase evaluation.


However, it is not necessary that all consumer decisions include all five stages, as consumers can begin and end the process at any stage. Moreover, consumers do not always make rational decisions. They may make impulse purchases without going through any stage of the consumer decision process. 

How would you rate this answer and explanation?
Did you like this example?
Subscribe for full access
Page 222