Effect of Demographic Factors on Consumer Behavior: Age, sex, Income and Education

Effect of Demographic Factors on Consumer Behavior

Several factors affect consumer behavior. It differs from person to person based on his age, income, sex, education and marital status.

You can easily notice the difference between the buying decisions and consumer behavior of two different people from different economic groups.

A person with high income level makes big purchases whereas one from the lower economic strata makes smaller purchases. 

These factors are evident at the surface. However, there are several factors affecting buying decisions and consumer behavior.

Some of these differences are easily noticeable whereas the others might be a little difficult to observe.

This article focuses on four important demographic factors and the effect they have on consumer behavior.

These factors are age, sex, education and income. 

As these factors change, they affect consumer behavior.

  You can observe that an increase in wealth or education also affects consumer behavior and choice of products and brands.

Demographic factors' effect on consumer behavior

Age:

Age is an important demographic factor that affects consumer behavior.

As people grow, their needs change.

Similar changes appear in their buying decision making patterns.

With age, our health related needs change and so do our other needs. 

Age brings changes to people’s lifestyle and affects their needs and personal values.

When people are young, they spend more on their lifestyle needs like fun, movies and fashion.

As they grow older, their expenses on these things grow lower.

Elderly people mostly remain indoors, however, their health related expenses can grow since an aging body is more prone to diseases. 

In this way, age becomes one of the fundamental demographic factors that affect consumer behavior and buying decisions.

Age does not just affect buying behavior, it is also an important factor in terms of market segmentation and marketing strategy.

Marketers segment their target market on the basis of age.

There are several products that are targeted mainly at the millenials.

Similarly, there are products meant for the elderly and which target the needs of people past their middle ages.

Lifestyle gadgets and magazines are mostly marketed to the youth or the millennial generation.

Since, the taste of this generation is different and they are more digitally inclined, this affects not just the choice of marketing strategy but also the marketing channels used to reach them.

People’s choice of brands and products start changing as they grow older.

A young man’s choices can be vastly different from the elderly since age brings changes that affect our flavor.

An older person may have more serious choices and will be less fun loving than a young man.

From the type of movies to the type of food and the type of clothes that they wear, things are a lot different between the young and the old.

Chocolates are meant for kids and young people.

Their consumption among the elderly is much lower. 

Age determines several things and when we retire, our consumption patterns change according to the changing income level.  

Elderly people are less digitally inclined and therefore their consumption of digital services is lower.

Sex:

Several things differ between the male and female consumers and these differences like different needs and attitudes affect their buying choices.

The two sexes have different needs in terms of fashion and lifestyle.

So, their consumer behavior in these two areas can be vastly different. 

It is mainly the difference in needs that lead to differing choices.

However, there are several areas where consumption patterns can be similar too like in terms of food and fun.

The same movies and same fast food brands may appeal to both the sexes.

The same is true about technology and hardware too.

However, there are still several products in the market which are meant for either of the sexes not each. 

Decision making patterns may also vary between the two sexes.

The homemakers are less likely to be involved in impulse buying.  Several advertisements that you daily come across are directed at both or either of the two sexes.

From fashion ads to grooming products, the same ads do not appeal to both the sexes.

In most of families, it is the women that influence most of the household choices.

Income:

Income is a very important factor that affects the buying decisions and consumer behavior of people. 

Across different income levels, the difference in product choices and buying patterns can easily be marked. 

A person in the middle class makes his buying decisions based on utility.

However, someone from the upper class would want style, design and special features while making a purchase.

 The channels for the marketing of luxury items are different from those for the ordinary ones.

Luxury items are mostly marketed through luxury magazines.

The level of income determines what kind of products someone regularly purchases.

A buyer with higher disposable income will spend more on luxury or lifestyle items.

People with higher disposable income also spend more on vacations and tours.

Customer service and after sales support also become important factors when it comes to big ticket purchases.

Education:

Education affects how people view things around them.

It affects the level of discretion they employ while making purchases.

In this era, education has also become the determinant of social class and the easiest method to climb up in the society.

The more educated a person is, the higher the level of discretion he will employ in making purchases.

People’s preferences can change with education.

Every customer is well informed in this era. However, the more educated ones take more time before deciding a purchase.

Education affects a number of things including the fashion you wear and the programs you watch.

It affects even your choice of stationary and the magazines you are reading.

It is why same ads do not work with all customers.

Highly educated customers look for information and do not rely on ads alone.

They research products and their attributes and verify each piece of information available before making a choice.

If observed carefully, education’s effect can easily be seen on consumer behavior.

An educated customer would weigh his options carefully before going for a purchase.

Sometimes it might be easy for businesses to attract the less educated customers compared to the highly educated ones.

As people become more educated, they exercise more caution in terms of purchasing.

Conclusion:

Consumer behavior is affected by several factors, mainly age, sex, income and education.

While our preferences change with age and level of education, sex and income also affect our product choices and decision making patterns.

The economic crisis has passed. However, during the crisis, people’s disposable incomes had declined and this had affected their purchasing behavior.

In this way, in a period of economic turbulence people grow more careful with their expenses, which is also a proof that income affects consumer behavior.

The Covid-19 pandemic also caused a temporary recession.

Millions of people became unemployed in a very short span of time as thousands of businesses shut down due to the crisis.

As people lost their jobs, they also stopped spending on non essential items.

In this way, economic factors like employment, earnings and savings have a direct impact on consumption and consumer behavior.

However, apart from these demographic factors, psychographic and geographic factors too have an effect on consumer behavior.

These factors too can have a deep impact on how people buy and spend and how marketing must be done to achieve higher sales.

Sources:

Impact of Demographic Factors on Consumer Behaviour – A Consumer Behaviour Survey in Himachal Pradesh – Rakesh Kumar

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