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Nowadays, this is clear that we live in a fast paced world. Decisions that were made a few decades ago such as marriage, children or jobs are increasingly evolving. For instance, a few years ago, this was not rare to get married and keep the same job until retirement. Yet, as of now, people tend to develop a higher satisfaction by getting remarried or changing jobs multiple times in their life. Such a shift has significant consequences on the way people purchase products or services. Indeed, being married or single or having a different income may enhance different needs or desires. Therefore, marketers need to think about households and take into consideration their different needs in order to maximize the likelihood of satisfying their needs and wants.

Individual or groups involved in the purchase decision making process?

This happens that the purchase decision process from need recognition to post purchase is taken care of by only one person, but what about households? As a definition, a household is a group of people sharing the same living unit. They can be related or non related to each other. Such groups can include roomates, group of unrelated people appreaciating each other and living together, couples, parents living with children, etc. Given that they live together, they automatically influence each other in which regards buying decisions and consumption. Each member of the group plays a role and has a contribution to the final decision. Let’s briefly describe each role.

The 5 different roles households can play

The first role is referred to as the initiater. The mission of the initiater is to gather as much information as possible in order to share a wide variety of options to choose from. The second role a member may have is the influenceur which underlines that he will express his thoughts, ideas, beliefs or opinions that will contribute to the purchase decision. The, we have the decider who actually evaluates all alternatives and comes up with the best decision designed to suit the majority of members. Once the decision has been made, the buyer comes into play and actually acquire the product or service. Once the product or service has been purchased, time has come for users to use it. Note that households may own more than one role.

For instance, let’s assume that 4 roomates live together and have planned on a vacation trip. One of them wants to go to New-York, another one wishes to visit Las Vegas while the 2 last ones would like to head to Los Angeles. They may end up booking a trip to Los Angeles whereas at first, 2 of them hadn’t thought about this destination. Thus, the 2 people who wanted to go to Los Angeles may share the roles of decider, influenceur and user while the other 2 people who didn’t think about going to LA may only hold the role of user. The person booking the trip to LA may even have the 5 roles combined: initiater, influenceur, decider, buyer and user.

Another exemple would be parents and children living together. This is obvious that children have a significant impact on parent’s decision especially when it comes to toys, candies, movies, clothes, etc. In order to treat their kids, parents may purchase an item such as a Nitendo which is a toy they would not have never thought of purchasing for themselves. In this case, children are influenceurs and users while parents are deciders and buyers.

Since we live in a society in which change is constant, marketers have to constantly adapt themselves to such shifts. As I mentioned earlier, this is quite usual for people to shift jobs. Thus, their new income may greatly vary compared to their previous job. If the income is different, people may adhere to new products or services they would have not be able to afford previously. In addition, preferences tend to change more quickly due to the constant birth of new brands and products. Therefore, marketers need to take those factors into consideration while targeting segmentation in order to ensure satisfaction and customer retention.

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