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36 Examples of Purchase Decisions

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Purchase decisions are the processes that individuals use to choose between options in a crowded market of goods and services. Making reasonable purchase decisions is a life skill that can benefit from looking at the various ways that consumers make decisions in the real world. This is also of interest to marketing and sales pursuits in order to shape brands, products and offers. The following are common examples of purchase decisions.

Customer Needs

Purchasing the option that has the functions and features you require.

Customer Preferences

Purchasing the option that conforms to your preferences such as the color you prefer.

Quality Perceptions

Purchasing based on perceptions of quality such as a consumer who views food products with all natural ingredients as being higher quality.

Value Perceptions

Purchasing an option that appears to be a good value relative to cost.

Bargain Hunting

Seeking out sales and extraordinary offers.

Cost Constraints

Purchasing the best option you can afford.

Price Sensitivity

Consumers can be sensitive to prices for one type of good but price insensitive for another type. For example, a snowboarder who always buys the cheapest socks but will easily purchase an expensive snowboard.

Total Cost

Consumers may consider total cost of ownership such as an ink tank printer that is expensive but has far cheaper ink.


Purchasing based on a figure of merit that indicates the performance of a product.

Comparison Shopping

Logically comparing options to consider which is the best based on criteria such as cost, quality, performance, risk and functionality.

Customer Experience

Purchasing an option based on a previous positive experience or avoiding an option based on a bad customer experience.

Brand Recognition

Consumers may feel better purchasing brands that they recognize even where they have no specific information about that brand.

Brand Awareness

Purchasing based on something you know about a brand such as purchasing a vehicle you have heard is safe.

Brand Loyalty

The conviction that a brand is preferable such that you will not purchase if that brand isn't available.

Uncertainty Avoidance

Consumers may avoid options that are missing information or that involve future uncertainty.

Social Status

Purchasing goods and services that represent social status such as wealth, coolness or youthfulness.

Social Proof

Buying an option that you know is popular or that people you admire have purchased.

Social Information

Seeking out social information such as ratings and reviews.

Aspirational Buying

Purchasing things based on who you want to be. This can involve social status or some type of lifestyle change or life ambition.

Self Expression

Purchasing an option that expresses your character or style.

Conspicuous Consumption

Purchasing something you feel makes you a good person.

Word of Mouth

Choosing an option based on a recommendation from someone.

Fear of Missing Out

Purchasing things based on trends and popularity for fear of missing out on social change or shared experiences.


Purchasing things because you think they are in short supply.

Risk Perceptions

Choosing an option that appears to be low risk such as a free trial offer that you can cancel at any time.


Purchasing the option you believe is the most fair such as the service that doesn't have unfair terms.

Decision Fatigue

Making poor decisions or failing to make a purchase decision due to information overload such as excessive product variety.


Choosing an option that appears to be "good enough" without overthinking it. Satisficing is a common behavior that often involves purchasing a recognizable brand or popular item.

Emotional Buying

Purchases driven by emotion such as feelings of nostalgia for your youth.

Impulse Buying

Purchasing based on a strong motivation. Implies a decision is irrational such as overspending or purchasing too many sweets.

Habitual Buying

Repurchasing the product you have always purchased.

Variety Seeking

Regularly trying new products or versions in some category. For example, a consumer who is always trying new shampoos.

Convenience Seeking

Choosing the path of least resistance by purchasing the option that makes things easier.

Experience Seeking

Choosing options that will represent epic experiences. For example, renting a sports car that you wouldn't ordinarily have the chance to drive.

Early Adopters

Consumers who are enthusiastic about a particular good or service such that they will purchase the newest thing.


Purchasing multiple options to spread out the risk.


Purchase decisions have three primary types whereby consumers may be rational, social or emotional in their decisions. Rational decisions involve decision criteria and comparison of options. Social decisions involve social information such as word of mouth and are driven by social competition such as seeking social status. Emotional decisions are based on positive feelings such as wanting to express your personal style or negative feelings such as fear of uncertainty.


The following are common examples of how purchase decisions are made by consumers.

Consumer Behavior

The following are further examples of consumer behavior.
Buying Behavior
Customer Behavior
Customer Complaints
Customer Needs
Epic Meaning
Product Design
Purchase Decisions
Word Of Mouth
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Customer Behavior

The definition of customer behavior with examples.

Customer Analytics

An overview of customer analytics with examples.

Customer Complaints

An overview of customer complaints with examples.


Examples of common types of customers.

Customer Risk

An overview of customer risk with examples.

Customer Pain Points

An overview of customer pain points with examples.

Consumer Attitudes

An overview of consumer attitudes with examples.

Customer Motivation

A list of common customer motivations.
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