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11 Types of Problem Recognition

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Problem recognition is the process of a consumer identifying a need to buy something. It is a basic type of consumer behavior that is relevant to marketing activities such as advertising a new product. The following are basic types of problem recognition.

Natural Depletion

A consumer identifies a need to restock something they purchase regularly. For example, a consumer is running low on their favorite shampoo.

End of Life

A product breaks or ages beyond its useful lifespan. For example, software that is out of support.

Routine Problems

A consumer buys something new from a product category from which they regularly purchase. For example, an avid reader needs a few new books.


A consumer is dissatisfied with a product or service and seeks to replace it.

Lifestyle Changes

A consumer makes a change to their habits or situation. For example, the birth of a child, moving to a new city or beginning a new hobby. A lifestyle change may trigger a large number of purchases.


A consumer is seeking to improve things. This includes diverse needs such as home improvement, physical fitness, health, education, self-improvement,peak experiences and self-fulfillment. For example, a consumer who establishes a goal to get a promotion at work may purchase books about leadership.

Social Information

Learning about a new type of product from word of mouth. For example, a mobile device user who hears about a useful app that everyone is using.

Marketing Messages

A customer is influenced by a marketing message such as a commercial. For example, a consumer sees a trailer for a movie and decides they must see it.

Fear of Missing Out

A consumer decides that something is going on that they are about to miss. This can be a big sale that drives a consumer to identify new purchases they wouldn't have otherwise made. Other things that can trigger a fear of missing out are shortages and trendy new products.

Social Competition

Social competition such as noticing that all the neighbors have new solar panels on their roofs.


A desire not to fall behind change. This includes enthusiasts of a product category who are always purchasing the newest thing. It also includes people who fear they have fallen too far behind the pace of change. For example, a skier who fears their equipment is starting to look dated.
Overview: Problem Recognition
The process by which a consumer identifies a need to buy something.
Related Concepts

Consumer Behavior

This is the complete list of articles we have written about consumer behavior.
Adverse Selection
Attention Economics
Buying Behavior
Conservation Of Effort
Conspicuous Conservation
Conspicuous Consumption
Consumer Attitudes
Consumer Culture
Consumer Economics
Consumer Education
Consumer Research
Consumer Society
Curiosity Drive
Customer Motivation
Customer Needs
Customer Perceptions
Customer Persona
Customer Preferences
Fear Of Missing Out
Impulse Buying
Marketing Analysis
Middle Class
Peak Experiences
Perceived Risk
Price Sensitivity
Problem Recognition
Product Involvement
Snob Effect
Status Seeking
User Intent
Willingness To Pay
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Consumer Behavior

A list of consumer behaviors.

Conspicuous Conservation

An overview of the term conspicuous conservation.

Customer Motivation

A list of common customer motivations.

Customer Needs

A list of common types of customer needs with examples.

Customer Preferences

Common types of customer preferences.

Information Cascade

A definition of information cascade with examples.

Impulse Buying

A definition of impulse buying with examples.

Customer Persona

The definition of customer persona with complete examples.

Consumer Culture

The definition of consumer culture with examples.

Fear Of Missing Out

An overview of fear of missing out.

Curiosity Drive

An overview of curiosity drive.

Conservation Of Effort

An overview of conservation of effort.

Needs Analysis

The common types of needs analysis.

Product Involvement

The common types of product involvement.

Social Status

The common types of social status.

Status Seeking

The definition of status seeking with examples.

Customer Behavior

The definition of customer behavior with examples.
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