Buying Pattern - Meaning, Importance, Types, Factors & Example

Published by MBA Skool Team, Last Updated: September 26, 2021

What is Buying Pattern?

Buying pattern refers to the typical way in which consumers would buy goods or avail services considering the frequency, quantity, duration, timing etc. In simple words, buying patterns indicate or may predict how consumers purchase goods or services but are highly susceptible to change.

This is an important concept from the perspective of a marketer in predicting the consumer behavior and making sure that the product or a service is available when the customer needs it.

Importance of Buying Pattern

Marketers often try to understand buying pattern and its relation with geographical, demographic and psychological characteristics of the consumer. In order to understand the buying patterns, marketers conduct comprehensive surveys. Typical questions to understand the buying pattern for a particular product would be:

1. Do you purchase a particular product?

2. How often is it purchased?

3. What is the typical SKU you buy?

4. What is the maximum budget assigned to buying product?

5. Have you considered alternatives?

This along with demographic and psychological information including age, gender, occupation, household income, household size, education level, geographic location, hobbies, interests etc. could provide valuable insights. Understanding the buying pattern allows the company to decide on strategies for market segmentation, distribution and sales promotions.

Types of Buying Pattern

The buying pattern can be of different types:

1. Low Involvement Buying

This can be the regular buying of things like groceries which a customer has bought a lot of time and many customers would show similar buying pattern across regions. A milk carton may be bought daily in the morning without a lot of involvement and decision process on a daily basis. For a marketer, the most important part here is distribution and availability at the right time and right place.

2. Impulse buying

In impulse buying, there may or may not be a clear pattern. It can be bought immediately without lot of decisioning when the opportunity presents itself. From marketer's perspective, they need to be available at the points where customer can consider the products quickly and buy them e.g. near point of sales (POS) terminals.

3. High Involvement Buying

It is for a product which will take some time in decision making and would take into considerations a lot of things and factors as discussed earlier. Buying an air conditioner nearing the summer season would prompt a lot of buyers to consider buying an AC but the pattern would be similar.

Factors in Buying Pattern

There are certain factors in determining the buying pattern:

1. Frequency

The frequency of purchase is very important in determining a customer's buying pattern. A customer may buy the product daily e.g. Milk or once every month like a subscription to a service. Marketers can use this trend to better price the product or launch more SKU (stock keeping unit) for the products.

2. Quantity

The quantity of the product bought by the customer tells a lot about the pattern and trends of a particular product in a market. A customer may buy less quantity of a product based on many parameters or may buy a lot of quantity for usage over a longer period.

3. Timing

This factor is about a particular pattern in the time of buying. Like woolen clothes would be bought just before winters or air conditioners might sell more during the summer season. Marketers can come up with interesting offers based on the timing in the buying pattern.

Buying Pattern Example

For example, consider John, a fresh college graduate, who has taken up a job at a multinational and follows the 9-to-9 work schedule. His typical buying pattern for groceries might involve going to the local convenience store once a week and the supermarket twice a month, for both major and fill-in trips. Since he lives alone in his apartment, he generally opts for smaller SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) and more variety. Now consider the launch of an online portal for groceries that encourages buying larger SKUs. Since it’s much more convenient for John to order groceries online, his trips to the two stores would come down drastically and buying pattern would change significantly.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Buying Pattern along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

Browse the definition and meaning of more similar terms. The Management Dictionary covers over 2000 business concepts from 5 categories.

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