Consumer Styles: Research Review

From The Darrin Coe … to research done by … Sproles and George Sproles (1990) in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, there is a … link between peoples learning styles and t

From The Darrin Coe Ezine

According to research done by Elizabeth Sproles
and George Sproles (1990) in the Journal of Consumer Affairs,Consumer Styles: Research Review Articles
there is a significant link between peoples learning styles
and their “consumer styles”.

1. The perfectionist consumer style, which describes
a consumer that searches carefully and systematically for the
best quality in products tend to learn through serious,
analysis and through both active and observation oriented
learning. These types of consumers are highly goal oriented.

2. The brand conscious, price equals quality consumer
tends to be oriented toward buying the more expensive, well

known brands tend to find choosing known brands an
expedient strategy that replaces thinking and learning in
their consumer choices.

3. The novelty and fashion conscious consumer
seems to line new and innovative products and gains
excitement from seeking out new things. This consumer
tends to not be concerned with the implications or
consequences of purchasing new or innovative products
and services.

4. The recreational shopping consumer finds
shopping a pleasant activity and engages in it because i
t’s fun. This consumer engages in shopping as a social
experience or because they like to be involved in their shopping.

5. The price value consumer tends to focus
on sales and lower prices balanced against quality. This
consumer tends to focus on active, fact acquisition. This
consumer tends to shop the market in-depth and do
many comparisons to find the proper balance of low price
and quality.

6. The impulsive consumer buys at the spur of
the moment and are unconcerned with how much is spent.
This consumer does not want to be bothered with new
information or learning about products or services..

7. The confused-by-overchoice consumer perceives
too many brands and stores and experiences information
overload in the market. This person is overly detailed and
fact oriented in their consumer process and becomes mentally
overloaded, especially in a complex multichoice market.

8. The habitual, brand loyal consumer repetitively
chooses the same brands and stores. This consumer engages
in a serious learning process to find products and services
that provide them with positive experiences and then stick with them.

Research Implications

Know thy consumer. This research indicates how
important it is to develop a psychological profile of your
ideal consumer. You need to know what consumer frequents
your market and from this you can begin to develop, first
intuitively, then through ongoing research, a profile of your
target customer’s consumer style.

For instance if you sell your product or service over
the internet you can be pretty sure that you are marketing
to people who operate out of a limited number of consumer
styles such as the perfectionistic; the novelty/fashion; and

the price conscious consumers. These are all information
oriented consumers who engage in seeking information before
they purchase.

If you are marketing to other businesses then you’re
once again probably going to need to market with an
orientation to providing sound information coupled with
powerful and relevant benefits because you’ll be dealing
with perfectionist and price conscious consumers.

Also, realize that with this information you can work
to turn people from one style to another. For instance you
may be able to convert a price conscious consumer to one
who is brand loyal by providing consistent quality for a lower
price. You may be able to convert the confused-by-overchoice
consumer into a brand loyal consumer by providing simple,
straight forward information combined with quality that cuts
through the information overload.


Study your target market and actively work to
know how they think and this will open up new marketing
creatives that will better target their particular consumer
style. This should prove to increase your bottom line if
done thoughtfully and consistently.

Sproles, Elizabeth & Sproles, George (1990). Consumer
Decision-Making Styles as a Function of Individual
Learning Styles. The Journal of Consumer Affairs. Vol. 24. Issue 1.


Darrin F. Coe, MA holds a master’s degree in
professional psychology and specializes in consumer
thinking. His latest report, “The Internet Consumer
Exposed” is packed with eye-opening insights about
the psychology of the internet consumer at