Scores of books have been written on the consumer behavior theory. Whether it’s the conventional wisdom of marketing or modern views of contemporary economists, the evolving consumer behavior has been researched to establish the science behind consumer psychology and deconstruct the triggers that lead to consumers buying a product when they needed it the least.
Why does a consumer buy things that he needs the least?
Geoffrey Miller, the author of the famous best-seller, “Must-Have”, describes the virtually incurable popular propensity towards buying things as a tool of flaunting one’s sense of pride before the people within one’s social circle. Miller digs deeper into the buyers’ psychology to serve you up with the most disturbing answer – the enslavement of materialistic consumerism.
In simple terms, today, most of us have become the slaves of crass consumerism, an effective marketing tool deliberately designed by the market capitalists. Need is a very subjective term; the pleasures of acquisitions are usually short-lived at best. Yet, our propensity towards buying things is getting gradually revitalized, thanks to the skillful craftsmanship of the modern advertisement companies who have us believe that every damn thing they manufacture categorically contributes to our happiness and emotional well-being.
The potential impact of these misleading advertisements has already grappled millions of buyers around the world, more so in the third-world countries. Today, many of us enslaved consumers ungrudgingly shell out our hard-earned money (made of unethical means) to buy things we need the least, and purely to flaunt our sense of pride. Why do luxury manufacturers such as BMW spend money advertising in mass media whose typical readership most likely won’t ever be able to afford their products? And just why is the iPod so important?
Marketing is no longer a method of selling product; it has evolved as a potential tool to imprison unsuspecting consumers into the habit of buying products they need the least. It’s also a subject that used to barely exist, but has rapidly progressed from a crude advert or slogan to a highly complex and expensive industry that rather disturbingly offers quite an elusive return on investment and successfully generates a vague sense of pride in the psyche of the consumers.
From bottled water to hybrid cars, credit cards to designer apparels, market capitalists have successfully created the ‘need’ for the modern consumers who have, quite unknowingly, succumbed to their baser instincts, thereby allowed themselves to be waylaid into the sphere of materialism.
While market capitalists have been ruthlessly taking advantage of this incurable mental make-up of the modern consumers; people, on the other hand, have started measuring up their happiness with regards to their material possessions, trying hard to search their peace of mind where it is most unlikely to be found.
In the chaos and confusion of this marketing razzmatazz, the modern consumer is devoid of his real “needs” and is out on the market to buy a car to not travel any distance, but ride on an ego trip which has a terrible destination.
As the festive seasons in India is just about to begin followed by the Christmas, the modern consumers must ask this question to themselves before they pick an unwanted item off the shelves, “Do I really need this product?”