Consumer Behaviour - Holiday Decision Making Process

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CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR: HOLIDAY DECISION MAKING PROCESS SUMMARY: Decisions are omnipresent in the daily lives of human beings. Being tireless decision makers, it stands to reason then that we understand the forces that drive decision making. The following report seeks to critically evaluate the long-held traditional ‘rational problem- solving and cognitive model’ of the consumer decision making process against the background of the holiday decision making patterns of the modern consumer. The one striking aspect of all the theories thus far was the portrayal of the consumer as a logical, rational decision maker who made complex choices based on reason, rational thinking and minimal risk-taking. The five cognitive stages that a consumer goes…show more content…
The model places due importance on the notion of goal-attainment as a vital component of consumer behaviour (Schiffman, Kanuk and Hansen, 2007). The cognitive paradigm represents the ‘problem-solving, rational consumer’ and, to a lesser degree, the emotional consumer. It describes the process of various steps leading to the culmination, i.e, making a purchase. Most consumer behaviour models are based around this premise (Nicosia, 1966; Engel et al, 1973). However, several fundamental flaws were discovered in this theory. The most glaring one was the assumption that choices were knowledge-based and therefore the environment around the chooser was not taken into consideration. Behaviors, whether pertaining to work, pleasure or those of a discretionary nature tend to reflect causal historical explanations rather than rational ones. (Decrop, 2006) Moreover, on further observation, actual decisions are seen to be more spontaneous and less deliberate than the cognitive theory suggests. The spotlight shifted from the idea of pre-eminent rationality to the usage of subconscious ‘heuristics’ or short-cut decision rules. It is interesting to note that the process of holiday decision making is predominantly dynamic in nature. It is not marked by fixed sequential stages or an abrupt end once decisions are taken. Decisions are based on several attributes (landscape, climate, amenities etc.). However,
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