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Consumer Decision Making Process for Purchasing a Car

purchase; decision; family; car; involve; bradford; process; influence; make; prieto; appendix; caemmerer; high; behavior; individual; factor; regard; research; role; consumer

The Bradfords buys a new car

Linda Leimane

Table of Contents


Main body






The report will describe and discuss the decision-making process into Bradford family, when they have decided to buy a first family car.  It is going to be done by looking at diverse preferences of the individuals involved in the case, general preference for the whole family benefit and how these differences affect decision making process, and finally will try to assume what is the conceivable result of the case.


Main body

Bradford family is in front of decision to buy a car, which is will involve steps from traditional decision making process (See Appendix 1, Babin, B. and Harris 2016) Car purchase is considered as a high involvement purchase, because of high contribution to the purchase and interest in it and extensive information search. The purchase is infrequent, moreover, for Bradford family is first that kind of purchase, so this emphasizes the aspect even more.   Therefore, this decision involves extended problem- solving approach, which consist of high risk and involvement, information is processed actively from multiple channels (Solomon 2015).

In high involvement purchases evaluative process is crucial, moreover Fishbein and Ajzen theory of reasoned activity has demonstrated strong in foreseeing purchase behavior by suggesting that purchasing action starts with internal beliefs which are creating attitude, and normative beliefs which affects subjective norms and are considered as outside influences and only after these considerations have taken place and purchase intentions have been formed the actual purchase can take a place. (Jobber 2016

Figure 1 : High involvement: the Fishbein and Ajzen model of reasoned action

From this model, we can predict that the involvement  for Mrs Bradford will be high, because the lady will be more concerned about what others think about her and her car in the parking lot in connection to normative beliefs and subjective norms. With respect to Mr Bradford, as an independent thinker the involvement will be high, because car purchase for men is highly related to their id, which is connected to self – congruency theory as well (Babin B and Harris 2016). As for little Ted, it can be said that it is a bit too early to consider individual decision making process for a car, but regarding family purchase, boy could be involved in color and appearance of the car decision making, regarding the fact, that kids are highly visual in that age and that is one of the best wats how parents can enhance family relationship, by involving children. (Pepukayi Chitakunye 2012)

Regarding alternative evaluation, many criteria appears. Kaushal (2014) distinguishes six main factors which influence buyer behavior about car purchase intentions –   Safety and Security, quality, performance, value and technology. As individuals both parents still favor new cars from higher segments, because both of them have higher levels of education (Prieto, M. & Caemmerer 2013) Another point is that, the research shows that the first car of the household is more likely to be a new or used compact, intermediate or luxury car (Prieto, M. & Caemmerer 2013)

Figure 2: Conceptual model for influencing factors of car

According to Solomon (2015) family reaches rather than makes a decision, which could be explained because the process involve sequent steps. Considering, Bradford case, these steps will be influenced by sequenced variables – reducing choice set based on practical and financial needs; gathering information from trusted sources; emotional considerations; influence of image ; color and finally – influence of sales experience (Prieto, M. & Caemmerer 2013). In addition, Research shows that the first car of the household is more likely to be a new or used compact, intermediate or luxury car (Prieto, M. & Caemmerer 2013)

Figure 3: Flow chart of hypothesized sequence of variables influencing car purchasing decisions

Purchase will be joint decision, because of its long-lasting influence on all household members, it is usually difficult for a single member to make the decision about all the mentioned choice aspects. (Zhang at el  2009). In relation to family stages (See Appendix 2), Bradford family is at parenthood stage, which is the longest stage of family life cycle (Schiffman and Wisenblit 2015) If we would believe stereotypes, we would believe that regarding family decision making, it would be autocratic decision, where it would be made by father, but this not the case. Mrs Bradford is hard-working woman, so it would be syncretic decision. (Schiffman and Wisenblit 2015) Despite that, probably Mr and Mrs Bradford will have a conflict regarding some specific factors – Interpersonal need, product involvement and utility, responsibility and power. Anyway, it will be accommodative purchase decision, family decisions are characterized by an accommodative rather than consensual decision. (Solomon 2015)

Lately it has been discussed that children are assuming more active role in family decision making, however, because the child in our case is only 6 years old, it does not seem that he will have a huge saying in a car purchase. Dauphin et al (2011) confirms that the younger children are even more likely to be bystanders in the house.

Differences between individual and family decision making process could be resolved by role theory, where in group decision making process, each member has a specific and individual role.  The family decision- making process involves eight distinct roles (See Appendix 2). These roles provide a way of conceptualizing how family members make decisions (Goldsmith 2013). In Bradford family, it is clear that all family will be users. According to Cubbit (2003), it more likely that the Mrs Bradford will be the decision maker, because ladies’ impact over family life is a key factor in an ascent of their purchasing power.


Family role in decision making process


It is important,  that we contemplate the purchaser recognitions and conduct of the auto proprietors which will give us input on how promoting techniques can be functioned.

Regarding marketing communications, because the Mrs Bradford is more likely to be decision maker ,when it comes to family vehicles,  marketers should choose women as their target audience. Even tough, when targeting a family for a significant trades assay, the salesperson should focus on both husband and wife and stimulate a conversation between them to appeal to their conjoint kinship.

Post purchase service because of


  1. Babin, B. and Harris, E. (2016). CB7.
  2. Cubitt, E 2003, ‘Why women are this year’s model’, Precision Marketing, 16, 5, p. 12, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost,
  3. Dauphin, A, El Lahga, A, Fortin, B, & Lacroix, G 2011, ‘Are Children Decision-Makers within the Household?’, Economic Journal, 121, 553, pp. 871-903
  4. Goldsmith, E. (2013). Resource management for individuals and families. Boston: Pearson.
  5. Hafner, R., Walker, I. and Verplanken, B. (2017). Image, not environmentalism: A qualitative exploration of factors influencing vehicle purchasing decisions. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 97, pp.89-105.
  6.  Jobber, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2016). Principles and practice of marketing. London: McGraw-Hill Education.
  7. Kaushal, S.K. 2014, “Confirmatory factor analysis: An empirical study of the four- wheeler car buyer’s purchasing behavior”, International Journal on Global Business Management & Research, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 90-104.
  8. Schiffman, L. and Wisenblit, J. (2015). Consumer behavior: Pearson.
  9. Singh, S. and Dhyani, A. (2017). Spousal Attitude Towards Exerting Conflict Resolution Strategies in Decision Making. Paradigm, 21(1), pp.75-90.
  10. Solomon, M., Barmossy, G., Askegaard, S. and Hogg, M. (2015). Consumer behaviour. Harlow (England) [etc.] Boston: Pearson.
  11. Prieto, M. & Caemmerer, B. 2013, “An exploration of factors influencing car purchasing decisions”, International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 41, no. 10, pp. 738-764.
  12. Pepukayi Chitakunye, (2012) “Recovering children’s voices in consumer research”, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 15 Issue: 2, pp.206-224
  13. Zhang, J., Kuwano, M., Lee, B. and Fujiwara, A. (2009). Modeling household discrete choice behavior incorporating heterogeneous group decision-making mechanisms. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 43(2), pp.230-250.


Appendix 1:

Basic consumption process and decision-making process

Appendix 2:

The Family Life Cycle

Appendix 3:

The Roles in Group decision Making Process

  • Initiator: Begins the process of considering a purchase
  • Influencer: Attempts to influence others in the group concerning the purchase decision
  • (Gatekeeper): Controls information flow
  • Decision maker: Has the power or financial authority to make the final purchase decision
  • Buyer: Conducts the purchase transaction
  • User: Actual consumer/user of the product

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