Types of Consumer Purchase Decisions

Consumer purchasing is not only affected by internal and external influences, these are also affected by the type of purchases consumers make. Consumers are faced with purchase decisions nearly every day. But not all decisions are treated the same. Some decisions are more complex than others requiring more effort by the consumer. Other decisions are fairly routine and require little effort. In general, consumers face four types of purchase decisions:

  • Minor New Purchase – These purchases represent something new to a consumer but in the consumer’s mind is not a very important purchase in terms of need, money, or other reason (e.g., status within a group).
  • Minor Re-Purchase – These are the most routine of all purchases and often the consumer returns to purchase the same product without giving much thought to other product options (i.e., consumer is loyal to a particular product).
  • Major New Purchase – These purchases are the most difficult of all purchases because the product being purchased is important to the consumer but the consumer has little or no previous experience making these decisions. The consumer’s lack of confidence in making this type of decision often (but not always) requires the consumer to engage in an extensive decision-making process..
  • Major Re-Purchase – These purchase decisions are also important to the consumer, though, the consumer feels confident in making these decisions since they have previous experience purchasing the product.


For marketers it is important to understand how consumers treat the purchase decisions they face. If a company is targeting customers who feel a purchase decision is difficult (i.e., Major New Purchase), their marketing strategy may vary greatly from a company targeting customers who view the purchase decision as routine. In fact, the same company may face both situations at the same time; for some consumers the product is new, while others see the purchase as routine. The implication of buying behavior for marketers is that different purchasing situations require different marketing efforts.

External Influences: Situation and Economic Conditions
How Consumers Buy