back

The influence of emotions on consumer behavior

Consumer decision-making processes is one of the most fascinating topics studied in the last
two decades. There is no doubt that the studies prove unequivocally that there is a profound
effect of emotions on the processes when making decisions to purchase and on the perception of products and brands. Positive feelings towards a product / brand / store / store chain may increase the chance that the customer will choose to make a purchase, while feelings of discomfort / negative feelings may cause them to avoid a purchase and sometimes even be a negative ambassador among potential consumers – those in their environment (the negative buzz effect ). Emotions affect the level of willingness to pay for a product / brand and even the memory of our consumer’s feeling towards that product / brand. This is a future memory and even the attitude of those consumers in the future towards the brand. In addition, emotions and feelings can affect the customer’s dealing with different emotional situations and change his buying decisions. Focusing on understanding these processes is critical. In every KCI (Key choices indicators) process, it is important to understand all the touch points and the dialogue we create with our consumers.

Many studies in this field deal with trying to understand the emotional and behavioral dynamics of consumers with the products/brands, and the feelings and sensations in the buying process.

This process includes extensive research, including a focus on identifying the emotions created when investigating products and brands by consumers as soon as they are aware of them, they have discovered them, and at the stage of discovery they want to learn about the product / brand. At this point, the studies examine how emotions affect the consumer’s personal opinions and feelings and brand memory and awareness. The studies also examine how different emotional reasons, such as excitement, interest or fear, can influence the purchasing decisions of consumers and the feelings and perceptions of the products/brands.


In order to illustrate the power of emotions and their influence on consumer decision-making, we must first understand that consumers prefer branded products due to the emotional attachment they have to the brand. It’s no secret that consumers prefer to purchase the same product that costs much less through a brand / generic product, with the same ingredients, at a much lower price, but in practice they choose not to. why? Because it is a brand that has a personality, it has a narrative, and this is where the journey begins where the packaging, the visual appearance, the language, the sound and the set of parameters that make up the brand’s story and are expressed physically, textually, in sounds and experiences – all of these make consumers choose the brand and not the generic product . It’s like people prefer one person over another.

More than 100 human emotions have been diagnosed that can be counted and measured, but three of them are very important to our consumer behavior research and it is important to start with them before approaching the whole complex:

Pride: A purchase made by the consumer of the product from a brand that makes him feel proud to have it. For example in the field of cars, a person who has a Jaguar, it says something about him. In the field of wristwatches, a person who has a Rolex watch, it says something about him. He feels proud that this brand is a part of him and it reflects on his personality.

Shame: a purchase that a person makes and uses a product of the brand he has chosen without feeling any emotion of shame and sometimes even feelings of inferiority and the fact that he is next to people who have stronger brands. For example, in the field of cars, a businessman with a Subaru versus a businessman with a Mercedes.

Guilt: purchasing a product caused by feelings of guilt, for example a mother who buys branded sports shoes for her children feels better than a mother who buys from stock or unbranded outlet warehouses and her children wear it to school and are slowly labeled unpleasantly and inferior. Her decision-making process is difficult, so the purchase of a branded product is done by her out of guilt and fear of harming her children’s image and their self-confidence.

What is interesting is that none of these emotions are part of our primary emotions of anger, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise and disgust that we experience every day.

Note that pride, shame, and guilt are all emotions caused by other people. Brands that can prevent each of these feelings through the right experience and create feelings of pride and fulfillment at the time of purchase are the ones that are likely to succeed.

Additional studies can expand on the subject and deal with a wider variety of areas, including the effect of emotions on motivation, response in social buying processes and decision-making under conditions of stress or uncertainty.

Bagozzi, R. P., Gopinath, M., & Nyer, P. U. (1999). The role of emotions in marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 27(2), 184-206.

A study that examines the role of emotions in the various marketing processes. The results of the study show that the positive emotions have a positive effect on consumer behavior including dealing with the product, understanding it and the desire to purchase it. An impressive visual display of the product and its explanation are the ones that cause positive feelings and the desire to purchase.

Pham, M. T. (1998). Representativeness, relevance, and the use of feelings in decision making. Journal of Consumer Research, 25(2), 144-159.

The study investigated the use of emotions in consumer decision-making processes and found that emotions can influence consumers’ ways of thinking and decision-making. Positive emotions such as joy and calm can encourage deep consideration and decision-making based on detailed data, while negative emotions such as anxiety and suffering may lead to quick decisions that are not based entirely on rational information.