How Psychology and Statistics Influence People’s Purchases

Martha MacDonald
3 min readFeb 24, 2022

Have you ever purchased something only to wonder why you did so afterward? You’re not alone. Professor Gerald Zaltman says 95% of cognitive decisions happen in our subconscious mind[1].

He goes on to state that Emotion is what drives the decision-making process. A new field of study referred to as Consumer Psychology, defined as “the study of individuals, groups, or organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, use, and dispose of products, services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes have on the consumer and society,”[2] seems to back this up this theory.

How Psychology & Statistics Play A Role In Our Purchases

If you were hoping to find a bulleted list of percentages and numbers used as statistics here, prepare for disappointment. Because our decision driver is emotional, statistics are more often measured by why or how we do things versus an actual numerical value. Thus, understanding how psychology plays a vital role in marketing becomes crucial.

Put in laymen’s terms, tell me how it makes me feel, and I will buy it, subscribe to it more times than not. Here are some typical ways marketers use this theory to get you to purchase products or services[3].

· Make it easy to buy

· Tell me how I am making a difference

· Show me how I am keeping up with or surpassing the Joneses

· Let me see how I will feel using your product

· Tell me why I need it right now instead of later

· Show me the “bang for my buck.”

So it should be no surprise to hear that 85% of millennials, defined as people age 18–34, say they’ve purchased a product or service after watching a video, according to Brightcove’s 2018 Video Marketing Survey.

Across all stages of a person’s purchase cycle, word of mouth is the primary driver of a purchase decision. It influences 93 percent of consumers, according to a survey by RewardStream, a loyalty platform solutions provider.[4]

As living, breathing, feeling human beings, we ultimately seek to connect with others, be understood and feel accepted. In marketing, we work to provide you with those feelings through highly targeted ads that demonstrate how the products or services we are advertising will deliver those “feel good” pheromones you get when you make that purchase.

I believe in the coming years, marketers will find ways to tap deeper into that “feel good” sense we get as technology continues to push past the boundaries we have now. But as I leave you with my thoughts, I’m also going to leave you with this challenge. The next time you get ready to purchase something, stop and think about why you are purchasing it and what factors lead you to push the buy button. Was it because a friend told you about it? Was it because of an ad or video you saw? Perhaps it was because that friend or video gave you a warm and fuzzy feeling, or maybe, just maybe, it was the combination of all of them which drives home the point that psychology, when combined with statistics, helps make the marketing world go round.

[1] Working Knowledge Business Research for Business Leaders

[2] Solomon M. Consumer Psychology. Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology. 2004:483–492. doi:10.1016/b0–12–657410–3/00219–1

[3] 7 Stats That Demonstrate The Psychology of Buyer Behavior — referenced but not copied

[4] What Percentage of Customers Buy Based on a Reference Vs. Advertising?

--

--

Martha MacDonald

Digital marketer by day, creative writer by night. Creative writing gives me room to express myself and share my love of writing with others.