Chapter 11: Situational
Consumer Behavior - A Framework
John C. Mowen
Michael S. Minor
Consumer Situations Task definition
Types of situational Categories of gift-
influences giving situations
Influence of physical Influence of time
surroundings Time differences
Store location across cultures
effects Types of antecedent
Store atmosphere states
The Environment and the Exchange Process
Individual Buying Exchange Marketer
Processes Unit Process
Consumer Situations . . .
consist of temporary environmental factors
that form the context within which a
consumer activity occurs at a particular place
include factors that:
Involve the time and place in which a consumer
activity takes place
Explain why the action takes place
Influence consumer behavior
Table 11-1: Belk’s Situational
Physical Surroundings . . .
. . .are the concrete
physical and spatial
aspects of the
Effects of Music on Shoppers
In a supermarket
store study sales
increased daily by
38% when slower
music was played.
A restaurant study
found when slow
music was played,
Effects of Music continued
Playing peppy music
while on hold or
waiting in line doesn’t
make time pass more
increases “pace of
events” perception but
raises estimates of
The Effects of Crowding
Density - how closely packed people
are (i.e., the physical arrangements of
people in a space).
Crowding - the unpleasant feelings
that people experience when they
perceive that densities are too high and
that their control of the situation has
been reduced to unacceptable levels.
High - and Low-density...
High-density situations may be beneficial -
More perceived control in bar study, less in bank
In “fun” situations, density enhances pleasure.
There is usually an optimal level of density.
Other elements (time, convenience) as
important for shopping behavior.
Consumer Crowd Behavior
In some circumstances consumers behave
like hysterical crowds
Large groups may cause high physiological arousal
among each of the members
The high arousal results in the tendency of each
member of the crowd to act on a dominant idea or
Each person in a crowd becomes inconspicuous
and individual responsibility is lost.
Store Location . . .
. . . influences consumers from several
Consumers have “cognitive maps” of a city’s
geography that may not match the actual
locations of retail stores.
Image transference exists: The image of
anchor stores affects that of smaller stores in
the same shopping center.
Store Layout . . .
. . . is the physical organization of a store
that creates specific traffic patterns,
assists retailers in the presentation of
merchandise, and helps create a
Atmospherics . . .
. . . refers to how managers manipulate
the design of the building, interior
space, layout of aisles, texture of
carpets and walls, scents, colors,
shapes, and sounds experienced by
customers to achieve a certain effect.
Atmospherics and Shopping
Atmosphere Emotional Response Behavior
Layout Pleasure/ Time in
Sounds displeasure Store
Smells Arousal/ Affiliation
Texture... Boredom Buying
higher quality goods
in scented stores.
Odors should be
consistent with store
These cues are
Effects of Spatial
Retail store space
Retail stores affect
Stores can create
Social Surroundings . . .
. . . deals with the
effects of other
people on a
consumer in a
The Task Definition . . .
. . . the situational reasons for buying
or consuming a product or service at a
particular time and place.
Usage situations form the context in
which a product is used and influence
the product characteristics sought by a
Sometimes a product
is locked into one
Consumers may come
to consider the product
inappropriate for all
Obligatory obligation friendship
Degree of Self-Interest
Gift Behavior and Gender...
Women start shopping earlier for
Christmas (October vs. November)
Spend more time shopping/gift (2.4 vs.
Are more successful (fewer of their gifts
But men spend 50% more/gift.
Individual differences in conception…
Time as a product
Time as a situational variable
Time: Individual Differences...
People Can Use Time in Four Different Ways:
Individual Time Differences
Are Influenced by Culture...
Linear Separable. There is a past, present,
future. The future is expected to be better:
the idea of “progress”. Activities are a means
to an end.
Circular Traditional. The future is like the
present. Do today only what has to be done
today. Time and money aren’t related.
Procedural Traditional. Task Orientation.
Meetings take as long as necessary.
Time as a Product
Many Purchases Are Made to Buy Time
The “time-buying consumer” is a consumer
who engages in buying time through these
Time-saving qualities are a key promotional
Time can act as a product attribute
Time, and Lines
In 1998, 70 Northern California MacDonald’s
restaurants tried multiple lines vs. one line.
The single, serpentine line is most popular -
Multiple lines actually move people faster
But jumping from line to line creates stress.
Time as a Situational Variable
How much time a
available to do a task
influences the buying
strategy used to
select and purchase
With limited time,
there is less
Antecedent States . . .
. . . are the temporary physiological and
mood states that a consumer brings to a
Physiological State: Hunger.
Mood State: Happy feelings.
Antecedent States . . .
. . . Can lead to problem recognition.
. . . Can change the “feeling” component
of hierarchy of effects (Ch. 8)
. . . Mood states influence behavior, e.g.
shopping to alleviate loneliness.
Usage Situation, Person, and
The Buying Act Results From Interactions
That Occur Among:
Characteristics of the buying unit/person
The product or service being offered
Positioning. Situational variables offer
multiple opportunities for positioning.
Research. May indicate which situations
present opportunities for new products.
Marketing Mix. Firms may be able to present
time-saving attributes as a tradeoff for a
Segmentation. An increase in the female work
force presents opportunities to market to the
segment of males doing more of their own
High Ginger Ale