Why Customers Buy? Never Trust Those Marketers!

January 16, 2024

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“The most efficient way to impact your buyers' behavior is to...” Beware of this kind of certainty in marketing. When you hear it from a marketer, a Head of eCommerce, or a growth specialist, it's a sign to look deeper. Because in the ever-evolving world of why people buy, we've swung from loyalty to price sensitivity and back again. Let's explore what current research tells us.

The Shifting Sands of Marketing Understanding

Marketers haven't been deliberately misleading us. It's just that the prevailing wisdom in marketing has evolved, reflecting changes in consumer behavior and economic conditions.

  • Dick and Basu (1994): They placed their bets on loyalty as the primary driver of repeat patronage.
  • W.J. Keegan (1995): In his "Global Marketing Management" suggested a cocktail of social, cultural, and economic factors.
  • P. Lewis (1997): Introduced price sensitivity as a key buying behaviour driver.
  • Pride and Ferrell (2000): In “Marketing Concepts And Strategies” emphasised personal attitude, blending loyalty, social proof, and perception.
  • Kotler and Armstrong (2007): In their “Principles Of Marketing” shifted focus to personal factors ranging from background to brand experience.
  • Łatuszyńska, Furaiji, and Wawrzyniak (2012): Advocated for a more complex mix, including demographic and social factors alongside the 4Ps of marketing ("Empirical Study of Factors Influencing Customer Behaviour in the Electric Appliances Market).
timeline 1994-2012, historical overview of marketing views on purchase drivers

Age and Price Sensitivity: A 2019 Study

This brings us to a pivotal study conducted in 2019 with 10,000 European participants. This study, titled "The impact of age on the customer's buying behaviour and attitude to price" by M. Slabá (Litera Scripta 2019), offers critical insights. While it found that loyalty isn't significantly affected by age, price sensitivity certainly is. The study asked customers to respond to questions about prices, discounts, and their preferences for branded vs. non-branded products.

questions asked by the researches

The results? The 25-34 and 65+ age groups showed the most significant variability in price sensitivity, underscoring the impact of discounts on their purchasing decisions.

results of the study on how age impacts price sensitivity

Adapting Your Marketing Strategy

In light of these findings, what should a savvy marketer do? If your core audience isn’t heavily swayed by discounts, a one-size-fits-all discount strategy won't suffice. Instead, consider thinking in the following directions:

Deeper Customer Segmentation

Invest more time, effort and resources in customer segmentation, and offer more personalised approach in your discounting strategy. If you’re using Aimondo Flex you can perform this task easily in your dashboard.

clusters in Aimondo dashboard based on customer segmentations

New Platforms Adoption

Use platforms and channels to promote your special deals that are used more by price sensitive audience. For example, consider TikTok as a feasible option. Learn, why TikTok is a great channel to use in the UK, and how social commerce trends look like in 2024-2026.

Deploy Authentic Engagement

Beyond prices and products, customers seek authentic engagement. Create genuine connections and narratives that resonate. Again, one of the best ways to do it is o use social media. It is one of the few two-ways roads that brands actually can use to build communications with their customer base. unlike emails or direct sales, social media, including social commerce, allows for mutual interaction between your company and your customer. Marketing isn't just about tactics; it's about understanding human behaviour. In this shifting landscape, being adaptable, empathetic, and customer-focused is key. Remember, it's not just what you sell, but how you connect with your audience that counts.

Ana Bibikova, a Head of Marketing at Aimondo

Ana Bibikova, a Head of Marketing at Aimondo


Ana is a rare breed: T-shaped marketer with a wide experience in eCommerce, B2B, B2C and B2B2B marketing. Writes about unconventional strategies for exceptional growth.

Pricing strategy
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