Consumers Don’t Engage, They Just Buy

Consumers Don’t Engage, They Just Buy

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The majority of consumers don't stop and think about a brand's ad before buying a product. They just buy.

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While reading the recent Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science’s report “Shopping Takes Only Seconds…In-Store and Online,” I was again reminded of how many marketing executives have an unrealistic and overly brand-centric view of how important their brands are in people’s everyday lives.

SHOPPERS DON’T ENGAGE – THEY JUST BUY

The idea that consumers “engage” with brands is no doubt true for a small set of consumers and a small set of high involvement categories and brands, but for the vast majority of brands, consumers are not engaged to or with brands. They’re just buying them. The Ehrenberg-Bass study confirms this:

  • The average consumer spends 13 seconds purchasing a brand in-store. This is based on multiple studies of consumer product purchase behavior.
  • Online is not much better, with the average consumer spending 19 seconds to purchase, and the majority spent less than 10 seconds.

The simple truth is this: for most categories, consumers have a small repertoire of brands that are acceptable, and they spend little time thinking about purchase decisions. Their lives are already full of spouses, kids, events and other activities, and most people simply don’t have the time or energy to engage with brands in any meaningful way. And those that do are a minority. Consumers most often default to making purchase decisions based on simple habit (e.g., previous purchase) or “instinct.”

HOW DO CONSUMERS DECIDE WHAT TO BUY?

Habit is pretty clear (I’ve bought this brand before), but what is “instinct” in buying? Well, instinct simply means that the brand easily comes to mind.

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