Research Topics on Consumer Behavior

There is no shortage of angles when it comes to researching consumer behavior.

The topic of consumer behavior is a broad one that has a multitude of categories; it goes beyond the simple motivations of why or why not people purchase goods. For this reason, it makes for a great research topic, as there are many angles to explore, and it lends itself well to various essay formats, such as cause-and-effect studies and argumentative writing.

1 Consumer Needs and Desires

Consumer purchases always have a rhyme and reason, even if there appears to be no pattern to them. Need and desire are the twin driving forces behind consumption, and they are shaped by a number of factors such as emotions, finances and values. People in different demographics can have different types of needs and desires. For instance, some purchase items mainly because they satisfy basic, traditional needs, while others buy items to boost their prestige and social status.

2 Product Usage

Consumer behavior research often focuses on the purchasing process, but perhaps just as significant is how the consumer uses the product. This kind of research helps determine marketing and advertising angles, and it gives the manufacturer ideas on possible improvements to make. For example, if a beer company were to see a sudden spike in sales, it would benefit from research about who is buying and why. If the demographic is a new one, the company can gear its advertising toward that new group.

3 Marketing

A business must fine-tune its marketing to maximize its sales. For example, observe the large number of truck and beer commercials during sporting events, or the frequency of injury lawyer ads during daytime television. Those advertisements are geared toward companies' target demographics. Consumer behavior researchers sometimes observe what advertising does or doesn't work and diagnose why. They might ask which companies messed with success and changed their marketing for the worse, or which ones revitalized their brand image with cleverness.

4 Market Trends

The consumption habits of the public are in regularly in flux, so the study of trends is a permanent fixture in consumer behavior research. Studying why consumers do what they do over the course of many years provides excellent research fodder. One key angle to dissect is how different aspects of consumer behavior have been affected by different variables such as cultural pressures or economic change. Researchers might also study trends from the manufacturing side, looking at advertising or product design over time.

Dave Stanley has covered sports, music and hard news since 2000. He has been published on and various other websites. Stanley is also a feature writer for "WhatsUp!" magazine in Bellingham, Wash. He studied journalism at the University of Memphis.