Consumer Choice: Role of Happiness and External Stimulus

Hedonomics revolves around two main themes: one concerns the relationship between external stimuli and happiness, and the other concerns the relationship between external stimuli and happiness. Relationship between choice and happiness.

The Role of Happiness in Consumer Decision Making

Consumers want to be happy, and marketers are increasingly trying to appeal to consumers' pursuit of happiness. In some cases, happiness is defined as feeling energized; in others, happiness is defined as feeling calm. The type of happiness pursued is determined by time orientation. Hence, individuals tend to choose more exciting options when focused on the future and more mellow options when focused on the present moment.

Emotions, such as happiness, can have a strong influence on choice. Indeed, a great deal of literature shows that positive mood affects individuals' cognitive processes, which can influence their choices. For example, when people are in a positive mood, they are more likely to engage in discovery, be optimistic about the occurrence of favorable events, and think abstractly rather than focus on relationships. The immediate and immediate focus, being creative in their problem-solving and valuing people and things more.

Positive mood also directly influences choices, both in terms of how people make choices and in terms of choices people make. For example, people in a positive mood tend to choose less risky, more selective, and more social alternatives. Happy people have also been shown to make healthier choices both in their personal lives (e.g., drink less alcohol, and smoke less) and in their professional lives. e.g., behave less oppressively towards their co-workers and seek and receive more job interviews). The effect of happiness on choice ignores the possibility that happiness means different things to different people—feelings of excitement and calm influence product ratings.

The role of External Stimuli in Consumer Decision Making

External factors are another important set of influences on consumer behavior. Culture, social class, reference groups, and family are among the many social factors influencing consumer problem-solving.


A large group of people of similar heritage represents a person's culture. American culture, a subset of Western culture, is primarily fascinating here. Traditional values in American culture include hard work, thrift, success, responsibility, etc. Marketing strategies targeting people with cultural heritage must show that the product or service reinforces these traditional values. The three components of culture - beliefs, values , and customs - each one is different. A belief is a statement that reflects a person's specific knowledge and judgment about something (e.g., "I believe..."). Values are general statements that guide behavior and influence beliefs. The function of a value system is to help a person choose between alternatives in everyday life. Customs are overt patterns of behavior that are culturally acceptable ways of behaving in particular situations.

Social Class

Social class, defined by factors such as occupation, wealth, income, education, power, and prestige, is another social factor that can influence consumer behavior. The most well-known classification systems include upper-upper, lower-top, above-average, below-average, above-under, and under-under-class grades. The lower and upper middle classes make up the mass market. The upper and lower classes comprised people from wealthy, status-quo families. They tend to live in large houses furnished with works of art and antiques. They are the primary market for rare jewelry and original designer creations, who tend to buy from exclusive retailers. The upper middle class includes professionals, executives, and second business leaders. They are ambitious, forward-looking, economically successful people looking to improve their quality of life. Material possessions often carry significant symbolic meaning for this group. They also tend to be very civic and engaged in many worthwhile activities. The lower middle class consists of middle-class, white-collar workers.

Reference Groups

Reference groups help shape a person's attitudes and behavior. These groups can be formal or informal. Churches, clubs, schools, notables, and friends can all be referral groups for a particular consumer. Reference groups are characterized as having individuals who are opinion leaders for the group. Opinion leaders are people who influence others. They are not necessarily higher income or better educated, but they can be considered to have higher expertise or knowledge related to a particular subject. For example, a local high school teacher might lead parents in choosing a college for their child. These people set the trend, and others follow the demonstrated behavior. If a marketer can identify the opinion leaders of a group in a target market, efforts can be directed toward attracting those people. For example, if an ice cream parlor is trying to attract business from local high schools, the people at the forefront of the school's perspective can be crucial to its success. Reference groups can affect an individual in many ways −

  • Role expectations − The role a person assumes is no more than a prescribed behavior depending on the situation and position of the person in that situation. Your reference group decides how this role should be performed. As a student, you must behave in a specific fundamental way under certain conditions.

  • Compliance − Compliance is related to our role in changing our behavior to conform to the group's rules. Norms are expectations of behavior that are considered appropriate regardless of our position.

  • Group communication through opinion leaders − As consumers, we constantly seek the advice of knowledgeable friends or acquaintances who can provide information and advice or make decisions. For some product categories, expert opinion leaders such as auto mechanics, beauticians, stockbrokers, and doctors are relatively easy to identify.


One of the essential reference groups for an individual is the family. The consumer's family has a significant influence on attitudes and behavior. The interaction between husband and wife and the number and age of children in the family can significantly influence purchasing behavior. The key to understanding the impact of family on consumer behavior is to identify the purchasing decision-maker in question. In some cases, the husband usually prevails; in other cases, the wife or children, and in other cases, a joint decision is made. The choice of grocery and homeware stores is often left to the woman. A joint decision is often made for purchases that involve a more significant sum, such as a refrigerator. The teens themselves can significantly influence teenagers' clothing purchasing decisions. Therefore, marketers need to identify the primary decision-maker in the family for the product or service in question.


The emotional attachment might explain why consumers are less willing to give up hedonistic items than utilitarian ones. The results suggest that intention may be more effective in reducing the loss associated with valuable items than hedonic goods. Perhaps barter intent is insufficient to compensate for individuals' emotional attachment—consumers with hedonistic items. At the same time, the ambiguity of the status quo can also reduce loss aversion because standards are not so rigid, and consumers are therefore not attached to the status quo.

Updated on: 03-Mar-2023


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