Rational consumer

economic-dictionary

The rational consumer is that type of consumer who, when making a purchase decision, does a reflective exercise, making an objective analysis of the situation.

In other words, a rational consumer is one who uses reason in his spending decisions. Thus, it takes into account all the pros and cons of the good or service to be acquired.

This type of consumer is the opposite of the impulsive one, which is one who is carried away by emotions when making a purchase.

As we will explain in the next section, the rational consumer evaluates different factors.

What influences the rational consumer?

The main variables that the rational consumer takes into account are the following:

  • The price of the product is one of the main factors to take into account when making a purchase, especially if there can be substitute goods at an equal or lower price.
  • The quality of the merchandise, because if the product offers the guarantee of better satisfying the need in question, the consumer could be willing to pay a price above the market average.
  • The budget constraint, that is, the money the buyer has to spend. This, together with the price, determines the economic limitations of the individual to acquire a particular product.
  • The relevance of the purchase, that is, whether or not it is conducive to make the purchase, regardless of whether it is possible or not based on personal finances. At this point, the question is key: Do I want it or do I need it? The answer would be the first, for example, if the person already has the need in question covered, but still feels the desire to buy the product that satisfies them. Let's imagine that the individual already has a cell phone that works perfectly, but feels the impulse to acquire a new device due to an offer that he has viewed on the Internet.
  • The possibility of opting for a more convenient substitute good for quality and price.

Consumer rationality

Although in economic analysis it is often assumed that people make their decisions rationally, this is not always the case. The explanation is that human beings suffer from cognitive biases, that is, our minds tend to take "shortcuts" to quickly reach conclusions.

For example, although rationally speaking there is not much difference between 3.99 and 4, for a person who is in the supermarket it may not be so. In fact, you might instinctively feel that it is cheaper if the sign says 3.99.

Examples like the previous one we can find many. For that reason, marketing and advertising experts develop strategies that can work in the purchase decision, even for rational consumers.

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