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Understanding consumer behavior is a vital undertaking for any business. This is because the business is in a position to develop the right product for its clientele. Due to the centrality of the issue, Schiffman undertakes to elaborate the issue by theorizing consumer behavior. This essay compares and contrasts two theories of consumer behavior as they would apply in China for an Australian exporter.

In their book Consumer behavior, Hoyer and Maclnnis define consumer behavior as the collection of decisions by the client to acquire, consume and dispose of the services, activities and goods over a period of time. This means that understanding consumer behavior does not happen instantaneously but is based on a continuous improvement plan.

Although Schiffman, Hansen and Kanuk discuss several theories of consumer behavior, this write up compares and contrasts the Freudian theory and the trait theory. Sigmund Freud’s theory postulated that consumer behavior would be driven by inner forces such as id but controlled by ego and expressed in terms of superego. This theory focuses on the individual consumer. On the other hand, the trait theory views consumers as making group decisions on the basis of the innovativeness, uniqueness and variety of the product. Although the theories contrast each other, both of them seek to explain consumer behavior from an academic angle.

In this context, Chinese clients have a unique trait that needs to be understood by exporters, for instance, why they boycott foreign brands in spite of their generally calm nature. Moreover, the Chinese value social harmony while the Australians ‘are less confident with regard to trying unknown brands’.

In Consumer behavior, Schiffman, Hansen and Kanuk assert that understanding consumer behavior is important because it leads to successful marketing strategies. In Taiwan, consumers look at the social value of a product. According to Lancaster and Massingham, understanding consumers leads to acquisition of information on whether to set the outlets in the city or in the outskirts.

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