Study characterizes consumers based on buying behavior

A new one-of-a-kind study attempts to reveal what the motivating factors behind consumers' big-ticket purchases may be.

The study, conducted by consumer marketing agency The Integer Group, says that shoppers tend to fall in one of four categories: fretting frugals, experience lovers, passive purchasers and social adventurers. Fretting frugals tend to not enjoy the shopping experience and often worry they will buy the wrong item. Experience lovers enjoy the shopping experience and highly value consumer loyalty.

Passive purchasers, meanwhile, are similar to fretting frugals because they like to get shopping finished as quickly as possible. In addition, they are the antithesis of the experience lover because they show no allegiance to particular brands. Finally, social adventurers find the most significance in the shopping experience, as the study indicates these consumers believe what one buys is a reflection of their individual styles and personalities.

"This is the first study we are aware of that seeks to understand the process of a larger considered purchase — in the $100s to $1,000s — showing how shoppers are similar and different and the level of importance on a particular purchase decision," said Xan McNelly, executive vice president of The Integer Group.

Among the findings, the study indicated experience lovers generally have to be offered exceptional deals before they'll consider buying costly items. Consumers with strong credit reports may get some of the best deals, as they're often able to take advantage of low-interest financing offers.