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Influence of peer

pressure on the
buying behavior of
the consumers

By:
Sarthak Sharma
Varalika Srivastava
Tushar Rustagi
Nikhil Nihaal

Abstract
In any business the most important asset for the success is the
consumer, they are the factors of sale and profits of the business.
Knowing and understanding the customer is one of the most important,
tedious and challenging aspect for any organization. This particular study
aims to understand the buying behavior of consumers, and identify the
factors which are of importance in determining the purchase intention of
these consumers. The study has been conducted on a sample of 20 young
students belonging to Noida. The study has targeted the young chunk of
consumers as they make up a major and substantial part of the customer
base for different organizations. The research has investigated the impact
of factors like peer pressure on the purchase intentions of these youngsters
and concluded that there is a significant and positive relationship between
the factor and purchase intention. This empirical study is a contribution to
theory and practice with an increased and detailed understanding on young
consumer behavior and the underlying causes which are strong
determinants of their purchase intentions.
Keywords: peer pressure, purchase intention, buying behavior, youngsters,

Introduction
We can define peer pressure as the pressure exerted on a person by a
group of people the same age, same socio-cultural category or sharing the
same interests to change their behavior, their morals or their attitudes
towards different aspects in life just to be in line with the way other people
in their peer group are. For example, a boy being brought up knowing that
smoking is bad for health and as soon as he joined college, he was
surrounded by smokers and within a span of 6 months, he started smoking
cigarettes. Other people sharing the same situation as him or with a similar,
profile, similar thoughts, ideals or experiences will influence his behavior.
He may decide to adapt his morals to be in line with his peers in order for

his friends tag to fit him. When peer pressure is exerted on one, one often
gives in to that pressure as one desires to confirm their status, and often
give in to peer pressure perceiving the morals, ideals, behavior or even just
materials that are suggested to them as being linked to their status.
When an authority figure in the fashion industry decides that a certain style
of clothing is fashionable for the season, or that an idolized celebrity that is
well perceived endorses a style, people wishing to be perceived as In will
emulate that person. This is a way that marketer can use in order to exploit
peer pressure in order to push people into consumption.
Recent research suggests that mothers tend to take their children on a coshopping experience giving their children a greater input into the
household shopping.
This develops childrens shopping skills, and also creates a link between
the children and their parents in relation to shopping. An informal
YouthRadio.com poll revealed that peer pressure is the most effective form
of marketing. Being conscious of the possible benefits of peer pressure,
marketers have exploited it.
They know that generating the feeling of need is necessary to convince
consumers to purchase. There are many ways this can be done such as
promoting products at the right moment (Christmas promotions, Easter
promotions, seasonal sales) but one of the most effective ways of
generating need is by setting a trend. So if a person adapts the trend, he or
she will most probably influence his or her friends or other same aged
people to adapt the same trend. Thats how marketers use this concept to
increase their sales and influence buying behavior of consumers.
To conclude, we can confirm that peer pressure does influence purchase in
many ways, directly as well as indirectly. Knowing this, marketers WILL
make the most of it in order to generate a will to purchase, and a feeling of
need.

Literature Review
This review addresses the peer groups influences on adolescent smoking.
Specifically, we examine the theoretical explanations for how social
influence works with respect to adolescent smoking, discuss the
association between peer and adolescent smoking; consider socialization
and selection processes with respect to smoking; investigate the relative
influence of best friends, close friends, and crowd affiliations; and examine
parenting behaviors that could buffer the effects of peer influence. Our
review indicates the following with respect to adolescent smoking: (1)
substantial peer group homogeneity of smoking behavior; (2) Support for
both socialization and selection effects, although evidence is somewhat
stronger for selection; (3) an interactive influence of best friends, peer
groups and crowd affiliation.
The purpose of this paper is to review and summarize the literature
on peer group influences on buying behavior of adolescent smoking. To
provide a useful framework for the discussion of social influence, in
general, and peer influence, in particular, on smoking, the paper is
organized around the following key questions: What is social influence?
What are the theoretical explanations for how social influence works? To
what extent does peer smoking predict adolescent smoking? Are
adolescents influenced by their friends (socialization) or do adolescents
select friends with similar interests (selection) with respect to smoking? Are
best friends, close friends, or crowd affiliations more important? How does
it influence the buying behavior of consumers?
1. Peer Pressure
In general, the social circle of a person comprises of his or her peers,
which constitute siblings, friends and acquaintances. The concept of
reference groups is of great importance in understanding the buying
behaviour of consumers as these groups make a major and significant
impact on the consumer behaviour. A reference group is a group of people
whose values and attitudes influence an individuals current behaviour.
Peers belong to the normative reference group which provides an individual
with norms, values and attitudes through direct interaction. Literature

defines peer pressure as the price of group membership as an individual


who belongs to a certain group adapts his habits according to the peers of
that group, intentionally or unintentionally he complies with the dominant
traits of the peers and forms his own traits. These traits impact different
habits of an individual which he tries to comply with, among these different
habits the one which I aim to focus is the purchase intention of an
individual.
2. Buying behavior
The most vital aspect of consumer behaviour is their purchase intention or
buying behavior, which in literature is defined as the situation in which a
customer is willing to make a transaction with the retailer. Purchase
intention comes into consideration when a customer is probably attempting
to buy some product or service. For marketers purchase intention is of
great importance as their forecasted consumer behaviour is highly
dependent on this purchase intention of the customers. Predicting
consumer behaviour is one of the most tedious tasks for any business as it
keeps on changing under the influences of unknown and uncertain factors;
consequently leading to a purchase intention which is difficult to measure
under different circumstances.
3. Relationship between Peer Pressure And buying behavior:
The understanding of reference groups in consumer behavior is an
important phenomenon as the customers are always being influenced by
the constituents of these reference groups especially the normative
reference group i.e. family, relatives, co-workers, teachers and peers. The
normative reference group makes an individual aware of a certain product
and also infuses their own opinions to the customer while doing so,
consequently when the customer starts developing his own opinion he
develops the one which is consistent with that of the group. Not only is the
opinion influenced but the attitude formation, product selection, information
processing and decision making process is significantly affected.
Teenagers and youngsters are usually vulnerable to peer pressure and
have high tendency to make decisions and develop behaviors which
positively comply with the peers expectations. The young customer

behaviors are manipulated by peer pressure as they feel it as an essential


aspect to fit-in their social group is aligned with the acceptability level and
cope with the trends and lifestyles of their peers.

Hypothesis:
Based upon literature review, this study develops the following hypothesis:
H0: Peer Pressure does not influence consumer buying behavior.
H1: Peer Pressure significantly influences consumer buying behavior.

Literature Gap:
A survey so carried out by us, covers the smallest part possible, of the
entire population. We chose only twenty people for our questionnairesurvey which cannot conclude for the entire population and also, it leads to
a number of drawbacks. Some of them, are as follows:

1) A very small portion to represent:


As explained, number of people taken for this survey cannot conclude for
the entire population. Because of which, the results are not so accurate.

2) Tastes and Preferences:


Each person do not have same tastes and preferences, though similar but
not same. Their taste changes rapidly which can cause differences in the
surveys, so carried out.

3) Other reasons:
There can be other reasons for the changes in one's buying behaviour, and
just not the peer pressure.

4) Negative and Positive:


There can be both positive and negative impacts of peer pressure, but we
have chosen only the negative part for our research.

Significance of Study
As this study depicts the important relationship of peer pressure with
purchase intention, the youth plays its role in developing this peer pressure
unintentionally by having a well informed decision making power. The
consumption symbolism serves as the development of peer pressure and
hence creating a culture of stereotyping with everyone following the trend.
Moreover, the youngsters of today are much more observant and
somewhat materialistic attractiveness of products and its placement has
also become more essential than ever. The factors peer pressure, along
with many others such as quality, usefulness, price etc have been
investigated so that it can aid businesses in retaining their customers by
formulating their marketing programs. This study is also significant as there
is limited literature on the relationship of purchase intention with peer
pressure for consumers worldwide.

Research Methodology
Data collection
There are two types of data collection, the primary and the secondary.
In the primary data collection the researcher collects the data using
methods such as interviews and questionnaires. The key point here is that
the data is unique for the researcher and the researchers work. That again
means until the research work is published no one else has access to it.
Primary data collection is necessary when the researcher cannot find the
data in secondary sources. The advantages of primary data collection can
be seen in the various methods, which the researcher can use to collect
data like interviews, telephone surveys, questionnaires, focus groups etc. It
can also be collected across local boarders through emails and posts.
Therefore it can include a large population and wide geographic coverage if
necessary. Besides it can be relatively cheap and depending on the
method no prior arrangements are required. Last but not least primary data
are current and can give the research an up-to-date view about a topic.

The disadvantages of primary data deal with the design of survey because
that process can lead to problems. First of all, the questions need to be
designed understandable. It can also happen that respondent do not give
responses on time. Sometimes the respondent may give false or social
acceptable answers or hand in an incomplete questionnaire, which can
give a negative impact on research as well. Secondary data is data that
has been already collected by somebody else for a different purpose and
therefore it should be treated with care. Secondary data is usually gathered
from primary data to create new research. Common sources for secondary
data include large surveys and organizational records. The advantage of
secondary data is that is saves time and money that would be spent on
collecting new data. In addition it can provide larger data basis than what

would be possible to collect from the research. However there is the big
disadvantage that the researcher cannot check on the result and therefore
the reliability of the data is always in questions. The importance of being
critical to what has been written should be stressed at this point. The
questions to keep in mind when evaluating sources are: where and when
the information has been collected and especially why. Besides it also
might be difficult to find the exact data needed for ones survey. Many a
times, researcher has a need to adjust their questions to fit them to the
secondary data. For this study the author used primary data in terms of
interviews to observe first hand results. The study did not choose
secondary data collection because there is little research done about the
topic and the it preferred to analyze the research questions from different
point of views. Since the topic is also dealing with human behavior the
author chose to collect the data directly from the respondents.

Research method
There are many methodical ways to carry out a research; two very
important are the qualitative and quantitative method. The qualitative
research involves analysis of data such as words from interviews or
pictures and videos or objects. The qualitative approach is a way to gain
the meaning of the whole by exploring the richness, depth and complexity
of issues. The underlying assumption of qualitative research is that the
whole needs to be examined to understand the topic. Basically it means
that qualitative research aims a complete and detailed description. The
purpose is not to explain a topic but to describe it and create an
understanding for it. The researcher is the data-gathering instrument and
therefore the researcher tends to become subjectively involved in the
subject. Usually the research design emerges as the study unfolds. In
general qualitative data is more time-consuming and hard to be
generalized. However it is more rich in terms of the subjective aspects
such as the individual interpretation of events or the in-depth interviews.
Unlike quantitative research there is no framework that instructs how
research should be conducted.

Quantitative research is aimed to classify features, count them and


construct statistical models. The attempt is to explain what is observed. The
researcher usually knows exactly in advance what is being looked for. All
aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected. In
contrast to qualitative research, researcher that conduct quantitative
research use tolls, such as questionnaires or equipment to collect
numerical data that are in the form of numbers and statistics. Also
compared with qualitative data quantitative research is objective and seeks
precise measurements and analysis of target groups. Even though
quantitative data is more efficient in testing hypotheses it may miss
contextual details. The author chose the qualitative method because this
method provides deeper answers, which are more relevant to understand
the context of the issues. The nature of the studys topic is related to
human behaviour and for that reason exploring the richness and depth for
the respondents answers is essential. Using the qualitative approach also
indicates that the study is limited to the amount of respondent. The
respondents are highly relevant for the purpose and will contribute accurate
results.

Qualitative research methods


There are three most common qualitative research methods, which are
participant observation, in-depth interviews and focus groups. Participant
observation aims to gain a close familiarity with a given group of individuals
and their practice with a certain topic. In-depth interviews are optimal on
collecting data on individuals perspective and experiences, especially
when sensitive problems are being explored. Usually one or two persons
are interviewed at the same time. Focus group is a form of qualitative
research where a group of people is asked about their attitude towards a
concept or an idea. Questions are asked in an interactive group where
participants are free to talk with other members. The author decided to use
a mixture of participants observation and in-depth interviews. Since the
author is currently immersed into a group of agency members who have to

deal with client relationships on a daily basis the author is able to


participate in it, yet simultaneously noting how things work and parties
interact. Nonetheless the Participation observation will just be included in
small parts in the survey. The in-depth interviews with the agency and the
clients are essential to get a complex overview of the topic and to prevent
only investigating on the agencys side.

Data Analysis(Sample Size 10)


Male Data

Male Data Analysis

Female Data

Female Data Analysis

Result(Z-Test)

Interpretation

Value of Z=0.9
Z< 1.9 (critical value)
So we will :

Reject the null hypothesis (H0) and Accept the


alternate hypothesis(H1)
H0: Peer Pressure does not influence consumer buying behavior.
H1: Peer Pressure significantly influences consumer buying behavior.
Therefore, Peer Pressure does influence the consumer buying
behavior.

Recommendation
This study gives an insight to the teenagers purchase intention and the
factor among peer pressure which has a greater impact, this study can
serve as an opportunity for businesses to emphasize on their marketing
strategies to attract a larger customer base and retain their current
consumers. Peer pressure is that aspect of purchase intention which
cannot be manipulated easily, as it requires the change of the thought
process and strong decision making power which might not be influenced
by peers and their opinions. Manipulating the peer pressure is a tedious
task which requires the marketers to either build a strong brand name
which becomes a trend and consumption symbolism or innovate their
strategies in such a way that the impact of peer pressure is minimized. The
atmospheric attributes such as lights, music, scent, colors and layout can
be varied or enhanced to attract more customers, as the atmospheric

attributes are an essential constituent of the POP (point of purchase).


When the marketers focus on the POP and make it more appealing the
chances of purchase also increase, the target market under consideration
have a high tendency to get influenced by catchy and appealing setups.

Conclusion
The current study identifies an important relationship of an essential factor
(peer pressure) which has a great influence on the purchase intention of
teenagers.
Peer pressure describes instances where an individual feels indirectly
pressured or induced into adjusting their behaviour to suit that of their
peers. Youth tendency to take up smoking act is the best known example of
peer pressures. Although, peer pressure is often accompanied with
negative connotations, peer pressure can be used in most cases positively
especially where active participation by a person among his peers help to
create consciousness about career development among ambitious young
people.
From the results and literature it is evident that this factor needs to be
considered by marketers so that they can increase the sales and
consumption of their products by attracting youngsters and hence having a
larger customer base. Purchase intention of the consumers can be
maneuvered if the formulation of strategies and the placement of the
product are strategically decided; the ambience and atmospheric attributes
could be made more effective to increase the probability of the consumer
ending up in making a purchase. Peer pressure is an aspect which cannot
be controlled especially in a country like India where the reference groups
and their opinions have a significant impact, moreover the relationship of
peer pressure with the purchase intention is less strong than that of store
atmosphere and purchase intention. However, from this study marketers
can benefit by making their marketing mix more effective and target those
aspects which can enhance customer retention and customer base.

References:

http://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/26201995.pdf
http://iosrjournals.org/iosr-jbm/papers/ndbmr-volume-1/M.pdf
http://www.ukessays.com/essays/marketing/what-factors-influence-theconsumers-buying-behavior-marketing-essay.php
http://web.stanford.edu/~jacksonm/peerpressure.pdf
http://www.academia.edu/7965855/A_PROJECT_ON_PEER_PRESSURE
http://www.researchersworld.com/vol4/issue3/vol4_issue3_2/Paper_03.pdf