Consumer Involvement

Consumer Involvement

Consumer involvement is defined as a state of mind that motivates consumers to identify with product/service offerings, their patterns, and consumption behavior. Involvement creates within consumers an urge to look for and think about the product/service category and the varying options before making decisions on brand preferences and the final act of purchase.

It is the amount of physical and mental effort that a consumer puts into a purchase decision. It creates within a person a level of relevance or personal importance to the product/ service offering and this leads to an urge within the former to collect and interpret information for present/future decision-making and use.

Involvement affects the consumer decision process and the subprocesses of information search, information processing, and information transmission.

It is the perceived interest and importance that a consumer attaches to the acquisition and consumption of a product/service offering.

Nature of Consumer Involvement

  • It is an inner urge that creates within an individual an interest/ desire to hold certain product/service offerings in greater relevance/importance.

    Involvement possesses certain properties:

    • It has a level of strength and intensity that determines the degree of involvement that a consumer possesses. This could be high or low.

    • The length of time that the consumer remains in this heightened state determines the level of persistence. It could be short-term and situational interest in the product/service category, or it could be long-term and enduring.

  • A mechanism underlies the very process of involvement. As a process, involvement is impacted by certain “antecedents” that get restrained by “moderating factors,” and finally affect its degree of intensity and level of persistence.

Purchase Involvement

Since it was first introduced to marketing, the concept of involvement has been extensively used as a moderating or explanatory variable in consumer behavior. It is regarded as a central framework, vital to understanding consumer decision-making behavior and associated communications.

Consumers look for more personal, experimental, and symbolic gain, other than maximizing product functionality, in a high-involvement situation than in a low-involvement one.

Message-response Involvement

This is a state of arousal directed towards attaching relevance to a person/object/situation for a short term. As an affective state, it creates a level of involvement when a person thinks about a particular person/ object/situation. It is specific to a situation and is thus temporary in nature. It could vary from low to high, depending upon the situational factors.

For example, a middle-aged lady suddenly decides to gift a laptop to her son on his birthday. She is not techno savvy and has little interest in the product category. She goes to the electronics mall and visits the various stores that sell computers and laptops.

She collects information on the product features, prices, etc, and finally takes the help of her middle-aged neighbor to reach a final decision. Her involvement with the purchase activity would be regarded as situational involvement.

Ego Involvement

When the level of involvement towards the product/service category extends over a period of time across situations, it is referred to as enduring involvement. The person shows a high-level of interest in the product category and spends time collecting and processing information and integrating it within his memory.

For example, a person desires to buy a laptop for his son to be gifted to him when he goes to college, which would be three years later. The father plans well in advance and tries to collect information through advertisements, brochures, trade journals, visits to dealers, and word of mouth from peers and colleagues.

Within this period he gets involved with the product category and after three years is in a position to take a decision based on the facts that he has collected. This is referred to as enduring involvement.

Ego involvement with a product category often gives birth to an opinion leader. An opinion leader is a person who holds an interest in a particular product/service category, and becomes a specialist; he makes efforts to gather all information about the category, the brand offers, etc.; he talks about and spreads the information and the knowledge that he possesses.

When a person wants to make a purchase, he seeks the advice and guidance of an opinion leader who helps him make a decision.

Opinion leaders are product specific. In the example above, if the lady approaches her neighbor and takes his advice/guidance because the neighbor is young, techno-savvy, and knows a lot about electronics and in particular laptops, she would actually be taking the help of what is known as an “opinion leader”.

Measuring Consumer Involvement

Although the study of consumer behavior began as a specialization in the field of marketing, it recently that it gains relevance as the consumer becomes a central agent in an organization’s marketing strategies.

Involvement research has received considerable attention till our days, and it is recognized as one of the most important variables in consumer research. Involvement includes an assessment of the importance of the stimulus for the consumer but it produces certain behavior as a consequence, in other words, involvement motivates an action.

The study of involvement includes three main dimensions: intensity, address, and length.

  • The first relates to the level of consumer perceived involvement which is totally subjective for each person and to a particular degree or level.

  • Involvement address relates to the stimulus producing that perception; it can be a product category (tangible or intangible), a particular product or brand, an advertisement, a purchase decision, or even a current political issue.

  • The length refers to timing and there are two types: enduring involvement and situational involvement. Enduring involvement is related to the values and the self-concept of the person to a product category independently of a particular purchase decision.

    Situational involvement includes purchase involvement because its interest and concern are considered perishable.

The typology stated by Stone (1984) which tries to assess involvement by a person’s behavioral response (time and effort employed) has not been supported, probably because it may assess a consequence of the involvement and not the level of involvement itself.

  • C.L. Tyagi and Arun Kumar, (2004), Consumer Behaviour, Atlantic Publishers & Dst

  • Jim Blythe, (2013), Consumer Behaviour, SAGE

  • Frank Kardes, Maria Cronley, and Thomas Cline, (2014), Consumer Behaviour, Cengage Learning

  • Leon G. Schiffman and Leslie Lazar Kanuk, (2007), Consumer Behavior, Pearson Education

  • Dr. A Sarangapani, (2009), A Textbook on Rural Consumer Behaviour in India – A Study of FMCGs, Laxmi Publications, Ltd.




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