Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

For a business to remain competitive in the marketplace it must meet the needs of its customers more effectively than its competitors. To do this a comprehensive understanding of customers is required. To gain a strong understanding of customer’s purchase patterns and consumption, the unit views the consumer decision-making process from the individual, organisational and public policy perspectives. Theories and concepts are drawn from disciplines such as cognitive psychology, social psychology, sociology, anthropology, and demography to discover and understand various aspects of buyer behaviour. Specific topics of study include but are not limited to: cultural, demographic and psychographic influences; consumer perception and learning; motivation, personality and emotion; and purchase decision processes 

The aim of this unit is for students to develop an understanding of how and why consumer make purchasing decisions and how consumer perspectives can and should be included in the marketing management process. The knowledge and critical thinking gained from this unit offers guidance on how marketing managers can respond to buyers’ needs and facilitate purchase behaviour.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - identify and discuss the theory and practice of consumer behaviour (GA5).

LO2 - demonstrate understanding of current trends in buyer behaviour impacting on marketer decision making from product concept through to disposal (GA5, GA8)

LO3 - demonstrate an understanding of the responsibility of marketers to respect and include consumer perspectives in decision making to achieve customer satisfaction and marketing and organisational objectives (GA1, GA5)

LO4 - apply critical and reflective thinking skills to solve consumer behaviour problems facing marketing managers (GA4, GA5) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include:

  • overview of buyer behaviour
  • consumer research
  • consumer-relevant characteristics: personality, needs, motivation and self-concept
  • internal influences on consumer behaviour: perception, learning and attitudes
  • external influences on consumer behaviour: society, culture, social class, education, income, ethnicity and family
  • consumer decision making models
  • organisational buying
  • communication, persuasion and diffusion of innovations.
  • consumer and society: public policy and consumer protection

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning strategy adopted in this unit can be described as constructivist or student-centred. Thus, students are expected to be active participants in their learning to enhance life-long learning experience. In this student-centred learning environment, your instructor creates an enabling learning environment and conditions to facilitate your learning by guiding you through relevant learning tasks and a valid assessment regime. 

The rationale is to encourage deep learning instead of surface or rote learning, as deep learning will develop critical thinking skills and prepare you for competitive business and non-business environments. 

A variety of learning materials (real-life examples, case studies from current issues relating to the theory and practice of consumer behaviour, journal articles, videos, lecture capture) will be used. Deep learning is likely to be fully realised as students are exposed to this variety of learning tasks.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessments are used primarily to facilitate the learning process. ACU adopts a constructivist approach to learning which seeks alignment between the fundamental purpose of each unit, the LOs, teaching and learning strategy, assessment and the learning environment. Active learning by students is encouraged, and the focus is on deep learning as opposed to surface or rote learning. 

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to: essays, reports, examinations, student presentations or case studies. 

The aim of the first assessment is to examine students’ understanding of the first part of the unit learning materials. The rationale is to enable students to demonstrate their understanding of these materials and to also assist the instructor to gauge students’ level of understanding to inform delivery of subsequent materials to the maximum benefit of students. While the first assessment deals with accumulation of knowledge, the second and third assessments focus on the application of knowledge to resolve consumer behaviour issues in the most effective manner. 

Academic integrity is maximised via the use of new topics each semester. Topics will reflect emerging trends in the literature for assessment 1 and contemporary issues or events related to consumer behaviour in assessment 2. Similarly a specified case will be provided in assessment 3.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Consumer Behaviour Essay 

This assessment task consists of a 1000-word written essay. This task requires students to use the basic theories and concepts to address a core CB issue using academic research from academic journal articles and other relevant materials. A specific topic will be provided by the lecturer each semester based on trends in the literature.

Submission Type: Individual 

Assessment Method: Essay 

Artefact: Written paper 


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2: Applied topics in Consumer Behaviour -Analytical Report 

This assessment task consists of a 1000-word analytic report. This task requires students to analyse a consumer behaviour scenario, demonstrating their understanding and application of key CB concepts and theories and considering the responsibility of the marketer to incorporate consumer perspectives in decision making. The topic or scenario will be provided and reflect current issues in consumer behaviour

Submission Type: Individual 

Assessment Method: Analytic report

Artefact: Written report


LO2, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Assessment Task 3: Case Study 

This assessment task consists of a Case study analysis. This task requires students to complete a real-world case study which provides students with the opportunity to identify and discuss the theories and practice of consumer behaviour in an applied context

Submission Type: Individual 

Assessment Method: Case study

Artefact: Written report


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Solomon, MR, Russell-Bennett, R & Previte, F Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having and Being, 4th Edition 2018 Pearson Australia.

Schiffman L, O’Cass A, Paladino A, Carlson J, 2017 Consumer Behaviour, 7th edn Pearson Education Australia, Melbourne.

Hoyer, W D, MacInnis, D J & Pieters, R, 2017, Consumer Behavior, 7th edn, Cengage Learning, United States.

Babin, B J Harris E. 2017 CB 8th edn. Cengage Learning, US

Solomon, M R Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having and Being, Global Edition 2017 Pearson Australia

Quester P, Pettigrew, S,Hill, S R, Kopanidis, F & Hawkins, D, 2014, Consumer behaviour: implications for marketing strategy, 7th edn, McGraw Hill, Sydney.

Mothersbaugh, D L, Hawkins, D I, 2015 Consumer Behavior: Building Marketing Strategy 13th edn, McGraw-Hill

East, R. Singh, J Wright M Vanhuele, M 2017 Consumer Behavior: Applications in Marketing SAGE Publisning, UK

Journal of Consumer Affairs

Journal of Comsumer Behaviour

Journal of Consumer Psychology

Journal of Consumer Research

Psychology & Marketing

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