Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours over a twelve-week semester or equivalent study period

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 - Explain 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 and teaching strategy is based on student engagement in the learning process by participation in workshops or equivalent and practical activities designed to reinforce learning. Workshops or equivalent activities support students to actively participate in the construction and synthesis of knowledge both individually and in small groups. 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.

Mode of delivery: This unit is offered in different modes. These are: "Attendance" mode, "Blended" mode and "Online" mode. This unit is offered in three modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants and maximise effective participation for isolated and/or marginalised groups.

Attendance Mode

In an attendance mode, students will require face-to-face attendance in specific physical location/s. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops, most students report that they spend an average of one hour preparing before the workshop and one or more hours after the workshop practicing and revising what was covered. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for students to prepare and revise.

Blended Mode

In a blended mode, students will require intermittent face-to-face attendance determined by the School. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for students to prepare and revise.

Online Mode

In an online mode, students engage in asynchronous learning and participate in the construction and synthesis of knowledge, while developing their knowledge. Students are required to participate in a series of online interactive activities to enhance their learning including knowledge checks, discussion boards and self-paced exercises. This approach allows flexibility for students and facilitates learning and participation for students with a preference for virtual learning.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to pass this unit, students are required to demonstrate mastery of all learning outcomes and achieve an aggregate mark of at least 50%. Marking of each assessment task will be in accordance with rubrics specifically developed to measure student level of achievement of the learning outcomes for each assessment item.

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: 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. While the second assessment deals with accumulation of knowledge, the first and third assessments focus on the understanding of a real-world consumer behaviour issue and the application of knowledge to resolve consumer behaviour issues in the most effective manner.  The demonstration of this understanding and application is through the second assessment which employs engagement-led discussions and other activities focusing on the trends related to marketers’ decision making and their responsibility to respect and include consumer perspective. 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.

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: (Live) Case Study analysis

This assessment task consists of a 2000-word case study analysis report. 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

Assessment Task 2: Portfolio of Engagement

From weeks 4-9, students will actively participate in online discussion forums and online activities. The online discussion forum and online activities will constitute 30% of total marks. Students will be evaluated on a combination of engagement in the unit via discussion board questions, responses to postings and evidence of successful engagement in online asynchronous activities. The focus of the engagement activities will be on current trends in buyer behaviour impacting on marketers’ decision making and the responsibility of marketers to respect and include consumer perspectives.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: online engagement and completion of regular learning tasks

Artefact: Portfolio evidencing engagement


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 3: Applied topics in Consumer Behaviour - Analytical Report

This assessment task consists of a 2000-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. This assessment will be implemented in the form of Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) in collaboration with partner educational institutions.

Submission Type: Group Assessment

Method: Analytic report

Artefact: Written report 


LO2, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Mothersbaugh, D.L., Hawkins, D.I., Kleiser, S.B., Mothersbaugh, L.L. and Watson, C.F., 2020. Consumer behavior: Building marketing strategy. McGraw-Hill Education.

Zaraket, S., 2020. Consumer Behaviour and Social Network Sites: The Impact of Negative Word of Mouth. Routledge.

Muthu, S.S. ed., 2019. Consumer Behaviour and Sustainable Fashion Consumption. Springer.

Smith, A., 2019. Consumer behaviour and analytics. Routledge.

Solomon, MR, Russell-Bennett, R & Previte, F Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having and Being,

4th Edition 2018 Pearson Australia.

Keller, K.L., 2020. Consumer research insights on brands and branding: a JCR curation. Journal of Consumer Research46(5), pp.995-1001.

Goldsmith, K. and Lee, A.Y., 2021. A view from inside: Insights on consumer behavior during a global pandemic. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research6(1), pp.142-148.

Lubowiecki-Vikuk, A., Dąbrowska, A. and Machnik, A., 2021. Responsible consumer and lifestyle: Sustainability insights. Sustainable production and consumption25, pp.91-101.

Malter, M.S., Holbrook, M.B., Kahn, B.E., Parker, J.R. and Lehmann, D.R., 2020. The past, present, and future of consumer research. Marketing Letters31(2), pp.137-149.

Zolkepli, I.A., Mukhiar, S.N.S. and Tan, C., 2021. Mobile consumer behaviour on apps usage: The effects of perceived values, rating, and cost. Journal of Marketing Communications27(6), pp.571-593.

Eger, L., Komárková, L., Egerová, D. and Mičík, M., 2021. The effect of COVID-19 on consumer shopping behaviour: Generational cohort perspective. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services61, p.102542.

Nguyen, N. and Johnson, L.W., 2020. Consumer behaviour and environmental sustainability. Journal of Consumer Behaviour19(6), pp.539-541.


Journal of Consumer Affairs

Journal of Consumer Behaviour

Journal of Consumer Psychology

Journal of Consumer Research

Psychology & Marketing

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs