Purchase motives definition

Purchase motives are the psychological or emotional drivers that trigger a purchase. They are deeply ingrained in us and influence how and why we buy. If marketers understand these buying motives, they can respond more effectively to the wishes and needs of their own target group.

Purchase motives

Why buying motives are important

Buying motives are a critical component in the marketing mix. They support an understanding of why customers choose to act or not to act, and the role that products or services play in their lives. Without a deep understanding of these, marketers may not be able to effectively communicate or articulate their USP in a way that resonates with ideal customers.

Types of purchase motives

There are many different motives for buying. They are usually categorized by the way they influence buyer behavior. Here are a few examples:

  • Objective purchase motives: Here, the motives are often of a practical nature. They can be based on needs such as quality, price or function. For example, someone might buy a particular vacuum cleaner because it has a HEPA filter that removes allergens from the air.
  • Emotional purchase motives: Here, the reasons are often of an emotional and personal nature. They can be based on needs such as status, self-confidence, or a sense of belonging. For example, someone might buy an expensive car because they feel it increases their status.
  • Social buying motives: Here, purchases are often influenced by social factors. They can be based on needs such as belonging or recognition. For example, someone might buy a particular fitness tracker because all their friends have one.

Purchase motives and customer journey

Purchase motives also play a major role in influencing every phase of the customer journey. As an example, they can help explain why a customer clicks on an ad, adds a product to a shopping cart, or even why they become a serial buyer. And precisely because they are so important for most asects of marketing, it is crucial for marketers to find out what their customers’ buying motives are through market analysis and target group identification.


A deep understanding of buying motives leads to more effective marketing strategies that can increase both sales and customer satisfaction. This understanding allows us to better understand and meet the needs of our customers, maximizing the value we provide to them. From product development to pricing strategy to communication, buying motives are an indispensable part of growth marketing.