Emotional vs. Rational Buying Behavior

[![iPhone - Most Desired Smartphone? (source:]( "iPhone - Most Desired Smartphone?")](
iPhone - Most Desired Smartphone? (source:
In my [last post]( "Daniel Secareanu - Apple Going Mainstream") I was referring to some of the reasons why [Apple]( "Apple Inc.") is not a exclusivist company anymore, but rather a mainstream one (as mentioned by Wired). Today, I’ve ran into a funny picture that was used as a signature by someone posting on a [video games forum]( "TeamQuitter"). The image reflects exactly the feelings expressed in the third comment of the previous post:

“I just bought a few weeks an iPhone 3G and I don’t understand why I have paid a price for it as for a SmartPhone and all I have got from them is a crippled phone with [almost no] functionality. There is no basic functionality that other smart phones on the market have.”

If we look at the picture to the left, an important number of standard features of today’s smartphones, or even regular multimedia phones, for that matter, are missing in the iPhone. Despite not having what we call costs of entry for this type of phones (their product category), the iPhone is still one of the best selling smart phones out there. If we still had any doubts, this should probably confirm to us that customers do purchase on emotional impulses rather than rational choices among alternatives.

So why is the consumer behavior such a strange animal? Why do we still buy products that we’re not really happy with or that we know that others are not happy with as customers? We call ourselves rational and social animals, yet we buy based on emotional reasons (most probably, our social aspect kicks in here, because we all like to be seen as cool). Have you ever rationally dissected your purchase behavior to see wether you’re exhibiting an emotional or a rational buying behavior? How does this differ depending on the type of products you’re buying?

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