What is Consumer Psychologist?

Consumer psychologists are trained professionals who study why people buy things, when purchases are made and by what type of people. It’s an interesting field of psychology because it’s something almost everyone has done at one time or another. Any time an individual walks into a store and walks out of the store with a purchase, he or she is experiencing some type of consumer psychology. Unlike regular psychologists who are practitioners in clinical healthcare settings, consumer psychologists spend their time watching and talking to shoppers to learn as much as possible about their shopping habits. Learn more about this interesting type of psychology.

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What is Consumer Psychology?

Consumer psychology is a field of psychology that deals with consumer spending. Consumer psychologists research and study how consumers purchase items, where they do most of their spending and why they spend money on the things they purchase. They study a consumer’s wants and needs in terms of product spending. Businesses often hire consumer psychologists to research their products and find ways to make the products more appealing so consumers will be more apt to buy the products.

They use methods such as advertising, packaging and placement to help make a product look more appealing, which is the best way to sell products. Consumer psychologists also spend time in stores observing shoppers and how they shop as well as what type of stimuli makes them want to make additional purchases. Much of their information also comes from surveying shoppers either in stores or online. The businesses take the information provided by consumer psychologists to improve their marketing and sales.

How to Become a Consumer Psychologist

Consumer psychologists differ from clinical psychologists in many ways, but the biggest difference is in the educational requirements. While clinical psychologists are generally required to hold a doctoral degree, consumer psychologists may be hired with a master’s degree. They may even be hired for entry-level positions with a bachelor’s degree. Although they may major in psychology, they typically minor or specialize in consumer psychology.

They complete courses in research methods/statistics; consumer psychology; marketing; communication; advertising; management and public relations. Consumer psychology students may also complete an internship with a marketing business or an advertising agency so they can learn marketing and advertising strategies. Another difference between clinical psychologists and consumer psychologists is that consumer psychologists are not required to have a license.

Career Outlook for Consumer Psychologists

Because consumer psychologists are typically hired to help a business sell more products, they are grouped in the category of industrial-organizational psychologists. These professionals are expected to see job growth of 13 percent during the decade of 2018-2028 as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number indicates that about 200 new consumer psychologist jobs could be created by 2018.

The Bureau also reported that industrial-organizational psychologists earned average annual wages of $109,030, although their wages ranged from $51,350 to $192,150 in 2018. Various factors can affect wage potential, and demographics are probably the biggest factor. Other factors include degree level, experience and employer.

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Unlike some types of psychology that are stressful and demanding, consumer psychology can be fun and exciting, especially if it allows the individual to spend time in shopping centers and observing shoppers. The working environment, career outlook and potentially good pay all make working as a consumer psychologist sound very exciting.