Why we buy: Evolution, marketing, and consumer behaviour

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Although one might think that evolution has little to do with modern consumer behaviour, a closer inspection of our ancestral roots can provide much insight into why we buy. An evolutionary perspective suggests that we interact with our present-day world using brains that evolved to solve a recurring set of ancestral challenges. Accordingly, a growing body of research suggests that a set of evolutionary social motives continues to influence much modern behaviour, albeit not always in obvious or conscious ways. These motives include making friends, gaining status, attracting a mate, keeping a mate, protecting ourselves from danger, and caring for offspring. By considering how and why deep-seated ancestral motives continue to shape modern behaviour, we examine their implications for modern marketing and consumer behaviour. We detail how evolutionary considerations of motivation have novel applications for many areas of marketing, including market segmentation, consumers targeting, brand positioning, and advertising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationApplied Evolutionary Psychology
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191731358
ISBN (Print)9780199586073
StatePublished - Jan 19 2012


  • Conspicuous consumption
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Evolutionary marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Why we buy: Evolution, marketing, and consumer behaviour'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this