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Consumerology: The Market Research Myth, the Truth About Consumers, and the Psychology of Shopping Hardcover – Sep 9 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (Sept. 9 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857885503
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857885507
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #996,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Philip Graves has put together an excellent guide to understanding how to know what people will and won't do...Now you can have the benefit of years of knowledge and experience distilled into an easy-to-read and understand book. (Kevin Hogan, author of The Psychology of Persuasion and The Science of Influence)

Alongside his debunking of the market research industry, the author takes us on a fascinating romp through the psychological underpinnings of consumer behaviour...It's well written, accessible and entertaining, yet thought provoking. Consumer.ology is a rich digest of insights on consumer psychology. It should be essential reading for marketers and general managers, and carefully hidden away from anyone whose livelihood depends on market research. (Alan Giles, The Marketing Society and Associate Fellow, Said Business School, University of Oxford)

Consumer.ology is a refreshingly iconoclastic skewer through the heart of traditional market research methods and reason. Graves' peppering of psychological theory with pithy anecdotes of misguided consumer successes and failures is bound to at once ruffle feathers and get heads nodding within marketing and innovation circles. (Blake H. Glenn, Senior Inventor, ?What If! The Innovation Company)

About the Author

Philip Graves is a consumer behaviour consultant, author and speaker. 20 years observing consumers as a market research manager and research consultant made him aware of a conflict between what people said in research and what they actually did, which led to the introduction of the psychology of shopping into his work. He has advised numerous international businesses, including Comet, ITV, Whirlpool, Dr Martens, New Covent Garden Food Company, Camelot, Virgin Media, Hotpoint and Pepsi. In addition to running his own consultancy business, Shift, Philip is an associate of Frontier Economics.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa16db948) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb0355930) out of 5 stars Adequate for the novice.... July 8 2011
By Chemist Dad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to reading Consumer.ology in hopes of finding an informed and fresh outlook on consumer research. Firstly, this is less a book that a pamphlet. I'm not sure it took more than 2 hours to thoroughly read it cover to cover, covering really three main topics:

1. A modern understanding of how consumers make decisions:
For anyone who has any interest in consumer or social psychology or in modern developments in neuroscience, this book will bore you to tears. If you have even made a passing attempt to stay current, this is literally everything you already know about the subjects.

2. On the flaws in "market research" as the author defines the subject
This should have been the real meat of the tome. And make no mistake, it is the least boring and most passionate section. Unfortunately, and this is a big flaw, it is also the least informed. If you believe that modern consumer research is predominantly the practice of asking consumers what they think, then by all means have at this book. In that narrow regard it documents a number of flaws with that approach. All of which any professional in the discipline could have told you nearly a decade ago. What the author advertises is a complete take-down of consumer research. What you get is a "so-what" review of caveats and limits to a very narrow approach to consumer research. An approach that you won't find practiced at any leading cpg company.

3. A review of the authors approach to really understanding the consumer
This is truly the most disappointing section of the book. He spends the better part of the book claiming "market research," as he narrowly defines it, is a bad way of informing business decisions, then without the courage of his professed convictions, caps off with his own "special" version of "market research" that he swears will ACTUALLY inform business decisions. Really? Market research is useless, unless you use my special approach. Silly beyond words.

Yet, to bring the entire wasted enterprise to it's foreshadowed doom, this "special" approach is just a sophomoric list of obvious pieces of advice I would bet every market researcher worth his/her salt already knows...

1. Be skeptical of the consumer's opinions about themselves
2. Be mindful of the consumers frame of mind
3. The total consumer experience is needed to reflect reality
4. Consumers more likely to give unbiased reply and behave true to life when they don't this the subject being studied is being studied
5. Consumers reveal the nature of emotional/Impulse judgments best with quick responses, rather than analytical deep dives

That's it. If you are a voracious reader and need something to pound through in an hour or two, or you are a novice to market research, then by all means this book is adequate. That's the most generous thing one could say about it.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa00b5228) out of 5 stars The wonderful world of consumer behavior April 22 2011
By BLehner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Don't be fooled by thinking that Philip Graves' Consumerology is basically about "shopping til' I'm dropping", because it is not. This is a fascinating book on consumer psychology and marketing research, which allows you a whole new perspective on what exactly makes your "inner shopper" tick.
Let's put it this way - you may say you'll buy one thing, but in the end you'll buy something else entirely. Welcome to the unconscious which decides for us, whether we want it to, or not. From reading consumers to understanding the crowd, from the unconscious mind to consumer futurology, Graves is certainly debunking the market research industry. Introducing the reader not only to stories of how, quite often, extensive marketing research led to major flops when launching a new product (remember the "New Coke" fiasco?), he also shares how some predicted failures became a huge success. Last but not least, he also presents his unique AFECT approach, a set of five criteria to evaluate the reliability of any consumer insight.
Though the book is, in my opinion, more aimed at people who have a background in Marketing, it's an accessible and well written guide, with just the right dosage of ironic humor, thus definitely recommendable to everyone who's interested in the topic.
In short: A comprehensive and refreshing glimpse into the behavior of consumers and their usually not easily discernible buying decisions!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley.com book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe9ab28) out of 5 stars A "Must Read" for all Marketing students & CEO's Feb. 3 2011
By Jay Wright - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a researcher in marketing, customer service, and employee attitudes, I did not hesitate to get this book. In addition to the outstanding examples to support Mr. Graves' principles, I find that it helps substantiate a number of concerns I have had when analyzing data I'd collected and how uneasy I was with my findings - even though the information had been collected properly and was statistically correct. As far as I'm concerned, this book will open a lot of CEO's eyes and have a huge impact on marketing budgets for quite a while.

The real strength of this book is that it provides an amazing number of insights about the most elusive facet of local, national, and international commerce: the behavior of consumers. Their psyche. Why any business that hopes to survive simply cannot bet the farm on what they have been told or has been inferred by it's very own customers. No organization can survive for long without a plan. So, how do you plan when you're working with data that is, at best, suspect?

Fortunately, Mr. Graves doesn't take us down this rocky road and dump us out. No, he shares his own insights and knowledge to help a company find its niche and get a more realistic fix on exactly HOW and WHERE it will find its own competitive edge.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0772c9c) out of 5 stars Don't Read This Book - unless you need to influence your customers. March 7 2011
By Art Remnet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Consumer.ology is a great read as it pulls back the black shroud that has surrounded market research and exposes it for what it really is - a guessing game. Like the great Wizard of Oz, once exposed by that "little dog" Toto was seen to be a mere mortal, Graves exposes market research as at best highly dubious, and then goes on to show you why.

Every C Level executive and business owner needs to know which market research is worthwhile and which is a waste of time and money. Consumer.ology explains exactly that. Through his personal insights and academic research, Graves weaves a compelling story of how the consumer mind works and how it can best be influenced.

If insights into your customer's mind like this, "It is unrealistic to expect consumer to know what they think," would be helpful to your success in the marketplace, then the more than 200 pages of solid content makes this one of the best marketing books in which you can invest.

A brilliant "must-read" work for marketers and entrepreneurs alike. And, it's available for the Kindle too.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe9d1bc) out of 5 stars Eye-opening guide to understanding customer behavior Jan. 11 2011
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If you let market research dictate your business decisions, consumer behavior expert Philip Graves thinks you're making a big mistake. Market research, he says, can't predict customers' buying decisions because it focuses on the wrong criteria - a conscious-mind, logical thinking process. But consumers almost never make buying decisions like that, although they'll insist they do. Instead, they make choices, quickly and efficiently, with their unconscious minds. Business owners who understand this and who apply Graves's criteria to their research will gain valuable insights into what their customers really think and want. While just about anyone who shops can enjoy this entertaining, informative book, getAbstract believes it will help business owners and marketers - if not to read their customers' minds, then at least to understand them better.