Psychographics and Individual Preferences

by Vlad Ungureanu

Aug 2020

Key takeaways from this article!


Personality has been strongly correlated to individual preferences, from music preferences and colours, to activities and even preferred words.

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People high in Openness to Experience enjoy adventures and satisfying curiosity. They are more likely to purchase online and favour purchases that trigger their imagination and positive feelings.

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Highly Conscientious people prefer a sense of accomplishment over a sense of pleasure. They tend to avoid distractions as TV and media. They have an highly utilitarian approach to shopping.

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Extrovert people prefer being social, going to bars and restaurants and they like to exercise. The purchases they favour most are clothes, sportswear and beauty products.

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Agreeable people prefer to spend time with family and close friends. They tend to have a utilitarian approach to purchases, try to be humble and adhere to social consensus.

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Neurotics avoid social stressful situations. They prefer to invest in media and entertainment, but tend to consider purchase price over utility or ease of use.

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Psychographics and Individual Preferences

Personality plays a big role in our lives, being directly involved in our motivation, decision making, values and preferences. Studies have confirmed that each personality has specific preferences that rarely overlap allowing marketers to make use of these preferences to better understand and address their potential customers.

Having access to individual preferences allows for very specific adjustments to messages, campaigns and ads in a way that they become appealing and relevant to each specific personality profile. For example, if you want to relate to your customers based on car preferences, in a commercial or ad, you would show an SUV to engage Conscientious people, a minivan for Agreeable people and sports car to appeal to people high in Extroversion.

Adamant Links - Personality Preferences

Adamant Links - Personality Preferences

And it’s not just cars! Personality based preferences extend from favoured colours to shopping motivation and consistently preferred behaviours.

Since we are addressing this topic from a marketing point of view, we will start with shopping motivation. People high in Conscientiousness are motivated by the utilitarian aspect of a purchase. They tend to buy things that they believe would solve a problem they are facing. It is unlikely to see a person high in Conscientiousness buy products or services because are trendy, aesthetically pleasing or on sale. On the opposite side, Extroverts and people Open to Experience (to a lower degree) manifest a hedonistic shopping motivation. These are the people that shine at every event. Trendy, fashionable and always in the centre of attention these are the people you see wearing neon green shows or silver ties and taking selfies with the latest smartphone.

Related to shopping motivation, both Conscientious and Extrovert people manifest overconfidence as they are very unlikely to be swayed from their purchase intent. The other three personalities are more likely to adhere to mass behaviour and social consensus when deciding what to buy.

Openness to Experience

People open to experiences favour novelty and aesthetics. They tend to avoid routine, repetitive tasks or indoor activities. They like to travel, explore and satisfy their curiosity. They are more likely to buy online, although compulsive or impulsive behaviour is not in their nature. They are early adopters and trend setters, sometimes peculiar, and they love to take risks. They purchase things that trigger their imagination and respond to ads that provoke intense feelings. It’s also worth mentioning that they are not the greatest fans of conformity or traditionalism.

While they are outgoing, they avoid sporting activities or events and prefer moderate exercise, usually outdoors. Their interest in aesthetics, translates into greater interest for art, poetry and literature but also in a preference towards abstractions, metaphors and more complex concepts.


Conscientious people are orderly and achievement oriented. They are hard workers, perfectionists and highly industrious. Distraction as media, fashion or events are of little importance for them as they prefer a sense of accomplishment over sensing pleasure. Concerned with their health they manifest good impulse control, but are less likely to engage in sports or work out.

They are calculated with their time and with their purchases. However, the achievement aspect of their personality sometimes leads to purchases that confirm personal status (the big house on the hills, the convertible and the gold watch, while often a stereotype, correctly describes their behaviour).


Extroverts favour human interaction above everything else. Not only are they friendly and gregarious, but the social component is also associated with being appreciated and standing out. As such, they are the most likely to practice various sports, work out and take better care of the way they look, especially in public.

They frequent bars, restaurants, clubs and events, are always up to speed with the latest trends and news and are willing to spend more on clothes, sportswear and beauty and hygiene products. They prefer energetic and engaging brands.


Agreeable people focus on family, friends and the needs of the many. They often engage in volunteer work and prefer speeding time with friends and family. They are supportive, involved and like to express optimism. However, they do not like to talk about work, media or sports. Human values take precedence, leading to a utilitarian approach in their activities and purchases.

While they avoid investing in appearance and trends, they are however more prone to adhere to social consensus. They invest in healthcare, comfort and almost anything related to children. Having a family and children are key elements in their lives and they tend to focus their time and efforts in this direction. They prefer family and environment friendly brands and products.


Neurotics revolve around their excessive need for security and managing negative emotions. They avoid competitions, risks, feeling exposed in public and being in the centre of attention. As such, they avoid public events and activities and are more likely to invest their time in media, television and various game (both electronic and board games). In order to avoid feeling shame, guilt or to avoid being criticized they prefer safe purchases from reliable companies. When under stress or the effect of negative emotions they tend to engage in impulsive or compulsive shopping, putting a greater focus on the price rather then the utility or ease of use of the product. A particularity related to their emotional behaviour is that they tend to express anger in various forms, both in real life and online.

People high in neuroticism are more likely to express their negative thought related to purchases, brands or products; they are also likely to share and comment on posts that express negative emotions. While they are the least likely to work out or enjoy sports, they might invest in clothes, fashion, beauty products and accessories in an effort to avoid feelings of embarrassment or being ridiculed in public.


  • "Big Five Personality Traits in Marketing: A Literature Review", Zsofia Hajnik, 2014
  • "A reexaminationof the generalizability of the Aaker brandpersonality measurement framework.", J. R. Austin, J. A. Siguaw and A. S.Mattila, 2003
  • "An empirical investigation of the relationship between personality traits, prestige sensitivity, and fashion consciousness of Generation Y in Australia.", R. Cassidy, 2012
  • "Music Preference and the Five-Factor Model of the NEO Personality Inventory.",D. Rawlings and V. Ciancarelli, 1997
  • "Shopping Motives and the Hedonic/Utilitarian Shopping Value: A Preliminary Study.", G. Guido, 2006
  • "Personality, media preferences, and cultural participation",Gerbert Kraaykampa and Koen van Eijckb, 2005

In our next article, get a detailed look at psychographics and internal values:
Psychographics and Internal Values


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