Free Access
Volume 14, Number 1, 2000
Neural Models in Economy and Management Science
Page(s) 37 - 52
DOI: 10.1051/ejess:2000107

European Journal of Economic and Social Systems 14 N$^\circ$ 1 (2000) 37-52

Cellular automata and consumer behaviour

Jean-François Rouhaud

I.U.T. Département G.E.A., University of Poitiers, 8, rue des Carmes,
86012 Poitiers Cedex, France. E-mail:


The concept of cellular automata originates in research by J. Von
Neumann about forty years ago. Nevertheless, marketing applications remain scarce. That's why this paper analyses, with the help of a simulation model, how the use of cellular automata can visualize interactions between consumers and forecast the evolution of markets. The CAMAC model is characterized by an economic space as a bidimensional torus and consumers as multi-state probabilistic cellular automata able to go through as many different states as there are different competing products on the market. Various consumer behaviours are studied: nonconformism, following opinion leaders, sensitiveness to other individuals, brand loyalty, variety search, individual geographic and relational mobility, family size and internal purchase decision processes. Other socio-economic parameters such as the market size, the inter-individual distance, the number of competing products or the kind of goods are introduced. This model is tested and at last its limitations and its interest are pondered.

Keywords: Cellular automata, consumer behaviour, marketing, modeling, simulation

Copyright EDP Sciences 2000