What Is the Purchasing Cycle?

A purchasing cycle is the amount of time between purchases. Whether it is done by a consumer or a company, a purchasing cycle determines how often an item is replaced.

A purchasing cycle often describes the steps that the consumer or business undergoes before making a purchase. The consumer purchasing cycle involves awareness for the need for a product, a search for information about the product category, evaluation of the products available, a decision to purchase a specific item and then post-purchase interactions (such as interactions with customer service). In a company setting, a purchasing cycle is established by a purchasing department and may include steps like obtaining approval for a purchase, completing purchase requisition paperwork, soliciting bids, issuing a purchase order, receiving and inspecting the item, adding it to an inventory and paying vendor invoices.