Impulse Purchases and Overspending

The present project addresses the problem of uncontrolled purchasing and overspending from the perspective of consumer psychology. The project has two main research objectives: (1) advancing knowledge on the mechanisms that underlie impulse purchasing and (2) providing techniques and strategies to consumers to control their purchasing behaviour. Whereas previous research has focused on affective processes and lack of self-control as precursors of impulse purchases, the present project addresses the interplay between motivational orientations and information processing. This will be achieved by integrating research on shopping orientations with research on mindsets. Step 1 will examine differences in attention and cognitive procedures between consumers with a hedonic shopping orientation and consumers with a utilitarian shopping orientation, and how these differences contribute to impulse purchasing. Step 2 examines whether features of the environment activate different mindsets. Furthermore, the step addresses how the interplay between these activated mindsets and shopping orientations influence consumers’ evaluations of products and propensities to make impulse purchases. Step 3 will develop and test strategies that are tailored to the differences in information processing between consumers with a hedonic and a utilitarian shopping orientations. This will be informed by the findings form Steps 1 and 2. Moreover, the concept of a workshop will be developed that facilitates teaching these strategies to consumers. Thereby, the project aims to enhance consumers’ competencies to control their purchasing behaviour and thus to refrain from unwanted purchases and spending excessively. The research questions will be examined in a set of laboratory experiments that include eye tracking to measure attention. In addition, the strategies to control purchasing behaviour will be tested in a field experiment.

 

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