Trying Harder and Doing Worse: How Grocery Shoppers Track In-Store Spending

Van Ittersum, Koert, Joost M.E. Pennings, and Brian Wansink (2010), “Trying Harder and Doing Worse: How Grocery Shoppers Track In-Store Spending,” Journal of Marketing, 74:2 (April), 90-104.

38 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2010 Last revised: 30 Apr 2017

See all articles by Koert van Ittersum

Koert van Ittersum

University of Groningen

Joost M. E. Pennings

Maastricht University; Wageningen UR

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Date Written: February 2, 2010

Abstract

Although almost one in three U.S. households shops on a budget, it remains unclear whether and how shoppers track their in-store spending to stay within those budgets. A field study and two laboratory studies offer four key generalizations about budget shoppers in grocery stores: (1) They predominantly use mental computation strategies to track their in-store spending, (2) they adapt their mental computation strategy to the dominant range of price endings of items in their shopping baskets, (3) those who try to calculate the exact total price of their basket are less accurate than those who estimate the approximate price, and (4) motivated shoppers are less accurate than less motivated shoppers (because they tend to calculate instead of estimate the total basket price). A second field study demonstrates that shoppers who underestimate the total price of their basket are more likely to overspend, leading to negative store satisfaction.

Keywords: budget shoppers, in-store spending behavior, mental computation, basket estimation, retail price setting

Suggested Citation

van Ittersum, Koert and Pennings, Joost M. E. and Wansink, Brian, Trying Harder and Doing Worse: How Grocery Shoppers Track In-Store Spending (February 2, 2010). Van Ittersum, Koert, Joost M.E. Pennings, and Brian Wansink (2010), “Trying Harder and Doing Worse: How Grocery Shoppers Track In-Store Spending,” Journal of Marketing, 74:2 (April), 90-104.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1546461

Koert Van Ittersum (Contact Author)

University of Groningen ( email )

Postbus 72
9700 AB Groningen
Netherlands

Joost M. E. Pennings

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

Brian Wansink

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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