Celebrate or Commemorate? A Material Purchase Advantage When Honoring Special Life Events

Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, Volume 1, Number 4, October 2016

37 Pages Posted: 20 May 2018

See all articles by Joseph K. Goodman

Joseph K. Goodman

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

Selin A. Malkoc

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

Brittney Stephenson

Caleres

Date Written: January 1, 2016

Abstract

Previous theories have suggested that consumers will be happier if they spend their money on experiences such as travel as opposed to material possessions such as automobiles. We test this experience recommendation and show that it may be misleading in its general form. Valence of the outcome significantly moderates differences in respondents' reported retrospective happiness with material versus experiential purchases. For purchases that turned out positively, experiential purchases lead to more happiness than do material purchases, as the experience recommendation suggests. However, for purchases that turned out negatively, experiences have no benefit over (and, for some types of consumers, induce significantly less happiness than) material possessions. We provide evidence that this purchase type by valence interaction is driven by the fact that consumers adapt more slowly to experiential purchases than to material purchases, leading to both greater happiness and greater unhappiness for experiential purchases.

Suggested Citation

Goodman, Joseph K. and Malkoc, Selin A. and Stephenson, Brittney, Celebrate or Commemorate? A Material Purchase Advantage When Honoring Special Life Events (January 1, 2016). Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, Volume 1, Number 4, October 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3163861

Joseph K. Goodman (Contact Author)

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University ( email )

Fisher Hall 500
2100 Neil Ave
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

HOME PAGE: http://u.osu.edu/goodman/

Selin A. Malkoc

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://fisher.osu.edu/people/malkoc.5

Brittney Stephenson

Caleres ( email )

8300 Maryland Avenue
Clayton
St. Louis, MO 63105
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
45
Abstract Views
507
PlumX Metrics