Should I Buy this When I Have so Much? Reflection on Personal Possessions As an Anti-Consumption Strategy

46 Pages Posted: 3 May 2018

See all articles by Utpal M. Dholakia

Utpal M. Dholakia

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Jihye Jung

Rice University

Nivriti Chowdhry

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Date Written: April 16, 2018

Abstract

Despite having ample possessions, many Western consumers continue to buy new things. Our central proposition in this research is that one approach to resist shopping temptations and stifle buying urges is to get consumers to reflect on, and evoke momentary desire for, recently used belongings. We contribute to the anti-consumption literature by theorizing that the desire to consume, like willpower, may function as a limited motivational resource, becoming depleted upon reflecting about favored personal possessions, leaving less desire for subsequent shopping urges. Across four studies, consumers who reflected on their recently used personal belongings experienced less desire for an unexpectedly encountered product, were less likely to buy impulsively and expressed a lower willingness-to-pay for new products. This research broadens the scope of anti-consumption theory. In addition to rejection, restriction, and reclaim, reflection is proposed as a fourth strategy for individuals to regulate purchasing activities. Reflection provides a practical intervention for policymakers, consumer advocates, and consumers to consume prudently.

Keywords: Anti-Consumption; Policy Intervention; Reflection; Impulsive Shopping, Prudent Consumption

Suggested Citation

Dholakia, Utpal M. and Jung, Jihye and Chowdhry, Nivriti, Should I Buy this When I Have so Much? Reflection on Personal Possessions As an Anti-Consumption Strategy (April 16, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3163924 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3163924

Utpal M. Dholakia (Contact Author)

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Jihye Jung

Rice University ( email )

Houston, TX
United States

Nivriti Chowdhry

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

Houston, TX
United States
7133481790 (Phone)

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