Should I Buy this When I Have so Much? Reflection on Personal Possessions As an Anti-Consumption Strategy
46 Pages Posted: 3 May 2018
Date Written: April 16, 2018
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
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