The role of exploratory buying behavior tendencies in choices made for others

Chowdhury, T. G., Ratneshwar, S., & Desai, K. K. (2009). The role of exploratory buying behavior tendencies in choices made for others. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19(3), 517-525. link

The paper covers the concept of exploratory buying behavior tendencies (EBBT) as the consumer trait that is strongly associated with the variety-seeking behavior. The main question they address in the paper is: Can EBBT influence even choices made for others?

Factors examined in the study are:

  • EBBT scores
  • Diversity in consideration sets
  • Search motives: utilitarian search motives vs. hedonic search motives
  • Regulatory focus: promotion focus (when a decision maker strive to attain the outcome by means that are approach-oriented) vs. prevention focus (avoidance-oriented)
  • Budget constraint

 

Findings:

  • High EBBT individuals have salience of hedonic search motives and consequently form more diverse consideration sets.
  • With a specific budget, high EBBT consumers are likely to diversify their gift choices by buying a greater number of relatively lower-priced items.
  • The effects of EBBT traits are attenuated when the regulatory focus of the person making decision is one of prevention rather than promotion.

 

Takeaways:

  • This work finds that the dispositional, an individual difference variable, EBBT trait can extend its influence beyond a person’s own consumption to situation, while previous studies have focused on the situational variables¬†in variety-seeking behavior. This approach shares my argument that individual’s innate pattern in geographical and physical movement can explain and predict that person’s information exploration behavior when online searching.
  • If I consider a user study examining individuals’ EBBT during the search task(s), I can use the methods describes here, such as:
    • EBBT scores developed by Baumgartner and Steenkamp (1996)
    • Survey asking participants to choose consideration sets
    • Questionnaire that assesses the salience of henonic search motives
    • Manipulation of regulatory focus adding different sentences in the end of scenario

 

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Stress, Control, and Consumer Saving and Spending

I read a research paper, The Effect of Stress on Consumer Saving and Spending, written by Kristina M. Durante and Juliano Laran, forthcoming in Journal of Marketing Research.

The paper presents results of seven experiments showing the influence of stress on consumer saving and spending, along with examining the effect of control over stress.

Methods include:

  • Participants from MTurk and undergrads
  • Experimental design with 2×2 (stress and control) between-subjects design

Conclusions (copied from the paper):

  • Stress led consumers to prefer to save rather than spend money (Pilot Experiment, Experiments 1 and 3).
  • When faced with the decision of where to spend money, they preferred to spend on necessities rather than nonnecessities (Experiments 2 and 4), and this effect was mediated by a willingness to restore control (Experiment 4).
  • The effects of stress, however, were attenuated when perceptions of control were enhanced, both with a manipulation (Experiments 1 and 3) and measurement (Experiment 2).
  • Manipulating the nature of the stressor (new job versus current job stress) changed perceptions of items typically perceived as nonnecessities, which led to increased spending on these items (Experiment 5).
  • Finally, leading people to believe that efforts to restore control would likely fail reversed the effect, decreasing the importance attributed to saving (Experiment 6).

Takeaways:

  • Can we use the stress/control manipulation methods in the situation of information seeking in general, and/or in the case of consumer information search?
  • Instead of measuring the stress and ¬†control level via participants’ self report, how about using Q-sensor or wearable device that captures physiological signals and activities such as Fitbit HR?