Journal Article

Who needs a reason to indulge? Happiness following reason-based indulgent consumption

International Journal of Research in Marketing 35 (1): 170–184
Francine Espinoza Petersen, Heather J. Dretsch, Yuliya Komarova (2018)
Subject(s): Marketing
Keyword(s): Indulgence, consumption happiness, self-control, feeling right, emotions, luxury

While consumers and marketers perpetuate the lay theory that indulging with a reason is more pleasurable and makes everyone happier, this research identifies a condition under which indulging without a reason “feels right” and produces a more positive emotional reaction. The authors show that indulging with or without a reason and consumers’ trait self-control interact to influence happiness felt following an indulgent purchase. While high self-control consumers are happier when they have a reason to buy indulgent products (e.g., when they can justify the indulgence), low self-control consumers are happier when they do not have a reason to indulge, compared to when they have a reason. That is, indulging with a reason is less pleasurable for consumers with low self-control. This effect on happiness has an impact on downstream judgments about the product and yields important implications for consumer welfare as well as marketing managers. Across four studies we show the effect on consumption happiness, examine consequences of the effect, and report evidence for the underlying process.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 35
Issue 1
Pages 170–184