Showing posts with label consumer behavior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label consumer behavior. Show all posts

Monday, July 6, 2015

Are You Buying Emotionally or Rationally?

Feelings and rationality have been something philosophers debated for centuries. Descartes separated emotion and reason as well as mind and body. The process of making purchasing decisions can be based on emotion, reason, or both depending on the situation in which we make decisions. From a marketing and consumer purchasing approach, emotion or reason are primed by an independent or interdependent self-construal.

According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research  those with independent self-construal promote reliance on feelings in judgments while interdependent self-construals promote greater reliance on reason (Jiewen & Change, 2015). Decision making is impacted by how we see ourselves in relation to others.

To understand this idea fully it is necessary to comprehend what a self-construal is. Self-construal is the way in which we perceive ourselves in relation to others. Much of our belief is based on our cultural upbringing. Americans are believed to be focused more on an independent self-construal while Asians are more likely to have an interdependent self-construal.

When we have an independent self-construal we often seek to magnify our image and in turn make emotionally based decisions to do so. Most of us can remember a time when we saw something that would make us look better, happier, beautiful, thinner, richer or smarter. We bought a product based on its emotional appeal to our image.

Feelings and rationality are not mutually exclusive and carry with it individual and cultural differences. There are Americans that are more or interdependent than others. The point is that the majority of us make emotional purchases and if we sit back and think about those choices we may be able to enhance still our self-construct while making sound financial decisions. There is little doubt that many Americans are debt rich and cash poor.

Jiewen, H. & Chang, H. (2015). "I" Follow My Heart and "We" Rely on Reasons: The Impact of Self-Construal on Reliance on Feelings versus Reasons in Decision Making. Journal of Consumer Research, 41 (6).

Thursday, December 25, 2014

How Technology Changed Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping has been a marker for consumer sentiment and spending for a long time. Black Friday and the week before Christmas is a span of time that many retailers use to gauge their potential profits for the year. As technology advances the patterns of purchasing are changing as the people stretch their purchasing behavior beyond its traditional boundaries turning brick-n-mortar companies into something more like pick-up locations.

Longer Purchasing Times:

Online shopping allows for a longer purchasing time in search of deals and sales. In the past, consumers would rush down to their local malls and stores in search of product deals. With the advent of the Internet consumers can now make make of their purchases online. They do not need to spend the time and energy fighting other customers. Store foot traffic no longer represents sales.

Searching and Then Buying:

The Internet is used by many consumers as a way of searching out products, finding the best deals, determining locations and then going to the store to purchase. In many ways the Internet has allowed consumers to comparison shop quickly and search through store locations to find the best place to purchase. This means that prices will become more competitive with each other and smaller impulse purchases are less likely.

Consumer Reviews:

Big ticket items take a lot of time and energy to purchase. Buying the right product and scouring stores can waste a lot of time. Some businesses sell the same product more than others. Consumers take a risk when purchasing products. Reading consumer reviews lower this risk and help them make better decisions. Educated consumers are more difficult to take advantage of.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Current Study: An Evaluation of the CEIS Study

Dr Andree Swanson and Dr Paula Zobisch, research partners, are conducting a qualitative study is to evaluate the CEIS as a predictor of emotional intelligence in consumers.  The researchers believe that current measurement of Emotional Intelligence is not an accurate predictor of consumer behavior.  Kidwell developed the Consumer Emotional Intelligence Scale (CEIS) to determine consumer emotional intelligence in place of using the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) (Kidwell, Hardesty, and Childers (2008a).  The qualitative study will seek consumers and marketing professionals over 18 years of age who were recruited through social media to evaluate the accuracy/effectiveness of the CEIS. 
Significance Statement
The significance of this study is that impulse buying, in its extreme, can cause financial hardship.  Kidwell, Hardesty, and Childers (2008a) designed an instrument to measure the effect of emotions on consumer buying decisions, the Consumer Emotional Intelligence Scale (CEIS).  The instrument was designed to measure emotions and allows individuals to recognize emotional patterns when making consumer buying decisions.  Since reason leads to conclusions and emotions lead to action (Kotler, Kartajaya, & Setiawan, 2010), the impact to marketers is to communicate with the consumer in such a manner as to evoke a positive emotion that leads to a favorable buying decision.  The results of this study will significantly add to the existing literature on consumer behavior and the psychology of consumer behavior.

The results of the proposed study could potentially aid the consumer who is susceptible to impulse buying based on emotion. The results may also provide a positive resource for the field of business marketing and consumer behavior education.  The results of this study will significantly add to the existing literature on consumer behavior and the psychology of consumer behavior.

Participate in Study
We welcome you to participate in this research project related to consumer behavior.  Please go directly to to take the surveys.  

Dr. Andree Swanson and Dr. Paula Zobisch


Kidwell, B., Hardesty, D. M., & Childers, T. L. (2008a). Consumer emotional intelligence: Conceptualization, measurement, and the prediction of consumer decision making. Advances in Consumer Research, 35, 660.

Kidwell, B., Hardesty, D. M., & Childers, T. L. (2008b, December). Emotional calibration effects on consumer choice. Journal of Consumer Research, 35(4), 611-621

Kidwell, B., Hardesty, D. M., Murtha, B. R., & Sheng, S. (2011, January). Emotional intelligence in marketing exchanges. Journal of Marketing, 75, 78-95

Kotler, P., Kartajaya, H., & Setiawan, I. (2010). Marketing 3.0: From products to customers to the human spirit. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.