The effects of scent on consumer behaviour

J. Rimkute, C. Moraes, C. Ferreira

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    This article presents a systematic review of extant research on the effects of scent on consumer behaviour for readers of the International Journal of Consumer Studies. Although many articles have been published on this topic in recent years, there is a need for a comprehensive summary of up-to-date findings in this area of research. A systematic literature review is conducted with selected Chartered Association of Business Schools-ranked journals in the fields of marketing and psychology, covering the period between 1980 and 2015. Thematic areas include the impact of scent on consumers’ cognitive and affective responses, attitudes and perceptions, as well as memory and behaviours. Relevant mediators and moderators of the effects of scent on these variables include affect, cognition, awareness and individual or environmental stimuli. Gaps for future research are identified and include the role of consumer awareness of scent and its influence on behaviour. Although this article provides a systematic review of the literature within the fields of psychology and marketing, it acknowledges that a large body of research regarding human responses to odours exists within other disciplinary fields such as neuroscience. The potential for, as well as the ethical caveats of, using scent stimuli for marketing purposes are also considered. This article makes a significant contribution to the consumer behaviour literature given its systematic article selection and review process, encompassing the most up-to-date research and focusing on all key thematic areas related to scent and consumption.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24-34
    JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2015

    Bibliographical note

    This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Rimkute, J, Moraes, C & Ferreira, C 2015, 'The effects of scent on consumer behaviour' International Journal of Consumer Studies, vol 40, no. 1, pp. 24-34, which has been published in final form at . This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


    • Consumer behaviour
    • scent
    • sense of smell
    • sensory marketing
    • systematic literature review


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