This paper advances research into impulse buying by examining how this behaviour is reinforced/curtailed, highlighting the primary role of the post-purchase experience in encouraging future impulse buying behaviour. Extant research emphasizes the role of the purchase experience, that is, psychological benefits attained from the impulse purchase experience itself, as a reinforcer of impulse buying. Conversely, this paper uses experiments to demonstrate that it is the post-purchase experience, not the purchase experience, that reinforces or curtails future impulse buying. Indeed, irrespective of the valence of the purchase experience, a negative post-purchase experience (whereby a product or service is found to have limited use/does not deliver expected benefits) results in post-purchase regret, which in turn curtails future impulse buying. In contrast, a positive post-purchase experience reinforces impulse buying. This research also demonstrates that consumers utilize three types of coping mechanisms to mitigate post-purchase regret, that is, planful problem solving, positive reinterpretation, or mental disengagement. However, although the use of planful problem solving curtails future impulse buying, use of the other two mechanisms results in behaviour reinforcement. These findings have several important implications for both marketers and consumers, which the authors discuss in detail.
Bibliographical noteThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Spiteri-Cornish, L 2020, 'Why did I buy this? Consumers' post-impulse-consumption experience and its impact on the propensity for future impulse buying behaviour', Journal of Consumer Behaviour, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 36-46, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cb.1792. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
- Impulse Buying
- Post-Purchase Regret
- Coping Mechanisms
- Consumption Behaviour reinforcers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Applied Psychology