The Why of Consumption: Contemporary Perspectives on Consumer Motives, Goals and Desires

The Why of Consumption: Contemporary Perspectives on Consumer Motives, Goals and Desires

The Why of Consumption: Contemporary Perspectives on Consumer Motives, Goals and Desires

The Why of Consumption: Contemporary Perspectives on Consumer Motives, Goals and Desires

Synopsis

Why do we buy what we buy?

What is the nature of the motives, goals, and desires that prompt consumption behaviors?

This unique volume brings together contributions from leading scholars who have extended our knowledge of the "why" of consumption, in a world where consumption itself has become the defining phenomenon of human life and society. The authors draw from branches of psychology, decision theory, sociology, and cultural anthropology to present a diverse selection of new and critical perspectives on consumer motivation. Motivational factors implicated in a variety of consumption behaviors are discussed, including consumer decisions on brands and products; consumption of products, services, and time; compulsive buying; recycling behavior; and mutual influences between consumers and the mass media.

This multifaceted collection provides many penetrating insights for both expert and novice consumer researchers, from both academic and practitioner backgrounds.

Excerpt

The “why” of consumption

S. Ratneshwar, David Glen Mick, and Cynthia Huffman

What is the nature of motives, goals, and desires that prompt consumption behaviors? Why do consumers buy and consume particular products, brands, and services from the multitude of alternatives afforded by their environments? How do consumers think and feel about their strivings and cravings and how do they translate these pursuits into actions? And what explanations might we offer for differences in consumer motives and goals across individuals and situations? These are central questions in any theory of consumer behavior, and this book attempts to provide a few answers.

Considering our topic, it seems appropriate to first say a little more about the “why” of this project. The three of us were drawn together by our complementary research perspectives and the shared perception that there was a strong need for a volume that would do justice to the truly multifaceted nature of consumer motivation. We were aware that consumer researchers employing many different theories and methodologies were addressing this area. We felt the field needed a collection of articles that would provide perspective, take stock of recent findings, offer appropriate theoretical frameworks, and suggest future research directions. We wanted to put together a volume that included many of the leading voices that are extending knowledge of the why of consumption in a world where consumption itself has become—according to many observers—the central and defining phenomena of human life and societies. With these objectives in mind, we approached some of the best-known scholars in consumer behavior. Our targets were people we respected and people who reflected the plurality of perspectives and methods we desired. We were delighted by the uniformly favorable and enthusiastic responses we obtained.

The resulting collection of chapters in this book presents many diverse ideas about consumer motivation and how it might be studied. Our authors draw on multiple literatures including cognitive, social, clinical, and humanistic psychology; behavioral decision-making theory; economics; communication science; sociology; and cultural anthropology. They build on the work of pioneers such as Alderson (1957), Dichter (1964), Freud (1923/1957), Howard and Sheth (1969), Levy (1981), Lewin (1936), Maslow

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