Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

An Investigation of the Relationship between Unplanned Buying and Post-Purchase Regret

Academic journal article International Journal of Marketing Studies

An Investigation of the Relationship between Unplanned Buying and Post-Purchase Regret

Article excerpt


The purpose of this study is to investigate the association of unplanned buying with post-purchase regret, moderated by consumer-family income and gender, as well as the association of both sales promotion and bank-card payment with unplanned buying in the Saudi market. Drawing on unplanned buying and post-purchase literature, the study tested a model of post-purchase regret. A survey was conducted among Saudi consumers of retail stores in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A convenience sample of 927 respondents was taken for data collection, among them 903 were finalized for analysis. The study concluded that there is a positive relationship between unplanned buying and post-purchase regret. An increased association of unplanned buying with post-purchase regret has been found among low-income earners and male consumers. Furthermore, bank-card payment, but not sales promotion, has a significant association with unplanned buying. Practically, consumers and marketers can benefit from the results and recommendations of this study, both avoiding the bad consequences of post-purchase regret. Self-awareness of the factors that cause regret may turn consumers to be more rational in their future buying decisions. Marketers' perceptions of those factors may also be helpful in setting marketing strategies towards their target markets; satisfying, and retaining consumers. The original contribution of this study comes from a lack of research in the Middle East on unplanned buying, post-purchase regret and their relationship antecedents.

Keywords: unplanned buying, impulsive buying, compulsive buying, post-purchase regret, post-purchase remorse, cognitive dissonance, sales promotion, bank cards, credit cards, demographics

1. Introduction

In contemporary markets, the multiplicity of alternative brands has contributed to consumers' confusion when making purchasing decisions (Shanker, Cherrier, and Canniford, 2006; Simpson, Siguaw, and Cadogan, 2008). In their quest to satisfy their needs, consumers tend, rationally, to use their limited resources in order to achieve maximum possible levels of satisfaction. More involvement is required by consumers in the purchasing-decision-making process so that they select the most suitable alternatives for them (Zeelenberg & Pieters, 2007). This can be done when consumers precisely set their goals as a |basis of the alternative-selection process (Bui, 2011).

Despite the pursuit of consumers to rationalize their purchasing decisions, they may be in doubt to what extent their decisions were correct. Consumers compare the brands they bought with the alternatives they had decided not to buy (Loomers and Sugden, 1982; Landman, 1987; Boles & Messick, 1995; Shanker et al., 2006; Simpson et al., 2008). The result of such comparison is often a state of grief and psychological pain known as post-purchase regret or cognitive dissonance. When consumers perceive that their purchasing decisions were wrong, they feel regret (Landman, 1987; Tsiros & Mittal, 2000; Heitmann, Lehmann, and Herrmann, 2007). Post-purchase regret is powerful enough to make consumers make illusions (Balcetis & Dunning, 2007). However, it is not necessary that all purchases lead to regret (Sweeney, Hausknecht, and Souter, 2000).

Post-purchase regret is not favorable to marketers whose consumers purchased their brands and regret about them. The consumer behavior literature shows that post-purchase regret is accompanied by low-consumer satisfaction (Inman, Dyer, and Jia, 1997; Taylor & Scheider, 1998; Tsiros & Mittal, 2000). Low satisfaction leads to no repurchase intention (Tsiros & Mittal, 2000), a tendency to shiftto alternative brands (Zeelenberg & Pieters, 1999; Bui, 2011; Garcia & Perez, 2011), and negative word-of-mouth about the brand (Garcia & Perez, 2011). Therefore, knowing the antecedents that lead to consumers' regret, after making a purchase, is important to marketers. …

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