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When Wanting Is Better than Having: Materialism, Transformation Expectations, and Product-Evoked Emotions in the Purchase Process

Marsha L. Richins

Journal of Consumer Research, 2013, vol. 40, issue 1, 1 - 18

Abstract: Materialists believe that acquiring products will make them happier, but the validity of this premise has not been examined empirically. In this research, two cross-sectional and one longitudinal studies examine the emotions evoked by products before and after purchase. High-materialism consumers consistently showed hedonic elevation in product-evoked emotions before purchase, followed by hedonic decline after purchase. Low-materialism consumers, however, did not display this pattern. Findings show that hedonic elevation appears to be due to expectations among high-materialism consumers that purchase of the desired product will transform their lives in significant and meaningful ways. Findings further indicate that satisfaction processes may partially explain the hedonic decline that follows purchase among high-materialism consumers but also suggest that for these consumers, the state of anticipating and desiring a product may be inherently more pleasurable than product ownership itself.

Date: 2013
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Journal of Consumer Research is currently edited by Bernd Schmitt, June Cotte, Markus Giesler, Andrew Stephen and Stacy Wood

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