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The Material-Experiential Asymmetry in Discounting: When Experiential Purchases Lead to More Impatience

Joseph K Goodman, Selin A Malkoc and Mosi Rosenboim

Journal of Consumer Research, 2019, vol. 46, issue 4, 671-688

Abstract: Consumers routinely make decisions about the timing of their consumption, making tradeoffs between consuming now or later. Most of the literature examining impatience considers monetary outcomes (i.e., delaying dollars), implicitly assuming that how the money is spent does not systematically alter impatience levels and patterns. The authors propose an impatience asymmetry for material and experiential purchases based on utility duration. Five studies provide evidence that consumers are more impatient toward experiential purchases compared to material purchases and that this increased impatience is driven by whether the value is extracted over a shorter utility duration (often associated with experiential purchases) or a longer utility duration (often associated with material purchases). Thus, when an experience is consumed over a longer period of time, the results show that impatience can be diminished. Additional results show that the effect holds in both delay and expedite frames and suggest that the results cannot be explained by differences in scheduling, time sensitivity, affect, ownership, future time perspective, or future connectedness.

Keywords: impatience; present bias; material versus experiential purchases; consuming over time (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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