AbstractThe current research examines how price promotions influence postpurchase hedonic consumption experience. On the one hand, getting a good deal can elevate moods and dampen the “pain of payment”, thus enhancing consumption enjoyment. On the other hand, discounts also reduce sunk-cost considerations and the need to recover one's spending. As a result, price promotions can lower attention during consumption, which in turn diminishes consumption enjoyment. The authors posit that the time delay between payment and consumption plays an important role in determining the relative strength of these competing effects. Four experiments involving real spending and consumption demonstrate that when consumption occurs immediately after payment, discounts make consumption more enjoyable; however, this pattern reverses when consumption is delayed. The experiments provide support for the roles of feelings and attention, respectively, in accounting for these effects while ruling out several alternative explanations, including perceived quality, absolute paid price, and a direct sunk-cost account.
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Lee, Leonard, and Claire Tsai. "The Immediate and Delayed Effects of Price Promotions on Post-Purchase Consumption Experience." Journal of Consumer Research (forthcoming).