Consuming together (versus separately) makes the heart grow fonder

Published on Feb 15, 2019in Marketing Letters
· DOI :10.1007/S11002-019-09479-7
Ximena Garcia-Rada6
Estimated H-index: 6
(Harvard University),
Lalin Anik6
Estimated H-index: 6
(UVA: University of Virginia),
Dan Ariely95
Estimated H-index: 95
(Duke University)
Across three studies, we investigate how consumers in romantic relationships make decisions when choosing an item to share with their partner. We show that consumers will forgo their preferred alternative for an option that is more aligned with the preferences of their partner when consuming the same item together vs. separately. We theorize and show that when consuming together (vs. separately), consumers’ purchase motivation shifts from being utilitarian (e.g., satisfying one’s hunger) to hedonic (e.g., having an enjoyable evening). Consequently, when consuming together (vs. separately), consumers weigh more highly their partner’s affective reactions to the item and overall experience—leading them to pick a less preferred option in an effort to please their partner. In sum, we provide a framework that contributes novel insight into the trade-offs consumers make between their preferences and the preferences of others.
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