Do People Spend More in a Crowded Store?: a Field Experiment on Control Deprivation and Compensatory Spending

Charlene Chen, Columbia University, USA
Leonard Lee, Columbia University, USA
Andy Yap, Columbia University, USA
The present research extends previous research showing how motivation for control over the environment leads to increased buying and spending behaviors (Chen, Lee, & Yap, 2011). We test this hypothesis in a retail setting (i.e., supermarket). Specifically, we predict that control-deprivation induced by store crowdedness would cause shoppers to buy more items and spend more money. This effect however would be attenuated when people are given the chance to restore their sense of control before shopping. We compared three conditions: shoppers in an uncrowded store, shoppers in a crowded store, and shoppers in a crowded store who were given the opportunity to regain control through an intervention. Results showed that shoppers in crowded situations bought and spent more than those who were shopping in the uncrowded situations and those who received the intervention before shopping in crowded situations.
[ to cite ]:
Charlene Chen, Leonard Lee, and Andy Yap (2011) ,"Do People Spend More in a Crowded Store?: a Field Experiment on Control Deprivation and Compensatory Spending", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 729-730.