Shop ‘Til You Drop: the Effect of Mortality Salience on Consumption Quantity

Naomi Mandel, Arizona State University, USA
Dirk Smeesters, Tilburg University, Netherlands
This research examines whether exposure to death-related stimuli can affect the quantity and dollar value of the products consumers choose to purchase. In a series of four experiments, we demonstrate that mortality salient participants wish to purchase a higher quantity of products (such as foods and drinks) than do control participants. We offer a dual-route explanation for our effects: Low self-esteem participants overconsume as a means to escape self-awareness, while both low and high self-esteem participants wish to speed up the immediacy of consumption as a means to "die broke." We also address alternative explanations for these effects.
[ to cite ]:
Naomi Mandel and Dirk Smeesters (2007) ,"Shop ‘Til You Drop: the Effect of Mortality Salience on Consumption Quantity", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 600-601.