Trying Harder and Doing Worse: How Grocery Shoppers Track Their In-Store Spending

Koert Van Ittersum, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Joost M. E. Pennings, University of Maastricht, the Netherlands
Brian Wansink, Cornell University, USA
Although one in three American households shops on a budget, it remains unclear whether and how shoppers track their in-store spending to stay within budget. A pilot study shows that budget-constrained grocery shoppers predominantly use mental computation strategies to track their in-store spending. Two lab experiments demonstrate that shoppers adapt their mental computation strategy to the dominant range of price endings in the basket and their motivation to be accurate based on cost-benefit analyses. A final field study demonstrates that shoppers underestimating the total basket price are more likely to spend more than their budget, which negatively influences store satisfaction.
[ to cite ]:
Koert Van Ittersum, Joost M. E. Pennings, and Brian Wansink (2010) ,"Trying Harder and Doing Worse: How Grocery Shoppers Track Their In-Store Spending ", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 721-722 .