Spending on the Fly: Mental Budgets, Promotions, and Spending Behavior

Karen Stilley , University of Pittsburgh, USA
J. Jeffrey Inman, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Kirk Wakefiel, Baylor University, USA
Recent research suggests that consumers have in-store slack for grocery trips – they leave room in their mental budgets to make unplanned purchases. We evaluate how promotional savings’ effect on spending varies depending on whether the item is planned or unplanned and whether it is purchased before or after the shopper’s in-store slack is depleted. We conducted a field study wherein respondents used a handheld scanner to record the order of purchases. Highlighting the importance of a mental budgeting perspective, our results suggest that many in-store promotions simply serve to influence what unplanned items people buy rather than generate incremental spending.
[ to cite ]:
Karen Stilley , J. Jeffrey Inman, and Kirk Wakefiel (2010) ,"Spending on the Fly: Mental Budgets, Promotions, and Spending Behavior", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 191-194 .