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

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.


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.


Charlene Chen, Columbia University, USA
Leonard Lee, Columbia University, USA
Andy Yap, Columbia University, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39 | 2011

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


L4. Attentional Breadth Moderates the Effect of Store Environments on Product Evaluation

Oliver B. Büttner, University of Duisburg-Essen
Benjamin G. Serfas, University of Duisburg-Essen
Daria Euler, University of Duisburg-Essen
Mathias Clemens Streicher, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Read More


Feeling Bad by Wanting More or Wanting More by Feeling Bad: The Materialism - Well-Being Cycle

Esther Doriette Tamara Jaspers, Massey University
Rik Pieters, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Read More


F4. Social Support First, Money Later: Perceived Economic Mobility Increases Happiness When Perceived Social Support Opens the Door

Yong Ju Kwon, Seoul National University, USA
Sara Kim, University of Hong Kong
Youjae Yi, Seoul National University

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.