When Consumers Prefer to Give Material Gifts Instead of Experiences: the Role of Social Distance

When it comes to gift giving, consumers prefer giving material gifts instead of experiential ones, despite evidence suggesting experiences lead to more happiness. The authors explore this mismatch and propose that consumers’ preferences for giving experiential gifts depend on the perceived social distance between the gift giver and the recipient. Compared to being socially distant, when givers and recipients are socially close, givers perceive greater knowledge about recipients’ individual preferences and give more experiences. Further, the social risk associated with giving an experience moderates these effects.


Joseph K. Goodman and Sarah Lim (2017) ,"When Consumers Prefer to Give Material Gifts Instead of Experiences: the Role of Social Distance", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 45, eds. Ayelet Gneezy, Vladas Griskevicius, and Patti Williams, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 228-232.


Joseph K. Goodman, Ohio State University, USA
Sarah Lim, Cornell University, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 45 | 2017

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