Happiness is in the mind of the experience holder: predictors of attaching to and making experiential versus material purchases
Experiential or material? That is the question posed by many researchers in the last decade. My work builds on the foundation of the experiential recommendation, the extended self, and material attachment through examination of antecedents to choosing experiential versus material purchases and, in the post-purchase realm, precursors of attaching to material versus experiential purchases. In the current work, I directly pit the two types of purchases against one another to examine how consumers choose between the two and to identify which consumers are more likely to buy and attach to experiential (material) purchases. This work advances the literature on the experiential recommendation by examining why it occurs, who follows this recommendation, and how material and experiential attachment differences are important to the post-consumption puzzle (how we interact with and continue to attach to our past purchases). This research examines two areas related to experiential versus material purchases: purchase decisions and post-purchase attachment. The first dissertation essay uses Life History Theory as a framework to examine which consumers are more likely to buy into the experiential recommendation. This is the first research that I am aware of to examine individual-level antecedents to valuing and choosing experiential purchases. The second essay moves down the consumption chain and examines consumer attachment to experiential versus material purchases, after they have been made and enjoyed. In addition, I take the consumption cycle full circle by examining how attachment patterns might influence future purchase type tendencies.