With Anastasiya Pocheptsova Ghosh and Yogesh Joshi.

When purchasing indulgent products, characteristics of the purchase such as promotional discounts and the amount of time available to consume the product affect the likelihood of purchase and subsequent enjoyment. We examine how these characteristics jointly influence consumers’ likelihood of purchasing indulgent products, and propose that consumers prefer shorter redemption windows for discounted indulgent products. Although price discounts can alleviate guilt associated with indulgent products, consumers anticipate that these licensing effects fade over time, leading them to prefer more constrained windows. In five studies, we show that individuals choose shorter time periods to consume discounted indulgent purchases, have higher purchase likelihoods for shorter windows, and that these effects are driven by feelings of guilt. We find convergent evidence in real-world data, observing higher purchase rates for discounted indulgent products with shorter redemption windows compared to those with longer ones.

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