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Durham e-Theses
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To Buy Or Not To Buy? A Behavioural Approach to Examine
Consumer Impulse Buying Choice in Various Situations

MA, WEI,CHEN (2013) To Buy Or Not To Buy? A Behavioural Approach to Examine
Consumer Impulse Buying Choice in Various Situations.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Impulse buying is a phenomenon that has attracted attention from marketers and consumer researchers for decades. Whilst impulse buying has been studied extensively, there is a gap in our understanding of consumer impulse buying choice in different consumption situations. Impulse buying research lacks a theoretical and systematic approach in examining and integrating situational variables. This thesis aims to examine consumer impulse buying choice in various situations simultaneously through the identification of both external and individual determinants of impulse buying behaviour in each situation.

This thesis adopts the view of radical behaviourism and the behaviour perspective model (BPM). Radical behaviourism views impulse buying as a behavioural pattern shaped by its contingencies, and the BPM provides a theoretical model which generates the influences of both external and individual-related factors and investigates the interactions between the determinants of impulse buying from the pre-purchase to the post-purchase stage. The BPM matrix also provides a systematic framework to examine consumer impulse buying choice in various consumption situations.

A questionnaire was developed based on the BPM with a pre-study interview used as a complementary method. The survey collected data from 414 consumers in the UK and Taiwan. The results show that impulse buying behaviour is shaped by its contingencies and the ways in which the BPM components influence impulse buying behaviour vary significantly in different situations. The routine shopping situation and its utilitarian reinforcements trigger the highest rate of impulse buying choice. Secondly, the results demonstrate the interactions between the consumption situations and their corresponding individual-related factors, which illustrate the different types of impulse buying behavioural patterns. Thirdly, post-purchase regret was not necessarily found as the punishment that reduces impulse buying behaviour but an indicator of individuals’ impulse buying patterns. Finally, individuals’ cultural backgrounds were also found to predict different types of impulse buying patterns effectively.

As the first study to investigate consumer impulse buying choice in different situations, this study contributes to the literature by providing empirical evidence of situational influences and cultural differences. In addition, this study complements existing impulse buying knowledge by adopting a behavioural perspective. This research also offers managerial implications for international marketers and consumer policy makers on the ways in which impulse buying behaviour may be encouraged or controlled.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Impulse Buying, Radical Behaviourism, BPM, Impulsivity, Situational Influences, Cultural Differences
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 May 2013 15:02

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