Consumer Happiness and Well-being
Charlotte Gaston-Breton, ESCP Europe, Madrid campus
Scientific Director of the Research Center in Happiness & Management
Benoît Heilbrunn, ESCP Europe, Paris campus
Researcher at the Research Center in Happiness & Management.
Researchers in Consumer Behavior have recently demonstrated their interest towards the topic of consumer happiness and well-being organizing special issues in leading journals (e.g., Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2015) and roundtable discussions at conferences (e.g., ACR 2014; EMAC 2015). The growing interest towards this topic highlights the need for further understanding in three main research areas:
– Drivers of Consumer Happiness: A common finding is that experiential purchases (e.g., taking a kayaking trip) are better than material purchases (e.g., buying a kayak) at advancing consumer happiness (Van Boven & Gilovich, 2003) . Further, there is a need to understand i) Why do experiential purchases make people happier than material purchase?; ii) Do experiences (vs. material possessions) increase social connection?, shape self-identity?, decrease comparative evaluations?
– Measures of Consumer Happiness: Researchers have used several methods (e.g., narratives, observations, surveys) and items (e.g., life satisfaction, positive emotions, facial recognition) to measure the same concept of “consumer happiness”. This variety of proposed measured underlines the need to clarify: What is the difference between happiness, well-being or positive emotions?; How to measure consumer hedonic and eudaimonic (e.g., Ryan & Deci, 2001) dimension of consumer happiness?
– Moderators of Consumer Happiness: Traditionally the relationship between happiness and money has raised a lot of interest among researchers. Paradoxically, little is known about the impact of consumer income and other socio-demographics as gender and age on achieving happiness through consumption. Culture and social context can also been considered as important moderating variables.
 Van Boven, L. & Gilovich, T. (2003) “To Do or to Have, That is the Question”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(6), 1193-1202.
 Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: a review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual review of psychology, 52, 141–166.