Understanding Optimism: The Antecedents and Consequences of Anticipatory Purchase



Driven by optimism, consumers often purchase products that they are unable to use at the time of purchase, in anticipation that they may be able to do so in the future. For instance, people often buy clothing that is presently too small for them. This research examines the antecedents and consequences of such anticipatory purchase behavior, thereby illuminating both the substantive domain of anticipatory purchasing and providing theoretical insights into the nature of optimism. In the first part of this research, I draw upon ideas from optimism and mental simulation literatures to build an overall framework that explains why consumers engage in anticipatory purchase. The second part of this research integrates the goals with the mental simulation literatures, and examines how the anticipatory purchase decision affects consumers’ likelihood to engage in subsequent behavior that is consistent with the purchase (e.g., buying exercise equipment after purchasing a pair of jeans that is one size too small). Taken together, these results provide fundamental insights into the mechanisms underlying consumer optimism and the dynamics of optimistic behavior.
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Dr. S. Puntoni