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Vulnerable Communities / Publication Abstract

The effects of scarcity on consumer decision journeys

May 15, 2019

Rebecca Hamilton, Debora Thompson, Sterling Bone, Lan Nguyen Chaplin, Vladas Griskevicius, Kelly Goldsmith, Ronald Hill, Deborah Roedder John, Chiraag Mittal, Thomas O’Guinn, Paul Piff, Caroline Roux, Anuj Shah, Meng Zhu

Vulnerable Communities
Macromarketing & Public Policy


Research in marketing often begins with two assumptions: that consumers are able to choose among desirable products, and that they have sufficient resources to buy them. However, many consumer decision journeys are constrained by a scarcity of products and/or a scarcity of resources. We review research in marketing, psychology, economics and sociology to construct an integrative framework outlining how these different types of scarcity individually and jointly influence consumers at various stages of their decision journeys. We outline avenues for future research and discuss implications for developing consumer-based marketing strategies.

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