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Forgoing Exclusive Consumption that Others Cannot Access

Ferreira, K. (2023). Forgoing Exclusive Consumption that Others Cannot Access. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Past research has shown that consumers pursue exclusive products and services that are inaccessible to others. However, this dissertation investigates an important exception to this phenomenon; that is, situations in which someone lacking access to exclusive consumption can observe the purchase or consumption experience. The aim of this dissertation is to examine how the observability of another person lacking access to the same consumption experience affects consumers’ decisions to buy and consume exclusive products and services. We1 argue that there are situations in which even though consumers may desire to buy and consume something exclusive, they may refrain from doing so. We propose that the pursuit of exclusive consumption experiences may be less pronounced when others who lack access to the same experience can observe the purchase/consumption. We suggest that when purchase or consumption is observed by another person lacking access, consumers may attribute negative emotions to the other person caused by their lack of access. These attributions may induce anticipated guilt, leading consumers to forgo their desired consumption. We further suggest that consumers blame the company that offers products or services for being non inclusive and causing them to anticipate guilt feelings when observed by others who lack access, which leads them to forgo a desired consumption experience. This perceived lack of inclusivity will result in less favourable attitudes toward the brand. We also predict that the propensity to forgo consumption will be more pronounced when the other consumer lacking access is a close (vs. a distant) other. This dissertation takes the form of a monograph and is organised in five chapters. We provide support for the predictions in nine pre-registered studies with both hypothetical and actual choices involving different products and services, different reasons for the lack of access, different manifestations of forgoing exclusive consumption, and different participant populations (Brazil, UK, and US). Overall, this dissertation offers several theoretical contributions to different streams of consumer research and practical implications for companies. In addition, this dissertation shows that forgoing exclusive consumption may bring positive implications (e.g., curbing unnecessary or excessive consumption) as well as negative consequences (e.g., forgoing with no extraneous benefits) for consumers’ well-being.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: Bayes Business School > Bayes Business School Doctoral Theses
Bayes Business School > Management
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Ferreira Thesis 2023 PDF-A.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 30 November 2026 due to copyright restrictions.


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