The consumer purchasing decision
is defined as the “decision-making process used by a customer regarding market
decisions before, during and after the purchase” (Engell, Jame, David , & Blackwell, 1968). Consumer decision
process and consumer behavior have been in the spotlight of many studies in the
consumer science research within the last few years  (Erasmus, Boshoff, & Rousseau). The consumer
purchasing decision stages initially introduced by Dewey (1910) and then expended
through Engell, Jame, David , & Blackwell, (1968)
are, up to this day, presented as follows:

 

·            
Problem/need recognition: The
first stage in the purchasing process. The consumer first recognizes the need.
According to Kotler & al (2009) this need can be triggered by both internal
(thirst, hunger) and external stimuli (advertisement).

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·            
Information search: Once the
problem has been properly identified and acknowledged by the consumer, he will
then start looking for what is, according to him, the best solution to answer
his need.

 

·            
Evaluation of alternatives: The
consumer will then analyze his different alternatives which, in most cases,
take the forms of several product or brand in order to establish which one is
able to deliver the different type of attributes he is seeking.

 

·            
Purchasing decision: This is
the most important moment, the one where the customer acquires the product he
considers capable of answering his need.

 

·            
Post purchase behavior:
Critical for a company who wishes to retain potential consumers, the customer
will then compare the product with his expectation in order to define if, whoever
or not the product managed to answer his need.

 

 

 

Despite Dewey (1910) consumer stage
only including the previous 5 stages, recent studies conducted those last years
are considering another step in the consumer purchasing model, the product
disposition (University of Minnesota). Indeed, despite the fact that the
society was not giving much attention to the disposition process in the last
decades  (Raghavan, 2010). The subject of
impulsive disposal is drawing more and more attention in both academic and
business environment (Hanson, 1980).

 

According to Hanson (1980)
several reason was given for conducting disposition studies. Among those reasons,
we can find the evolution of society toward a more sustainable way of living, the
relation disposition and behavior or the increasing problem the world is
currently facing with waste disposal.

Through their studies on consumer
disposal, Jacoby & al were the first to conduct an experiment which aimed
to analyze consumer disposition patterns towards certain products. After
developing a taxonomy of major disposition behavior engaged in by individual
consumers, Jacobi address the following question:

What factors influence the
decision customer makes?

 

In order to answer the previous
question, the authors highlight 3 main categories within their survey sample:
psychological characteristics of the decision maker, factor intrinsic to the
product and situational factors extrinsic to the product.  

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A second study conducted by Burke,
Conn & Lutz (1978), focused primarily on the first category described
through Jacoby & al research. Through their research Burke, Conn & Lutz
aimed to determine common psychological variables among consumers that would
explain why they decided to adopt one way of disposal more than another. In
order to conduct this study, Burke defined 6 different disposition options
among which were proposed selling the product, throwing it, donate it, give it
to a friend or trade it for a newer product (Burke, Conn & Lutz, 1978). Within
those following alternatives, it is possible to identify two options that would
fit hoarding and decluttering tendencies. In his studies, Burke defined the declutterer
as young consumers who share a tendency to throw away products as long as they
are facing malfunctions. As a result of their study, Burke & al claimed
that, in order to determine consumer disposition habits, researchers might want
to address, belief, attitude, preferences and perceptions which all underlines consumer
behavior.

 

Finally, the study conducted by
Harriell, Diane & MaconochaOffice2  (1992) follows Burke, Conn & Lutz path
by addressing consumers believes, attitude and perceptions toward product
disposal. In his study, a survey, realized on 811 candidates revealed that
around one fifth of them showed hoarding tendencies. Indeed, the act of
throwing away was often associated by candidates with negativity while the act
of keeping was instantly associated with positivity as well as the will of “helping
other and passing non-use good to future generations.” In addition, among the
sample, only 8% of the people interviewed showed a tendency to throw away the
no longer need products. Yet, compared to part of the sample who related the
act of keeping with positivity, no rationales were found to be positively
associated with throwing away.

 

Therefore, despite not being part
of the initial consumer purchasing model (Dewey, 1910), the act of disposal represents
an aspect as important in the consumer purchasing model as the act of
purchasing itself and triggers emotions, feelings and beliefs within the
consumer that might impact his future purchase (Chu & Liao, 2007).

 

Indeed, previous researchers (Hanson 1980;
Chu & Liao 2007; Gregson et al. 2007) confirmed that hypotheses by
suggesting that the acquisition and disposition processes are tightly
interlinked and impacting one another. Moreover, studying the consumer disposal
process, and especially, consumer impulsive disposal habits such as compulsive
hoarding and declutering will lead to a better comprehension of the consumer
disposition process and will, therefore, allow business to apply better
strategies and influence their customers purchasing process.

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