No More Leads to Want More, but No Less Leads to Want Less: counterfactual thinking when faced with point-of-purchase discounts

Document Type



point-of-purchase discounts; customer counterfactual thinking; consumer

Identifier Data



Wiley Online Library

Publication Source

Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 10(2), 93-101


The current research examines the impact of point‐of‐purchase (POP) discounts on consumers' counterfactual thinking (CFT). Study 1 reveals that consumers tend to engage in upward CFT (what might have been better) rather than downward CFT (what might have been worse) in response to POP discounts. Study 2 shows that upward CFT depends on how the discount information is framed. A discount with a lower‐quantity restriction (e.g., “X % off if you buy at least Y items”) leads consumers to counterfactually wish to buy more, but a discount with an upper‐quantity restriction (“X % off – limit Y items per customer”) leads consumers to wish to buy less. Study participants in both conditions report they would buy the same POP‐suggested amount, but for completely opposite reasons. In Study 3, this convergence effect in purchase quantity disappears when the maximum and minimum restrictions are lifted, suggesting that quantity restrictions in POP discounts guide quantity decisions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.