Journal of Marketing Behavior > Vol 3 > Issue 3

Occasion Matching of Indulgences

Suzanne B. Shu, Anderson School of Management, University of California Los Angeles, USA, , Marissa A. Sharif, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA,
Suggested Citation
Suzanne B. Shu and Marissa A. Sharif (2018), "Occasion Matching of Indulgences", Journal of Marketing Behavior: Vol. 3: No. 3, pp 211-239.

Publication Date: 11 Dec 2018
© 2018 S. B. Shu and M. A. Sharif
Behavioral decision making,  Individual decision making,  Consumer Behavior,  Heuristics


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In this article:
Occasion Matching for Indulgences 
Studies of Occasion Matching 
General Discussion 
Appendix: Scenarios and Questions for Study 2 (Anticipated Regret) 


While much is known about how consumers choose products for purchase, less is known about how they determine the timing of their consumption. For certain products, consumers put substantial effort into this timing decision by trying to match consumption to a special occasion. Occasion matching happens most often for items that are considered indulgences or otherwise labeled as special — typically outside the consumer's regular spending, received as a gift, and/or valued above market value. Consumers who engage in occasion matching express concern about higher regret from using an item too early relative to delaying its use past an optimal time. As a result, use of an occasion matching rule can be non-optimal in situations where the consumer indefinitely delays consuming while waiting for a special occasion that is unlikely to arrive.