Sales promotion: The role of equity sensitivity

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 2022, 34, (9), pp. 1827-1848
Issue Date:
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Purpose This paper explores how consumer psychographics impact responses to sales promotions (SPs), and specifically whether equity sensitivity (ES) moderates attitudes towards sales promotion in the retail purchase experience (PE). Design/methodology/approach The study examines data from a survey of 284 Hong Kong consumers, using a shopping mall-intercept method. Every third person walking past the researchers was asked to participate in the survey. After obtaining their permission, those agreeing to take part in the study were surveyed either inside or outside of the shopping complex. The face-to-face intercept surveying method also increases confidence in sample and response reliability. Findings The study finds that ES has a significant positive relationship with evaluations of the retail PE. Consumers identified as “Benevolents” were significantly more positive towards SPs and reported significantly higher satisfaction with the PE. In contrast, consumers identified as “Entitled” were less positive towards SP and less satisfied with the PE. In addition, noncash SPs significantly positively influenced Benevolents' PE. Research limitations/implications The current study extends and expands equity theory and ES research by applying these concepts to consumer SPs. The study is limited to an examination of common consumer purchases, across different product categories and SP types. While this allows us to examine the relationship between SP attitudes, ES and purchase satisfaction, future comparisons between individual sales promotion techniques (SPTs) and specific consumer profiles are recommended. Practical implications From a retail perspective, it is important to understand individual differences and what influences and motivates the consumers' retail PE. Retail managers are advised to track customer purchases and satisfaction levels linked to SPs as this would allow for the identification of which customers are more likely to fit the Entitled or Benevolent psychological profiles and predict their likely responses to SP offers. Originality/value To date, there has been little research on individual psychological differences between consumers when offered SPs at retail stores. The current study contributes to the marketing literature by extending the price fairness equity model to the retail PE, thereby addressing a prominent gap in the literature.
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