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3 New findings about today’s consumer

Image: Patricia Norberg.By Patricia Norberg, Associate Professor of Marketing, Quinnipiac University, USA and Editor of Journal of Consumer Marketing, published by Emerald Group Publishing.

After another busy year for the Journal of Consumer Marketing, which has seen continued interest in digital media consumption and public policy related concerns, I’d like to share three of my most interesting findings from 2016 below.

Coming in at number one…

  • Foody photos: The growing popularity of Instagram has led to more and more consumers taking pictures of experiential events and posting them on social media.  An example of this is a consumer taking a picture of their meal prior to eating it.  In our article, How consumer-generated images shape important consumption outcomes in the food domain from issue 1, authors Sean Coary and Morgan Poor revealed that these consumer generated images (CGI) of meals were found to increase the savouring associated with food and favourably influence the evaluation of taste. This was even the case for healthy foods that are typically perceived as a less pleasurable experience.

A close second is…

  • Active escapism: A form of coping that involves fantasy and role playing, is sometimes used by consumers when they are faced with threats to their identity or feelings of control.  In the article Brave new World of Warcraft: a conceptual framework for active escapism, authors Andrew Kuo, Richard J. Lutz and Jacob L. Hiler found that unlike other forms of coping that are linked to avoidance behaviour, active escapism provides the consumer with a sense of empowerment.  This implies that marketing opportunities exist to create or emphasize real world or virtual world experiences that allow for active escapism to take place.

And last but no means least…

  • Data protection: Personal information disclosure is at the forefront of many policy discussions, due to the continued growth in concerns about privacy. But, how often do consumers consider the ability to revise or retract information when they are choosing to disclose it to companies?  Authors Eyal Peer and Alessandro Acquisti revealed in their research article The impact of reversibility on the decision to disclose personal information, from issue 6,that when the consumer is made aware of reversibility, via the company telling them that they can or cannot retract or revise information, they become more careful in what they disclose. This highlights the need for more research into how privacy advocates can help ensure careful disclosure.

Looking ahead to 2017…

I predict we will publish more research articles that:

  • focus on challenging cultural marketplace dynamics,
  • use innovative methods of study, and
  • build on strong theory to investigate consumer behaviours with broad marketing and policy application. 

For example, the upcoming first issues for Journal of Consumer Marketing in 2017 will include articles on cross-ethnic products, the effects of reading direction on attention and memory (eye-tracking study) and the use of time, and goal-related behaviours. 

In the field of consumer marketing, it’s important to makes strong contributions to both the academic and practitioner communities. This ethos is at the core of each journal issue we produce, and we look forward to making a real impact with our research in 2017.

To find out more about the Journal of Consumer Marketing, visit the journal homepage.