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Consumer research finds that people derive greater enduring happiness from discretionary spending on experiential purchases (events that they personally encounter or live through) than material purchases (tangible objects that can be obtained and kept in their possession). While research in this area has contributed to our understanding of this “experiential advantage” by examining the underlying psychology of this phenomenon, individual differences in the experiential advantage have received less attention. The present investigation examines whether individual differences in savoring capacity affect the subjective well-being that consumers derive from experiential vs. material purchases. This research finds that the self-rated ability to savor positive experiences significantly predicts comparative purchase happiness, and uncovers an attenuation or reversal of the experiential advantage among those of lower savoring capacity. These results suggest that savoring is an important component to the experiential advantage.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Personality and Individual Differences. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Personality and Individual Differences, volume 195, in 2022.

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