International Journal of Organizational Theory and Behavior, 2008, 11 (2) 240-265
Nowadays, consumer behavior is more sophisticated and complex than before. In this study, I attempt to analyze the relationship between impulse buying (consumer’s emotional side of the consumption) and an individual’s self-discrepancy (the difference between what one is and what one would like to be). I propose that a consumer uses impulse buying to lift one’s self up and remove one’s self-discrepancy. Results from a sample of consumers in Spain established that a consumer experienced self-discrepancy was likely to have impulse buying. Moreover, the larger the self discrepancy, the more one was dissatisfied with one’s consumption. Finally, symbolic meanings of products to the consumer were associated with the different areas of self-discrepancy. Clothing is associated with not only one’s image in front of others but also one’s self-esteem. Therefore, impulse buying in clothing is positively related to one’s self-discrepancy in the emotional side of self.