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consumer attitude

consumer attitude

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A C A D E M IC P A P E R S
C o n s u m e r a ttitu d e s to w a rd s th e
fu tu re a n d so m e p u rc h a s e p a tte rn s
R e c e iv e d in r e v is e d f o r m .
Francisco-Jose Sarabia-Sanchez
is Professor of M arketing and M arketing R esearch at M iguel H ernandez U niversity at
E lc h e in S p a in .
K e y w o rd s :
C onsum er
b e h a v io u r, a ttitu d e ,
fu tu re , a ttitu d e
s c a le , S p a in
A b s tra c t

T h er e s e a r c h d e ta ile d in th isp a p e r h a d tw oo b je c tiv e s . F ir s t, to c a r r y o u t a n e x p lo r a to r y a n a ly s is a n da m e a s u r e m e n t o f c o n s u m e r a ttitu d e s to w a r d s th e fu tu r e (C A T F ). S e c o n d ly , toc h e c k w h e th e r a s tr o n g e r or w eaker a ttitu d e p e r m itsth e d e te c tio n o fd iffe r e n c e s in som e purchase p a tte r n s . A fte r a r e v ie w o f th e lite r a tu r e , a n e m p ir ic a l s tu d y , r e p r e s e n ta tiv e o f th e S p a n is h p o p u la tio n , is

p r e s e n te d .A
tw o -d im e n s io n a l s tr u c tu r e o f C A T F a n d itsa c c e p ta b le g o o d n e s s -o f-fit w ith th e
s ta tis tic a l W e ib u ll fu n c tio n w e r e fo u n d . H y p o th e s e sr e la te d to th e a d o p tio n o f p u r c h a s in g p a tte r n s
w ere a ls oc o n tr a s te d . The results disclose that a higher C ATFi s found w hen consum ers havea
clear ideao f w h a t th e y w a n t to b u y , are lo y a l to th e ir u s u a l o u tle ts , prefer to p a y casha n d aren o t
s p e n d th r ift. F in a lly ,s e v e r a l fu tu r e
r e s e a r c hd ir e c tio n s a r ep r o p o s e d . C o p y r ig h t \u00a9
2005 John
W ile y & S o n s , L td .
F ra n c is c o -J o s e
S a ra b ia -S a n c h e z
P ro fe s s o r o f
M a rl< e tin g a n d
M a rk e tin g R esearch a t
M ig u e l H e rn a n d e z
U n iv e r s ity , A v d a . d e la
U n iv e r s id a d s /n . E d f.
L a G a lia , 0 3 2 0 2 E lc h e ,
S p a in
e - m a il:
fra n s a ra b ia @ u m h .e s
IN T R O D U C T IO N
C onsum er behaviour occurs over a
p e rio d of tim e. It is a s m u c h e x p e rie n c e s
in c o n s u m p tio n \u2014 in th e p a s t\u2014 a s th e
c u r r e n t s itu a tio n a n d b e lie fs a b o u t w h a t
is lik e ly to h a p p e n \u2014 in th e fu tu re \u2014
w hich have a bearing on present
behaviour (Bergaada,1 9 9 0 ; H irschm an,
1 9 8 7 ). T h e fu tu re u n d e rlie s m a n y
m arketing phenom ena, such as
in n o v a tio n , d iffu sio n
a n d a d o p tio n of
p r o d u c ts o r c o n s u m e r s o c ia lis a tio n .
T h e ir o w n fu tu re e c o n o m ic s itu a tio n
im a g in e d b y c o n s u m e rs is a n im p o rta n t
factor in their attitude tow ards
expenditure and saving, and provokes a
c e rta in in flu e n c e o n th e ir p r e s e n t
behaviour. T herefore, w hen consum ers
e n v is a g e th e ir fu tu re in a p e s s im is tic
w a y th e y te n d to re d u c e s p e n d in g a n d
save m oney, but w hen they are
o p tim is tic a b o u t th e fu tu re th e ir
e x p e n d itu r e o fte n ro c k e ts a b o v e th e ir
m eans.
T h e re is little lite ra tu re re g a rd in g
c o n s u m e rs ' a ttitu d e s to w a rd s th e
fu tu re a n d th e w a y in w h ic h th e s e
shape their present purchase behaviour.
'F u tu r e tim e ' im p lic itly a p p e a r s in
m ost m odels of consum er behaviour
(H aw es,1 9 8 0 ; Jacobye ta l., 1976), but
n o n e of th e m
discusses the direct

in flu e n c e th a t is e x e rte d o n c o n s u m e rs b y th e ir 'a ttitu d e to w a r d s ' o r 'tru s t in ' the future. H olm an (1981) has

rem arked that an understanding of

c o n s u m e r b e h a v i o u r c o u l d i m p r o v e if th e p e rc e p tio n th a t c o n s u m e rs h a v e of th e ir o w n fu tu re w e re to b e ta k e n in to a c c o u n t.

The objectives of this study w ere:
\u2014
T o c a rry o u t a n e x p lo ra to ry
analysis and a basic assessm ent of
c o n s u m e r a ttitu d e s to w a r d s th e fu tu r e
(C A T F ).
\u2014
To test w hether a stronger or w eaker
a ttitu d e , o r a n o p tim is tic /p e s s im is tic
J o u r n a l o f C o n s u m e r B e h a v io u rv o l. 4 ,6 ,4 0 7 -4 1 9C o p y rig h t \u00a9 2005 John w u e y & s o n s , L td . 1 4 7 2 -0 8 1 7
4 0 7
F ra n c is c o -J o s e S a r a b ia -S a n c h e z
fe e lin g , to w a rd s th e fu tu re p e rm its
th e d is c o v e ry of d iffe re n c e s in
consum ers' purchase patterns.
T h is p a p e r is d iv id e d in to fo u rp a r t s . T h e
first presents and discusses the m ost
re le v a n t th e o re tic a l a s p e c ts re g a rd in g th e
d iffe re n t c o n c e p ts re la te d to th e s tu d y .
The second show s the basic
m e th o d o lo g ic a l a s p e c ts . H e re , th e
proposed CA TF scale is presented, as
w e ll a s th e d a ta w h ic h w e re ta k e n fro m a
survey of the Spanish Sociological
Research Centre (C IS ; an autonom ous
in stitu tio n ascribed to th e M in istry of
P re s id e n c e , w ith th e m a in a im of
s tu d y in g S p a n is h s o c ie ty , m a in ly u s in g
survey research; further details are
a v a ila b le fro m
w w w .cis.es). T h e th ird
p a r t s h o w s th e re s u lts o b ta in e d . F in a lly ,
th e fin d in g s a re d is c u s s e d a n d
fu tu re
research directions are proposed.
L IT E R A T U R E R E V IE W
Research lines in attitude tow ards
th e fu tu re (A T F )
A n a ttitu d e is a p re d is p o s itio n le a rn t in
order to respond favourably or
u n fa v o u ra b ly to w a rd s s o m e th in g
(H o lb ro o k , 1 9 7 8 ); it is s h a p e d b y d ire c t
e x p e rie n c e s o r a c q u ire d in fo rm a tio n . B u t
th e A T F p ro b le m
lies in th e fact th at 'th e
fu tu re ' is im m a te ria l a n d n o n e x is te n t.
The future m ay be understood as a
p e rc e p tio n of w h a t is lik e ly to c o m e a n d
is s u b je c tiv e , s in c e it c a rrie s a g r e a t

c u ltu ra l, p s y c h o lo g ic a l, e m o tio n a l a n d m o tiv a tio n a l w e ig h t (N u ttin a n d L e n s , 1 9 8 5 ). T h e ra n g e o f d e fin itio n s g iv e n is very w ide, because the concept m ay be in te rp re te d fro m

a set of facts that are
b o u n d to h a p p e n a s w e ll a s th e
construction of a life project (Lens, 1986;
N u ttin , 1964).
A lth o u g h th e fact th a t a ttitu d e s ta k e
p la c e w ith in a sp e c ific c o n te x t o r
s itu a tio n c a n b e d e fe n d e d , A T F is h a r d ly
s itu a tio n a l a n d re fe rs ra th e r to th e

confidence versus the lack of confidence or certainty versus w orry that the subject e x p e rie n c e s w h e n th in k in g a b o u t th e

fu tu re . T h ec o n fid e n c e c o n s tru c t a llo w s fo r
m a n y in te rp re ta tio n s a n d it h a s b e e n
d e fin e d in m a n ifo ld w a y s (M c K n ig h t,
1 9 9 6 ). In th e m a rk e tin g a re n a , th e re a re
tw o d iffe re n t b a s ic a p p ro a c h e s
(M o o rm a ne t a l., 1 9 9 3 ). T h e first

m a in ta in s th a t c o n fid e n c e is a b e h a v io u r o r a ttitu d e th a t re fle c ts th e d e p e n d e n c eo f o n e p a rty u p o n a n o th e r, a n d im p lie s a

d e g re e of v u ln e ra b ility , u n c e rta in ty a n d h o p e . T h e s e c o n d c o n c e iv e s it a s a b e lie f in a n e x c h a n g e c a rrie d o u t w ith a th ird

p a rty . C A T F w o u ld b e p la c e d w ith in th e
first a p p r o a c h , a s it is th e s u b je c t w h o
feels vulnerable w hen faced w ith the
future, w hile possessing a level of hope
(o p tim ism v e rsu s w o rry ).
R eferences in literature that develop
th e c o n c e p t of A T F fro m
a consum er
b e h a v io u r v ie w p o in t h a v e n o t b e e n
fo u n d , a lth o u g h tw o c o lla te ra l re s e a rc h
lin e s e x is t: 'fu tu re o rie n ta tio n ' (F O ) a n d
'c o n s u m e r s ' e x p e c ta tio n s '. T h e first, w ith
a psychosociological approach, deem s

th a t F O e x is ts , a n d m a y b e d e fin e d a s th e p e rc e p tio n a n d a b ility of p e o p le to b u ild a project reflecting their degree of w orry and com m itm ent for the future (G jesm e, 1 9 7 9 ).FO is regarded as a prim ary

m o tiv a tio n of h u m a n b e h a v io u r (L e v in e ,
1 9 9 8 ;N u ttin , 1 9 8 5 ), a lth o u g h it is a
d im e n s io n of a w id e r c o n c e p t:
'o rie n ta tio n to w a rd s tim e ' (O T ).

OT hasb e e n d e fin e d a s a p s y c h o lo g ic a l p e rc e p tio n of tim e a n d h o w , a c c o rd in g ly , p e o p le c h a n n e l th e ir a c tiv itie s a n d w a yo f thinking. OT has been used in cross-

c u ltu ra l a n a ly s is (K o a n d G e n try , 1 9 9 1 ),
v a lu e s a n d life sty le s tu d ie s (F e rra n d i
e ta l.,2 0 0 0 ; S e ttle e t a l., 1978) and in other
subjects (G raham ,1 9 8 1 ; Jacobye t a l.,
1 9 7 6 ). F O h a s b e e n u s e d fo r th e

e x p la n a tio n of p h e n o m e n a s u c h a s th e overuse of credit cards (M endoza and Pracejus, 1997),consum ption patterns (B ergaada, 1990) or consum er

s o c ia lis a tio n(T rom m sdorff, 1 9 8 3 ). It h a s
a ls o b e e n s u g g e s te d th a t F O is a n
e s s e n tia l g a th e rin g p o in t fo r
u n d e rs ta n d in g m o tiv a tio n s a n d h o w
s u b je c ts s tre a m th e ir e ffo rts to re a c h th e ir
objectives (H alvari and T hom assen,
1 9 9 7 ;H usm an and Lens,1999).
4 0 8
Journal of C on su m er B eh aviou r v o l. 4, 6, 407-419C o p y r ig h t \u00a9 2005 J o h n W ile y&S o n s, L td . 1472-0817
C o n s u m e r a ttitu d e s to w a rd s th e fu tu re a n d s o m e D u rc h a s e D a tte rn s
F ro m th e s ta n d p o in to f th e s e c o n d
re s e a rc h lin e \u2014 th e e c o n o m ic lin e \u2014 iti s

c o n s id e re d th a t ra th e r th a n a n A T F th e re e x is tsa n e x p e c ta tio n , w h ic h d e fin e s th e degreeo f o p tim ism /w o rryo f th e

c o n s u m e r in th e e c o n o m ic s y s te m . T h e
c e n tra l a x isi s th a t c o n fid e n c ei n th e

econom ic system regulates pre-purchase d e c is io n s to a g re a t e x te n t (K a to n a , 1 9 6 5 ). K atona conceives that consum ers'

e x p e c ta tio n s a re ra tio n a l b u t s u b je c tiv e ,
a n d a s s u m e s th a t th e y s h a p e fu tu re
e x p e n d itu re a n d s a v in g s d e c is io n s
(K atona,1 9 6 5 ; T hroop, 1992). W hati s
a c tu a lly d e fe n d e di s th a t c o n s u m e rs
m a k e a n a n tic ip a te d d is c o u n t to th e ir
e x p e c ta tio n s , w h ic hi s n o th in g m o re th a n
th e a c tiv a tio no f th e ir p re d is p o s itio n s .

T h e a n a ly s iso f c o n s u m e r s ' e x p e c ta tio n s h a sa tra d itio n (K in se y a n dC o llin s , 1 9 9 4 ), a n d a m o n g th e d iffe re n t in d e x e s

draw nu p the 'Indexo f C onsum er
E x p e c ta tio n s ' (IC E ; d e ta ils a v a ila b le
fro m
w w w .sca.isr.um ich.edu (accessed

M a rc h 2 0 0 3 )), d e v e lo p e da t M ic h ig a n U n iv e rs ity b y K a to n a , is o u ts ta n d in g . It is u s e d a sa re lia b le in d ic a to r fo r

p ro je c tin g in to th e fu tu re c o n s u m e r s '

general behaviour w orldw ide and asa forecasto f changes regarding dem and. IC E h a s h a d s e v e ra l im p le m e n ta tio n s , a n d s im ila r in d e x e s a re o ffe re di n

m any countries.Table1 show sa
sum m aryo f the basic aspects of both
research lines.
T a b le1 S o m e b a s ic a s p e c tso f r e la te d re s e a rc h lin e s
T he psychosocial research line w orks
w ith a n d g e n e ra te s o v e ra ll tim e -s ty le
o rie n ta tio n s , b u t th e s c a le s in u s e d o n o t

o ffer c o n s u m e r-a ttitu d e d e g re e s to w a rd s th e future. W ith reg ard to G jesm e's (1979) 'fu tu re tim e o rie n ta tio n ' p ro p o s a l,a

d e fin itio n o f C A T F is p r o p o s e d a s fo llo w s .
'A s ta te o f p e r c e p tio n th a t in d iv id u a ls d e v e lo p
a b o u t th e ir o w n fu tu r e fr o m
another m ore
g e n e r a l (fu tu r e ) th a t in flu e n c e s th e e c o n o m ic
e x p e c ta tio n s th a t s h a p e th e ir p r e s e n t a n d fu tu r e
behaviour as consum ers.'
T h u s ,CA TF has a non-aggregate and
subjective nature, w hereby each
in d iv id u a l ta k e s a sp e c ific d ire c tio n a n d
s tr e n g th . T h e A T F fu lfils th r e e b a s ic
fu n c tio n s : a d a p ta tio n o r d e fe n c e , v a lu e
e x p re s s io n a n d b e h a v io u r a n tic ip a tio n .
C onsum ers seek to satisfy their needs and
to p re v e n t lo s s e s , d e v e lo p in g a ttitu d e s
th a t p la c e th e m fa rth e r a w a y fro m
th e
u n c e rta in tyo f s o m e th in g a s u n c e rta ina s

th e fu tu re . A t th e s a m e tim e, b e in g a s a v e r (because a bad future is foreseen) or being prone to spend (because it is foreseena s auspicious) is expressing values

(Schw artz and Ros, 1995).
D in n e n s io n a l s tru c tu re
T h e d im e n s io n a l s tru c tu reo f th e
c o n trib u tio n s q u o te di n th e p re v io u s
section are review ed here, and one fo r
C A T F is p r o p o s e d . T a k in g th e
psychosocial research line, the m ost
o u ts ta n d in g c o n trib u tio n s a re th e
A s p e c ts
P s y c h o s o c ia l lin e (O T /F O )
E c o n o n iico r c o n s u m e r s ' e x p e c ta tio n s lin e
B a s ic s u b je c t

T h in k a b o u t t h e in d iv id u a l's d e g r e e o f c o m m itm e n tt o a c tio n st o a tta in a d e s ire d fu tu re .

A p p ro a c h
N on-aggregate, psychosociala n d
s u b je c tiv e .
E a c h in d iv id u a l h a sa
s p e c ific o r ie n ta tio n .I t is m e a s u re d
using m ulti-item scales.
U tility
M o tiv a tio n a l, s o c ia l, p s y c h o m e tric
a n d c o n s u m e r b e h a v io u r s tu d ie s .
S o m e r e le v a n t
\u2014
AM S (Gjesm e and Nygard,1 9 7 0 )
e x a m p le s
\u2014
FTOS (G jesm e,1 9 7 9 )
\u2014
K o a n d G e n try ,1 9 9 1
T h e r e is a s e n t i m e n t t h a t s h a p e s c o n s u m e r s '
e x p e c ta tio n s fr o m
a n e c o n o m ic v ie w p o in t.
A g g re g a te d , ra tio n a l a n d e c o n o m ic a l.
T h e r e isn o a s s e s s m e n t b y t h e i n d i v i d u a lb u t
s e g m e n ts , s a m p le so r o th e r c lu s te rs . It is
m e a s u re d u s in ga g lo b a l in d e x .

In d e xt o p re d ic t th e fu tu r e s itu a tio no f th e e c o n o m y a n d th e fu tu r e p u rc h a s e in te n to f d u ra b le g o o d s .

\u2014
U n i v e r s i t yo f M i c h i g a n ' s IC E
\u2014
C o n s u m e r R e s e a rc h C e n te r In d e x , U S A
( i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h i s i n d e x is a v a i l a b l e
fro m
w w w .c o n s u m e rre s e a rc h c e n te r.o rg ,
accessed M arch 2003)
J o u rn a lo f C o n s u m e r B e h a v io u rv o l. 4 ,6 ,4 0 7 -4 i9C o p y rig h t\u00a92005 John w u e y&S o n s , L td . 1 4 7 2 -0 8 1 7
4 0 9

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