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ACADEMIC PAPERS Consumer attitudes towards the future and some purchase patterns

Received in revised form.

Francisco-Jose Sarabia-Sanchez
is Professor of Marketing and Marketing Research at Miguel Hernandez University at Elche in Spain.

Keywords: Consumer behaviour, attitude, future, attitude scale, Spain

Abstract The research detailed in this paper had two objectives. First, to carry out an exploratory analysis and a measurement of consumer attitudes towards the future (CATF). Secondly, to check whether a stronger or weaker attitude permits the detection of differences in some purchase patterns. After a review of the literature, an empirical study, representative of the Spanish population, is presented. A two-dimensional structure of CATF and its acceptable goodness-of-fit with the statistical Weibull function were found. Hypotheses related to theadoption of purchasing patterns were also contrasted. The results disclose that a higher CATF is found when consumers have a clear idea of what they want to buy, are loyal to their usual outlets, prefer to pay cash and are not spendthrift. Finally, several future research directions are proposed. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Francisco-Jose Sarabia-Sanchez Professor of Marl<eting and Marketing Research at Miguel Hernandez University, Avda. de la Universidad s/n. Edf. La Galia, 03202 Elche, Spain e-mail: fransarabia@umh.es

Consumer behaviour occurs over a period of time. It is as much experiences in consumption—in the past—as the current situation and beliefs about what is likely to happen—in the future— which have a bearing on present behaviour (Bergaada, 1990; Hirschman, 1987). The future underlies many marketing phenomena, such as innovation, diffusion and adoption of products or consumer socialisation. Their own future economic situation imagined by consumers is an important factor in their attitude towards expenditure and saving, and provokes a certain influence on their present behaviour. Therefore, when consumers envisage their future in a pessimistic way they tend to reduce spending and save money, but when they are optimistic about the future their expenditure often rockets above their means.

There is little literature regarding consumers' attitudes towards the future and the way in which these shape their present purchase behaviour. 'Future time' implicitly appears in most models of consumer behaviour (Hawes, 1980; Jacoby et al., 1976), but none of them discusses the direct influence that is exerted on consumers by their 'attitude towards' or 'trust in' the future. Holman (1981) has remarked that an understanding of consumer behaviour could improve if the perception that consumers have of their own future were to be taken into account. The objectives of this study were: — To carry out an exploratory analysis and a basic assessment of consumer attitudes towards the future (CATF). — To test whether a stronger or weaker attitude, or an optimistic/pessimistic

Journal of Consumer Behaviour vol. 4,6,407-419 Copyright © 2005 John wuey & sons, Ltd. 1472-0817

Francisco-Jose Sarabia-Sanchez

feeling, towards the future permits the discovery of differences in consumers' purchase patterns. This paper is divided into four parts. The first presents and discusses the most relevant theoretical aspects regarding the different concepts related to the study. The second shows the basic methodological aspects. Here, the proposed CATF scale is presented, as well as the data which were taken from a survey of the Spanish Sociological Research Centre (CIS; an autonomous institution ascribed to the Ministry of Presidence, with the main aim of studying Spanish society, mainly using survey research; further details are available from www.cis.es). The third part shows the results obtained. Finally, the findings are discussed and future research directions are proposed.
LITERATURE REVIEW Research lines in attitude towards the future (ATF)

An attitude is a predisposition learnt in order to respond favourably or unfavourably towards something (Holbrook, 1978); it is shaped by direct experiences or acquired information. But the ATF problem lies in the fact that 'the future' is immaterial and nonexistent. The future may be understood as a perception of what is likely to come and is subjective, since it carries a great cultural, psychological, emotional and motivational weight (Nuttin and Lens, 1985). The range of definitions given is very wide, because the concept may be interpreted from a set of facts that are bound to happen as well as the construction of a life project (Lens, 1986; Nuttin, 1964). Although the fact that attitudes take place within a specific context or situation can be defended, ATF is hardly situational and refers rather to the confidence versus the lack of confidence or certainty versus worry that the subject experiences when thinking about the future. The confidence construct allows for

many interpretations and it has been defined in manifold ways (McKnight, 1996). In the marketing arena, there are two different basic approaches (Moorman et al., 1993). The first maintains that confidence is a behaviour or attitude that reflects the dependence of one party upon another, and implies a degree of vulnerability, uncertainty and hope. The second conceives it as a belief in an exchange carried out with a third party. CATF would be placed within the first approach, as it is the subject who feels vulnerable when faced with the future, while possessing a level of hope (optimism versus worry). References in literature that develop the concept of ATF from a consumer behaviour viewpoint have not been found, although two collateral research lines exist: 'future orientation' (FO) and 'consumers' expectations'. The first, with a psychosociological approach, deems that FO exists, and may be defined as the perception and ability of people to build a project reflecting their degree of worry and commitment for the future (Gjesme, 1979). FO is regarded as a primary motivation of human behaviour (Levine, 1998; Nuttin, 1985), although it is a dimension of a wider concept: 'orientation towards time' (OT). OT has been defined as a psychological perception of time and how, accordingly, people channel their activities and way of thinking. OT has been used in crosscultural analysis (Ko and Gentry, 1991), values and lifestyle studies (Ferrandi et al., 2000; Settle et al., 1978) and in other subjects (Graham, 1981; Jacoby et al., 1976). FO has been used for the explanation of phenomena such as the overuse of credit cards (Mendoza and Pracejus, 1997), consumption patterns (Bergaada, 1990) or consumer socialisation (Trommsdorff, 1983). It has also been suggested that FO is an essential gathering point for understanding motivations and how subjects stream their efforts to reach their objectives (Halvari and Thomassen, 1997; Husman and Lens, 1999).

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Consumer attitudes towards the future and some Durchase Datterns

From the standpoint of the second research line—the economic line—it is considered that rather than an ATF there exists an expectation, which defines the degree of optimism/worry of the consumer in the economic system. The central axis is that confidence in the economic system regulates pre-purchase decisions to a great extent (Katona, 1965). Katona conceives that consumers' expectations are rational but subjective, and assumes that they shape future expenditure and savings decisions (Katona, 1965; Throop, 1992). What is actually defended is that consumers make an anticipated discount to their expectations, which is nothing more than the activation of their predispositions. The analysis of consumers' expectations has a tradition (Kinsey and Collins, 1994), and among the different indexes drawn up the 'Index of Consumer Expectations' (ICE; details available from www.sca.isr.umich.edu (accessed March 2003)), developed at Michigan University by Katona, is outstanding. It is used as a reliable indicator for projecting into the future consumers' general behaviour worldwide and as a forecast of changes regarding demand. ICE has had several implementations, and similar indexes are offered in many countries. Table 1 shows a summary of the basic aspects of both research lines.
Table 1 Some basic aspects of related research lines Aspects Basic subject Psychosocial line (OT/FO) Think about the individual's degree of commitment to actions to attain a desired future. Non-aggregate, psychosocial and subjective. Each individual has a specific orientation. It is measured using multi-item scales. Motivational, social, psychometric and consumer behaviour studies.

The psychosocial research line works with and generates overall time-style orientations, but the scales in use do not offer consumer-attitude degrees towards the future. With regard to Gjesme's (1979) 'future time orientation' proposal, a definition of CATF is proposed as follows.
'A state of perception that individuals develop about their own future from another more general (future) that influences the economic expectations that shape their present and future behaviour as consumers.'

Thus, CATF has a non-aggregate and subjective nature, whereby each individual takes a specific direction and strength. The ATF fulfils three basic functions: adaptation or defence, value expression and behaviour anticipation. Consumers seek to satisfy their needs and to prevent losses, developing attitudes that place them farther away from the uncertainty of something as uncertain as the future. At the same time, being a saver (because a bad future is foreseen) or being prone to spend (because it is foreseen as auspicious) is expressing values (Schwartz and Ros, 1995).
Dinnensional structure

The dimensional structure of the contributions quoted in the previous section are reviewed here, and one for CATF is proposed. Taking the psychosocial research line, the most outstanding contributions are the

Econoniic or consumers' expectations line There is a sentiment that shapes consumers' expectations from an economic viewpoint. Aggregated, rational and economical. There is no assessment by the individual but segments, samples or other clusters. It is measured using a global index. Index to predict the future situation of the economy and the future purchase intent of durable goods.



Some relevant examples

— AMS (Gjesme and Nygard, 1970) — University of Michigan's ICE — FTOS (Gjesme, 1979) — Consumer Research Center Index, USA — Ko and Gentry, 1991 (information about this index is available from www.consumerresearchcenter.org, accessed March 2003)

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Francisco-Jose Sarabia-Sanchez
Table 2 Principal dimensions for ATF analysis Approach Psychosocial Authors FAST structure: Settie eta/. (1978) Proposed dimensions Personal focus towards the present, past or future (focus) Activities or dynamic use of time (activity) Spontaneity/liberty to use and to control own time {structure) Tenacity to reach objectives (tenacity) Value of time • Used in activities or money value time • Un/organised time Time orientation • Orientation towards past • Orientation towards future Psychological • Grip on own time (mastery) • Perceived utility (usefulness) • Tenacity to reach own objectives (tenacity) • Preference for quick return Social, perception of other people (people) Economic, in relation to financial situation (financial) Trust, belief in future (expectations) Activity, in relation to product purchase (buy)

Structure of values: Usunierand Valette-Fiorence (1995)


Kinsey and Collins (1994);

four-dimension proposal made by Settle et al. (1978) and the eight dimensions of Usunier and Valette-Fiorence (1995) (see Table 2). Taking the consumers' expectations research line, no direct reference could be found, although Kinsey and Collins (1994) give a description of ICE components, outlining four dimensions. The approaches are conspicuously different. According to the psychosocial research line fhe internal aspects of the individual are highlighted, while in the consumers' expectations research line the external aspects dominate. Several phenomena related to purchasing, such as information search, preference development, patronage or satisfaction/ dissatisfaction, can be analysed and captured taking those dimensions into account. When dealing with the dimensional structure of attitudes, the literature mainly shows the multi-attribute, the affective and the three-component models (Schiffman and Kanuk, 1991). As the future is a 'fuzzy' construct, which is highly subjective and variable, it is unattainable to deploy the multiattribute model for CATF. It would be unfeasible on account of the large number of attributes and the implicit subjectivity that would be involved in

establishing utilities and weights. On the other hand, the affective model is not enough, because one develops knowledge about what is likely to happen, due to the control one exerts on some factors of the perceived future (eg income certainty), one's own personal organisation (eg family, profession etc), or because one is capable of developing a particular volitive trait to reach a specific goal (eg sacrifice part of actual leisure time to obtain likely benefits in the future). Then, by exclusion, the best approach to tackle the CATF study is the three-component model.
Some purchase and situational patterns

A pattern is an element or situation which stimulates behaviour and, along with others, shapes preferences, styles and orientations when purchasing. Affective and cognitive aspects underlie each pattern, activated in the face of specific situations and time, and generate behaviour when purchasing products. A wide range of activities and phenomena (impulses, information search, postpurchase behaviour, advertising, image and perceived risk, purchasing habits etc), as well as restrictions (available time and budget, set of establishments, environment etc) that can be managed, to


Journal of Consumer Behaviourvol. 4,6,407-419 Copyright ®2005JohnWUey& Sons, Ltd. 1472-0817

Consumer attitudes towards the future and some purchase patterns

a greater or lesser extent, by the consumer, define purchase patterns. There are behaviour styles developed in pre-purchase stages (eg planning or going shopping) and others that appear after the choice (eg means of payment). There are four elements to be taken into account in this study which determine purchase patterns. Element 1 This element is based on a clear knowledge of what one wishes to buy. While there are consumers who know a priori what they wish to consume, others decide along the way. Likewise, a consumer may have a clear idea of what to buy in a specific moment and the opposite in others. This knowledge could be understood as purchase planning (the existence of a previous plan) or a character trait, and it ranks equally with non-impulsive buying (Piron, 1993). The decision about what to buy also has been related to merchandising stimuli and the use of time (Donovan et al., 1994; Iyer, 1989). This situation has a cognitive nature, and is especially interesting regarding quick shopping, where the lack of available time plays a dissuasive role in the search for information (Bronner, 1982). On the other hand, it has been argued that planned purchases are altered under time pressure (Iyer and Ahlawat, 1987). It has been found that more than two-thirds of the products purchased are not planned to be bought (Cobb and Hoyer, 1986) and that the majority of planned purchases are just partly planned (Lange and Wahlund, 1997). Due to the fact that consumer planning strategies are very varied and are affected by time pressure and individual factors it is justifiable to suppose that CATF may also affect that purchase situation. Element 2 The preference for 'going shopping' or 'pafronage' has been analysed widely in the literature and it has been confirmed

(Feinberg, 1986) that its cause is found in a set of personal (eg reduction of anxiety) and social (eg make contacts) needs. While the purchase of basic products (eg food) is carried out regularly (Park et al., 1989) and takes up just the necessary time, the 'shopping' activity is normally accomplished without time pressure, which allows price and product contrasts. Nevertheless, many patronage consumer behaviour models do not include time as a direct moderating variable and some models do not even take it into account. Sheth (1983) regards it as an unexpected external event with influence on patronage, but not shopping predisposition, while Darden (1980) presents it as a factor that inhibits patronage intention. Spiggle and Sewall (1987) observe different aspects of time although they do not consider it in their model. Element 3 Preference for the means of payment has been related to a certain degree to impulsiveness, when the means deployed is the credit card (Mendoza and Pracejus, 1997), or methods of hire purchase with a particular approach to the future (Tokunaga, 1993), although such studies are not conclusive. While some results seem to support that use/ overuse bears a relationship to 'present orientation', with the card acting as a stimulus to immediate spending (Feinberg, 1986), others seem to reach the opposite conclusion, ie the purchasing degree does not necessarily increase, but people tend to buy more highly priced goods (Deshpande and Krishnan, 1980). (There are many types of card (debit, credit, electronic purse, charge, store cards etc) and each of them exists in a variety of forms (varying according to period to repay, amount to pay etc). Normally, people pay back the full amount each month. Nevertheless, some people make only the minimum payment on their credit cards and they do not clear their cards in full at the end of the month. Consequently, impossible

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Francisco-Jose Sarabia-Sanchez

debts are run up when people accept large expenses, which may well show signs of not caring about the future. In Spain, normally people use debit or store cards, or credit cards in the 'pay full amount each month' form, and few people defer their payments to accumulate debts. Opposite to other countries, Spanish people do not use credit cards to pay for very expensive products or to assume large debts.)
Element 4

CATF level. The patterns suggested by Churchill (1979) have not been followed to carry out the study, since a closed database from the CIS was used. For testing whether an optimistic or pessimistic feeling towards the future permits the observation of differences in consumers' purchase patterns, the following five hypotheses were formulated linking CATF with the five elements described above.
Hj: Consumers who decide their purchases along the way show lower CATF than those who know what they want to buy beforehand. H2: Consumers who like shopping present higher CATF than those who do not show this preference. H3a: Consumers who prefer to pay using cash (not credit cards or cheques) have a lower CATF than those who do not use this means of payment. H3b: Consumers who prefer to pay using cash show lower CATF than others who prefer to use credit cards. yi^c- Consumers who prefer to pay using cash show lower CATF than those who prefer to buy on hire-purchase. H4: Consumers with high impulsiveness show lower CATF than those with low impulsiveness.

Impulse buying is a sudden, strong and persistent phenomenon, which leads to acquiring something immediately. It produces an emotional conflict and is more prone to take place when there is a reduction in purchase consequences (Rook, 1987). Impulsiveness has been related to unplanned behaviour and its strong emotional component has been supported by Hirschman and Stern (1999). Impulsive behaviour is regarded as a dimension of decision-making style, which is understood as consumers' psychological orientation when making purchase and consumption choices (Sproles and Kendall, 1986). As impulsiveness is a short-term phenomenon, which in particular individuals is shown more repeatedly while not becoming a compulsion, and is revealed in low self-control situations or with reduced cognitive assessment, it is possible to presume justifiably that a relationship between impulsiveness and a low CATF could exist.
METHODOLOGY Research objectives, hypotheses and sampling

To carry out an exploratory analysis of CATF, the methodological strategy aimed, first, to analyse the scale and its dimensional structure; secondly, to tackle its statistical description while trying to test its goodness-of-fit to some statistical function; thirdly, to study whether the assessments provided by the subjects predict their placement at any

Data were taken from CIS project 2287 entitled: 'Economic behaviours of Spanish people: Consumption and saving, IF, which was carried out in 1998. Males and females older than 18 years were interviewed. Multi-step sampling, by stratified conglomerates, with proportional, non-weighted and randomly distributed selection of two previous sampling units (townships and census sections) were used. Individuals were chosen by the random route method quoted by sex and age, and personal in-depth interviews were used. For a 95 per cent confidence level, the sampling error was 1.96 per cent with 1,603 valid cases. The reasons for using this database were twofold. First, it represented the

Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 4,6,407-419 Copyright © 2005 John wuey & Sons, Ltd. 1472-0817

Consumer attitudes towards the future and some purchase patterns

Spanish population in that it reached the whole national territory, in comparison with commonly used samples in the consumer behaviour research arena. Secondly, CIS used an accurate methodology and controlled the quality of the fieldwork.

SO that the majority result was used (Table 4). The answers to the items have been given on a four-point scale. Although seldom accomplished in marketing research, there is no fixed norm in the literature about category number (Dillon et al., 1994) and it even has been considered that three categories can be enough in some specific cases (Matell and Jacoby, 1971). The four-point scale was used to prevent interviewees from taking the easiest option when answering. It has been acknowledged that it is very difficult to interpret central categories correctly, all the more so when there are many who select them (Edwards et al., 1997). Finally, a nominal dichotomy scale (yes/no) was used to measure purchase situations.
RESULTS CATF scale results

Table 3 shows the items used. Each item shows an aspect of the conceivable current situation (make sacrifices for the future or not) with a future motivation (the future to be reached will be better or not, both for oneself and for those close to one), as well as two situations of different expectations of certainty ('today there is no certainty and money is to be saved' or 'there is no reason to become obsessed by money as there is certainty'). An analysis for each item regarding the dimension(s) they represented was carried out. The views of five university lecturers in consumer behaviour and psychology were taken into account. There were unanimous opinions except for item B, which showed discrepancies.
Table 3 Variables used in the study Variables Purchase and situational patterns CATF Items used

As indicated previously, the methodological strategy followed three steps: first, analysing the CATF scale and

A. One has to sacrifice oneseif at present thinking about one's children. B. It is nonsense to make sacrifices today thinking about the future (R). C. Money has to be safely kept aside in a safe piace. D. The future is so uncertain that it is better to live for the day (R). E. One has to save in life to get everything one wants. F. What matters is enjoying the present rather than having many things (R). G. According to the current state of affairs, retirement has to be foreseen or guaranteed. H. Today there is enough certainty and I do not understand those who worry about the future (R). Planning [PLAN] 'When I go shopping I always have a clear idea about what I want' versus 'Normally I decide what I want along the way'. Patronage [PATR] 'I like "shopping"' versus 'I go "shopping" when I have no other option'. Means of payment [PAY] PAY1: 'I'd rather pay cash' versus 'I'd rather pay with a credit card'. PAY2: 'I'd rather pay cash' versus 'I'd rather pay in instalments or on credit'. Impulsiveness [IMPUL] IMPULI: 'I think hard before making my choice' versus 'If I like it, I make my choice immediately'. IMPUL2: 'When I have money I buy things I had not thought of buying and if I had no money I wouldn't have bought them' versus 'The opposite'. Items marked with (R) are reverse scored.

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Francisco-Jose Sarabia-Sanchez

Table 4 Dimensions for each CATF item Items of CATF scale A. One has to sacrifice oneseif at present thinking about one's children. B. It is nonsense to make sacrifices today thinking about the future. C. Money has to be safely kept aside in a safe place. D. The future is so uncertain that it is better to live for the day. E. One has to save in life to get everything one wants. F. What matters is enjoying the present rather than having many things. G. According to the current state of affairs, retirement has to be foreseen or guaranteed. H. Today there is enough certainty and I do not understand those who worry about the future. Emotional Cognitive Yes No Volitive Yes

No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes

No Yes No Yes No Yes No

its dimensional structure; secondly, describing basic aspects of the scale; and thirdly, finding CATF levels with different attitude degrees. On analysing the CATF structure, principal components factor analysis with orthogonal VARIMAX rotation was used. The results (Table 4) show an acceptable goodness-of-fit: KMO is 0.824, Bartlett's test is significant (Chi = 2,166.51; p = 0.000) and the minimum MSA is 0.802, which is much higher than 0.5. Fifty per cent of the original information was explained by the first two factors. Kaiser criteria were followed and the two factors were retained. Table 5 shows that Factor 1 (36.5 per cent of variance) contains items with a higher volitive dimension. Factor 2 (13.5 per cent of variance) has cognitive and emotional weight. Next, reliability analysis was carried out. For the global scale, Cronbach's alpha was 0.75, which is suitable enough for an exploratory analysis (Nunnally, 1978). Table 6 shows the main results for
Table 5 Factor analysis results Items A. One has to sacrifice oneself... B. It is nonsense to make sacrifices... C. Money has to be safely... D. The future is so uncertain t h a t . . . E. One has to save in life to g e t . . . F. What matters is enjoying t h e . . . G. According to the current state... H. Today there is enough certainty... MSA 0.846 0.856 0.812 0.814 0.816 0.835 0.813 0.802

both the general CATF analysis and the two factor subscales. The two subscales had rather low reliability levels and Tukey tests showed that it was not possible to carry out the addition of the items in the case of the Factor 2 subscale. The opposite happened with the global scale, where a Tukey test value very close to the unit was obtained. The CATF scale had a twodimensional structure and was built as a summative scale. Therefore, the higher the CATF value, the more worry there was about the future. On the contrary, reduced CATF values implied a more optimistic vision of the future. The descriptive statistics can be found in Table 7. There was a slight negative skewness of -0.32, which implies a high presence of high attitudinal values, although there were extreme values on the lower side of the scale. The CATF distribution was studied, as well as its adjustment to various statistical functions, achieving an acceptable goodness-of-fit to the WeibuU

Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor Eigen-value % of variance 0.661 0.630 0.779 0.682 0.684 0.651 0.598 0.707 1

3 4 5 6 7


2.923 1.079 0.831 0.730 0.677 0.653 0.590 0.516

36.450 50.030 60.415 69.535 78.003 86.169 93.547 100.000


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Consumer attitudes towards the future and some Durchase Datterns
Table 6 Reliability adjustments
Scales Statistics

General CATF Factor 1: Volitive subscale Factor 2: Emotional and cognitive subscale

Alpha = 0.75; Tukey = 0.99; T^ Hotelling = 2,035,46 (p = 0,000); ANOVA = 297.53 (p = 0.000) Alpha = 0.65; Tukey=1.14; T^ Hotelling = 1,304,50 (p = 0,000); ANOVA = 297.53 (p = 0.000) Alpha = 0.66; Tukey = - 0 . 0 4 ; "^Hotelling = 111,31 (p = 0,000); ANOVA = 395.37 (p = 0.000)

Table 7 CATF scale descriptives Statistic Mean Confidence limits of mean Skewness Kurtosis Variance Valid sample Range SE mean SE skewness SE kurtosis Percentile 33 Percentile 50 Percentile 67 Value 15.87 15.69-16.04 -0,32 0,35 12,65 1,603 0-24 0.09 0,06 0,12 14 16 18 Histogram of proportions


Per cent

8' 6 p-











Attitude towards the future

distribution with scale = 17.345 and shape = 4.822. Several analyses were carried out and it was found that the formation of three attitudinal levels allowed a suitable placement of individuals. The first level included individuals with a low attitudinal degree (percentile 33). The second level grouped percentile 67 or those with between 15-17 points and the third CATF level included those with more than 17 points on the scale. To test this classification in three groups, a discriminant analysis was applied. It is well known that this technique generates functions to discriminate groups of individuals when they have been formed using
Table 8 Individuals correctly classified

measurements performed on the individuals themselves. Only hit ratio was interesting: the percentage of grouped individuals correctly classified was 93, if CATF items were independent variables. In Table 8 the medium CATF group can be seen to show a perfect classification, but high and low attitudinal degree groups had a worse grouping. Fven if it were feasible to calculate the goodness-of-hit ratio (Huberty, 1984), 93 per cent was too high to be randomly attained.

Results from the hypotheses contrasts

Table 9 shows the main results. Using f-tests for independent samples. Hi and

Predicted group Actual group Low CATF Medium CATF High CATF Low CATF 450 (84,7%) 0 0 Medium CATF 81 (15.3%) 552(100.0%) 31 (6,0%) High CATF 0 0 489 (94,0%)

Journal of Consumer Behaviourvoi, 4,6,407-4i9 copyright © 2005 John wuey & sons, Ltd. 1472-0817


Francisco-Jose Sarabia-Sanchez Table 9 Contrasts of hypotheses in relation to purchase patterns Hypothesis H, PLAN

Variables of contrast 1 1 1 1 have... 1 want to buy decide... along the way like shopping g o . . . no other option

CATF mean 16.02 15.35 15.71 15.93

t-test and significance 3.104 (p = 0.000) -1.122 (p = 0.262) 4.774 (p = 0.000) 1.779 (p = 0.075) 4.538 (p = 0.000) -5.915 (p = 0.000)







I'd rather pay cash 16.07 I'd rather pay with credit card 14.96 I'd rather pay cash 15.91 I'd rather pay in instalments 15.30 1 think hard before making 16.30 If 1 like i t . . . immediately 15.49 When 1 have money 1 buy things 15.00 The opposite 16.18

H4 were confirmed. Consumers with a lower attitudinal level towards the future showed high impulsiveness in their purchases and tended to decide along the way (normally in the establishment). On the contrary, consumers who regarded themselves as faithful to a set of establishments presented a higher CATF level. H3 was rejected because individuals who paid cash presented a higher CATF. This seems to contradict Tokunaga's opinion (1993) on the fact that subjects who use credit cards and payment in arrears present a higher future approach, while it seems to support Deshpande and Krishnan's (1980) standpoint. H2 was rejected as it could not be confirmed that subjects who liked to go shopping showed a higher CATF. Although those who liked going shopping presented a lower CATF (mean of 15.71), it could not be established that it was statistically different from those who admitted going shopping when they had no other option (mean of 15.93,


This study analysed the attitudes of individuals towards (their) future from a marketing viewpoint and contrasted related hypotheses. It is well known that subjects' beliefs about the future have an influence on their consumption behaviour. Although the subject has been discussed in the literature, this has been

centred upon the analysis of consumers' spending trends or upon time/future orientations. Prior to this study, little attention had been paid to attitudinal analysis towards the future and the way it affects specific purchase patterns. A representative study of the Spanish population was used in order to analyse attitudes towards the future. The scale used presented a suitable reliability level to be implemented. CATF has a bi-factorial structure that opposes the volitive with the cognitive-emotional dimensions, and presents an acceptable goodness-of-fit to a WeibuU function. It was found that the formation of three attitudinal levels was suitable because the hit ratio was 93 per cent. Weibull distribution is a heavy tails statistical function widely used to describe epidemics, survival periods, life cycle of products, time to perform a task or for the component of a product to fail (ie phenomena where time action is essential). This statistical behaviour could respond to the fact that the attitudinal level produced is not only in relation to what one believes about the future, but also the mental distance (subjective time period) established between the present and that future. As the Weibull function is used to shape lifetimes it is not illogical to think that this function describes the empirical distribution of CATF correctly. This work has three limitations. First, the database used was taken from a closed survey where it was not feasible to

Journal of Consumer Behaviour Vol. 4,6,407-419 Copyright © 2005 John wiiey & Sons, Ltd. 1472-0817

Consumer attitudes towards the future and some purchase patterns

carry out a pre-test. The further introduction of items, the modification of existing ones and the widening of the point categories (to five or seven points) perhaps could have improved the results. Secondly, while the fieldwork was being performed a consequential feature was introduced. During 1998 Spain experienced a period of economic bounty and there was a feeling of optimism in consumption and industrial production. The government of the nation had already issued the motto 'Spain goes well', which was repeated time and again and accepted as satisfactory by the people. By 2005, the economy has started to show signs of weakness and the optimism of 1998 has faded away. This fact necessarily conditions the current CATF and perhaps the shape of the statistical function. The third limitation is related to the absence of data in order to study convergent and discriminant validity, although there is content validity. The survey used did not offer that possibility and that fact will have to be dealt with in future studies. Attitudes towards the future are important in order to understand actual consumer behaviour or if such attitudes are produced in the short or medium term. There are three basic topics for further research. First, and due to the need to measure in science, the CATF scale should be perfected, so as to obtain a high degree of reliability and validity (not only measuring through internal consistency, but also through its test/retest stability), to achieve a greater depth of knowledge of the CATF structure and define its statistical behaviour. Secondly, as the future is a construct with cultural, anthropological, psychological and sociological roots, an interdisciplinary approach is called for in order to study CATF, and the analysis of its relationship with 'future time orientation' and 'future orientation'. Finally, the influence of CATF on the adoption of purchase patterns by

consumers as well as its development through time also need further study.

The author wishes to thank the anonymous reviewer and editor for their comments on an earlier version of this work.
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