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An exploration of happy/sad and liked/disliked music effects on shopping intentions in a women's clothing store service setting

Greg Broekemier (University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska, USA)
Ray Marquardt (Arizona State University‐Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, Arizona, USA)
James W. Gentry (University of Nebraska‐Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 22 February 2008




The purpose of this paper is to determine which two dimensions of music, happy/sad or liked/disliked, have significant effects on shopping intentions, thereby providing guidance for decision‐makers in service environments.


Subjects viewed videotapes of an unfamiliar store in an experimental research design. Subjects were exposed to one of several musical treatments while viewing and were asked to speak their thoughts about the store aloud. Happy/sad musical treatments were determined through pretests while subjects' unprompted comments were used to assess like/dislike for the music. Subjects also reported intentions to shop in the stimulus store. The hypothesized model was then tested.


Happy/sad music had a significant direct effect on shopping intentions while the direct effect of liked/disliked music was marginally significant. However, the combination of the two music dimensions investigated is perhaps most noteworthy. Shopping intentions were greatest when subjects were exposed to happy music that was liked.

Research limitations/implications

Only a women's clothing store service setting with a limited target market was utilized. Care should be taken when generalizing beyond this setting and subject group.

Practical implications

Happy music that is liked by the target market can significantly increase intentions to shop in a retail service environment.


Little research has been done investigating the effects of the affective, or happy/sad, component of music in service settings. This study helps fill that gap in the literature. In addition, studies investigating music's effects in retail environments often examine only one dimension of music. The value of assessing effects of multiple dimensions of music is demonstrated.



Broekemier, G., Marquardt, R. and Gentry, J.W. (2008), "An exploration of happy/sad and liked/disliked music effects on shopping intentions in a women's clothing store service setting", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 59-67.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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