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How mindfulness reduces BNPL usage and how that relates to overall well-being

Lachlan Schomburgk (Adelaide Business School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)
Arvid Hoffmann (Adelaide Business School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 21 December 2022

Issue publication date: 17 January 2023

2891

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how mindfulness reduces consumers’ buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) payment scheme usage and how that relates to their overall well-being.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses partial least squares structural equation modeling to test the hypotheses of a conceptual framework which is rooted in the extant literature, using an approximately representative sample of Australian consumers (N = 275).

Findings

This study finds empirical evidence for the ability of mindfulness to reduce BNPL usage through increasing consumers’ financial self-control and decreasing their impulse buying tendency. This study also obtains empirical evidence that greater BNPL usage is associated with lower subjective evaluations of consumers’ overall well-being by increasing their current money management stress and decreasing their expected future financial security.

Research limitations/implications

Future research could build on the effect of mindfulness that the authors find in this study and how it could be leveraged as a protective mechanism for consumers’ financial decision-making. Such research could involve mindfulness-based interventions, such as instant messaging within smartphone applications. Doing so would also help assess causality, thus addressing the limitation of the cross-sectional nature of this study.

Practical implications

The findings have implications for public policymakers and business practitioners. Financial counselors are encouraged to include the measurement of personality traits such as impulse buying tendency and financial self-control in intake meetings with clients and consider the benefits of offering short mindfulness training. Given the negative effect of BNPL usage on consumers’ financial and overall well-being, and the reputational risks this implies, BNPL providers are recommended to take more responsibility to ensure consumers do not fall into a debt trap, while retailers are advised to take steps to make payment processes more “mindful.”

Originality/value

Although mindfulness has established effects on consumer behavior, its beneficial influence on consumer financial decision-making has rarely been explored. This study also contributes to a better understanding of the antecedents and consequences of consumers’ BNPL payment scheme usage. Although its prominence is increasing in daily life, and despite the concerns of consumer advocates, policymakers and regulators regarding its risks, the topic of consumers’ BNPL usage has received little attention in academic research so far. Finally, this study extends the emerging financial well-being literature by demonstrating how BNPL usage can reduce consumers’ overall well-being through the mediating effect of increasing current money management stress and decreasing expected future financial security.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Regional Editor, Prof Malcolm Wright, the Associate Editor and four anonymous reviewers for their feedback that improved the paper. The authors would also like to thank seminar participants at the University of Adelaide Business School, participants at the 2021 ANZMAC conference, as well as Alex Belli and Dean Wilkie for their helpful comments. Any remaining errors are those of the authors.

Citation

Schomburgk, L. and Hoffmann, A. (2023), "How mindfulness reduces BNPL usage and how that relates to overall well-being", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57 No. 2, pp. 325-359. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-11-2021-0923

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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