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I’m worth it or I need it? Self-gift giving and consumers’ self-regulatory mindset

Dania Mouakhar-Klouz (Department of Marketing, University of Rouen, Rouen, France)
Alain d’Astous (Department of Marketing, HEC Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Denis Darpy (Department of Marketing, University Paris-Dauphine, PSL Research University, Paris, France)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 12 September 2016




The aim of the research presented in this paper is to enhance our understanding of self-gift giving behavior. Self-regulatory theory is used as a conceptual support to achieve this objective. The main idea that is explored is that consumers’ self-gift purchase intentions vary across contexts and situations to the extent that these are compatible or not with their self-regulatory mindset, whether it is chronic or situational.


Two studies, using a scenario-based experiment, were conducted to investigate the effects that regulatory focus has on consumers’ intentions to buy themselves a gift.


The results support the proposition that the chronic form of regulatory focus in success and failure situations has a significant impact on the intention to purchase a gift to oneself and show that the situational form of regulatory focus has an influence on self-gift purchase intention as well. They also confirm that situations that are congruent with consumers’ self-regulatory mindset lead to stronger self-gift purchase intentions.


The main contribution of this research lies in delineating the role that some specific dispositional and situational factors play in shaping consumers’ perceptions of success and failure events and how this impacts the eventual purchase of a gift to oneself. This contrasts with previous research on self-gift giving, where success and failure situations are assumed to be perceived similarly by consumers. Marketing managers wishing to stimulate consumers’ propensity to buy themselves gifts should consider using regulatory focus as a segmentation basis. Marketing communications should be adapted to consumers’ self-regulatory mindset.



The authors thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions that have greatly improved the content of this paper.


Mouakhar-Klouz, D., d’Astous, A. and Darpy, D. (2016), "I’m worth it or I need it? Self-gift giving and consumers’ self-regulatory mindset", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 33 No. 6, pp. 447-457.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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