To read this content please select one of the options below:

The impact of financial and behavioural sunk costs on consumers’ choices

Kármen Kovács (Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 29 February 2024

Issue publication date: 11 March 2024

246

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a systematic literature review on the sunk cost effect from consumers’ perspectives. By applying a comprehensive approach, this paper aims to synthesise and discuss the impact of financial and behavioural sunk costs on consumers’ decisions, judgements and behaviour before and after purchasing. This study also identifies potential research avenues to inspire further studies.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a search in the Scopus and Web of Science databases, a systematic literature review was conducted by identifying and analysing 56 peer-reviewed articles published between 1985 and 2022 (November). Descriptive and content analysis was implemented based on the selected papers to examine and synthesise the effect of sunk costs on consumers’ choices, evaluations and actions in a comprehensive approach; uncover research gaps; and recommend paths for future research.

Findings

The research results found in the literature are discussed according to five related themes: factors affecting the sunk cost effect; the impact of past investments on purchasing decisions; consumers’ post-purchasing evaluation, behaviour and choices; the mental amortisation of price; and the sunk cost effect on loyalty and switching.

Originality/value

The originality of this study lies in the comprehensive approach to the sunk cost effect from consumers’ perspectives. This review paper synthesises and discusses the research results found in the literature related to financial and behavioural sunk costs that can influence consumers’ decisions, judgements and behaviour before and after paying for a good or service.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Project no. TKP2020-IKA-08 has been implemented with the support provided from the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Hungary, financed under the 2020–4.1.1-TKP2020 funding scheme.

Citation

Kovács, K. (2024), "The impact of financial and behavioural sunk costs on consumers’ choices", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 213-225. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-06-2023-6099

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles