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Contrasting profiles of product returners and keepers

Dong Hwan Lee (O’Malley School of Business, Manhattan College, Riverdale, New York, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 25 March 2021

Issue publication date: 11 May 2021




This paper aims to investigate whether the consumers who return a product and those who end up keeping a product after experiencing post-purchase dissonance (PPD) possess distinct underlying characteristics.


Field survey study consisting of two separate surveys conducted with consumers of New York City and neighboring areas of New York and New Jersey.


Product returners and keepers exhibited disparate demographic profiles regarding gender and household income, along with ethnicity to some extent. The two groups also exhibited different predispositions with regard to confidence in the purchase decision and expectations about their purchase. Finally, returners and keepers were engaged in divergent thoughts, feelings and activities to cope with PPD.

Practical implications

The findings of this study offer marketing practitioners new knowledge and insight into understanding product returners and keepers and will assist them in developing strategies to reduce and manage increasing product returns by consumers more effectively.


This study is the first to present empirical evidence that product returners and keepers have distinct profiles of demographic characteristics and predispositions toward purchase. The study also has found divergent PPD coping strategies used by the two types of consumers, which exposes an obsolete understanding of PPD in the marketing literature.



Lee, D.H. (2021), "Contrasting profiles of product returners and keepers", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 313-327.



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