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“Man, this frustrates me”: change of consumer emotions in online discussions

Piia Haavisto (Department of Business Management, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Hyvinkää, Finland)
Birgitta Sandberg (Department of International Business, Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland)

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

ISSN: 2040-7122

Article publication date: 9 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to analyse how consumer emotions towards innovation change over online discussions.


This is an empirical study based on substantial data collected from 22 discussion forums, of which the ten longest discussions on heart-rate monitors were chosen for further qualitative analysis.


The results show that a variety of consumer emotions can be detected in online discussions. Negative emotions clearly seem to dominate and be generally stronger than those that are positive. The results also show how product, company and behaviour enabled by the product (in this case, training) evoke different emotions in customers.

Research limitations/implications

The study focuses only on emotional expressions presented by consumers online. However, the analysis of consumers’ basic emotions, their evolution and grounds can be transferred to other settings in which interaction among customers is studied; for example, in focus group interviews.

Practical implications

Results show how negative emotions felt towards a product rapidly tend to extend to anger and frustration targeted at the respective firm. This highlights the importance of company intervention.


By analysing the change of emotions longitudinally, the authors are able to show the increase of anger over online discussions. The authors show how the target of emotion changes and how emotions spread from customer to customer.



Haavisto, P. and Sandberg, B. (2015), "“Man, this frustrates me”: change of consumer emotions in online discussions", Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 70-87.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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