Hedonic Objects and Utilitarian Experiences: The Overriding Influence of Hedonism in Driving Consumer Happiness

Sofia Kousi, Georgios Halkias*, Flora Kokkinaki

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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The experience recommendation prescribes a disadvantage to material purchases, suggesting that spending on experiential rather than material purchases makes people happier. This study challenges this idea by examining the hedonic/utilitarian nature of purchases. The results of a qualitative study and four experiments (one preregistered) show that the happiness advantage of experiential (vs. material) purchases is contingent on pronounced hedonic properties. Our results indicate that hedonism asymmetries override the distinction between purchase type, such that there is no happiness advantage in buying experiences over material objects when purchases are equally (non)hedonic. Importantly, we find that hedonism is more instrumental for material purchases and that hedonic materials are equally effective as experiential purchases, altogether, and even outperform utilitarian experiences in eliciting happiness. Our findings encourage consumers to focus on the properties, rather than the type, of purchases to increase purchase-related happiness. Our results further suggest that marketers of material goods, in particular, can considerably increase customer value by using design components, product features, and brand imagery that leverage hedonic qualities.
TidsskriftPsychology & Marketing
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)1634-1645
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Published online: 30 May 2023.


  • Experience recommendation
  • Experiential advantage
  • Experiential and material purchases
  • Happiness
  • Hedonic
  • Utilitarian