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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2012, Vol. 44 Issue (8) : 1100-1113     DOI:
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The Effect of Promotion Types on Consumers’ Purchase Decisions: From the Perspective of Construal Level Theory
LIU Hong-Yan;LI Ai-Mei;WANG Hai-Zhong;WEI Hai-Ying
(1School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China)
(2School of Management, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China)
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Abstract  Premium promotion and price promotion are the most frequently used marketing tools. However, research on how the two types of promotions differently influence consumers’ decisions remains scarce. Construal level theory (CLT) provides a new perspective to investigate how consumers construe two types of promotions. CLT proposes that individuals use higher level of construal (abstract mindsets) to represent an object as the psychological distance increases. Construal levels influence consumers’ decisions by a preference for information or events that match their abstract or concrete mindsets. As price promotions provide more utilitarian benefits and express core values, which are more likely to remain unchanged; premium promotions provide more hedonic benefits and express peripheral values, which are more likely to decrease with time. Guided by the CLT, we hypothesized that price promotions and premium promotions were represented at high and low construal level respectively. The role of promotion types in consumers’ decision making was depended on whether consumers’ goals and tasks match with the construal levels of promotion types.
Three experiments were conducted to test the hypotheses. In experiment 1, 86 college students were engaged in a 2(promotion type: premium promotion vs. price promotion)×3 (temporal distance: near future vs. distant future) between-subjects design of experiment which was conducted to study the construal level of promotion types. In experiment 2, 136 college students participated in a 2 (task type: Willingness to Pay task vs. choice feasibility task) × 2 (temporal distance: near future vs. distant future) between-subjects design of experiment, which was conducted to study the construal level of decision tasks. 175 college students participated in the third experiment which used a 2 (promotion type) × 2 (task type) × 3 (temporal distance) between-subjects design to study the congruency effect between the construal level of promotions\the decision tasks and the temporal distance.
The results indicated that premium promotion was more effective in the near future and price promotion was more effective in the distant future, which meant that price promotions and premium promotions were represented at high construal level and low construal level separately. Furthermore, when construal levels of promotion types matched with the goals and tasks, their positive effects could be amplified. The results have some important implications. Firstly, marketing personnel should select the appropriate promotion types according to the time period. Meanwhile, they should pay more attention to whether the decision context factors match with the construal levels of the promotion types.
Keywords premium promotion      price promotion      construal level      temporal distance, consumption decision     
Corresponding Authors: LIU Hong-Yan   
Issue Date: 28 August 2012
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LIU Hong-Yan
LI Ai-Mei
WANG Hai-Zhong
WEI Hai-Ying
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LIU Hong-Yan,LI Ai-Mei,WANG Hai-Zhong, et al. The Effect of Promotion Types on Consumers’ Purchase Decisions: From the Perspective of Construal Level Theory[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2012, 44(8): 1100-1113.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2012/V44/I8/1100
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