ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (2): 464-474.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2022.00464

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The influence of perception of luck on consumers’ behavior and its theoretical explanation

LUO Ziwei, WU Yuting()   

  1. School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
  • Received:2021-01-28 Online:2022-02-15 Published:2021-12-24
  • Contact: WU Yuting


The behaviors of pursuing luck have been widely existing in a great many aspects of human social life from the past to the present, among them many manifested as consumer behaviors, and can be explained by the theoretical achievements regarding the effects of perception of luck on consumer behaviors. However, few extant studies systematically reviewed the relevant literature, to some extent which has restricted research efforts and marketing practices in this area. In this paper, we summarized five categories of consumer behaviors: risk-taking, uniqueness seeking, contagion effects, attitude towards product with luck meaning, lucky consumption. Furthermore, we pointed out theoretical explanations which from various perspectives uncover the linkage and reasoning behind the perception of luck and consumer behavior: attribution theory, personality trait theory, cognitive priming theory, the theory of counterfactual thinking, social comparison theory, the theory of locus of control and heuristics theory. To start with, by the lens of attribution theory, luck is viewed as an external and unstable factor that determines personal success. Comparing to attribution theory, the theory of personality trait attaches more attention to the internal and stable aspect of perception of luck and holds that the influence of perception of luck can be unchanged over time and situation, if people believe that they possess lucky disposition or lucky characteristics. Thirdly, the theory of cognitive priming admits the long-term accessibility of perception of luck in individuals, it also underlines the activation of perception of luck by situational factors. Additionally, both counterfactual thinking and social comparison emphasize the role of "comparison", but the difference lies in the objects of comparison: counterfactual thinking proposes that the perception of luck comes from the comparison of results of before and after an event. Contrarily, social comparison theory posits that the perception of luck arises from the downward comparison of self and others in a society. This comparison can produce a self-enhancing effect, and affect consumers’ behavior in subsequent purchase. Finally, the common point of locus of control theory and heuristics is that both of them place weighs on the influence of lucky perception on consumer decision, especially when the external environment is highly uncertain. Nevertheless, the difference is yet very distinct. Specifically, the former focuses on the role of perception of luck played to compensate the sense of control. It holds that, in order to gain illusion of control to a highly involved thing, people are more likely to purchase lucky products. The later, however, believes that luck is applied as a shortcut for decision-making of a purchase, the more complex the situation, the more likely consumers are to simplify their decisions through heuristics. In the final part of the paper, we give three suggestions to the further research: to deepen the mechanism of perception of lucky, to expand the boundary conditions, and to examine both the advantages and disadvantages of luck consumption. Specifically, other theories might be inspiring to understand the relationships between the perception of luck and some certain consumer behaviors, such as coping theory and cognitive processing theory. Furthermore, the possible moderator variables might be worth to notice——social norm, impression management, usage scenario of product, and product types. At last, including advantages of luck consumption, another two types of consequence research also are promising: the disadvantages of luck consumption and the tradeoff between positive and negative results set off by perception of luck.

Key words: perception of luck, attribution, cognitive priming, personality traits, illusion of control

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