ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (11): 1782-1790.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.01782

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Experiential Purchases, Material Purchases, and Happiness: An Introduction

JIANG Jiang; XU Feng; ZENG Taoran; XU Yayi   

  1. (School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China)
  • Received:2013-11-14 Online:2014-11-15 Published:2014-11-15
  • Contact: JIANG Jiang, E-mail:


Experiential purchase refers to the purchase aiming to get life experience, while material purchase is defined as the purchase made to acquire material possession. These two types of purchase influence individuals’ happiness to different extents, such that compared with material purchase, experiential purchase is more likely to make people happy. This difference is out of five potential reasons: unlike material, experience will become better and better as time goes by; there is a stronger relationship between experience (vs. material) and self; experience is less likely to involve in social comparison than material; experience can fulfill individuals’ basic psychological needs, especially the relatedness needs; experience is easier to be shared than material. Despite increasing attention to these two types of purchase, there still are some under-researched topics for future research: a) the long-term impact of different purchase types on individuals’ hedonic well-being and eudaimonia, as well as the applicable conditions of “experience recommendation”; b) improving the extant research paradigms, such as retrospection and imagination, in order to increase the ecological validity of the study; c) conducting the indigenous studies on these two types of purchase and their relationships with happiness under the Chinese context.

Key words: experiential purchase, material purchase, happiness