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Gift Purchases as Catalysts for Strengthening Customer–Brand Relationships

Gift Purchases as Catalysts for Strengthening Customer–Brand Relationships

Andreas Eggert, Lena Steinhoff and Carina Witte

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Gift purchases can strengthen customer–brand relationships

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Related Marketing Courses: ​
Brand Management; Consumer Behavior

Full Citation: ​
Eggert, Andreas, Lena Steinhoff, and Carina Witte (2019), “Gift Purchases as Catalysts for Strengthening Customer-Brand Relationships,” Journal of Marketing, 83(5), 115-132.

Article Abstract
Gift giving is an effective means to strengthen interpersonal relationships; it also may initiate and enhance customer–brand relationships. Based on a field study conducted with an international mono-brand retailer of beauty products, a combination of propensity score matching with difference-in-differences estimations, and two experimental scenario studies, this research demonstrates that gift buyers spend 63% more in the year following a gift purchase than a matched sample of customers who purchase for their personal use. Specifically, gift buyers increase their purchase frequency (25%), spend more per shopping trip (41%), and engage in more cross-buying (49%). The sales lift is particularly pronounced among new customers. Identity theory suggests customer gratitude and public commitment as mediating mechanisms. Gift purchase design characteristics (i.e., assistance during gift purchase and branded gift wrapping) influence the strength of the mediating mechanisms.

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Special thanks to Kelley Gullo and Holly Howe, Ph.D. candidates at Duke University, for their support in working with authors on submissions to this program. 

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Andreas Eggert is Professor of Marketing, Marketing Department, University of Paderborn, Germany.

Lena Steinhoff is Assistant Professor of Service Management, Institute for Marketing and Service Research, University of Rostock, Germany.

Carina Witte is a postdoctoral researcher in Marketing, Marketing Department, University of Paderborn, Germany.