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Do Promotions Make Consumers More Generous? The Impact of Price Promotions on Consumers’ Donation Behavior

Do Promotions Make Consumers More Generous? The Impact of Price Promotions on Consumers’ Donation Behavior

Kuangjie Zhang, Fengyan Cai and Zhengyu Shi

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This research shows that price promotions can increase consumers’ perceived resources, which in turn increase consumers’ donation behavior. This research also examines several managerially relevant factors that can affect the magnitude of this positive effect of price promotions on consumers’ donation behavior. Explaining the success of the recent Giving Tuesday movement, this research shows that charitable organizations can benefit the most when they solicit donations immediately after the price promotions. The collaboration between firms and charitable organizations can create a win-win situation that benefit both stakeholders and contribute to a better world.

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Related Marketing Courses: ​
​​​​Advertising and Promotion; Consumer Behavior; Retail Marketing

Full Citation: ​
Zhang, Kuangjie, Fengyan Cai, and Zhengyu Shi (2021), “Do Promotions Make Consumers More Generous? The Impact of Price Promotions on Consumers’ Donation Behavior,” Journal of Marketing.

Article Abstract
Despite the growing concerns regarding the increasing consumerism related to promotions, this research documents a positive effect of price promotions on consumers’ donation behavior. Specifically, the authors propose that price promotions increase consumers’ perceived resources, which in turn increase consumers’ donation behavior. A series of seven studies, combining field and experimental data, provide converging support for this proposition and its underlying mechanism of perceived resources. Further, the authors show that the positive effect of price promotions on consumers’ donation behavior is attenuated when consumers focus on the amount of money spent (rather than saved), when consumers feel they have overspent their budget, and when the monetary savings cannot be realized immediately. Finally, the authors show that this effect is stronger when donation solicitation occurs immediately after the price promotion (vs. after a delay). This research documents a novel behavioral consequence of price promotions and uncovers a mechanism by which price promotions can lead to positive social consequences and contribute to a better world.

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Special thanks to Demi Oba 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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Kuangjie Zhang is Assistant Professor of Marketing at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Fengyan Cai is Associate Professor of Marketing at Antai College of Economics and Management, China.

Zhengyu Shi is a PhD student at the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.