IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Regret in Repeat Purchase versus Switching Decisions: The Attenuating Role of Decision Justifiability


  • Inman, J Jeffrey
  • Zeelenberg, Marcel


The decision-making literature has consistently reported that decisions to maintain the status quo tend to be regretted less than decisions to change it. We examine the consequences of repeat purchasing (maintaining the status quo) versus switching in the context of information regarding the reason for the decision (e.g., prior consumption episode, brand history), and we argue that there are situations in which repeat purchasing may cause as much or even more regret than switching. We contend that this effect depends on whether or not there is a justifiable basis for the decision. In a series of four studies, we show that if there is sufficient motivation to warrant a switch, consumers will feel less regret in the face of a subsequent negative outcome realized via a switch than in one realized via a repeat purchase. Our results imply that feelings of regret are mitigated when the consumer reflects and concludes that the decision was appropriate under the circumstances. Copyright 2002 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Inman, J Jeffrey & Zeelenberg, Marcel, 2002. " Regret in Repeat Purchase versus Switching Decisions: The Attenuating Role of Decision Justifiability," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 116-128, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:29:y:2002:i:1:p:116-28

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:29:y:2002:i:1:p:116-28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.