Haptic Information Processing and Need for Touch in Product Evaluation

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Journal of Consumer Marketing

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Purpose: This paper aims to examine the effects of purchase environment, product type and need for touch (NFT) on cognitive response, affective response and overall product evaluation in the USA and India. Design/methodology/approach: Two experiments were conducted in two different consumer markets. In Study 1, participants evaluated haptic and non-haptic products and gave responses on cognitive response, affective response and overall product evaluation measures in the US market. In Study 2, the authors replicate Study 1 in a culturally different market of India and extend Study 1 by examining the moderating role of instrumental and autotelic dimensions of NFT on the effect of purchase environment on cognitive and affective responses. Findings: Research findings suggest that cognitive and affective responses are the underlying mechanism between the purchase environment and overall response only for haptic product among Indian consumers. In contrast, affective response is the underlying mechanism explaining this relationship among US consumers. Furthermore, the instrumental dimension of NFT moderates the impact of purchase environment on cognitive but the autotelic NFT moderates the effect of purchase environment on affective response only for the haptic product but not for the non-haptic product. Research limitations/implications: The study uses a relatively homogenous sample in the Indian market in contrast to the US market. Practical implications: Results advance the understanding of the importance of haptic information processing in consumer decision-making across different purchase environments, product types and NFT using psychological distance (proximity) as a theoretical underpinning. With non-haptic shopping environments (i.e. online and mobile) growing rapidly, the results have critical implications for development of marketing strategies in Asian and US markets. Originality/value: Empirical research examining the underlying mechanism by which purchase environment influences overall evaluation for haptic product is scarce. Additionally, understanding of the differential roles of instrumental and autotelic dimensions of NFT on cognitive and affective responses is very limited. This research fills this void and provides an understanding of the specific environment in evaluating haptic and non-haptic products in two distinct markets.


Haptic information; Purchase environment; NFT; Cognition; Affect and overall evaulation; Need for touch


Advertising and Promotion Management | Business | Marketing



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