In the marketing field, consumption habits play a significant and special role. On the one hand, habits are key drivers for consumers to repeatedly purchase the same products or patronize the same stores both online or offline. On the other hand, they also impede consumers to purchase and consume new products, switch brands or pursue long-term goals. Although consumption habits underlie much of consumer behaviors, marketing scholars have not paid close attention to this concept and its underlying mechanisms and potential effects. Based on the practical and theoretical background, this paper attempts to review the literatures on consumption habits from an interdisciplinary perspective, discussing the connotation, antecedents, consequences and future prospects of habit research in the domain of consumer behavior.
First, by reviewing the representative viewpoints of habits which are derived from both marketing and psychology disciplines, this paper redefines the conceptual connotation of consumption habits, and clarifies the differences between consumption habits and related concepts in the marking field. Second, the antecedents of consumption habits are summarized from two aspects. In terms of habit formation, existing literature reveals the significant impacts of external contexts, individual differences, behavioral characteristics, and motivational factors on the habit learning process. In terms of habit execution, there are three potential pathways to describe how external contexts affect consumer habitual behaviors. Third, this paper summarizes the potential consequences of consumption habits from the perspectives of both consumer well-being and enterprise financial performance. In terms of consumer well-being, existing literature finds the significant impacts of habits on self-regulation, self-identity and happiness. In terms of financial performance, existing literature illustrates the specific role of consumption habits in the domains of new product adoption, promotion plan, customer loyalty management and advertising persuasion. Fourth, this paper highlights the following prospects of habit research in the marketing field: (1) Refine the connotations of consumption habits based on specific consumption phenomena. (2) Optimize the customer relationship management in the digital era by following the habit formation theory. (3) Construct a systematical and integrated framework of habit research in the marketing field. (4) Emphasize the antecedents of consumption habit change at the macro level.
The theoretical contributions are as follows: On the one hand, this paper puts forward the concept of consumption habits, providing a new direction for follow-up researchers in the marketing field. At the same time, it highlights the importance of consumption habits in the field of the initiation, maintenance and disruption of consumer behavior. On the other hand, by exploring the antecedents and consequences of consumption habits, this paper opens new possibilities to explain the various consumption phenomena in our daily life.
The practical contributions are as follows: (1) Refining the connotation of consumption habits will help enterprises to do better on customer segmentation, product positioning, behavior prediction, and marketing model innovation. (2) Understanding the antecedents of consumer habit formation will provide a new vision for enterprises to build a long-term relationship by cultivating customer habits. (3) Identifying the antecedents of existing habit performance will help enterprises to effectively affect consumer habitual behaviors. (4) Summarizing the potential consequences of consumption habits on both well-being and financial performance will help enterprises to take their social responsibility more seriously while pursuing commercial interests.