Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Usage Frequency Considerations in Purchase Decisions

Mauricio Mittelman, Dilney Gonçalves, Eduardo B. Andrade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Decisions are mostly influenced by what is in sight. Because usage frequency (i.e., how frequently the consumer expects to use the product) is generally not in sight in the purchase environment—and it is unlikely to be considered spontaneously—consumers may overlook it even when contemplating purchases of a durable product (for which usage frequency is arguably an important purchase criterion). Four studies tested this hypothesis. In the first study, most customers of a women's everyday-clothing store failed to report usage frequency considerations right after making a purchase. In the following three studies, involving hypothetical and consequential purchase decisions, manipulations that prompted the consideration of usage frequency prior to decision affected participants' choices as well as purchase intentions and willingness to pay for a product. This suggests that, in the absence of such prompting, usage frequency was overlooked. Further, in line with our theorizing, the effect of these manipulations faded away when usage frequency cues were present in the purchase environment. Future research directions and practical implications from our findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-659
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral decision theory
  • Decision making
  • Economic psychology
  • Judgment
  • Preference and choice


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