Research Insights 2.2 Revisiting Consumption Experience

Consumer Buying Behaviour

Source: Carù, A. and Cova, B. (2003). Revisiting consumption experience a more humble but complete view of the concept. Marketing Theory3(2), 267-86.

Abstract: The notion of experience entered the field of consumption and marketing with Holbrook and Hirschman's pioneering article of 1982. Twenty years later, this notion has become a key element in understanding consumer behaviour, and, in some views, a foundation for the economy and marketing of the future. In our view, however, this development is not without its risks, as the concept of experience is still ill-defined or, worse, defined in ideological terms. To this end, the present paper looks 1) to give an overview of the different meanings ascribed to the word `experience' in various scientific disciplines and to detail the different meanings ascribed to the notion of consumption experience; and 2) to highlight, using a deconstructive approach, that in the field of marketing we must use a typology of consumption experiences which goes beyond an ideological view that tends to consider every experience as extraordinary.

Insight: This highly cited article builds upon, and moves forward, the idea that marketing is based upon consumption experiences, developed originally by Holbrook and Hirschman (1982), articulating that marketers should distinguish between consumer experience (experience of the process of consumption) and consumption experience (experience of the usage of the proposition) and between ordinary and extraordinary experiences, and in so doing so, recognize that not all marketing experiences need to be perpetually extraordinary.