Consumer Attitudes

Find the latest and most impactful research on consumer attitudes and behavior, including drivers and trends, here. All the research listed comes from the ARF or one of its subsidiaries: The Journal of Advertising Research (JAR), the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) or the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM). Feel free to bookmark this page, as it will be updated periodically.

MSI: How Consumption Capital May Explain Brand Preferences

Consumer packaged goods have experienced increasing fragmentation in recent decades. This is most often attributed to millennials’ preference toward smaller and seemingly more “authentic” brands. But is this true? New research suggests that generational differences in “consumption capital” may be an even more significant factor. This is based on the range of products available over time. Read the article.

MSI: Do Ad-Blockers Help — or Hurt — Consumers?

The emerging digital advertising ecosystem is rich with opportunities, but not without its challenges. One significant yet unforeseen one has been ad blockers. These hurt publishers and advertisers. Yet, consumers believe they benefit from them, since it gives them more control over their online experience. Is this true? New research finds that ad blockers may also make it harder for new brands to break through and compete, which leads to greater market concentration.  Read the article.

JAR: Modeling Cultural Mindsets with Endorser Origins to Predict Brand Attitudes

An endorser’s native origin can trigger brand reactions in consumers due to their cultural predispositions. New research in this area has revisited ethnocentrism and xenocentrism, not as diametrically opposed mindsets but as ones coexisting in dynamic configurations, with each mindset expressed or suppressed as a result of origin cues from brands and endorsers. The resulting models provide blueprints for predicting favorable attitudes, by aligning targeting and messaging strategies with appropriate mindsets and origin cues.  Read the article.

JAR: Why Engagement Is Pivotal to Brand Heritage Advertising

Brand heritage advertising can boost attitudes about a historic brand’s authenticity, with legacy scenarios and logos positively affecting purchase intention and trust. But a new study has found that heritage advertising can also distance the consumer from the brand—specifically reducing its uniqueness and thus people’s willingness to pay more—unless it actively engages the consumer.

Read the article.

MSI: Voice-Activated Shopping Can Boost Sales for Some Consumers & Categories

Do you ask Alexa from your smart speaker to purchase items for you? Research shows that voice-activated, AI-enabled devices are becoming increasingly important for online retailers. They can increase search and even purchase, especially among younger consumers and for categories of high purchase frequency or low substitutability. Rather than cannibalizing other channels, use of such devices creates positive spillover, since shopping is integrated into other, consumer routines.

Read the article.

Findings from the 2nd Annual ARF Privacy Study

The ARF conducted its second annual Privacy Study among 1,100 American consumers during the week of March 26th, 2019. The first study was conducted during the week of May 28th, 2018. Both surveys were conducted using a Qualtrics online sample and platform and were weighted to U.S. population estimates for age, gender, and region.  Read the article.

Findings from the 3rd Annual Privacy Study

ARF researchers surveyed 1,200 American consumers from April 24-27 of this year for their attitudes on privacy. There were several very interesting findings. For instance, while mobile use has steadily increased and PC use declined in the last two studies, this year’s survey finds a reversal in that trend. PC use is up, presumably, due to widespread stay-at-home orders.
Read the article.

JAR: Consumer Reactions to Animal and Human Models in Print Ads

Animals have been used in ads effectively for decades, yet little is known about their effects on consumer reactions along the purchase-decision process. New research shows evidence of animals’ influences on different stages of the decision-making journey, with women reacting more positively than men. But the outcomes changed when human models were included in the ads.

Read the JAR summary.

MSI: Disrupting Dual Systems — A Dynamic Decision-Making Framework for Human Behavior

Argues that Dual Process Theory (DPT) misrepresents the complex and adaptive nature of decision-making process. The simplification of distinct System 1 (automatic) and System 2 (reflective) processes can mislead those who seek to change existing or create new behaviors. In most cases, consumer preferences are constructed based on the information available in a specific decision context.

Read the Working Paper.