Consumer Behavior

Impulse Self-Gifting Behavior: An Exploration of Contexts, Motivations, and the Role of Self-Control

  • Sukyung Seo (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
  • Nancy J. Hodges (University of North Carolina Greensboro)


The purpose of the study was to examine the motivations and contexts important to consumer impulse self-gifting behavior (ISGB) based on the Stimulus-Organism-Response (SOR) framework. The extent to which consumers attempt self-control to resist impulse self-gifting was also examined. Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with twenty consumers (15 females and 5males) who engaged in impulse self-gifting behaviors at least once in the 12months prior to recruitment. A thematic analysis of the interview data revealed five themes related to motivations (i.e., to feel better, to reward,to celebrate, to look nice/be nice to oneself, and to collect). Mood and sales promotions were identified as factors most frequently prompting ISGB. Attempts to avoid impulse buying through self-control measures were typical among the participants. This study is one of the first to integrate self-gifting behavior and impulse buying and to explore the behavior through the Stimulus-Organism-Response (SOR) framework. The findings of the study expand the body of knowledge to understand impulse self-gifting behavior. The findings of the study provide fashion marketers and retailers with a better understanding of consumer behavior regarding contexts and motivations of impulse self-gifting and therefore, offer insights to design promotional sales events or advertisements to target self-gifting consumers with the purpose of better sales performance. This empirical study extends self-gifting studies by expanding the concept to consider impulse buying. Motivations behind ISGB were found to be similar to those of self-gifting in general with the exception of collecting.

Keywords: self-gifts, self-control, post-purchase, motivation, Impulse buying

How to Cite:

Seo, S. & Hodges, N. J., (2020) “Impulse Self-Gifting Behavior: An Exploration of Contexts, Motivations, and the Role of Self-Control”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 77(1). doi:

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Published on
28 Dec 2020
Peer Reviewed