Faculty Publications


Noneconomic motivations for price haggling: An exploratory study.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Philip J. Trocchia

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 1997

Date Available

June 2016




It is assumed that consumers' primary motivation to price haggle is to obtain a better dollar value for their purchases. This study, however, explores nonfinancial reasons for consumers to price haggle. From depth interviews, we found that consumers may fulfill three primary needs when haggling over price. These are the needs for achievement, affiliation, and dominance. The paper provides implications for retailers and areas for future study. Consumers often haggle over price and features in a variety of shopping contexts including appliances, furniture, automobiles, and homes (Evans and Beltramini 1987; Vaccaro and Coward 1993). Attaining better dollar value for their purchases appears to be a primary bargaining motive. However, financial gain may not be sufficient to motivate bargaining behavior in the face of the many costs, both economic and psychological, that accompany the bargaining task (Evans and Beltramini 1987; Pruitt and Carnevale 1993). The importance of noneconomic factors in motivating shopping behaviors has been well-documented (Babin, Dardn, and Griffin 1994; Tauber 1972; Westbrook and Black 1985). Noneconomic factors may also be important in motivating consumers to engage in bargaining. Sherry (1990, p. 26), for instance, states that the essence of bargaining "surely transcendsthe satisfaction of mere economic gain." Increased awareness of these noneconomic motivations may be an important step for retailers in developing appropriate and effective pricing policies, promotional strategies, and salesforce training programs. Retailers who recognize these motivations may increase customer satisfaction by a) implementing optimal pricing policies for their particular clientele, b) promoting the benefits of negotiated pricing policies, and c) altering salesforce behaviors in order to better address customer motivations. We examined the noneconomic motives for consumer price haggling by conducting a series of in-depth interviews with persons who had recently engaged in the process of price bargaining.


Full text document is available through the link provided.




Association for Consumer Research