Gender (In)Congruent Ambient Scent : -The Effect on Consumer Purchasing Behavior and Perceived Quality

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Handelshögskolan; Karlstads universitet/Handelshögskolan


The whole of emotional and behavioral responses of customers does not only rely on the tangible product/service. It is found in past research that odors have the ability to evoke memories, events and emotions among customers. However, through the literature review, it has been noticed that the use of gender-congruent and incongruent ambient scents has received very little attention among researchers. Therefore, this study was conducted to examine whether there exists a cause-and-effects on consumer purchasing behavior and perceived quality using a gender-congruent and incongruent ambient scent in three fashion stores (one masculine, two feminine) located in a middle-sized town in Sweden. The study relies on the theoretical foundation of atmospherics and sense marketing, together with the S-O-R (Stimulus-Organism-Response) paradigm implemented in the Mehrabian-Russell model, with a modification for this specific study. The data was collected in three fashion stores during 12 days with 522 participants. The results of the study indicated that it is possible to affect male consumer’s purchasing behavior by emitting a gender-congruent ambient scent in the store atmosphere. Even more interesting, it seems that male consumers are even more affected by the gender-incongruent ambient scent, leading to a noticeable increase of money spent in store. Meanwhile, it was discovered that the gender-congruent and incongruent ambient scent showed effect on consumer’s quality perception of store and product quality, however the results were different depending on gender.

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