Feeling Lonely Increases Interest in Previously Owned Products

Feifei Huang, Ayelet Fishbach

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Consumption of used products has the potential to symbolically connect present and previous users of these products, something that may appeal to lonely consumers. Accordingly, across seven studies, feeling lonely increased consumers’ preference for previously owned products. Specifically, the authors found that the proportion of lone shoppers was higher in a used versus a regular bookstore, lone individuals (vs. those sitting in pairs) were more likely to select a used over a new product, people without (vs. with) a date on Valentine’s Day expressed stronger preference for used products, and individual differences in loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic predicted interest in used products. Other studies documented that the desire to symbolically connect underlies the effect of loneliness on consumption. At a time when loneliness is on the rise, the authors discuss implications for the marketing of used products and how loneliness might motivate consumers to reduce waste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-980
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • environmental action
  • loneliness
  • social connection
  • used products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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