This research examines how hedonic versus utilitarian consumption can vary in typical purchase situations, depending on the decision context, and the manners in which consumers justify their purchases with their own values of time, money and method.
Babin and Darden's article "Work and/or Fun: Measuring Hedonic and Utilitarian Shopping Value" focuses on the dimensions of hedonic and utilitarian consumer purchases, with the "shopping as work" and the "shopping as fun" consumer experiences. The shopping experience is an activity in which both the utilitarian based need and the hedonic based desire are important dimensions of the consumer's shopping experience because shopping involves more than the economics of supply and demand, there is also the social and psychological aspect. These dual dimensions are scaleable to recognize "formally that a shopping experience can be valuable, or valueless, in more than one way" (Babin and Darden p 644 1994). The statement 'in more than one way,' as it approaches the valuation of consumption is the theoretical view that consumers have scaleable utilitarian and hedonic desires in a psychological and physical sense, as well as the fact that customers have behavioral responses to these senses.
Hedonic and Utilitarian Concepts
The traditional concepts of cost and benefit values are perceived as having characteristics of exclusively product and price, the standard economics of supply and demand where the consumers experience is exclusively based on the products quality and price evaluations to control consumption choices and demands, and yet this does not define the reasoning of consumers emotional connections, where "A fourth definition equates value with an overall assessment of subjective worth considering all relevant evaluative criteria" (Babin and Darden p 645 1994), in a sense the overall assessment is the consumers emotional constructs, the sociological and psychological desire to feel rewarded in more than the physical sense of achievement. Babin and Darden analyze that shopping has both utilitarian and hedonic traits, where a methodology only encompasses the consumable and its dimensional and monetary values lacks the ability to fully measure the shoppers' experience, a concept expressed as having importance in other research, although "Far less research has been conducted to examine whether contrast effects occur among hedonic experiences (i.e., experiences of pleasure or pain)" (Novemsky and Rattner p 507 2003).
Babin and Darden's research recognizes the empirical and "experiential perspective," with the value of the experience being the key outcome variable as described by Holbrook. The researchers reveal Holbrook statement on value as having "an interactive relativistic preference experience," meaning that the experience and value are relative to one another in the sense of importance the consumer places on those as well as on the actual purchase. The initial conclusion is that both utilitarian