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EMAC 2022 Annual

History Sells: How Positive History Shapes Consumers’ Preferences for Used Products

Published: May 24, 2022


Yang Cao, Xiamen University; Charis Li, Grenoble Ecole de Management; Jun Ye, Xiamen University


When selling used products in a second-hand market, people often describe positive history related to the product they sell to attract potential buyers. This research investigates how positive history affects consumers’ preferences for used products. Across three studies, the current research shows that positive history of a used product increases consumers’ preferences for that product when it is relevant (vs. irrelevant) to the buyer’s usage goal. The effect is driven by perceived instrumentality of the product (i.e., the extent to which the product can help or hinder the goal achievement). Furthermore, ownership cues can amplify the effect. These results shed light on the value of product history in the context of second-hand transactions and offer important implications for practitioners.