A Framework for Understanding Consumer Choices for Others

Peggy J. Liu, Steven K. Dallas, Gavan J. Fitzsimons, Linda L. Price, Rebecca Walker Reczek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Although most research on consumers' choices, and resulting insights, have focused on choices that consumers make solely for themselves, consumers often make choices for others, and there is a growing literature examining such choices. Theoretically, how can this growing literature be integrated, and what gaps remain? Practically, why should marketers, consumers, and policy makers care when choices are made for others, and what should they do differently? A 2 × 2 framework of consumers' choices for others addresses these questions. This framework has two fundamental dimensions: the chooser's social focus (relationship vs. recipient oriented) and the chooser's consideration of consumption preferences (highlight the recipient's preferences vs. balance the recipient's preferences with the chooser's preferences). These dimensions generate four cells that represent prototypical choosing-for-others contexts: gift-giving (relationship focus, highlighting recipient's preferences), joint consumption (relationship focus, balancing recipient's and chooser's preferences), everyday favors/pick-ups (recipient focus, highlighting recipient's preferences), and caregiving (recipient focus, balancing recipient's and chooser's preferences). This framework captures most choosing-for-others situations, and each cell involves a distinct profile of motives, ultimately affecting choices. This framework integrates the choosing-for-others literature, which we hope will guide future research, and it also offers practical implications for marketers, consumers, and policy makers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-434
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • caregiving
  • choices for others
  • gift-giving
  • joint consumption
  • relationships
  • sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'A Framework for Understanding Consumer Choices for Others'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this