Purchase and consumption behaviors in daily life often are repetitive and performed in customary places

Purchase and consumption behaviors in daily life often are repetitive and performed in customary
places, leading consumers to develop habits. When habits have formed, environmental
cues can activate the practiced responses in the absence of conscious decision making.
This research tested these ideas using a longitudinal design. We predicted that regardless of
their explicit intentions, consumers would repeat habits to purchase fast food, watch TV
news, and take the bus. The results yielded the anticipated pattern in which participants
repeated habitual behaviors even if they reported intentions to do otherwise. Intentions only
guided behavior in the absence of strong habits. This study ruled out a number of artifactual
accounts for these findings including that they arise from the level of abstraction at which intentions
are identified, the certainty with which participants held intentions, a restriction of range in
the measures, and the strategy participants used to estimate frequency of past performance.