Researcher Predicts Consumer Behavior Through Pet Ownership

Owning a pet can tell marketers all they need to know about your buying tendencies. In a new study, Lei Jia, assistant professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at Kent State, found that pet ownership can influence and predict consumer behavior. 

Lei Jia Assistant Professor of Marketing
Jia joined Kent State in fall 2022 to teach consumer behavior. His research background focuses on understanding how social and situational factors influence consumers' judgment and decision making. 

In his most recent endeavor, Jia set out to understand how pet ownership could influence a consumer’s actions. 

“Pets play such important roles in people’s lives,” Jia said. “They may have some impact on people’s decisions as consumers as well. That’s why I started looking at how people’s experience with dogs or cats may influence their judgment and decision making in marketing and consumption-related activities.”

Jia’s study, published at the Journal of Marketing and featured by theconversation.com and wsj.com, found that dog owners are more likely to take risks while cat owners are more cautious.

These findings can apply to more than consumer purchases as well. The researchers found that they were able to expand their research, and future research prospects, to topics such as the likelihood of dog versus cat owners having COVID-19 and prosocial behavior.

Understanding consumer behavior in this way can allow the advertising and marketing industry to use pet ownership as a segmentation strategy in their promotional campaigns. Even industries such as public health can benefit from this research.

“Because we find that dog owners are more likely to take risks, if policy makers want to encourage people to be more cautious, to prevent infectious diseases for example, then they should put more effort on influencing  dog owners,” Jia said. 

The research suggests that a person’s pet ownership situation can reflect the approach they take in their decision-making processes, being either eager or cautious in activities they choose, choices they make or how they respond  in times of crisis. 

“It’s very exciting to see people pay attention to this work,” Jia said, “because as researchers you want people to understand what you do and have a conversation with a broader audience.”

While there is still much to explore, Jia is excited about the positive impact this research has already had and is looking forward to expanding his research in the future. 

To learn more about Jia’s study, visit //theconversation.com/dog-owners-take-more-risks-cat-owners-are-more-cautious-new-research-examines-how-people-conform-to-their-pets-stereotypical-traits-182931.

To learn more about Kent State’s marketing program, visit www.kent.edu/business.

POSTED: Thursday, September 22, 2022 - 10:13pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 23, 2022 - 9:44am
WRITTEN BY:
Madeleine Majikas