'Regrettable-escapism' the negative effects of mobile app use : a retail perspective

McLean, Graeme and Al-Nabhani, Khalid and Marriott, Hannah (2022) 'Regrettable-escapism' the negative effects of mobile app use : a retail perspective. Psychology and Marketing, 39 (1). pp. 150-167. ISSN 0742-6046 (https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.21584)

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Despite the enhanced shopping opportunities that mobile devices offer to consumers, there is a fine line between consumers enjoying the mobile shopping process and them regretting the time spent involved in it. Through the lens of Uses and Gratifications Theory (U&GT) and drawing on Flow Theory, this study aims to understand the effects of consumers' interactions with mobile shopping apps on their intention to reuse the app in the future, loyalty towards the brand and brand reputation. Study 1, through a questionnaire (n = 1024), provides insight into the positive and negative relationships between Utilitarian and Hedonic gratifications on intentions to reuse a retailer's mobile app, loyalty towards the b,rand and the brand's reputation. Through undertaking 24 in-depth interviews, Study 2 provides deeper insight into these relationships to uncover the complex nature of the negative effects of escapism. Findings demonstrate that the addictive nature of retailers' shopping apps lead to regrettable escapism. The flow state of mind experienced during escapism, becoming engrossed and notions of time-distortion, leave consumers with feelings of guilt and frustration due to the perceived wasted time spent on the retailer's app. Accordingly, this study advances theoretical understanding of escapism and its negative effects with ubiquitous, portable smartphones. The research provides implications for retailers and policy makers, while offering avenues for future research.