Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 119–133 | Cite as

Habit slips: when consumers unintentionally resist new products

  • Jennifer S. Labrecque
  • Wendy WoodEmail author
  • David T. Neal
  • Nick Harrington
Original Empirical Research


Consumers’ existing habits are a key driver of resistance to new product use. In an initial survey to identify this role of habit, consumers reported on products that they had purchased intending to use. They also reported whether or not they actually used them. For one-quarter of the products they failed to use, consumers slipped back into old habits despite their favorable intentions. However, consumers effectively used new products when integrating them into existing habits. A four-week experiment with a new fabric refresher confirmed that habit slips impeded product use, especially when participants thought minimally about their laundry and thus were vulnerable to habit cues. However, slips were minimized when the new product was integrated into existing laundry habits. Thus, in launching new products, managers will want to consider consumer habits that conflict with product use as well as ways to embed products into existing habits.


Habits Resistance Action slip Implementation intentions 



The authors thank Julia Cooperman and Kerry Zweig for their assistance with data collection, Timothy Hayes for his help with data analysis, and Joseph Priester and Stephen Read for their helpful comments on an earlier version of the article.

Supplementary material

11747_2016_482_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer S. Labrecque
    • 1
  • Wendy Wood
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • David T. Neal
    • 3
  • Nick Harrington
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Marshall School of BusinessUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Catalyst Behavioral SciencesMiamiUSA
  4. 4.Procter & GambleBostonUSA

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