Dhruv Grewal served as Area Editor for this article.
Shopping is sometimes a source of stress, leading to avoidance coping behavior by consumers. Prior research suggests that store-induced stress makes shopping an adverse experience and thus negatively affects consumers’ purchase likelihood. We propose that consumers’ response to shopping stress depends on their motivational orientation. The greater the in-store stress, the more likely task-oriented consumers are to abandon the trip without making purchases. However, recreation-oriented consumers will be, up to a point, less likely to end the trip. The results of four studies show that the functional relationship between shopping stress and purchase abandonment changes from monotonic and positive for task-oriented consumers to an inverted U-shape for recreation-oriented consumers. Evidence of goal changes provides a process explanation for the differing functional relationships. The results offer an alternative explanation for why people buy or not and suggest approaches to structuring the shopping environment to appeal to both types of consumers.