The relationship between density perceptions and satisfaction in the retail setting

Journal of Business Research

Pons, Giroux, Mourali, & Zins


February 1, 2016


This paper examines the role of affective evaluations as a mediator of the effect of perceived density on satisfaction. It also suggests that expected density and the shopping context moderate the density–satisfaction relationship. The proposed effects are tested in an experiment, using written scenarios and video stimuli to manipulate perceived density, expected density, and shopping context. The results support the mediating effect of affective evaluations, and show that both density expectations and shopping context interact with perceived density to determine the consumers’ affective evaluations, turning an unpleasant shopping situation in a pleasant one. The findings offer some suggestions on developing appropriate strategies for managing crowd perceptions and consumer expectations in retail settings. This paper breaks away from more traditional research on retail crowding by repositioning density as the initial driver of consumers’ experiences and crowding as a mediator of the density–satisfaction relationship.