How does scarcity promotion lead to impulse purchase in the online market? A field experiment

Yi Wu, Liwei Xin, Dahui Li, Jie Yu, Junpeng Guo

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


Online retailers employ two strategies of limited-quantity and limited-time to entice consumers’ impulse purchases. However, little research has investigated the effects of these promotion strategies. Drawing on the competitive arousal model and the scarcity model, this paper develops a research model to demonstrate the influences of limited-quantity scarcity (LQS) and limited-time scarcity (LTS) on impulse purchase through the mediating mechanism of perceived arousal. By setting up a new online store on a well-known Chinese e-commerce platform, we conducted a field experiment with 182 participants to test our research model. The results provided strong evidence that both LQS and LTS increased a consumer's perceived arousal, which then led to impulse purchase. Furthermore, there was an interaction effect between the two types of scarcity strategies on perceived arousal. Finally, although personal impulsiveness positively affected a consumer's impulse purchase, it did not moderate the influence of perceived arousal on impulse purchase. Our findings provide both theoretical implications and design guidelines on triumphant employment of scarcity promotion strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103283
JournalInformation and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Limited-Quantity scarcity
  • Limited-Time scarcity
  • Online impulse purchase
  • Perceived arousal
  • Personal impulsiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management


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