Date of this version


Document Type



Time salience, free offers, marketing, consumer psychology


We explore consumers' consideration of their time budgets when evaluating product offers in a context in which we expect those budgets are most easily ignored—product giveaways. Across three studies, we manipulate the salience of time for participants considering free seminars (Study 1a) and free vacations (Studies 1b and 2) to be received in the near or distant future. Beginning with Study 1, we demonstrate that when time is made salient to them, consumers consider slack in their time budgets when evaluating near-future but not distant-future product giveaways. Otherwise, consumers appear to largely ignore time budget slack when evaluating free offers. In Study 2, we replicate these basic effects while providing evidence that consumers' consider slack in their time budgets at the point they commit to a giveaway rather than at the point when they will receive the product. We discuss these findings in terms of both their theoretical and marketing implications.

Published in

Journal of Consumer Behaviour

Citation/Other Information

Alexander, D.L., and A. M. Sackett (2013). If only I had the time! The impact of time salience on consumers’ evaluations of product offers. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 12, 382-388.

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Marketing Commons