Consumer relationship fading

Heiner Evanschitzky, B. Ramaseshan, Michael K. Brady, Fazlul K. Rabbanee, Christian Brock, Joanna Pokorska-Zare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores the phenomenon of consumer relationship fading with a series of three adjacent studies. Analyzing two longitudinal behavioral datasets, Study 1 shows that about one‐third of the relationships could be described as fading. Drawing on prior work in the marriage disaffection literature, Study 2 defines relationship fading for the consumer marketing context as a process of gradual decline in consumers' intention to continue their relationship with a brand, generally manifested in negative feelings toward the brand, diminishing frequency and/or volume of transactions with it, and initiation of switching intentions. It further identifies disillusion, disaffec- tion, and crossroads as three distinct fading stages, and outlines boundary condi- tions. Study 3 observes relationship fading through a diary study approach and finds attitude movement in both positive and negative directions between the stages. Further, while positive attitudes generally decline over the course of the fading trajectory, negative emotions peak at the penultimate fading stage and then level off at the final, crossroads stage. By defining and analyzing consumer relationship fading, we improve understanding of an under‐researched, large segment of consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-836
JournalPsychology & Marketing
Issue number6
Early online date1 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2020


  • consumer relationship fading
  • disaffection
  • multimethod study
  • relationship marketing
  • service failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Applied Psychology


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