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Abstract

Consumer research generally focuses on the consumption of tangible objects and experiences, which are concrete. However, consumers often consume in their minds by fantasizing, dreaming, or imagining that they possess some desired object or that they are living some experience. In this article, the term consumption dreams is used to refer to mental representations of consumption objects that consumers desire and experiences that they want to realize. These are distinguished from uncontrolled mental activities that occur when asleep. The results of two exploratory studies that examined consumption dreams are presented. In the first study, five adult consumers were asked about their most important consumption dream, as well as the factors that influenced this dream and the behaviors that ensued. The second study consisted of a survey of 195 adult consumers where the determinants and consequences of consumption dreaming were probed. It was found that indulging in consumption dreaming is a common activity among most consumers and that consumption dreams and their characteristics depend on general as well as dream-based variables. In addition, those dreams were found to impact on several consumer behaviors. A causal model involving a subset of the variables examined in this exploratory research was put forward and tested with the survey data. The results showed the value of a proposed conceptual framework to generate theoretical propositions about consumption dreaming. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.