Automation is transforming many consumption domains, including everyday activities like cooking or driving, and recreational activities like fishing or cycling. Yet, little research in marketing has examined consumer preferences for automated products.
Automation often provides obvious consumption benefits, but six studies spanning a variety
of product categories show that automation may not be desirable when identity motives are
important drivers of consumption. Using both correlational and experimental designs, the
findings demonstrate that individuals who strongly identify with a particular social category
resist automated features when these features hinder the attribution of identity-relevant
consumption outcomes to oneself. These findings have substantial theoretical implications for
research on identity and on technology, as well as managerial implications for targeting,
product innovation, and communication.