Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The shadow over consumers

08.09.2005


New research from the University of Alberta reveals just how self-conscious and easily influenced consumers can be.



Through a series of carefully controlled experiments at a campus bookstore, researchers learned that consumers will, in every case studied, spend more money to buy a brand name item when someone they don’t know is standing near them at the time they choose their purchase. Consumers also tend to spend more money when a group of people is standing near them but are more inclined to buy cheaper items when no one is near.

"We were shocked to find that the mere social presence of another shopper apparently has a huge affect on consumer behavior," said Dr. Jennifer Argo, a marketing professor in the U of A School of Business and lead author of the study, which is published in the September 2005 edition of the Journal of Consumer Research.


For her study, Argo hired students to go to a campus bookstore to purchase batteries, an item Argo terms "neutral" because no one will likely see you use it other than the time you buy it. The students were given a specific amount of money and told they could buy any brand of batteries they like and could keep the change. They were not told that their behavior was being monitored as a part of an experiment.

Argo also hired people to act as customers, and she placed them strategically around the store. Sometimes the consumers studied were alone in the store, other times one other person was near them in the batteries section, and sometimes there were groups of three people in the section. Elements of the experiment were videotaped, and the consumers studied also filled out surveys to describe their experience in the store. Conditions to set up the experiment were pre-arranged with the bookstore managers.

"The best situation for the store is one in which there is one other person standing close to a consumer," Argo said. "Consumers reported being most comfortable in this situation, and we saw them spending the most money in this state, as well."

"We found that high traffic around a consumer makes them anxious, but they also felt anxious when they were isolated, and we know that when a consumer is in a negative state of mind they tend to spend less money," Argo added.

Argo thinks the fact that consumers tend to spend more money when one other person is nearby may have something to do with consumers’ level of comfort and their wanting to avoid being perceived as cheap. As for applying the results of her research, Argo thinks store owners could increase their profits if they avoid layouts in which products are placed in isolated corners or areas of high traffic.

Ryan Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>