Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Spillover effect: Why we end up spending more when we think we're saving

Ever go to a store intending to buy one item, only to leave with a cartful? Or walked out of a store after feeling you had been overcharged for something you needed?

A groundbreaking new paper in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research is the first to comprehensively outline "spillover effect" – that is, the tendency for consumers to spend more on a shopping trip when something they were planning to buy is deeply discounted. Similarly, an unanticipated price increase, or a decrease in quality, on a planned purchase causes overall spending to go down.

"Results from two laboratory studies show that spillover effects can occur in response to both positive and negative changes in either the price or quality of a product," write Narayan Janakiraman (University of Arizona), Robert J. Meyer (University of Pennsylvania), and Andrea C. Morales (Arizona State University). "Positive changes increase total spending on other items and negative changes reduce it."

Positive surprises, like a sale on something you were planning to buy anyway, inflated overall purchasing. But both unexpected price increases and decreases in quality caused people to buy fewer discretionary items – and to pass up other goods offered at attractive, discounted prices.

This challenges prior research on the effect that suggests that we mentally budget and react to feelings of diminished or increased wealth by shopping accordingly. Instead, based on their findings, the researchers argue that a more consistent root of "spillover effect" is attribution theory and our desire to reward or punish the retailer for shopping surprises.

Unexpected changes in price trigger feelings of anger or gratitude. In this sense, the researchers point out, consumers are like restaurant patrons who may express gratitude for a complimentary bottle of wine by ordering more, or express anger over a long wait by ordering less.

"Are the feelings rational? In some cases they might well be – such as if consumers have real reason to believe that a decision to withhold purchases might cause the retailer to offer better terms in the future," explain the authors. "But in this research no such expectations existed, [and] yet the instincts to reward or punish prevailed."

Suzanne Wu | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

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: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>