Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Business before pleasure: Emotions play key role in guiding consumer spending

02.02.2005


In a study that sheds new light on how consumers choose between pleasurable or practical products, a University of Washington researcher has found that people are more likely to buy fun products, but only if the situation allows them the flexibility to rationalize their purchases.



According to Erica Okada, an assistant professor of marketing at the UW Business School, goods can be broadly categorized into hedonic goods that offer enjoyment and utilitarian goods that offer practical functionality. For example, she said, in the wide product category of automobiles, sports cars are more hedonic and sport utility vehicles are generally more utilitarian. Between a sports car and an SUV, consumers may find the prospect of buying a sports car more appealing, but in a side by side comparison, consumers are much more likely to buy the SUV to avoid feeling guilty for buying something that is perceived more as a want than a need.

She found that when a hedonic product and a utilitarian one of comparable value are each presented singly for evaluation, the hedonic alternative tends to elicit a higher rating. However, when the two are presented side by side, the utilitarian alternative is more likely to be chosen.


As part of her research, Okada tracked consumers’ consumption and preference patterns for desserts at a restaurant. When given the choice between Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake, described as a "rich treat with Bailey’s Irish Cream, Oreo cookies and chocolate chips all blended in," and the Cheesecake deLite, described as a "savory healthy alternative to cheesecake, made of low fat cream cheese and egg whites," diners chose the second option because, said Okada, they viewed it as more utilitarian and thus less likely to cause guilty feelings.

When each dessert was presented as the only option on successive nights, the two were equally preferred, but when presented jointly on the same menu, the utilitarian dessert was consistently preferred over the hedonic.

"People by nature are motivated to have fun," said Okada. "However, having fun also raises such issues as guilt and the need for justification. A sense of guilt may arise in anticipation, or as a result, of making an unjustifiable choice. An alternative may seem unjustifiable if there is a sense of guilt associated with it. It’s easier for people to justify consumption that is fairly necessary, and more difficult to justify consumption that is relatively discretionary."

If given a choice between purchasing a new DVD player with a built in MP3 player or buying a new food processor seen elsewhere in a store, consumers will more likely buy the DVD player because of its more hedonistic appeal. But if a consumer visits an electronic appliance store with $100 to spend and can buy either the DVD player or the food processor, the food processor is the more likely choice. Okada speculates that people are more reflective and thoughtful about choice when multiple options are present, which tends to favor the "should" option over the "want."

In addition, Okada found that the difference in the need for justification also affects the combination of time, or effort, and money that people choose to expend in order to acquire hedonic versus utilitarian items. Specifically, she said people have a relative preference to pay in time for hedonic goods, and in money for utilitarian goods.

"Consumers are generally willing to pay a premium for convenience, and go the distance for a bargain," she said. "Given a choice between paying in time versus money, individuals are more likely to go the extra mile and find a good deal on the DVD player – that is, pay in time – and more likely to pay a higher price monetarily at a convenient location for the food processor."

Okada’s paper appears in the February issue of Journal of Marketing Research.

Nancy Gardner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>