Tuesday 3 December 2013

Why You Spend More Money on Warm Days

New research in the Journal of Consumer Psychology by researchers led by Yonat Zwebner of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, offers evidence that people value products more highly when they’re feeling comfortably warm. They argue that “exposure to physical warmth activates the concept of emotional warmth,” producing positive emotions and increasing the items’ perceived worth.

A series of experiments revealed a common thread:

The first was a large-scale study that looked at more than six million clicks on a price-comparison website, each of which indicated the intention to purchase a specific product. The researchers looked at two years’ worth of data on eight categories of products (such as watches), and compared the decision to buy with the average temperature on each day, finding “a significant positive effect of temperature on intention-to-purchase”.

A second experiment featured 46 university students, who were randomly assigned to hold and examine either a warm or cool therapeutic pad for 10 seconds “under the guise of a product-evaluation task.” Participants who held the warm pad were willing to pay significantly more for products offered for sale.

For the third experiment, researchers manipulated the temperature in the room where the study was conducted. Students looked at 11 images of “different target products that college students typically consume,” and asked how much they were willing to pay for each. Those in the warm room were willing to pay more for nine of the 11 products.

Conclusion: “Physical warmth induces emotional warmth, which generates greater positive reactions.”

At last, a possible explanation for why the lower temperature in buyers' offices may not be a reflection of the customer's energy conservation policies - or mood! - after all, despite your attempts at prolonged hand-shaking and even hugs.... 

(Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the pointer)

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