Consumers who view themselves as independent place high value on self-reliance and autonomy, and strive towards being unique, different, and separate from others. In contrast, those who view themselves as less independent see themselves as part of a social group, and strive toward blending and fitting in, reports a new study.
Our perceptions of time are influenced by whether we view ourselves as independent or more group or family oriented. Perceptions of time are subjective and variable. One day can feel like an eternity, while at other times a day flashes by in an instant. Similarly, a future event can seem really far away, but at other times it's just around the corner.
Why are more independent consumers better at delaying gratification?
Product benefits that occur later in time are more likely to appeal to more independent consumers than to those who are more group or family oriented, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. "More independent consumers think of the future in abstract terms and perceive future events as happening in the more distant future, whereas consumers who are less independent think of the future in concrete terms and perceive future events as happening sooner," write authors Gerri Spassova (Monash University) and Angela Y. Lee (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University), according to the March 5, 2013 news release, "Targeting diet products: Why are more independent consumers better at delaying gratification?"
In one study, consumers were shown advertisements for a Lean Cuisine product
More independent consumers found the ad more persuasive when it was targeted at an individual and its benefits were presented as taking place in the more distant future, while consumers who thought of themselves as less independent found the same ad more persuasive when it was targeted at a family and its benefits were presented as taking place sooner.
Do independent consumers perceive abstract advertising differently than more dependent shoppers who may want ads framed in more concrete terms?
"Advertising targeted at consumers who see themselves as more independent would be more effective when presented in more abstract terms, with product benefits occurring in the more distant future. But ads targeting consumers who see themselves as less independent would be more effective when framed in more concrete terms, with benefits occurring sooner," the authors conclude, according to the March 5, 2013 news release, Targeting diet products: Why are more independent consumers better at delaying gratification?
Check out the abstract of the original study, "Looking Into the Future: A Match between Self-View and Temporal Distance." Authors are Gerri Spassova and Angela Y. Lee. The study will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research: June 2013 issue. For more information, check out the Gerri Spassova site or visit the Journal of Consumer Research online site.
Consumers are more willing to take risks and accept delays in exchange for greater benefits when they are able to compare products, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research
"Rationally speaking, consumer preferences should be the same whether their product choices are presented side-by-side and evaluated comparatively or presented one at a time and evaluated in isolation, but it makes a remarkable difference in consumer decision-making," write authors Christopher K. Hsee (University of Chicago Booth School of Business), Jiao Zhang (University of Miami), Liangyan Wang, and Shirley Zhang (both Shanghai Jiaotong University), according to the March 5, 2013 news release, "Comparison investing: Why are consumers more willing to take risks when they can compare products?"
Consumers regularly face decisions such as whether to buy a current iPhone model today or wait six months for a newer and better model (a time preference dilemma), or whether to invest retirement money in a risk-free savings account or a risky mutual fund with higher expected returns (a risk preference dilemma).
In one study, consumers had to choose between two internet service plans
One featured a higher speed but wouldn't be available for three months; the other featured a lower speed but was available immediately. When both options were presented side-by-side, consumers were willing to pay significantly more for faster service with delayed installation. When they were presented with only one of the two options, there was a stark "preference reversal" and consumers were willing to pay significantly more for slower service with immediate installation.
Consider a financial services company offering both safe (lower expected return) and risky (higher expected return) investments. All investment options should be presented side-by-side to allow comparison if the company wants to encourage investors to choose riskier products with higher expected returns, while options should be featured individually to encourage investors to choose safe products.
"When consumers can compare products, they tend to prefer delayed or riskier options with greater potential benefits, but tend to value certain and immediate benefits when product comparison is not possible," the authors conclude, according to the news release, "Comparison investing: Why are consumers more willing to take risks when they can compare products?" You can read the abstract of the original study, "Magnitude, Time, and Risk Differ Similarly between Joint and Single Evaluations." Journal of Consumer Research: June 2013. You also can check out online the Journal of Consumer Research site.