Looking more into what makes people buy things I came across this interesting article by Bryan Eisenberg which lists the main reasons why people shop, often for things that they don’t need. The psychological reasons seem to come up more often than pure need and I thought some of these were particularly interesting.
”Prestige or Aspirational purchase – Something is purchased for an esteem-related reason or for personal enrichment.”
Everyone loves to feel better about themselves and if something as simple as shopping can boost our self-esteem then it’s hard to resist.
”Emotional Vacuum – Sometimes you just buy to try to replace things you cannot have and never will.”
Particularly interesting I think as people often do use material things to try and replace emotional loss or gaps they feel they have in their lives. This would be a particularly effective point for a marketing strategy to be built around.
”Name Recognition – When purchasing a category you’re unfamiliar with, branding plays a big role. Maybe you had to buy diapers for a family member and you reach for Pampers because of your familiarity with the brand, even though you don’t have children yourself.”
Many companies now focus on becoming a household name, trusted by families and passed down from generation to generation to ensure consistent sales, excellent PR and consistently happy customers.
”Fad or Innovation – Everybody wants the latest and greatest. (iPhone mania.) This could also be when someone mimics their favourite celebrity.”
The ever present need to be part of something is one of the biggest drivers of luxury sales, its human nature to want to be part of a group and since groups are now being formed around what kind of technology you own or what kind of clothes you buy many people are buying into the social status that comes with a product not just the product itself.
”The “Girl Scout Cookie Effect” – People feel better about themselves by feeling as though they’re giving to others, almost especially when they’re promised something in return. Purchasing things they don’t need–or wouldn’t normally purchase–because it will help another person or make the world a better place incrementally is essential certain buying decision.”
Shopping for a self-esteem boost again, helping others makes the shopper feel good and gives the perfect win-win situation.
”Indulgence – Who doesn’t deserve a bit of luxury now and then? So long as you can afford it, sometimes there’s no better justification for that hour-long massage, that pint of Cherry Garcia ice cream, or that $75 bottle of 18-year single malt scotch other than “you’re worth it” (best when said to self in front of mirror with a wink and/or head tilt).”
Very few people can resist occasional indulgence, without indulgence the luxury market simply would not exist, never mind be the multibillion pound industry it is today. Be it expensive clothes, cars, phones, perfumes, we could all make do without but there isn’t any fun in that now is there?
Bryan Eisenberg. 2011. What Makes People Buy? 20 Reasons Why. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bryaneisenberg.com/what-makes-people-buy-20-reasons-why/. [Accessed 11 November 13].