Superstition and time have marketing implications

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Marketing

Consumers are swayed by superstitious beliefs in their buying
decisions is one of the conclusions applicable to beauty marketing
professionals in the latest issue of the Journal of Consumer

The April issue of the journal contains some of the latest marketing thinking related to the commercial impact of mimicry, superstition, launch time and prior knowledge. Superstitious buying ​ On the subject of superstition Thomas Kramer and Lauren Block from Baruch College investigated the impact of seemingly irrational beliefs in the marketplace. The researchers claim that buying decisions are significantly affected by superstitions providing both opportunities and traps for companies in different countries. In the US between $800 and $900 is estimated to be lost every Friday the 13th and Taiwanese consumers are more likely to purchase a radio for $888 than $777 despite having to pay more for the lucky number, according to the researchers. Kramer and Block also argue that disappointment is magnified if a lucky product fails to perform. The researchers tested this theory on Taiwanese consumers with different coloured cookers and found that disappointment was most acute when the red one stopped working. However, according to the study, these affects are only observed when superstitious beliefs are allowed to work unconsciously. As European cosmetic brands attempt to break into emerging markets an understanding of local superstitious beliefs could help them increase their sales and avoid unexpected flops. The significance of time ​ One of the other studies in the journal tackled how buying behavior is affected by the time when consumers hear about a product. Experiments revealed that consumers who hear about a product before it is launched are more likely to make comprehensive use of available information when deciding whether to buy, said the researchers. Contrastingly consumers based their buying decisions only on their perceptions of the manufacturer when the product was already on the market, according to the study. These conclusions may influence the marketing strategies companies adopt before and after products have been launched. Thomas Kramer and Lauren Block, "Conscious and Nonconscious Components of Superstitious Beliefs in Judgment and Decision Making."​ Journal of Consumer Research: April 2008. Susan Jung Grant and Alice M. Tybout, "The Effect of Temporal Frame on Information Considered in New Product Evaluation: The Role of Uncertainty."​ Journal of Consumer Research: April 2008.

Related topics: Brand Innovation, Market Trends

Follow us


View more