Retail therapy is often said to make up for a poor love life – and now new research has shown why. A study has discovered that shoppers get the same level of emotional excitement from special offers as they do from sexual arousal. Researchers have found that bargains make us so deliriously happy that the brain is turned on to the same level excitement that it gets from sex. And that is why they are such a successful way of selling items from the shelves.
Academics came to the conclusion after measuring brain activity in emotional areas of the mind, while volunteers carried out a number of activities including shopping and watching an erotic film. They found a coupon or free gift with a jar of Marmite or a loaf of Kingsmill bread gave them just as much excitement as the pornography.
Researchers at the University of Westminster, used specialist equipment to monitored eye movements and emotional responses in the body to a series of everyday consumer products in 50 volunteers. Some featured special promotions like a discount coupon scheme or a free gift offer or an association with a favourite character like a Wallace and Gromit campaign. Other everyday groceries in the test featured no special offers and were the normal versions of well known brands. The researchers used a system called iMotion which measures the body’s emotional responses on a scale of one to 10. A high of 10 is the equivalent to severe trauma which is rarely seen and could be dangerous. But a score of between five and seven is the kind of excitement a body has to erotic images such as pornography.
One Marmite promotion, to get a free audiobook featuring the children’s character Horrid Henry, registered a scored of up to 5.8 among the consumers. Others including a discount couple for Cravendale milk and a Wallace & Gromit free gift with Kingsmill bread also scored particularly highly among the early results. The research has been commissioned by The Institute of Promotional Marketing and is yet to be completed, it was revealed in trade journal The Grocer.
But the early results suggest the ones which get shoppers most excited in the tests have also been among the most successful commercially. Colin Harper of the Institute said: “It’s early days but these results indicate a correlation between high emotional response and sales uplift.” Marketing experts believe the average shopper makes up their mind about whether or not to buy something within two seconds of seeing it so offers often need to stand out.
Marketing experts believe the average shopper makes up their mind about whether or not to buy something within two seconds of seeing it so offers often need to stand out. But the problem has often been to get consumers to buy a product after the promotion has ended, he added, and the research hopes to find out why that happens. Jon Ward, at Acuity who specialise in tracking the eyes of shoppers, said: “If we can engage people enough to look at the pack for that long, we can probably hold them for longer.”
(By:Richard Alleyne, see the original article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8000166/Finding-a-bargain-feels-as-good-as-sex.html)