Love-Smitten Consumers Embrace Products, Literally
The concept of love at first sight doesn’t apply only to human relationships.
Humans also fall in love with material possessions such as cars, guns and computers at first sight, according to a new study that suggests consumers’ infatuation for their beloved items leads them to buy more stuff at businesses that sell accessories and after-purchase services such as cleaning, enhancements and repairs.
Researchers conclude a person’s love for an item incites nurturing behaviors that could spur “substantial revenue opportunities for marketers.”
“Nurturing is accomplished, in part, by buying complementary products and services” to improve the quality of an initial purchase or learn more about the item, said study authors John Lastovicka, a professor of marketing at the Arizona State University, and Nancy Sirianni, an assistant professor of marketing at Texas Christian University.
Lastovicka and Sirianni observed various combinations of passion, intimacy and commitment in consumers’ relationships with products.
“We found love-smitten consumers spent six times more on accessories and enhancements for their prized guns than firearm owners who did not demonstrate passion, intimacy or commitment toward their guns,” they said.
In one experiment, researchers visited five car shows in Arizona and conducted in-depth interviews with male and female car enthusiasts between the ages 19 and 68. They found that love-smitten consumers used pet names rather than brand names to describe their cars.
“This often manifested in gazing at and caressing their cars and even some love-at-first-sight purchase decisions,” they said.
Researchers began the study with one basic question: “Is it possible for consumers to be in love with their possessions?”
Their final answer: “When it comes to cars, computers, bicycles and firearms, the answer seems to be a resounding yes.”
The research appears in the current issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.
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