Some consumers are happier after an indulgent purchase if there is no good reason for it, according to research.
A team of marketing academics led by Francine Espinoza Petersen from ESMT Berlin business school conducted a number of studies examining the emotional responses and subsequent happiness levels of consumers.
They found that while previous research and lay theory suggest that having a reason to indulge will make for a happier customer, consumers with ‘low self-control’ are actually happier when they have no reason to indulge at all.
One online study measured the predicted effect on happiness and the satisfaction with the purchase as a consequence of happiness.
The results showed that consumers with high levels of self-control were happier after indulging with a reason for doing so, while those identified as having low self-control were happier after indulging without reason.
Consumers with high levels of self-control tend to be more rational and disciplined, therefore valuing reasoned-indulgences. Consumers with low self-control, on the other hand, tend to be more relaxed and easy going, thus enjoying spontaneous indulgences.
“Our findings send a few clear messages to companies. Firstly, marketers should be aiming to communicate better based on personality types. If you are pushing a typical ‘because you are worth it’ message or something like Chrysler’s ‘luxury feels better earned’ tagline you may be alienating a sizeable portion of your potential consumer base who don’t identify with that message. If a brand is more likely to have low self-control, or frivolous, customers, promoting spontaneous indulgence, as with Lexus recent ‘dare to be spontaneous’ campaign, may be a more effective strategy.”
“In addition to this, because the happiness post-purchase influences the ongoing satisfaction of that purchase, targeting the consumer message more accurately could actually result in lower levels of consumer returns and an increase in positive word-of-mouth promotion.”