A new study led by the researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder found that shoppers tend to forgo saving money when purchasing items for their loved ones, a phenomenon more commonly observed especially in would-be brides or anyone whose significant other died. While this may seem like a no-brainer, the researchers, whose study has been published in January in Judgment and Decision Making, claim that this study is the first one to investigate this behaviour’s implications.
Apparently, people do not want to be stingy when it comes to shopping objects symbolic of love like engagement rings, wedding rings, cremation urns, birthday party food items and other objects bought to honour or remember loved ones. When these shoppers are faced with two equally valuable and affordable alternatives, they would still opt to pick the pricier item among these two.
The researchers studied nearly 245 participants who came to a Boulder wedding show. The team inquired about their favourite between two engagement rings handed out to them, one of which was a more expensive ring with a bigger carat while the other one was a more affordable ring with a smaller carat. Almost all the time, these participants would prefer the more expensive ring.
“People’s buying behaviour changes when they’re making purchases out of love because it feels wrong to engage in cost-saving measures,” says study lead author Peter McGraw, an associate professor of marketing and psychology at CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, in a press release. “People abandon cost-saving measures when it comes to sentimental buys because they want to avoid having to decide what is the right amount of money to spend on a loving relationship.”
As a result, these shoppers do not seek sacred or sentimental objects with lower prices and bargain with sellers. Eventually, the wedding and funeral industries would exploit these shoppers, increasing prices to unreasonable costs.
Moreover, McGraw says that the loss of savings can pile up and even cause these consumers financial problems. Hence, the research team suggests that shoppers should be aware of this behaviour to make more informed purchases that will save them from suffering the consequences in the future.