Why Do People Go Nuts For Sales?
For many families, it's a Thanksgiving tradition as rich as turkey stuffing or pumpkin pie: Rise before the crack of dawn the morning after the holiday, wait for the mall to open, and start hunting down Black Friday bargains.
The allure of a bargain speaks to human nature, consumer psychologists say. The limited-time-only nature of Black Friday triggers an innate fear of scarcity that drives people to buy, buy, buy. This tactic can be extremely successful at luring holiday shoppers to the register with cartfuls of goodies, marketing experts say, although overusing and promoting the sales can turn shoppers away.
Shopping is often compared to hunting or gathering, and for good reason biology informs shopping decisions, said Gad Saad, a professor of marketing at Concordia University in Montreal. Just as early humans aimed to slay the biggest bison for a meal, modern folks yearn to get the most for their money.
Additionally, men who engage in conspicuous consumption, like driving around in a fancy Porsche instead of an old sedan, experience a testosterone surge , Saad reported in 2009 in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. He's also found evidence that men and women navigate shopping situations in ways consistent with the hunting and gathering behaviors of our savannah ancestors.
Seen in that light, Black Friday shopping taps into many of the same primal instincts, and holiday sales could be playing on innate mechanisms like the desire to hoard resources , according to Saad.
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