Monday, July 22, 2013

Isolate Loneliness & Materialism

People think of materialism—defined as a consumer placing unusually high importance on acquiring and owning material items—as associated with loneliness, according to researchers at Tilburg University. That’s because materialistic people are seen as self-centered. This assumption of an association has led to recommendations that retailers assume their materialistic shoppers yearn for social interaction.
     But it’s not so simple. After gathering data from about 2,500 consumers over a span of six years, the Tilburg researchers say there are subtypes of materialism. Some consumers seek possessions for the mirth of hunting them down, negotiating for them, and at times sharing them with others. For these people, the materialism decreases loneliness. They might welcome social interaction with salespeople because they find any social interaction joyful. But they don’t yearn for social interaction.
     Other materialistic consumers buy in order to ease sadness or as a way to meter their degree of success. These habits do increase isolation, so it can be said that the materialism is a cause of loneliness. These shoppers will welcome nurturing interactions from retail salespeople.
     Further, consumer behavior experts from Arizona State University and Erasmus University in the Netherlands conclude that when adults are feeling lonely, they become interested in nostalgia.
     Study participants played a ball-tossing game on a computer. The game was rigged so that some participants were told they’d been eliminated. Dropped participants were more likely to say that belonging is important to them. And they also made more consumer choices which reminded them of their personal history. This included preferences in cars, food brands, TV shows, movies, and shower soap.
     At another point in the research, people who had been dropped from the game were offered a cookie carrying a brand name popular in the person’s past. Those who ate the treat complained less of loneliness than they did before.
     We can’t exclude the possibility here that simply eating the cookie—any brand of cookie as long as it has chocolate in it, of course—would ease the pangs of loneliness. Still, the researchers say their methodology leads them to conclude that the taste of nostalgia was what did the trick.
     Children can get lonely, too, and researchers at Cardiff University, Lyon Business School, Knox College, and University of Missouri-Columbia have described what they call “childhood materialism.” With these consumers, a nostalgia appeal could involve items from when the little consumer was even littler.

Click below for more: 
Suggest Nostalgic Items to Lonely Shoppers 
Add to Global Warming in Your Store 
Employ Purchase Triggers for Children

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