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The promotion of a unique product in times of economic recession : are consumers more resistant to scarcity or social proof?

Broek, M. van den (2014) The promotion of a unique product in times of economic recession : are consumers more resistant to scarcity or social proof?

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Abstract:In this study the contrasting situation of the promotion of an exclusive and relatively expensive purchase in times of economic uncertainty is researched by comparing the effectiveness of the promotion with either Scarcity or Social Proof manipulations in economic downfall and prosperity. In a three (Scarcity versus Social Proof versus control) by two (positive versus negative economic news condition) between subject experimental design the purchase intention of 193 respondents for an exclusive, family daytrip is measured, based on an online advertisement framed with economic news. In addition, the moderating effect of Uncertainty Avoidance is investigated, which is expected to especially influence the effect of Social Proof. Which of these principles will have more influence on consumers than the other in this contrasting situation? One of Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion might have a greater fit to the persuasive message than another, since every persuasive message (advertisement) and situation is unique. Here, it is expected that Scarcity has a greater fit with the promotion of an exclusive purchase, whereas Social Proof is expected to be best applicable to a situation with economic uncertainty. In uncertain economic times, when UA levels are high, Social Proof reassures people by emphasizing on how others behave (e.g. which products other people buy and are content about). Scarcity emphasizes on the exclusiveness of a product and addresses individuals’ need for uniqueness, hereby making it more appealing to the consumer. It was found that neither Social Proof or Scarcity, nor the framed economic news, or an interaction of the conditions affected purchase intention directly. However, the Social Proof and economic news manipulations were significantly successful. Also, it was found that high UA resulted in higher levels of attractiveness of the offer. Moreover, it was found that respondents confronted with the negative news condition with high UA had higher purchase intention and were more attracted to the offer as opposed to respondents with low UA. Still, the extent to which a person is attracted to an offer turned out to be the most influential predictor of purchase intention.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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