Nav: Home

Do cold temperatures result in heat-of-the-moment purchases?

February 07, 2019

In 2005, the New York Times reported that high end retailer Bergdorf Goodman kept its stores chilled to 68.3 degrees, whereas Old Navy's was kept at a balmy 80.3. Meanwhile, the swanky IFC mall in Hong Kong is kept at a frigid 59 degrees Fahrenheit. There may be a reason why luxury retailers keep their stores so cold aside from keeping heating bills down. When consumers are uncomfortably cold, they rely more on their emotions rather than calculations when making decisions.

In the paper "Warm Hearts and Cool Heads: Uncomfortable Temperature Influences Reliance on Affect in Decision Making," published in the latest issue of the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, authors Rhonda Hadi and Lauren Block explore how temperature-related comfort affects decision making and how that may affect consumer behavior.

In the study, the authors conduct experiments where subjects are exposed to uncomfortably cold temperatures before making decisions in scenarios such as purchasing insurance for a piece of furniture with sentimental value, or being asked to donate to a cause to protect endangered animals. The cold temperature led people to rely more on their emotions in making decisions.

Their results with other studies show that an inclination towards emotional products and experiences (like romantic movies or nostalgic music) is valued in colder temperatures. When a consumer is uncomfortably cold, relying on emotions (e.g., thinking about how happy a product will make them) rather than calculations (e.g., thinking about how functional a product is) will make him or her feel warmer and more comfortable.

Thus, high-end stores selling emotion-laden products, like Bergdorf Goodman or the IFC Mall in Hong Kong, may benefit from a low temperature that draws attention towards sentiment and away from the rationality of the decision.
-end-


University of Chicago Press Journals

Related Consumers Articles:

Should patients be considered consumers?
No, and doing so can undermine efforts to promote patient-centered health care, write three Hastings Center scholars in the March issue of Health Affairs.
Consumers choose smartphones mostly because of their appearance
The more attractive the image and design of the telephone, the stronger the emotional relationship that consumers are going to have with the product, which is a clear influence on their purchasing decision.
When consumers don't want to talk about what they bought
One of the joys of shopping for many people is the opportunity to brag about their purchases to friends and others.
As consumers, how do we decide what's 'best' when it's not clear?
Imagine you are choosing between two resorts for your island vacation.
Effects of ethnocentrism on consumers
Aitor Calvo-Turrientes, winner of the prize for End-of-Degree Project in Sustainability in 2015 awarded by the Faculty of Economics and Business of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country in Vitoria-Gasteiz, is the author of the paper 'The valuation and purchase of food products that combine local, regional and traditional features: The influence of consumer ethnocentrism,' published recently by the prestigious journal Food Quality and Preference.
More Consumers News and Consumers Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...