Nav: Home

Perfect mannequins a turnoff for some consumers

August 30, 2017

Mannequins' long legs, tiny waistlines and perfect busts can sour some shoppers on the products they're wearing, especially consumers who don't like the look of their own bodies.

That's the finding from a new UBC Sauder School of Business study, which found that consumers who report lower self-esteem are far more likely to have a negative reaction to clothing on a mannequin than those with higher self-esteem. The effect was the same for both men and women.

"When that mannequin is an example of perfection, it reminds people who are vulnerable that they don't measure up," said UBC Sauder professor and study co-author Darren Dahl. "The problem is the beauty ideal that mannequins represent. When people feel they don't meet that ideal, their view of the product dims as well."

For the study, participants were surveyed about their level of "appearance self-esteem." They then evaluated clothing such as bikinis and dresses on the mannequins.

Interestingly, when researchers knocked a mannequin's beauty down a notch by marking the face, removing the hair or removing the head entirely, consumers with negative views of their own bodies warmed to the apparel, likely because the figure no longer reflected society's high beauty standards.

When researchers boosted participants' body image through positive affirmations before seeing the mannequins, their negative perceptions of the products diminished. When mannequins modelled less appearance-related items, such as umbrellas, the effect disappeared.

Although mannequins are used across the retail industry worldwide, little was previously known about how they actually affect shopper behaviour. Given the global apparel industry is valued at $3 billion, the study could have profound implications for both consumers and retailers.

Dahl suggested retailers consider using half mannequins, which are less expensive and less threatening.

"When consumers know what pushes their buttons, it's empowering," said Dahl. "It lets people see what the product looks like on a body, but it doesn't give them the full picture, which seems a little tougher for people to deal with."
-end-
The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, was co-authored by University of Alberta marketing professor Jennifer Argo.

University of British Columbia

Related Consumers Articles:

'Locally grown' broccoli looks, tastes better to consumers
In tests, consumers in upstate New York were willing to pay more for broccoli grown in New York when they knew where it came from, Cornell University researchers found.
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.
Organic consumers mean business
Groundbreaking research from Aarhus BSS shows that organic consumers are standing fast and are buying more and more organic products following an increasingly predictable pattern.
Perfect mannequins a turnoff for some consumers
Mannequins' long legs, tiny waistlines and perfect busts can sour some shoppers on the products they're wearing, especially consumers who don't like the look of their own bodies.
What's in a name? For young Chinese consumers, it's about culture mixing
Younger, more cosmopolitan Chinese consumers tend to favor brand translations that keep both the sound and the meaning of the original name, says U. of I. business professor and branding expert Carlos J.
Why do consumers participate in 'green' programs?
From recycling to reusing hotel towels, consumers who participate in a company's 'green' program are more satisfied with its service, finds a new study co-led by a Michigan State University researcher.
More Consumers News and Consumers Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.