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Pleasure trumps confidence and status as key driver of buying decisions - study

8th Mar 2012
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Just eight emotions drive consumer purchasing decisions with pleasure cited as the number one motive behind buying, new research has shown.

Creston Unlimited surveyed over 3,500 adults in the UK and found that nearly a quarter ocited pleasure as the main emotion driving brand choice, followed by confidence (17%), status (14%) and responsibility (14%). More rational emotions such as saving (7%) and belonging (5%) were the least most likely to drive purchasing decisions, showed the survey. 

Additionally, the research showed that the hierarchy and strength of brand dimensions, in terms of how they enrich lives, can change significantly for different sub groups of the UK adult population.

Brands have a much harder job attempting to enrich male lives than female as the emotional value with which brands enrich women’s lives was greater across every dimension compared to men, the study revealed. Pleasure was still the most important buying motive for men but status rose to 34% for men aged 18-24.

Women cited confidence (22%) as the most important motive driving brand decisions, showed the research. Female respondents like brands to enrich their lives by making them feel safe functionally, emotionally and socially, meaning brands can create strong connections with women by offering different facets of brand confidence, according to the study.  

The research also showed that brands are failing to enrich certain sub groups of the population, such as those who are married or co-habiting and have no children at home, whereas the reverse is true for single parents. Additionally, those with an income of lower than £15,000 gained significantly more emotional value from buying brands than those better off.

John Crowther from Creston Unlimited said: “These days, the amount of choice available to consumers is mindboggling.  In a typical large supermarket there are 20-30,000 different products and the average person sees over 1,000 ads a day.  People therefore no longer consume brands; they edit them and their communications, choosing a select number to interact with. To make it through the editorial cut, brands need to reward consumers in a way that enriches their lives. 

He added: “The differences in women compared to men, and also between consumers at different lifestages and income levels, is something that brands need to understand and react to if they want to be relevant to today’s consumer.”


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