Checking out new products on the store shelf? This may signal certain traits of your personality
Researchers have established a relationship between people's interest in novelty and their personal characteristics, which include a tendency for impulsive behaviour, risk-taking, and short-term goal orientation. However, another condition is necessary for this connection to occur.
A study conducted by scientists from the ISM University of Management and Economics, Vilnius University, University of Groningen and VU Amsterdam university showed that when experiencing stress, some people become more sensitive to novelty cues, for example, they may sometimes pay more attention to new products displayed in stores.
The study that involved 61 000 consumers from 55 different countries around the world, showed that stress mostly affects consumers in two ways - how exactly, depends on their life history strategy. A so-called fast life history strategy is related to impulsive, short-term, reward-oriented decisions. In contrast, people with a slow life history strategy tend to consider their actions, stay in control and make long-term decisions.
What kind of life history strategy is typical for each of us is determined by various circumstances experienced in (early) life. For example, a fast adaptation strategy is usually formed due to difficult, unstable and stressful conditions experienced during childhood.
"Research results show that stress stimulates the search for innovativeness among people with a fast life history strategy, but reduces interest in innovation among those with a slow strategy," said one of the study’s authors, ISM researcher, doctoral student Dovilė Barauskaitė.
The researcher notes that the established relationship between a person's life history strategy and the fondness of innovations is observed when the user experiences stronger momentary stress, rather than chronic (for example, pandemic) stress.
The study was conducted together with consumer behavior researchers prof. Dr. Justina Gineikienė (Vilnius University) and prof. Dr. Bob M. Fennis and Dr. Guido M. K van Koningsbruggen, who work at leading consumer behavior research centers in Europe - the universities of Groningen and VU Amsterdam.
The obtained results may be useful for the segmentation of the consumer market, for example, taking into account not only traditional factors, but also considering additional ones, such as different consumer life history strategies. Understanding the motivation for choosing novelty is useful when preparing communication strategies. The results are also relevant for public policy makers who seek to protect vulnerable consumer groups.