Headlines like “Black Friday Shoppers Trampled in New York” and popular television shows like “Extreme Couponing” remind us how bargain hunting crazy customers can get about retail sales promotions. This excitement for receiving deals has been termed “deal proneness.”
Past research has indicated that, to some extent, people become bargain hunting prone through being educated by their parents. But a new paper, “Born to Shop? A Genetic Component of Deal Proneness,” printed in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, supplies signs that our genes also play a role in causing bargain hunting enthusiasm.
To illustrate this genetic factor, authors Robert Schindler, Vishal Lala, and Jeanette Taylor compared the deal-proneness similarity among 78 pairs of identical (monozygotic) twins using this among 43 pairs of fraternal (dizygotic) twins reared together. They measured interest in a variety of types of deals, like promotions which involve discounts (e.g.,”Earning money rebates makes me feel good”) and promotions which include bonuses (e.g.,”I like buying products that come with a free gift”). The results indicated that 70 percent of the variability in bargain hunting is connected with variability in genetic things.
“The greater deal-proneness similarity among identical twins than among fraternal twins provides strong evidence for the existence of a heritable component to deal proneness,” the authors write. However, the fraternal twins that dwelt together did reveal more similarity in bargain hunting than people who didn’t live together, which the authors note is evidence that it is not all heredity – shared experience also is a source of deal proneness.
Knowing that bargain hunting interest runs in families may suggest to retailers the value of using parent-child, grandparent, or other family Settings in communicating about deals. However, this research Raises the question of just how such a modern, culturally-dependent phenomenon like deal proneness could be partially, in our genes. Future research that can help answer this issue may also direct us to a deeper comprehension of the sources of consumers’ often striking excitement for bargain hunting.
Related Journal Article: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/710244