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Warm weather leads to safe choices

News, 05 May 2017
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SINGAPORE: Consumers have different purchase journeys depending on the temperature, according to research; and not just when it comes to purchasing cold drinks.

Writing for WARC, Shilpa Madan, an Associate at the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI) in Singapore, explains that outward bodily sensations, such as feeling hot in summertime, can influence the way consumers perceive people and things, and shape preferences and choices, without conscious thought.

Being exposed to warm temperatures, for example, predisposes consumers to choose products that are preferred by a vast majority. (For more details, read WARC's exclusive article: Summer is coming: How temperature affects consumer habits.)

Across a series of studies, Madan explains, consumers in a warm room chose varied objects such as remote controls, sofas, bicycles, and GPS devices with dominant market shares and those preferred by a large number of others.

"Summer is a good time to highlight strong numbers, be it market share or endorsement," she observed. "Further, summer special variants or new launches from established brands would benefit from a recommendation by the 'parent'."

Warm temperatures (even in a reasonably comfortable range) deplete cognitive processing ability and in South East Asia – where heat and humidity are particularly oppressive in the summer – consumers are often grumpy as well.

"In a series of studies in the Journal of Marketing Research, the researchers show that warm temperatures deteriorate performance in complex choice tasks and increase reliance on 'safe choices'," Madan notes.

"Research also shows that participants experiencing warm temperatures were more likely to get a gift for their friends (rather than themselves) versus participants experiencing cold temperatures," she adds.

"The experience of warmer temperatures affects us in myriad ways that alter what we buy, how we buy, and who we buy for. Marketers across industries, and not just those who sell drinks and ice creams, can leverage the nuances of embodied cognition."

Data sourced from WARC

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