Cash-strapped shoppers don’t brag about purchases, Ohio State study shows

A new Ohio State University study has revealed that people with less money are often less vocal about what they buy.

A series of studies conducted in part by an Ohio State researcher showed that when people feel like money is tight, they are less likely to brag about their purchases, regardless of whether they are big or small ones.

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“It wasn’t about what other people might think or what they bought. Consumers who feel poor at the moment don’t want to talk about their purchases because it reinforces negative feelings about their unpleasant financial state,” said Anna Paley, lead author of the study and a visiting scholar in marketing at the OSU Fisher College of Business.

Paley along with researchers from the University of Southern California and Dartmouth College conducted seven studies. In one study, they found that participants who reported feeling financially constrained also were less likely to talk about products they bought with friends, family members and colleagues.

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The study also found that when people thought about purchases as expenditures of time rather than expenditures of money, even those who felt money was tight would talk about them.

The findings, according to OSU, are important for marketers because shoppers consistently rate word-of-mouth as one of the most trustworthy and credible sources of information about products and services. Some online retailers try to encourage this by sending people a receipt with a request that they share about what they bought with friends on social media, according to the study.


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