Sunday, September 2, 2007

Before getting that new toy on sale, check this out!

We all know how hard it is to be vigilant at watching prices when shopping (OK maybe it's not hard for everyone, but it is for me!), but keep this new article from Science Daily in mind when shopping for toys, clothes, anything really that is marked at a discount. Everyone knows that sometimes things aren't even on sale, and stores just put a sale sticker on it anyway, but this is another trick to keep in mind when shopping!

Sales Prices: How Right Digits Affect Perception of Discounts

Science Daily — The amount of the discount may be less important than the numerical value of the farthest right digit, explains a new study from the Journal of Consumer Research. Keith S. Coulter (Clark University) and Robin A. Coulter (University of Connecticut) are the first to identify a visual distortion effect that may influence how consumers look at sale prices.

The researchers show that "right-digit effect" influences consumer perception of sale prices. When the right digits are small, people perceive the discount to be larger than when the right digits are large. In other words, an item on sale for $211 from the original price of $222 is thought to be a better deal than an item on sale for $188 from an original price of $199, even though both discounts are $11.

In addition, the researchers find that when consumers view regular and sale prices with identical left digits, they perceive larger price discounts when the right digits are "small" -- less than 5 -- than when they are "large," or, greater than 5.

"When consumers examine multi-digit regular and sale prices in an advertisement, they read those prices from left-to-right. If the left (hundreds) digits are identical, consumers will pay less attention to those digits, and instead will focus primarily upon the disparate right-most (tens and units) digits in the price comparison process.," the authors explain.
"Our findings indicate that comparative price advertising can distort consumers' perceptions in ways unintended by the seller."

Reference: Keith S. Coulter and Robin A. Coulter. "Distortion of Price Discount Perceptions: The Right Digit Effect" Journal of Consumer Research: August 2007.


Scribbit said...

A great tip--they can be so sneaky.

Elspeth said...

This is great info to know.