Week 4 – Attention Men!!!

According to the general notion and previous researcher “Men are more likely to respond to more utilitarian aspects of the shopping experience — such as, the product benefit, the availability of parking, whether the item they came for is in stock, and the length of the checkout line.” But somehow I wasn’t convinced with the whole utility aspect considering the drastic rise in high-end luxury products and lifestyle marketing for men.

So while I was thinking what my next blog would be I set out on an expedition to explore the forbidden arena of men and shopping. Now, I will not get into the never-ending debate of why men hate shopping? or do they actually hate shopping? What I am going to be writing about is conspicuous consumption in men.

In 2007, a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reported that “romantically primed men (that is, men induced to think about sex by means of being shown pictures of attractive women) were more likely to splurge on items of conspicuous consumption, like a new car, a fancy watch or a new cellphone. At the same time, romantically primed men were not likely to increase their spending on inconspicuous items like an alarm clock or household cleaners.”

Does that mean men splurging on things like an Armani perfume or the Vertu Signature Cobra mobile handset, with a whooping £213,000 price tag, was courtesy a cute sales girl or an attractive female fellow shopper? Sounds like a very heavy price to pay for…

A new research by faculty at Rice University, (UTSA) and the University of Minnesota (“Peacocks, Porsches and Thorstein Veblen: Conspicuous Consumption as a Sexual Signaling System”) finds that men’s conspicuous spending is driven by the desire to have uncommitted romantic flings.

The research says “Just as peacocks flaunt their tails before potential mates, men may flaunt flashy products to charm potential dates. Notably, not all men favored this strategy – just those men who were interested in short-term sexual relationships with women.”

Its interesting how this works in a live situation but what got me thinking does this have an impact when a male is watching an advert with an attractive women, on television? Wonder if thats the reason a lot of advertising for men involves attractive women. Also what about men who are looking out for a committed relatonship are they completely away from the concept of conspicuous spending? sounds a little conspicuous to me…..

However, what I particularly found interesting is that even though the whole ‘peacock’ act of men is a way of signaling to potential mate, women can see right through this behavior. In the study, women found men who flashed high-end luxury product (say the Porsche in this case) attractive and someone they could date however they dint think of him as a marriage partner.

So all you men out there beware! Next time you walk into a fancy showroom and decide to spend make sure you are spending it on yourself and not on the cute salesgirl – because she knows exactly what you are up to!!!

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2 Comments

  1. I fully agree with you blog topic yaar………….really its true…….my many male friends usually do that when in India I use to be in shoping mall my friends use to move in to the shop for seeing the salesgirls there……but they could’nt come out empty hand …………….

  2. This is quite interesting information to analyze some behaviour and put the findings to the proof. I don’t consider myself as a good participant for this kind of studies as I rather not buying luxury brands and when I buy them I have to think for three days before I take the decision.

    That leads me to think about the risk of generalizing this kind of information, indeed there are different articles that talk about this topics, but sometimes when I see around myself I see people that is poorly affected by this kind of strategies when luxury brands are related. It appears that in the lab everything works in the way to validate hypothesis but when it comes to extrapolate the knowledge to the real world it doesn’t work as well as it did back in the lab.

    I think the problems are related to the way in which the experiments are conducted and the samples they use. For example in this experiment the participants that were university students, were showed photos of women and they had to imagine then how much money would they spend on products if they had a specific amount of money. I believe this kind of findings would be difficult to replicate in the real world because is really different when you are in front of a real woman and when you have your real own money.

    However I think these kind of strategies do have a quite significant effect on a specific type of men population with a particular life style and particular personality traits, and therefore. But this is just my idea, and I could’t refute anything because I have no prove. Nevertheless, I consider this information very interesting to be analyzed from a behavioral perspective in a less controlled but more natural environment, off course being aware of the implications that this could have in terms of reliability.


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