How the illusion of festival “selling” works and why we continue to decline as consumers

Everyone likes a good bargain and I am no exception. I, too, set the timer for monthly shop sales and searched the internet for promo codes to apply for checkout.

Nowadays, we are not unfamiliar with all types of sales hosted businesses because they increase the number for them as well. The festive season in particular is a prime time to go all out with promotional activities that people are in the mood to spend. And of course there is no shortage of festive seasons in Malaysia.

Come on Hari Roy, Chinese New Year, Diwali or Christmas, mall decorations go up and prices go down. But we do Really Saving so much money, or is it all a delusion? Okay, the answer is a little bit shorter than yes or no.

Business uses the right triggers

Truth be told, have you ever been tempted to buy something you didn’t want at first just because it was sold for a limited time? You are not the only one.

Business often triggers an idea Artificial urgency Uses time-sensitive terms. Phrases like “last call” and “only today” make us think we’re lost if we don’t shop. The effects of this type of word choice are even more pronounced during the festive season, when shopping doesn’t seem to need to be done, even when it isn’t.

Examples drawn directly from my email inbox

Similarly, stores can make Lack of fake The “while in stock” mentality is especially effective in increasing demand if we shop with a specific season in mind.

But if demand is high and supply is really low, offering discounts instead, logically you think businesses will want to raise prices.

And sometimes they do. This strategy can be noticed before you company The core price is inflated So the price reduction seems to be more liberal than that. It can be called cunning but deceitful. Many buyers will not be able to pinpoint the actual inflation unless they have been tracking the product for some time already.

The same note, business sometimes Free offer If you hit a specific purchase target. If you are on the verge of hitting the target, you may want to buy something else to get the free item whether you need it or not.

Scores on these markdowns and free goodies are like small wins. Basically, companies rely on the will of consumers to “win”.

But if the sellers benefit, will we really win? If not here’s a new product just for you!

Why do we still fall for it?

Even after noticing the small strategies companies can pull us to spend, sales still increase during the festive season.

According to a 2021 survey by Rakuten Insight, 73% of respondents said they plan to shop for the holidays. It shows that we prioritize ourselves to spend time during the festival. Society has normalized the habit of selling festivals, so we are more receptive to it, illusions or not.

Sometimes, we want an excuse to shop. Studies have shown that shopping has a therapeutic value. That’s right, Retail treatment Works if done moderately. The science behind it says that shopping can give a mental and emotional stimulus, because it restores the feeling of control within us.

Image credit: pixels

On a more negative note, we may be influenced by Peer pressure Also, more heated by social media. The Fear of getting lost (FOMO) and Upward comparison Social media has an impact on our aspirations, so influential people are one thing.

The way many online shopping apps make it easy to share links to a product makes FOMO even more sophisticated, especially if the person recommending the product to you is doing so from experience.

It may be morally daunting for businesses to use specific strategies to increase their revenue, but some may argue that it ultimately helps the economy.

Bottom line

At the end of the day, we return to a familiar crossroads দ্ব the double-edged sword of capitalism.

Somewhere in the journey of humanity, we have decided that material items can be used to represent affection and celebration, and companies have naturally taken advantage of this.

It is not a sin to exploit human desire for happiness, but overuse is not the best thing for our planet. Excessive shopping due to everything being “sold” and ending up with lots of unnecessary items translates to more garbage down the street.

Image Credit: Unsplash

So, takeaway is to be aware that these businesses are playing mind games with all these sales and promotions and shopping moderately.

Avoiding emotional outbursts to encourage festive sales is a particularly good practice. Some of the tips shared by financial bloggers include making it harder to access your money, keeping bank accounts unlinked from the platform, and finding other ways to express your emotions.

If you still feel the urge, you can try to get rid of advertising notifications and newsletters, or use the 72-hour rule, where you wait 72 hours before you decide to buy something. If you have already lost interest in it, it was not an urgent need in the first place.

  • Read more opinion pieces we wrote here.

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