The Latest Neuromarketing Insights

Why You Would Never Buy The Clothes That Make You The Most Happy

Relevant topics Archive, Strategy

  • Neuromarketing Principle:
    Bold colors and patterns in product design give consumers long-lasting satisfaction of the product. But consumers don’t always know that.
  • Application:
    Discover how to use bold product designs and colors to win consumers in the long run.
  • If you need to buy a running T-shirt, which one would you choose? One with a solid, neutral color or one with a bright, colorful pattern?  Which choice will give you more satisfaction one year later?

    Research has found that our buying decisions are often inconsistent with what we prefer in the long run. Most people tend to choose T-shirts with a simple design and a neutral color, believing they would be happier with their choices later.  However, in reality, people experience more long-lasting satisfaction with bolder, attention-catching designs and colors.

    What Clothes Make Us Happy?

    Studies have shown that consumers are not accurate in predicting which characteristics of a product will give them long-lasting satisfaction. Given consumers’ decisions on what to buy have a lot to do with the predicted satisfaction, it is important to explore what characteristics of a product are important.

    Visual appeal is an important part of product design that impacts our experiences. What we see has a strong influence on our emotions and behaviors. However, little is known about how product design and color can influence our liking of a product in the future.

    When we use a product over a period of time, our sensory systems adapt to its visual appearance gradually. If we like or dislike a product at the beginning, the liking or disliking gradually fades away.

    The Difference Between Predicted and Actual Satisfaction

    The latest research shows that consumers anticipate a faster decline in product satisfaction when the product design and colors are bold or unconventional. However, in real experience, the decline in satisfaction is much slower than anticipated. Consumers’ intuition can lead them to buy products that don’t give them the most long-term satisfaction.

    This study also provides evidence that consumers’ preferences for product designs are influenced by the length of time during which the products will be used. The longer a product is expected to be used, the less preference is given to products with bolder, color designs.

    Consumers’ intuitions can be misguided. This may result from conflicts in decision-making processes. On one hand, consumers prefer simple designs and neutral colors because they believe those products will not go out of style. On the other hand, they prefer bolder designs with brighter colors, but they anticipate their liking will decrease rapidly, reducing their long-term satisfaction.

    How can marketers learn from this research? When it comes to designing products, logos, and stores, adopting a bolder design can be the differentiation from competition. This design philosophy may make a brand more memorable and give the brand a clear identity. These bolder designs increase the long-term satisfaction the consumer has with your brand. However, if you want to make a quick buck, like Primark or ZARA, you might want to use more simple designs and colors.

    Boundary Conditions

    This research has brought attention to how the visual appeal of product designs can influence and predict consumers’ long-term satisfaction. However, visual appeal by itself may not serve as a highly reliable predictor because other factors can also influence consumers’ long-term satisfaction. There are also no standards as to what is considered as strong, bold designs.

    Take-home points

    • When it comes to durable products, consumers unknowingly prefer product designs that have bolder visual appeals in terms of design and color. However, consumers falsely predict that they will prefer simple designs and neutral colors over the long term.
    • Creating visually exciting products can create more satisfied, lasting experiences for consumers.
    • Visually exciting designs can make a strong statement about a brand, making it more memorable.
  • Why You Would Never Buy The Clothes That Make You The Most Happy
  • Reference:

    Buechel, E. C., Townsend, C., & Moreau, P. (2018). Buying Beauty for the Long Run:(Mis) predicting Liking of Product Aesthetics. Journal of Consumer Research.


    Further Reading

    • When to Follow Customer Expectations – And when to Break Them

      When to Follow Customer Expectations – And when to Break Them

      Each and every day, package designers, retail planners and online UX experts all face the same question: should you follow customer expectations, or should you break them?

      Many experts propose that stores, products and websites should strictly adhere to what the customer expects. This would increase the fluency of the customer experience, leading to increased feelings of positive emotion and – ultimately – purchase behavior.

      Nonetheless, there are countless examples of successful concepts that had their rule-breaking philosophy to thank for. From Dell cutting out the middle man in an industry where no one believed people would buy any place else than the retail store, to Craigslist proving discarding many emblematic UX and design rules.


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