Is bargain hunting a family trait?
According to a study from professors at Rutgers School of Business-Camden and Pace University, "deal proneness" is passed down from generation to generation.
"It’s a thrill of getting something worth $200 for $49.99. It’s a thrill that you’ve outsmarted the business that’s very powerful," Robert Schindler, a professor of marketing at the Rutgers School of Business-Camden who led the study told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It’s a matter of pride."
Researchers examined parenting style when surveying 83 parent-child pairs about their deal proneness. The age of the children ranged from 18 to 35, while the parents ranged from 38 to 74. His paper, "Intergenerational Influence in Consumer Deal Proneness," was published in the Psychology and Marketing journal.
The study found that some bargain hunting traits are taught. Others are picked up as children observing their parents going out of their way to take advantage of sales adopt similar habits as adults.
In one twist, while past research has found that a restrictive style of parenting has more influence on children than a permissive one, parents who are permissive of their children’s actions and behavior were found to be more likely to pass on their deal-prone habits to their children.
"We think that’s because past studies have focused on discipline-related behaviors, such as eating fruits and vegetables and not smoking. Deal proneness is not discipline related — it’s more of an indulgence," Prof. Schindler told ScienceBlog. "People who are deal-prone spend time shopping for a bargain and really enjoy getting the discount. That’s an indulgence."
Deal proneness is seen as a benefit to stores, which can target those behaviors. Consumers face positives and negatives.
"On one hand, the deal-prone consumer is more likely to buy something that he or she doesn’t really need," Prof. Schindler told Rutgers-Camden Campus News. "On the other hand, getting bargains gives deal-prone people a genuine sense of pride."
- Intergenerational Influence in Consumer Deal Proneness – Psychology & Marketing (purchase required)
- Is Bargain Shopping a Family Trait? New Research Suggests So –
Rutgers-Camden Campus News
- Is Bargain Shopping a Hereditary Trait? – ScienceBlog
- Shopping for bargains? It’s all in the family – The Philadelphia Inquirer
Do you think deal hunting is a learned behavior? Do you agree that deal hunting is a form of indulgence that leads consumers to purchase items they do not really need? How can retailers address this trait to their benefit?