Friday, June 26, 2015

What will you buy today? It depends, are you feeling anxious or empowered?

We have discussed the fact that all decision-making is emotional.  Now comes research that indicates which emotions drive us when we buy things.  For Millennials, it is largely anxiety or empowerment that drives their purchasing.

For cars purchases the most common emotions are success, love and hope.  But for car repairs they are fear, stress, and confusion.

Interestingly, travel causes nearly as much anxiety (25%) as empowerment (34%). (Sullivan, 2015)

So what about you?  Think about the last thing you bought.  Did empowerment or anxiety come into play?  Or perhaps joy, sadness, and disgust?  (Yes, I saw Inside Out this week.)

Sullivan, L. (2015, June 24)  Marketers Fail At Using Emotional Drivers To Reach Millennials.  Retrieved June 26, from


  1. I just bought a Yoga mat on Amazon yesterday. My feeling of this purchase is a mixture of excitement, guilt and anxiety. I’m more of an inactive woman, I had one Yoga mat for 8 years but almost never used it, so I posted it onto a second-hand website and left it there for months. A few days ago, someone bought it, finally! After shipping it, the first thing came to my mind was “I need a Yoga mat!” You see how crazy this is? Even worse, this idea haunted me for the last two weeks until I bought a new one eventually. I’m trying to change myself to be more active and exercise more, so this mat makes me a little bit exciting, but what if it’s a waste of money again? What am I gonna to do with it? Then I got overwhelmed by anxiety even before I receive that mat.

  2. Going off of the comment above, I bought a Jawbone UP2 band this weekend. I had previously owned a different fitness tracker, but I sold it because I thought there were better ones on the market. This weekend, I ran my first half marathon in my goal time, so I figured I would treat myself to a new tracker! I guess in this regard, some mixture of excitement and pride motivated my purchase. These purchases tend to be the most deadly, though, because there is no guilt associated with buying the item, which means I am far less likely to regret buying it and return it.

  3. I have been in a process of putting together a road trip to Boston with my husband. I have done some research regarding the places we should visit on our way up, and while doing that I just found out there is a six flags park North of Hartford, CT. I got very excited since we have been wanting to go to Six Flags for a long time now, so this seems the perfect timing to do everything together. I personally love traveling, for me, it is the best way to spend your money, it is like an investment on yourself because these experiences will be with you forever. So I finally booked the whole trip. We are visiting New Haven, then going up to Six Flags, then Boston, and our way back we are going to stop by Providence. I can´t really wait to visit these new places because neither of us have been there! And obviously can´t wait to share all the pictures with family and friends :)

    In the post it is mentioned that travel causes nearly as much anxiety as empowerment. I definitely agree on that. I believe we are all looking to show off our new experiences by sharing the pictures on the different social channels, especially Facebook and Instragram. It is like automatically set up on our reaction of a picture, and I speak also for myself, that when taking one photo that involves a new experience or exciting moment, the first thing I want to do is putting it up on Instagram so that I can share it and brag about it with my family and friends :) It does make us feel empowered in a good way. So there is definitely a connection of empowerment when we decide to book a new travel experience (even anything else, like clothing, a new car, a new house, a new pet- it is all about putting it visually out there for anyone else to see it). Of course the main purpose is to enjoy and experience something different, which brings you a lot of excitement, happiness and expectations. But also there is a little feeling of empowerment when you visualize yourself in the travel adventure, taking all these pictures that later you are going to be sharing with family and friends.

  4. I recently bought a food processor earlier this month. It has arrived and I do have to admit that it is still in the box unused. I have been on this clean eating kick and have been cooking a lot, and many recipes call for a food processor. I have been using a blender, bur supposedly a food processor is suppose to make things a lot easier on me. At the time of purchase, I don’t remember feeling anxious, but I guess I could say it made be feel empowered/professional to have the right tools.
    I think that the biggest driver in my purchasing decisions, specially since I moved to NYC, is comfort, convenience, and/or necessity. I guess I am good at convincing my self of necessities because I still don’t feel guilty about the food processor :)

    -Yasmine Abdallah

  5. When you are living in New York, convenience is a factor. For me online shopping is the way to go. Psychologically speaking receiving packages triggers joy in me. It goes back to that feeling of when you were young and would receive a present in the mail from a family member or when you were in college, there was a great feeling associated with receiving a care package. Therefore whether it be an outfit from Gilt Groupe, a meal from Blue Apron, or general supplies from Amazon, an emotional trigger of happiness comes into play when seeing that brown box waiting to be opened.

  6. This is Bert Contestabile:

    I submitted a reply yesterday but I don't see it here. So I will reprise what I said in the previous post. I finally broke sown a bought the Apple Watch. I have been waiting since it was released because I didn't want to spend the money and I had some doubts. It was empowering to buy it and I am very excited about the purchase. I am also anxious about the buy as well. Not sure I will really like it also I don;t want to catch the wrath of the doubters. I tend to be a first adopter of most things but primarily tech. I love tech and it has an overwhelming cool factor. At my age being cool isn't something that happens very often. My fear is that i won't like it after all said and done. My emotion during the process was a mix of empowerment, excitement, anxiety and fear. I got the cool factor but there is lots of anxiety and doubt. As I play with the product I will get a better sense which emotion will carry the day but as of now I feel cool and empowered.

  7. I love the finding that travel causes as much anxiety as empowerment. I can definitely relate because I love travelling and even though there is a certain amount of anxiety that goes with it, to me it is a good kind of anxiety.
    This week's TimeOut just came out today and has come out with an ad on both the front and back covers with the tagline "Wing everything. Except your accommodation." This resonates with me because I don't like having a fixed itinerary when I travel and enjoy finding my way once I'm on the road. I feel like the ad does a good job of capturing that emotion.


  8. Last thing I bought was a pair of Ray-Ban Sunglasses. Did this online and felt some anxiety and stress over the handling process. The most important part of the order, I handled ahead of time by trying on, the size and shape of the glasses. I am pretty particular because I feel my head is a bit small and would rather not look like a bug or insect!

    I did find a online site (a little sketchy) with a lower price than I had seen in physically in stores, so I went with it. There came a guarantee, however the only garuntee in life is "Death and Taxes".
    Needless to say, they arrived a week late, because they sent non-polarized when specifically checking the Polarized Option. It took an extra phone call to make sure the order was processed correctly.
    That about wraps up my feeling about purchases..If its important to you, or an expensive buy (like a car), its worth seeing the physical purchase before. Maybe you search for it online then see in person, or the other way around, in today's world we have enough information usually to get exactly what we want.
    Because this was a an 80 dollar order (expensive but not life-changing), I was slightly upset about week delay. As I did feel emotionally attached to them because they filled a need/desire to block out sun-rays while looking cool doing it.

  9. Over the last 2 odd months that I’ve been living in New York, every fourth person I have interacted with, or to be more specific, every third woman/girl I have interacted with, turns into a slightly difficult situation to navigate, meals-wise! Why? Well because of this (arguably) niche, yet powerful brand – Brand Organic. No, I’m not talking about a hipster new line of products or boutique cafes, but instead in general about ALL things organic.
    From the Pret-A-Mangers, to the Whole Foods of the city…the Liquiterias, the Kale chips, the organic bakeries, the organic salad bars…the list in this city seems to go on. And thanks to the plethora of options available to the “uber”-aware, every time I would like to grab a bite with a friend (who belongs to the afore-mentioned demographic!) at a spot that either comes highly recommended or is affordable or simply the most conveniently situated, the question that inevitably takes precedence over all else, is – organic or not?
    Now while the importance being attached to picking a place to eat at, might be mine alone, how Brand Organic is being perceived, isn’t! Organic is more than just being healthy, or conscious of what goes into one’s body, or aware of how the produce is being grown, or where the meat has come from. Organic has evolved into a phenomenon that is perceived as & relates to the words/phrases – hip, relevant, urban, self-aware, self-worth, catering almost to one’s vanity…in other words anything and everything that inspires confidence or lends a sense of empowerment to the end user. In fact, Brand Organic has evolved into such a powerful circumstance today, that a lack of interest in it, could actually inspire feelings & a perception to the contrary – ignorant, deplorable, unworthy – in both the patron as well as the non-conformist!

    - Moumita; mvr275

  10. The last thing I bought was a pair of glasses for my boyfriends’ birthday at Macys, that purchase made me feel really empowered and the reason why is because of the negotiation.

    There was this offer about purchasing a pair of polarized glasses that could give you a 40US off in the second pair of the same price or less.

    I didn’t wanted to buy two pair of glasses, but this sounded really tenting, so I asked the girl in the glasses stand if the reference I was interested were included in this promotion, she told me they were not, so even if I were intended in buying two pairs I wouldn’t get any discount.

    I felt so frustrated and realized this advertise was really tricky (as usually) everything I like at every store I go is never on sale, bad luck, I was disappointed, but I was still thinking I really needed those glasses.

    So I put my surprise-sad face and asked the girl again: So, if I buy this pair of glasses for example right now! there’s no discount at all? are you sure???

    She laughs and told me: Ok, lets make a deal. If you buy them now, I will give you a 25US off bonus, I told her, what if I want two pair? I would only get the 25US off instead of the 40 of that sign! Not fair, this are way more expensive.

    She told me, ok, I will give you a second bonus if you buy two pair but only for today, so you would get 50US discount in total, but you have to pay for them separately because I can only give a 25Us off bonus for each purchase.

    In exactly the moment I heard that I felt so proud of myself! Immediately changed my mood and told her, ok pack them for me, where should I pay?

    I gained an extra 10US off bonus from the original offer and with the references I wanted! Even If I was not going to buy the second pair. I didnt mind, it made me feel great.

    I totally recovered my happiness, I actually enjoyed this purchase even more than a thing I could have bought for myself.