“I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it” sings Ariana Grande in her song 7 rings. And it doesn’t just seem to be Ariana’s way. In a study by Gidlöf and colleagues (2017), researchers found that visual attention to products in a supermarket influenced purchase decisions more than factors such as brand preference, price sensitivity, or culinary inclinations.
How did the study proceed?
To investigate this, the researchers equipped the participants in the study with eye cameras and had them shop in a supermarket. They investigated which factors influence a purchase decision. In particular, internal factors such as price sensitivity, brand preference, and inclinations in one’s diet were examined, as well as external factors including the placement of individual products and the visual salience of products.
What were the results of the study?
Both internal and external factors influenced which products the participants looked at, but brand preference and the visual salience of the product were particularly critical in determining whether a product was looked at. However, the most decisive factor for a purchase of a product was the visual salience of a product alone. Simply looking at a product for a longer period of time or repeatedly – for whatever reason – made it more likely that the product would be purchased. So visual attention plays a critical role in understanding consumer behavior, even in the crowded environment of a supermarket. In other words, what catches your eye right away, you’re more likely to take home. Looking is buying!
You were right, Ariana!
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References (click to expand)
Gidlöf, K., Anikin, A., Lingonblad, M., & Wallin, A. (2017). Looking is buying. How visual attention and choice are affected by consumer preferences and properties of the supermarket shelf. Appetite, 116, 29-38.