Keeping up with the Joneses’ garbageman - Metro US

Keeping up with the Joneses’ garbageman

You think A-list celebs and global sports stars flaunting the latest tech gadgets makes you want to buy them? Well, think again! According to a new study, it may be your office janitor or your neighborhood’s garbageman who most affects what you to buy.

Marketing experts from the U.S. and Israel claim that seeing a desirable item in the hands of someone socially “inferior” to us compels us to run out and buy it — because we’re afraid of being looked down upon. They label this phenomenon as the “low status user effect.”

“It may be the janitor who makes you want to run out and purchase the latest gadget,” researchers Edith Shalev, of the Israel Institute of Technology, and Vicki G Morwitz, of New York University, stated in their paper, published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

In one study, research participants were more interested in purchasing a swanky T-shirt when a grocery packer wore it, as opposed to a college student.

Researchers say their findings come with one caveat: They proved true only when participants believed tech gizmos to be an important part of their lives.

“People naturally and automatically make comparisons,” lead co-author of study Morwitz told Metro. “We try to find out things about ourselves by comparing to the other. Downward comparisons proved to be surprisingly powerful.”

“Consumers from a lower socioeconomic status are not usually considered ideal influencers,” researchers added.

More from our Sister Sites