It's a feeling we're all familiar with - just after you've bought a swanky new car, you're ready to show it off to all and sundry. But in a few days, the sheen seems to wear off, the brand new car might not look all that appealing as it once did, and the enjoyment derived from it disappears. Scientists are out to prove that this feeling we've experienced is for real.
The team including an Indian origin researcher revealed that consumers often tend to overestimate the long-term enjoyment from various products including toys, cars, stereos, iPods, and digital cameras when making a purchase decision, even though when asked directly, they seem to know that they will enjoy these products less over time.
Jing Wang from Singapore Management University and, Nathan Novemsky, and Ravi Dhar both from Yale University, examine why predictions of future product enjoyment don't tend to match reality.
During the study, the participants were asked to make a choice between two cars: a base model and the same care with a sunroof for an additional 900 dollars.
"Before choosing a car, one group predicted how much they would enjoy the sunroof several months after purchase, while another predicted enjoyment at two points, both immediately after purchase and several months later, to simulate the progression of time," write the authors.
"The latter group accurately expected their enjoyment of the sunroof to diminish over time, while the former group overestimated their enjoyment level for the sunroof several months after purchase," they added.
In the sunroof study, only 26 percent of the participants who thought about their enjoyment over the duration of time wanted to buy the car with the sunroof, while 61 percent of the other participants said they would purchase it.
The study appears in the Journal of Consumer Research.