Price awareness, or knowing how much something costs, can stop us from fully enjoying a new purchase.
We buy or spend on certain things because we enjoy them or get some other benefit out of them. For example, we may want to buy a new car because it's useful and we've spent a long time saving up for it. The experience of buying a car and the purchase itself are things that we can and do feel good about. So when we buy something new, we want to enjoy that new purchase for as long as possible.
However, price awareness is the party pooper that makes the enjoyment we feel fade away much more quickly. Researchers say that this happens because we tend to be more critical of an experience or purchase when we're aware of the money involved.
For example, you buy a new smart phone with a lot of great features. When you first get the phone, you explore its features and you enjoy your new purchase. But then, you start thinking of whether or not these features are worth the extra money you paid for it. You start doubting if you should have bought this phone, or different, cheaper one instead. Once you think about the price and what the phone is worth, you pay less attention to what you like about the phone itself.
Researchers ran an experiment in which participants had to listen to five songs that are available for sale online. Participants had to listen to each song for three times. One group can see how much the song is worth (99 cents), while another group can't.
The participants evaluated each song after hearing it for the first time and gave it an average score of 80. After the third time, the group with price awareness gave the songs a score of 30, while the other group gave the songs a score of 60. This showed that the negative effects of knowing the price of something comes about over time, not immediately.
However, this doesn't mean that consumers shouldn't think of the price of things at all. The researchers recommend that consumers should instead turn their focus away from the price. Thinking of how much something costs can make people enjoy a product or experience far less than they should. Price awareness may of course be good for your wallet and budget. However, if you don't enjoy what you spend on, it won't be worth the price you paid for it in the end.
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