Mood affects consumer inferences of marketers’ scarcity claim as a sales tactic

Seung Yun Lee1, Sangdo Oh2, Sunho Jung3
1College of Business, Konkuk University, Republic of Korea
2School of Business, College of Government and Business, Yonsei University, Republic of Korea
3School of Management, Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea
Cite this article:  Lee, S. Y., Oh, S., & Jung, S. (2016). Mood affects consumer inferences of marketers’ scarcity claim as a sales tactic. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44(7), 1163-1172.

Volume 44 Issue 7 | e5374 | Published: August 2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2016.44.7.1163

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Participants were 130 undergraduate students at a large university, who made product evaluation ratings (i.e., attitude toward a brand) and rated their perceptions of scarcity claims as a sales tactic, after we had manipulated their mood. Results showed that when individuals were in a negative mood, their preference for mood repair led them to rely on the heuristic of scarcity = value inference to improve their mood. Therefore, scarcity had a positive effect on consumers’ product evaluation when they were in a negative mood. In contrast, when individuals were in a positive mood, they were motivated to retain their mood by avoiding negative events. Thus, consumers in a positive mood were more sensitive to the possibility of a scarcity claim being a sales tactic used by marketers to artificially increase demand. Further, their increased inference of scarcity claims being a sales tactic attenuated the positive effect of scarcity on their product evaluation.

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