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

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Seung Yun Lee
Sangdo Oh
Sunho Jung
Cite this article:  Lee, S., 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.


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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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