The Value of Cash

Card payments have become very common, but perhaps we should be more mindful when paying by card over cash. A recent study from Professor Shah (from UTSC) shows the correlation between overspending and non-cash payments. What does this imply and what can we do about it?



In a world where traditional wallets are being replaced by card holders, overspending is becoming more and more common. The shift from cash to card payments seems to have unexpected impacts on people’s buying habits.


A recent study conducted by Professor Shah shows how the average consumer tends to value hard cash over other forms of payment. The theory is that people feel a sharper sting when parting with cash compared to when paying by card because there is a tangible object that they part with. It is not rational, but still people feel it. You may have experienced this yourself, but what is interesting is how this mentality of valuing cash higher than card transactions impacts your thoughts on the product itself after buying it.


The experiment by Professor Shah demonstrates this well. She had two separate groups of people buy the same $2 mug, but one group paid in cash while the other paid with debit or credit card. Two hours after the customers bought the mug, she asked the customers to return the mugs for a price they found fair. While the group that paid with cards asked for an average compensation of $3.83, the group who paid in cash asked for $6.71.


The significant difference between the price of the mug set by the two groups demonstrate how people evaluate the actual product differently depending on how they pay. It is a similar concept with thinking a $100 pair shoes must be a better quality than a $20 pair of shoes. Since people value cash more than card payments, the products bought by cash seem to be of better quality. On top of that, card transactions evoke a smaller sense of ownership. When handling cash, the physical exchange causes one to believe “I own this” more so than cards.


These two different mindsets lead to less satisfaction with a product when bought by card than cash. Not only are people spending more, but they are less content with their purchases!


If you find yourself overspending or unsatisfied with your purchases, perhaps it is time to find a strategy to avoid this mentality. A simple solution is to start carrying cash and using it to make small purchases such as coffee. As Professor Shah says, if you want to enjoy really good coffee, pay with cash. Another method that I personally use is to download the app of your bank and set the notification settings so that each time a transaction passes, you are notified of the amount deducted from your bank account. Believe me, it stings to see a notification on your phone letting you know you’ve spent X amount of dollars, but the coffee I drink is always marvelous.


By: Ellen Imamura


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Why Women Enjoy Shopping but Most Men Don’t

There is no evidence to suggest that women shop more than men. It’s only that females enjoy shopping more than males do!


The stereotype of women, being as they are, shop more than men. But there’s actually no evidence that supports this statement! Female only enjoys shopping more than males.
In 2013, a study of 2,000 shoppers in UK found that men got bored of shopping within 26 minutes. However, women did not show any signs of fatigue for the next two hours!
But wait, why is this the case?

One theory says that hundreds of years of conditioning makes men and women behave this way. Back in the old days, when our ancestors lived in caves, the male hunted animals while the females gathered food. It was necessary for males to kill quick and head back to safety of settlement as fast as they could. This explains why males often enter the store, choose a product, pay, and leave at efficiently and at ease. Although, hunters went out in groups, hunting was not a social event. Thus, this theory also suggests that men prefer to shop alone. This holds true in UK as they found that 80% of men prefer to shop alone.

On the other hand, female gatherers were not in such a tearing hurry. Foraging for food was a social event that bonded other females of the tribe, inspecting every bush and tree to choose the best quality of food available. Which is now how women shops, by comparing item to item, looking for alternatives and exchanging information among other female shoppers.

So, next time when you are shopping, whether if you’re a female or male, watch your behaviour! It is truly interesting if you fall within the boundaries of this theory or even out of the range. Either way, we are consumers with all the interest in maximizing our satisfaction, whatever that may and however long we shop.


By: Queena Zeng

Consumer Anxiety – The Urgency to Buy

When you are at the mall, do you always feel like there is an urgency to buy things? From the coffee at Starbucks, to the new iPhone 7, or even the new GoPro Drone. We constantly feel the need to buy things! What is the emergency and what is the force behind it?

Today, we are constantly doing and feeling “something”. We are always wanting “something” to satisfy our ever-ending needs. Perhaps, marketers have a role in this.

For instance, marketers are able to encourage our buying behaviours. They stimulate our desires and drives for the products they market. At times, it can also resemble a sense of urgency that we must buy the shoes that are on sale or a cup of freshly brewed Tim Hortons’ double double as we walk by Tim Hortons. Marketers, have enabled, even encouraged, a persistent state of panic.

In the Ad Week Article, written by Jason Alan Snyder, he analyzes the “crisis culture in marketing is real and pervasive.” He notes that brands are willing to act this way because by colliding consumer behaviour with crisis, it yields urgency that would make consumer take notice and even action of their product.

We see this everyday. When we are in the grocery store or the mall! The countless signs that says “Limited Time Offer”, “Buy 2 for 1”, “Buy 1 Get 1 FREE”, etc. These are countless sales strategies that are embedded in our minds a sense of pressure and necessity to buy these products or else it’s too late! This crisis generates our fear of missing out which is yet amplified by technology. Have you ever felt that missing out on deals was a shortfall to our full potential of happiness?

As of result, we, as consumer and citizens can be diluted of our own identity from the distractions of daily marketers. Do we truly know what we want? Should we have the right to justified marketing?

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The World According to Facebook: 3 Trends in Online Consumer Behaviour

By: Queena Zeng

The way people act online is changing fundamentally every year. With over a billion active users, who is better to comment on user behaviour than Facebook? Ed Couchman, the social network’s Head of Agency Relation shares the three biggest behaviour changes currently happening on the internet. Can you guess these trends?

The way we, as people act and behave online has drastically changed in the last decade. Ever since Snapchat came out in 2011, the way we communicate and consume information was revolutionized. In the following, Facebook recognizes the top three trends in online consumer behaviour.


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A Move from Desktop to Mobile

Phones are everywhere and it has not stopped growing.  We see everywhere we look, walking on the streets, on the bus, or on subways. Phones are essential in our daily modern life.

However, Ed Couchman, Facebook’s head of agency relations, highlights that the pace of change is truly remarkable and significant. He takes note of the fact that television has taken decades to reach a billion units sold, while smartphones took only four years.

Couchman also shares in UK alone, 26 million access Facebook via mobile every day. While last year it was 24 million and the year before was 20 million.

There has also been a parallel increase in video views with rise of mobile usage. Facebook currently generates 8 billion views per day, in which 75% are on mobile (UK).

These statistics are huge, and we can all agree on this as we witness this on our Facebook feeds where videos currently dominate.


An Increase in Visual Communication

Thanks to Snapchat and Instagram, we are shaping our communication away from texts and more so through imagery.

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Facebook states that the use of emojis and stickers is up by 388%. Even Oxford Dictionary’s 2015 word of the year was “emoji”.

This may be inevitable as visual form is easiest to process than any text form. Facebook can validate this fact as mentioned earlier, videos are dominating our feeds and users are constantly sharing images and videos rather than texts. Couchman predicts that by 2018, nine out of ten stories on Facebook will be audio/visual based.



On Mobile People Are Discovering, Not searching
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When we are waiting for a bus or train or just killing time, we want to be entertained. We are constantly discovering not only new information about products or news, but what our friends or celebrities are doing on a regular basis.


Personalization at Scale

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Brands are now making their content more relevant and targeted to each consumer through personalization. We may see this already on a day to day basis. Where we may search up a product on google, and it shows up as an advertisement on our Facebook or Instagram Feed.

With all in mind, the way we communicate and process information is now highly visualized and audio-based. Even with the newly released, Pokemon Go, it has completely revolutionized the way mobile games may be in a few years. Perhaps in the future, texting may not be needed as video calling and “audio” messages will be the prominent norm



Five Trends That Will Change Consumer Behaviour in 2016

By: Meryem Aksahan

  1. Automated creation

Crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter have made funding an idea a lot simpler. Crowdfunding sites also provide opportunities of improvement with your new innovation or service. FiftyThree Paper’s Mix app is the number one stop for those individuals that want to launch an application or website. It’s an environment where designers and artists merge to guide and inspire these entrepreneur’s with endless tutorials on how to successfully produce your digital masterpiece. Read more

Stalked While You Shop?

By: Linda Bo

What if you were told that when you walk into a store, your every move is being tracked, even your consumer profile at the store is collected. Many people are unaware, but this is exactly what retails stores are doing with software designed to track customers and gather information. Brick and mortar stores such as Nordstrom and American Apparel are implementing such technologies to learn more about their customers. Even small coffee shops and bakeries are becoming more aware of new ways to learn about consumer behaviour.
Read more

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