Shoppers don't like others touching items

May 2, 2006

Canadian scientists say they've found shoppers are much less likely to buy an article of clothing if they believe another person has already touched it.

"Consumer contact with products is a double-edged sword," said Jennifer Argo, a professor at the University of Alberta's school of business. "Prior research has shown people like to touch products, but now we've found they really don't like it if someone else has touched them first."

Argo and colleagues found not only are shoppers much less inclined to buy a shirt if they believed someone else had already touched it, shoppers also indicated the value of the product had been diminished if they knew it had been touched.

The researchers also determined "disgust" was the underlying reason for the participants' opinions, and that the level of disgust increased as the perception of the extent to which the article had been touched or tried on also increased.

The results of the research are published in the Journal of Marketing.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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