“Only 5 left” – the effect of sales promotion across weight status and income

Within the framework of evolutionary psychology, obesity is seen as the manifestation of a competitive advantage to detect scarce goods. This holds especially, when one’s own resources are scarce. Translating this background to the retails setting, Anne O. Peschel (Aarhus University) investigates the effect of different sales promotion formats on consumers’ choices.

The results show that consumers with a lower income, but a higher weight status, respond more to sales promotion signaling scarcity (“limited edition”, “only 5 left”), compared to higher income or normal weight consumers.

Income did not have an effect for sales promotions signaling abundance (“50% off”, “2 for 1”). Depending on the target group, retailers can employ their sales promotion tools accordingly to either stir consumption or even reduce overspending, by refraining from scarcity cues for the lower income, high weight status population.