Do Thoughts of Death Spur You to Buy?

Now this is weird. Do thoughts of death change our shopping habits?

According to a new study, yes, they do. reports that it's not really what you think, but just that, in this time of holiday merriment, it's easy to become really depressed about reports of plane crashes, terrorist attacks, fatal car accidents and deadly fires, which may lead shoppers to think more about their own mortality than buying that new iPhone for your kid.

Now new research from the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) and HEC Montréal shows that, for people with certain world views, thoughts of death don't cause us to curl up in our homes and not venture out.  They can actually trigger the buying impulse.

While the habits of spendthrifts don't change after contemplating their own mortality, compulsive shoppers, on the other hand, go out and buy more.

"Previous research shows that thoughts of death lead individuals to strongly defend world views that maintain their self-esteem," researchers say. "In other words, thinking about death will likely make people cling even more strongly to their beliefs because it's a way to cope with mortality.  This indicates that such consumers see purchasing and having goods and services as an important source of self-esteem. When they think about death, they become more inclined to buy because this helps them feel better about themselves."

I don't know about you but a new pair of Manolo Blahnick's always make me feel better (that is, if I could afford them).


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