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Urge to splurge online? Why you should put the touchscreen down

Click to play video: 'Study finds online shoppers spend more using smart phones than desktops'
Study finds online shoppers spend more using smart phones than desktops
Having trouble resisting the urge to splurge? The solution could be a simple as putting down your smart phone and opting for a desktop. As John Hua reports, new research from the University of British Columbia Okanagan shows shoppers tend to spend more when the purchase is in the palm of their hand – Aug 17, 2017

Looking to get a handle on those online impulse buys? A new study suggests you may want to put your tablet, smartphone, or any touchscreen for that matter, down.

The UBC Okanagan (UBCO) study found you’re more likely to indulge in guilty pleasures when shopping online with a touchscreen than when you’re on a desktop computer.

“Given [touch screen technology’s] fast growth and popularity, we know surprisingly little about its effect on consumers,” UBCO faculty of management assistant professor Ying Zhu said.
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So researchers at UBCO decided to look into it. This study specifically analyzed consumer spending for two types of purchases: practical items and things we splurge on, but don’t necessarily need.

“Overall, what we learned is that using a touchscreen evokes consumers’ experiential thinking, which resonates with the playful nature of hedonic [indulgent] products,” Zhu said. “The logical and functional nature of a desktop endorses consumers’ preference for utilitarian [functional] products.”

“These results may well be a game-changer for sectors like the retail industry.”

The simple advice if you’re looking to stop those impulse buys – “put away the smartphone when you have the urge to spend on a guilty pleasure,” Zhu said.

But depending on who you are, that may be easier said than done.

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