The Neurology Behind Luxury Purchases Gives New Meaning To The Term "Impulse Buy"

You may think that your choice to snap up those Christian Louboutin heels at half price or that Tom Ford Shade And Illuminate Palette was the result of careful deliberation and logical thought, but a new study proves you may be completely wrong. Business of Fashion reports that the neurology behind luxury purchases points to passion as a major motivational factor. New evidence gives an entirely different meaning to the term "impulse buy" especially where expensive and well-established brands are concerned. According to Business of Fashion, a luxury buy may boil down to one particular factor: perceived value.

In a new hybrid of neuroscience and marketing entitled "neuromarketing", companies and universities analyze brain activity to deduce what captures the attention — and wallets — of consumers. The conclusion reached by many is that items perceived to be precious and expensive are craved more by consumers than items perceived as less extravagant. This pivotal piece of information is credited in part to a study spearheaded by the Copenhagen Business School in 2014, in which participants demonstrated physiological reactions to clothing that was associated with a couture or luxury label.

In fact, an item of clothing or an accessory need not be literally expensive to kickstart a craving; the shopper simply needs to think the product in question is luxurious in order to be swayed. This unexpected discovery goes great lengths in explaining why consumers buy ripped jeans for $300 or a pair of plastic sunglasses for $200; if the label is J Brand or Chloe, the item is considered valuable no matter what materials were utilized in its creation. It seems the analytical purchase is a figment of consumers' collective imaginations.

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Furthermore, with the availability of retail apps, mobile websites accessed from one's iPhone, and flash sales, logic is becoming even more obsolete in the shopping experience. One could easily empty their bank account by skimming through their phone on a 30-minute commute to work. So the next time you pull out your phone to absentmindedly scroll through a pop-up sale or wander into a boutique on a lazy Saturday, remember that your emotions are holding your purse strings, not your inner logician.