Customized wine lists. Wardrobe options to suit your taste. A unique experience. The planet is teeming with products and services that promise a personalized experience to every customer. And according to a new study from the University of Florida, our smartphones subconsciously make us prefer these kind of personal choices.
This work has made it possible to discover that interest in these personal choices, or even in rare or special products, actually nurtures when our phones capture us. The special and personal relationship we have with these devices seems to encourage us to express our personalities more than when we buy products on a larger computer, or when we borrow someone else’s phone.
The findings suggest that companies must – and indeed can – change what they offer consumers, depending on the device in use. Enabling self-expression via a smartphone can also change many behaviours, such as how a person interacts with political polls on a mobile device.
“When you use your phone, the original ‘you’ speaks the most. It affects the choices you make and the attitudes you express,” says Anir Sylla, one of the study’s authors.
Ms. Silla published her work with colleague Camilla Song on Marketing Research Journal.
Researchers have already suspected that smartphones can make users more self-centered to reflect their unique identity. This psychological state is known as self-centeredness and affects many behaviors.
“Individuals who are particularly self-centered tend to be more independent in terms of expressed attitudes. They conform to a lesser extent with standards,” Ms. Sella said. “When making choices, they tend to act on personal beliefs, preferences, tastes, or They are deeply rooted, and are less affected by the social context. »
In five experiments with college students and online participants, Ms. Sella and Song wanted to test whether smartphones promoted enough self-focus to change behaviours.
They found that users of these devices were more likely to prefer unique items, rather than common ones, or to choose items that they were told were related to their personality, compared to when they used a larger computing device (tablet, desktop, laptop).
However, these effects disappear when participants borrow a device, even if it is of the same brand.
“With a borrowed device, you don’t feel like you’re in your little bubble. What we’re seeing is that using a smartphone and enabling self-focus is really unique to any personal device,” Silla said.
In similar, but unpublished work, the researchers also found that consumers are more loyal to the brand and less likely to return items purchased with their phones.
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