Is Playing Hard To Get Beneficial In The Long Term? The Effect Of Scarcity On Consumer Evaluation Of New Products Over Time?

Maria Sääksjärvi, Pinar Cankurtaran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Scarcity is a frequently used marketing tactic to encourage product acquisition. A product that is scarce seems more appealing to buyers than a product that is non-scarce, positively influencing product sales by attracting buyers to the store, and by encouraging hoarding behaviour. To date, scarcity has been examined in relation to product acquisition: people acquire scarce products because they find them desirable. What is lesser known, however, is the ability of scarce products to retain their desirability over time; in other words, do scarce products remain attractive after they have been acquired? Or is the attractiveness in the acquisition itself, in the ability of getting something that is hard to get? Focusing specifically on scarcity caused by limited supply, we utilize the theory of hedonic adaptation for making predictions about the consequences of product scarcity over time. In line with the theory of hedonic adaptation, we predict that the attractiveness of product scarcity is short-lived; over time, a scarce product is predicted to be just as attractive as a non-scare product. We further examine boundary conditions for the non-attractiveness of scarce products over time. Results of our experimental study show that the effect only holds true for consumers who have a low need to maintain social face; for consumers who are high in the need to maintain social face, the scarce product retains its attractiveness over time. Importantly, we also show that the results pertaining to social face cannot be explained by need for uniqueness, which is frequently thought to underlie the appeal of scarce products.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 23rd Innovation and product development management conference
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event23rd Innovation and Product Development Management Conference - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Jun 201614 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameIPDMC papers
ISSN (Electronic)1998-7374


Conference23rd Innovation and Product Development Management Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Is Playing Hard To Get Beneficial In The Long Term? The Effect Of Scarcity On Consumer Evaluation Of New Products Over Time?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this