It’s currently 11:19 am, I’ve been awake for 3 hours and roughly 99.99% of my thoughts (okay maybe not quite) have been about this jumper. It’s from Zara, £69.99, limited edition and worst of all sold out in my favourite of the two colours (left, obviously) whilst I was considering it.
I can’t help but wonder whether I want it more because it’s so beautiful, or because it’s limited edition? If I can’t stop thinking about it should I just take the plunge? Maybe, but £69.99 is over a week’s rent. Will I kick myself in a week if it isn’t available anymore, because its limited edition so it sold out quickly? But who actually cares if its limited edition?
Consumer research suggests we’re more likely to buy something that’s limited edition vs a comparable item that isn’t. So it seems, I’m not alone in feeling attracted limited edition. By why? Its a cute jumper but a quick Google search brings up plenty of similar ones, including an almost identical Zaful one for about 20% of the price.
If the design isn’t what makes it so special, perhaps its that limited edition signals a small number available? Research into the commodity theory suggests labelling something limited edition makes the consumer feel the product is more special, unique and consequently more valuable to them. Scarcity effect means consumers are aware of the fact volume is limited thus they’re rushed into purchasing whilst they can. The commodity theory combined with the scarcity effect convinces the consumer they need it and they need it now. Kinda how I’m feeling about this jumper …
Items being labelled low stock suggests they’re selling quickly and emphasises the value of the product, according to the commodity theory, by telling the consumer everybody else wants it. The jumper is already sold out in one colour so I feel like I have to buy quickly. And trust me, I’m really close to pressing confirm order.
Knowing others want the same thing validates our want for it, reassuring it as the social norm and also giving us higher sense of self-esteem. Humans have a certain set of needs we need to satisfy to thrive, known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a hierarchy which self-esteem is high on. Furthermore, we’re willing to pay more for items high in the hierarchy of needs. More simply, items we want being low in stock increases our self-esteem. Making it easier for brands like Zara to charge us more for items with ‘limited edition’ in the title.
Seemingly if the question is who cares its limited edition, the answer is me along with millions of other consumers. Also, if you’re wondering whether I ordered the jumper … my bank balance says I don’t need a £69.99 jumper. Or any new jumpers right now, for that matter.