Limited Edition? Who Cares?

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.

Zara Limited Edition Jumper
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Get the left one here: https://go.zara/2QmR5Hw or right here: https://go.zara/2QmR5Hw . Imagery property of Zara UK.

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?

Zara Limited Edition Jumper
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Get it here: https://go.zara/2QmR5Hw . Image property of Zara UK.

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.

Zara Limited Edition Jumper
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Images property of Zaful, get yours here: http://bit.ly/2PhlmHN

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 …

Zara Limited Edition Jumper
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Shop the jumper here: https://go.zara/2QmR5Hw , image property of Zara UK.

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.

Zara Limited Edition Jumper
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Get the jumper here: https://go.zara/2QmR5Hw , image is property of Zara UK.

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.

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43 Comments

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  2. Olivia

    The scarcity effect is so powerful when it comes to consumers purchase decisions that companies are known to lie about the availability of products in order to get the buyer to make a decision to buy the product now rather than wait.
    I work at a cupcake shop over breaks and I’ve noticed a trend when it comes to scarcity. Whichever flavor we have the least amount of is the top choice of many customers who come in to purchase the cakes. They assume it must be the best and they want to try it before it sells out. And there’s some truth to that. Limited availability means that a lot of people are wanting to buy that product, therefore it must be good quality.

    There have been many studies that show how scarcity increases sales And I think this is particularly evident with America’s black friday. There are only a limited amount of products at a low price and therefore people are getting up at 3am to get to the store first and buy them.

    Does Adding Inventory Increase Sales? Evidence of a Scarcity Effect in U.S. Automobile Dealerships. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/abs/10.1287/mnsc.2017.3014

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