The IKEA effect: how we value the fruits of our labour over instant gratification - Deepstash

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The “IKEA effect”

The “IKEA effect”

If you make things more laborious, the consumers will value them more.

In the 1950s, a US food company wanted to sell more of its brand of instant cake mixes. They were advised to replace powdered eggs with fresh eggs because the all-instant cake mix makes baking too easy. It undervalues the labor and skill of the cake maker.

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Testing the IKEA effect

Labor alone can be sufficient to induce a greater liking for your own work. A study confirmed the phenomenon. Experiments involved assembling IKEA boxes, folding origami, and building with Lego.

  • The results showed participants valued items they assembled themselves more, demonstrated by their willingness to pay to keep it.
  • However, when participants spent too much time building or deconstructing their creations, or failed to complete the task, their willingness to pay for the item declined.

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Related concepts

Several other important economic behaviors that are connected to the IKEA effect are:

  • The endowment effect: Owning a product increases its perceived value.
  • Effort justification: An individual who makes a sacrifice to achieve a goal attribute greater value to the achievement.
  • Personal preference: The fact of being attached to a particular brand.

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Convenience isn't everything

Food and grocery brands are using the IKEA effect to attract new "value-seeking" customers. The ideal for marketers is having customers do most of the work and feel great about it while perceiving they have gained "greater value for money".

Ready-to-create meal kits are a great example where they use prepackaged raw ingredients that you prepare and cook yourself.

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