Convenience isn't everything - Deepstash
The IKEA effect: how we value the fruits of our labour over instant gratification

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

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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.

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.

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.

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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