Every year Starbucks sees a boom in footfall when the autumn/winter seasonal menu comes out.
Instagram…Facebook…Snapchat...all full of pictures of red cups filled with pumpkin spiced lattes and peppermint mochas.
But why is it that people rush to get these limited-edition drinks when in reality they probably would just prefer their usual cappuccino?
This is all based upon the principle of scarcity. Cialdini (2007), stated that something is more attractive when its’ availability is limited either by time or quantity. We follow the heuristic that automatically makes us see rare items as good. As these products aren’t available all year, the limited time frame causes them to seem even more desirable than they are.
We are more motivated by the thought of losing items compared to gaining items of equal worth (Tversky and Kahneman, 1981), so missing out just doesn’t become an option! Being part of the ingroup who gain access to these items makes you feel like you’ve ‘won’, and obviously that means an Instagram picture is needed!
Cialdini, R. B. (2007). Influence: The psychology of persuasion. New York: Collins.
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science, 211, 453-458.