Japan Marketing Journal
Online ISSN : 2188-1669
Print ISSN : 0389-7265
Special Issue / Invited Peer-Reviewed Article
The Influence of Visual Heaviness on the Perception of Scarcity
Ikumi HirakiTaku Togawa
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2019 Volume 38 Issue 4 Pages 35-46


Drawing on embodied cognition theory, we examined the effects of a product’s visual heaviness on consumers’ perception of scarcity. In two experiments, the visual heaviness of two products was manipulated in terms of packaging colors (Study 1) and vertical location of the packaging imagery (Study 2). Study 1 demonstrated that dark (vs. light) colored packaging enhanced the visual heaviness of the product, which in turn enhanced the product’s perceived scarcity. Study 2 aimed to identify the boundary condition of this effect, so we focused on the moderating role of the space-to-product ratio (defined as the space dedicated to the presentation of each item on a store shelf). This study showed that placement of a product imagery at the bottom (vs. top) of the package façade enhanced the product’s visual heaviness, which in turn enhanced consumers’ perception of scarcity; however, the enhanced scarcity perception only occurred when more space was devoted to the product’s display (i.e., only in the condition of a high space-to-product ratio). The theoretical and managerial implications of these studies are discussed.

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