Can up-tempo music move shoppers to buy more green goods?
New university research finds up-tempo, major mode music can offer a way for green companies to overcome the consumer “attitude-behavior gap” where what consumers say differs from what they actually do.
Researchers from the University of Bath noted that studies have shown that about 30 percent of consumers claim to care about brand ethics but that a mere three percent translate their words into action. A similar number claim to care about green consumption but only five percent purchase green products.
Their research found major mode music was effective in reducing the attitude-behavior gap by 40 percent to 50 percent. The reason was attributed to the type of music being associated with positive emotions (i.e., happiness, joy) while minor mode music is linked with negative emotions (i.e., sadness, anger).
Since fast tempo music similarly tends to generate positive feelings, the research suggests the attitude-behavior gap is smallest when major mode music is played at a quick tempo.
Music has been found to be processed by the same parts of the brain responsible for emotion and memory, often elevating an emotional response when used in advertising or on selling floors. The reaction, however, can be positive or negative depending on the context and sound.
A study that came out earlier this year from Nanyang Technological University found consumers associated higher-pitched commercials with healthier food products.
At the store level, a university study from 2017 found people buy more in crowded stores if the sound system is playing a fast-paced song rather than a ballad. The study’s advice: “Consider Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga if aisles are packed.”
Many grocers, however, broadcast light music under a theory that minor and downtempo music tends to support more thoughtful browsing.
“In retail, it’s common knowledge that if people walk slower, they see more, which is more likely to trigger them to buy more,” Dr. Megan Phillips, senior lecturer of retailing at Auckland University of Technology’s department of marketing, recently told New Zealand’s Stuff. “They might see something they forgot, or something might be tempting (i.e., a deal too good to turn down).”
- Music is key to converting consumers’ good intentions to actual purchases in ethical and sustainable markets – Science Daily
- Study: Consumers associate higher-pitched commercials with healthier food products – Phys.org
- Lively tunes boost sales in crowded stores – Science Daily
- The tricks supermarkets use to get us to spend more money – and how to defeat them – Stuff
- The Science Behind Grocery Store Music – YouthTime Magazine
- Science of sound: How music makes advertising more memorable – Econsultancy
- What’s the ideal soundtrack for grocery shopping? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does it make sense that up-tempo, major mode music in marketing can help consumers follow through on their intentions to purchase more ethical and sustainable products? What’s your overall theory on the influence of music in driving purchases in marketing or on selling floors?