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Political slant influences consumer choices too

Posted on Feb 13, 05:07PM | IANS

Washington, Feb 13 : Conservatives and liberals share differences even beyond politics, which influences their consumer choices too, reveals a new research.

Vishal Singh of New York University Stern School of Business and colleagues hypothesized that conservatives would prefer brand names over generic brands or new products.

These findings provide the first evidence for a relationship between political affiliation and buying behaviour, suggesting that ideological differences are reflected in daily behaviour, even at the unconscious level, the journal Psychological Science, reports.

They analyzed weekly sales data from over 1,800 supermarts in the US, between 2001 and 2006, according to a New York statement.

Using data on voting history and religiosity - factors that are independently correlated with conservative values - they were able to determine the level of conservatism in each county.

After accounting for factors such as income and education, the researchers found that the market share for a wide variety of generic products was lower in more conservative counties than in more liberal counties.

Similarly, uptake of newly launched products was systematically lower in more conservative counties.

These data suggest that conservative ideology may be tied to reliance on established national brands.

"These tendencies are consistent with traits typically associated with conservatism, such as aversion to risk, skepticism about new experiences, and a general preference for tradition, convention, and the status quo," Singh and colleagues write.

Study co-authors include Romana Khan of the Graduate School of Business at Ozyegin University and Kanishka Misra of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.