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Why ‘More’ Isn’t Necessarily ‘Better’ This Holiday Season

By Bailey Mosier
 
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Photo: Getty Images

I hope none of you are like me. If you’re smart and you plan ahead, you’ve already gotten your Christmas shopping complete for 2011. Me? I haven’t even started.

According to comScore -- an Internet marketing research company providing marketing data and services to many of the Internet's largest businesses -- there may be hope for the rest of you, yet.

Measurements from comScore show that “e-commerce spending is up 15 percent for the first 39 days of the 2011 holiday season,” according to an article published on the HuffingtonPost.

If the 15 percent hike is any indication that people have completed more Christmas shopping, then this next bit of research won’t be applicable to you this holiday season, but still something to keep in mind for future gift-giving opportunities.

Marketing and psychology researchers at the University of Michigan found that “bundling together an expensive ‘big’ gift and a smaller ‘stocking stuffer’ reduces the perceived value of the overall package for the recipient,” according to a EurekAlert release on the study.

In what researchers have coined as the “Presenter’s Paradox,” gift givers and gift recipients have different perspectives. Gift givers follow a "more-is-better" logic, whereas recipients average the overall gift package and feel the entity is diluted if a large gift is coupled with a smaller gift.

Researchers say a simple litmus test for gift givers is to put yourself in the recipients’ shoes and consider what the average value of multiple gifts would be.

The study’s authors found the results didn’t apply solely to giving gifts. They found this Presenter’s Paradox was “strongly evident in seven studies across many product domains, from bundles of music to hotel advertisements, scholarships, and even ‘negative’ items such as penalty structures,” according to the EurekAlert.

In one study, for example, participants were asked to design a penalty for littering. One group came up with a $750 fine plus two hours of community service; the other group simply doled out the $750 fine.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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