Collection BiasOpen Access

Collection Bias

We have an emotional need to amass sets of related items

1 in 3 Americans collect, doing so to define their identity, keep fantasies alive, develop a sense of mastery or give their lives meaning (O’ Brian, 1981).

Belk, R. (1995). Collecting as luxury consumption: Effects on individuals and households. Journal of Economic Psychology.

The study

Setup

Results

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Almost anything can be collected, but to promote collectibility of your products, you should release them in identifiable sets (Carey, 2008). Use names, symbols or colors to connect products. Even subtle additions like a numbering system can turn a mere range of products into a collection.

Takeaway image

Self-identity is a primary motive for collecting (Smith et al., 2008), so creating distinction through scarcity (“I have this but you don’t”) is key to increasing consumer status.  Hold back or stop supply of certain items to create a secondary market. 

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Create a community to foster social value of your collection. This provides social acceptance - one of the core reasons people collect (McIntosh and Schmeichel, 2004). Social also heightens resell value.

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Release collectibles in waves over time (Bianchi, 1998). This will increase the overall enjoyment of the experience and increase the desire to collect. Never saturate the market with too many sets, variations within sets or too many limited editions (Hood, 2006). Overproduction will kill the magic and therefore consumers’ ongoing desire to collect. Don't make the pursuit too easy to achieve (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990), but also not so large a task as to be out of the reach of your audience (McIntosh and Schmeichel, 2004).

Takeaway image
Collection Bias

Collection Bias

We have an emotional need to amass sets of related items

1 in 3 Americans collect, doing so to define their identity, keep fantasies alive, develop a sense of mastery or give their lives meaning (O’ Brian, 1981).

The study

Setup

Results

study graph
np_read_2490885_000000

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Scarcity

We value things more when they’re in limited supply

Social Proof

Social Proof

We copy the behaviors of others, especially in unfamiliar situations

Prospect Theory

Prospect Theory

A loss hurts more than an equal gain feels good

Reciprocity

Reciprocity

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Framing

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We make very different decisions based on how a fact is presented

Loss Aversion

Loss Aversion

We feel more negative when losing something than positive when we gain it

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We tend to accept the option pre-chosen for us

Anchoring

Anchoring

What we see first affects our judgement of everything thereafter

Fast & Slow Thinking

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We make knee-jerk spontaneous decisions that can cause regretful damage

Dynamic Norms

Dynamic Norms

We’re more likely to change if we can see a new behavior developing

Salience

Salience

Our choices are determined by the information we're shown

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