ScarcityOpen Access

Scarcity

We value things more when they’re in limited supply

Scarcity is a core economic principle, affecting perceptions of desire & value and motivating us to act now.

Worchel, Lee & Adewole (1975). Effects of supply and demand on ratings of object value. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study

Setup

146 people were asked to rate identical cookies that were either presented in a jar as scarce or in abundance. They were then asked how likely they would be to want to eat a further cookie.

Results

When scarce, the cookies were rated as more desirable and having a higher value. They were also seen as more valuable when going from an abundant state to scarce than when always scarce.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Scarcity comes in 4 flavors: Quantity, Time, Access & Rarity.

Control quantity. To increase perceived value of your product, release it in smaller and diminishing quantities, emphasizing its finite nature.

Takeaway image

Restrict time. When the clock is ticking and we’re overwhelmed, we take mental shortcuts that speed up decision-making. Motivate customers by emphasizing the limited time remaining in which to act.

Takeaway image

Limit access. Restricting access to your products or services will increase desire and perceived value. Do this selectively for certain features and / or customer segments.

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
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Scarcity

Scarcity

We value things more when they’re in limited supply

Scarcity is a core economic principle, affecting perceptions of desire & value and motivating us to act now.

The study

Setup

146 people were asked to rate identical cookies that were either presented in a jar as scarce or in abundance. They were then asked how likely they would be to want to eat a further cookie.

Results

When scarce, the cookies were rated as more desirable and having a higher value. They were also seen as more valuable when going from an abundant state to scarce than when always scarce.

study graph
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We value things more when they’re in limited supply

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We don’t like uncertainty and generally stick to what we know

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Risk Aversion
We don’t like uncertainty and generally stick to what we know
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