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Why We Pay More to do More Work: the IKEA Effect in Marketing

April 26th, 2022 No comments

How important is it to you to feel like your opinion matters when you buy something? Recently, companies have become popular for their “one-of-a-kind” products that the customer designs themself. People want to buy products that they can take responsibility for, and the IKEA Effect shows that they will pay more for them. The IKEA Effect is a cognitive bias that makes people overestimate the value of items that they themselves have built or added to. Take Build-A-Bear Workshop for example, they market a mildly creepy frog for $22 (already absurd), but the second you cut it open, put a heart in it, and give it clothing that you get to choose yourself, that same frog costs you $45. Yet, people keep paying for it, and you can find a Build-A-Bear-Workshop in every state other than Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii, and North Dakota (according to a blurry map on the Build-A-Bear Website). This same effect has been noted in products bought from IKEA, a popular Swedish store that specializes in furniture that the buyer must, in part, build themself. This study showed that people who bought and assembled IKEA products were willing to pay more for their own furniture than other similar products. Although not seemingly very important, the IKEA Effect can make you question why you’re willing to pay so much for certain products.

Rupert the Build-A-Bear frog pictured in cottagecore attire featured on a Pinterest board dedicated to “cottagecore Build-A-Bear aesthetic”.
Eve. “Rupert the Frog.” Pinterest,
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