How Haptics Affect Fast-Moving Consumer Products
By: Victoria Davis
The Peer reviewed journal article that I chose to do my blog over was entitled “To Touch or Not to Touch; That Is The Question. Should Consumers Always Be Encouraged to Touch Products, And Does It Always Alter Product Perception?” authored by Nigel Marlow and Cathrine V. Jansson-Boyd of the United Kingdom. In this pose I will give a brief summary of the article, compare and contrast the findings with what I have been learning thus far in class, give my reactions of the research findings, and post a relevant picture about the research topic. Now I will summarize the research article.
In order for a successful research experiment to take place, Marlow and Jansson-Boyd need to fulfill critical components. These components are a hypothesis, method, procedure, and lastly, results. The hypothesis for this experiment over touch and product attractiveness was, “The overall appeal of fast-moving consumer goods is affected by the tactile information made available by the texture of the packaging” (Jansson-Boyd, Marlow, 2010, p. 3). The method for the experiment was to pick 84 random undergrad students in the U.K. to evaluate two different products, Product 1 being a bar of Dove soap and Product 2 being a box of Sainsbury’s Chocolate Biscuits. Each product was evaluated by 42 students of a mean age of 25.2. Every product was assessed three times by a visual evaluation, blind haptic evaluation, and both visual and haptic. With each type of evaluation came a different type of backing material on the product. A was the normal material for the product, B was a thick-ribbed cotton fabric,, and C was thin plastic. The participants then used a 7-point Likert scale to rate the attractiveness for each product they examined. For both products 1 and 2, the hypothesis turned out to be rejected. Visual elements influenced the products’ attractiveness more than touching the product influenced it. However, according to Marlow and Jansson-Boyd (2011), haptics can contribute to some of the ways products are evaluated. The researchers believe that “this is most likely a reflection of the fact that consumers do not normally spend a lot of time handling fast-moving consumer goods and, consequently, it is the visual input that contributes more to the influences on subsequent consumer behavior” (Jansson-Boyd, Marlow, 2011, p. 8). The researchers feel that more exploration on this topic needs to take place.
So far in our class we have learned that haptics (touch) is an essential part of development to a person, sometimes even being more important than food and water. An example of this can be seen by the mortality rate of orphans in the 19th and 20th centuries. According to Burgoon (2010), “many of them [orphans] died from problems that were spurred by a lack of loving touch” (Burgoon, 2010, p. 147). This clearly shows that touch is highly important to one’s life. However, the research conducted by Marlow and Jansson-Boyd concluded otherwise, by testing bar soap and cookies. The result from this experiment was that when a person evaluates a fast-moving consumer product, visual components are more important for attractiveness than touch is. I found this rather interesting. The reason being is that I personally like to touch things that I’m going to buy if at all possible. I understand that the products chosen to experiment on were specifically chosen because they tend to only be touched briefly. However, I still thought that touching would be important to the consumer just like touch is important to infants. An example of this is buying a loaf of bread. If I had the opportunity, I would touch every loaf of bread I planned on buying to make sure it was soft and not stale. I personally feel that touching products is vital to make sure you’re getting exactly what you pay for, even if it is a fast-moving consumer good. Something else that we have learned in regards to haptics is their functions. One function that can correlate to this study is the instrumental touch function. Burgoon (2010) defines instrumental touch as professional-functional and is one-sided, task-oriented, and has little if any personal meaning. Because participants were touching objects for experimental purposes and obtaining data, the specific function of the touch is for instrumental reasons.
I chose this picture because I believe that tissues are a fast-moving consumer good. This advertisement clearly wants you to feel how soft these tissues are in comparison to the others so you will be more inclined to buy this brand.
Burgoon, J., Guerrero, L., Floyd, K. (2010). Nonverbal Communication. Boston:
Allyn and Bacon.
Marlow, N., Jansson-Boyd, C., (2011). To Touch or Not to Touch; That is The
Question. Should Consumers Always Be Encouraged To Touch Products
and Does It Always Alter Product Perception?. Psychology & Marketing,
Vol. 28. P-256-266. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com.lib-
Teo, S., (2010). Kleenex’s Feel Me. Retrieved from