How The Holidays Ate Your Wallet.

Kay Transtrum

Did you just open up your first credit card statement post-Holidays? Does your heart hurt a little bit, and not just a consequence of too much sugar? We get it, you went a little crazy during the holidays and now you have no effing clue what happened. The rose-tinted glasses of Christmas have been lifted and then blacked out with AMEX bills.

Oops.

But why did we go bat- shit crazy during the holidays with our spending habits? Is it because we really love great-Aunt Trudy so much that she absolutely had to be gifted that cashmere sweater that was on sale for only $59 at Nordstrom?

Americans were forecasted to spend on average $929 for gifts in 2016. Did you know that science and intentional design made you want to spend that money? Here’s why:

 

Sales sales sales

It begins on Black Friday, and truthfully even before that (looking at your Black Friday sale starting five days early, Amazon). Seeing those little red stickers, the huge sale sign in the front window and the “take an additional 20% off the entire store” sends a bolt of energy through your spine.

If your family didn’t love their matching onesies that you got for a screaming deal, that’s their own problem.

 

Sensory power

 

The Christmas trees, gorgeous Holiday outfits, seasonally appropriate colors and the perfect lighting. The display windows and product displays have popped open your wallet before you’ve even decided to spend the money. Even how they’re shining the lights make an impact. You might have wandered in because a sale sign caught your eye, but that sale section is in the corner and looks so dreary. The lights tilted on the brand new shipment of men’s coats has you feelin’ all the feels for your boyfriend’s new present. Pay no mind that he already has five coats… GET THE COAT.

 

One for you, two for me

Ever noticed that the entire checkout line is typically filled with more additional small products? And they put the whole store on sale and make sure that you have to at one point pass something that you love? Or the “Buy 2 get 1 free” sales? Yes, you are doubling your holiday budget because they know you also want the lotion.

 

Treat yo’self

retail-branding

“Hello, this is the fun part!” — your brain

Retail companies make sure that their most valuable customer- ahem…you- is not getting left out in the shopping mix. Sure, your loved ones are shopping for you, but who knows you better than you? And don’t forget the most important part… you deserve it!

Branding is all about appealing to the subconscious and getting your brain to make a decision without you even knowing what’s happening. It’s so much more than “this font looks great!” It’s creating a cognitive connection to a product, a company, etc.

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