Shoppers opt for the middle shelf
New research from the University of Chester, in the UK, has found that the location of a product on supermarket shelves influences shoppers’ preference for that product.
The research paper, titled ‘Preferring the One in the Middle: Further Evidence for the Centre-stage Effect’, has just been published in the Applied Cognitive Psychology journal. The paper suggests that supermarket shoppers have a natural inclination to choose products located in the middle of a row.
Researchers team, led by Dr Paul Rodway, showed 100 people 17 horizontal rows of pictures. When asked which pictures they preferred, a “significant trend” of pictures in the centre being preferred rather than at either end became evident.
Dr Rodway said, “This applied when a line of pictures was arranged horizontally or vertically and participants selected from five pairs of identical socks arranged vertically.
“The results support the centre-stage explanation of location-based preference rather than hemispheric difference or body-specific accounts.
“People may not be aware of this preference, but it may influence choice in a wide range of day-to-day settings, such as the products people buy in shops or via online shopping, the responses they provide in surveys, and potentially the people they select for a range of tasks or functions,” Dr Rodway said.