Shoppers opt for the middle shelf

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd September 2011

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.