Scarcity And Desire: The Psychology of Apple’s Marketing Genius

Philip Graves, an expert in consumer behavior and author of CONSUMER.OLOGY examines Apple’s shortage of iPad2s and why the situation works psychologically for the brand.

1. It implicitly confirms the desirability of the item.

2. It creates discussion around each sale: suddenly buying one isn’t just an acquisition, it’s a story about serendipity or determination.

3. Perhaps the biggest win is that, when a customer does come across one in stock, his purchase mindset is completely different. When supply is restricted the loss aversion is switched to fear that NOT buying the product will result in regret: when will you see one again if you don’t grab it now? You don’t have the unconscious concern about finding one elsewhere because securing one at all is a (desired) result.

4. A status product to begin with, now having an iPad (or iPad2) has extra wow-factor.

5. Some people are now prepared to pay $700 or $1000 for an iPad that costs $499. All of a sudden the list price is a bargain.

6. Since Apple owns their own stores, they are driving traffic and potentially making sales of other products as a result of the buzz around iPad.

Previously on AdPulp: Listen To The Consumer’s Unconscious Mind

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.