Zara's success: pleasure psychology of fast (and cheap) fashion

Zara's success: pleasure psychology of fast (and cheap) fashion


For a large number of people from rich countries around the world, shopping at clothing stores has become a very popular hobby, a pleasant and powerfully addictive activity, as is the case with social media. Both in the street and on the Internet, cheap clothing stores have proliferated where you can make fast and affordable purchases to most pockets.


  • 1 Zara and the pleasure of buying cheap
  • 2 The neurological process of purchase
  • 3 Zara and fast fashion consumption
  • 4 The success of Zara (and others)

Zara and the pleasure of buying cheap

Various studies have shown that the brain finds pleasure in the search for cheap things, which we tend to buy only for the simple fact of being well priced, although we do not need them and we were not even looking for them at that time.

This dynamic has significant consequences. Consumers run the risk of getting caught in a hedonistic routine in which the continuous search for new new things leaves them unhappy and dissatisfied. For most, the breaking of this cycle is not so easy, it is not like simply committing to not buying anything. That's why it's no accident that shopping has become such an absorbing and compulsive activity: The reasons are in our neurology, economics, culture and technology.

When we look at a new article, the first thing we look at is the price of that article, weighing it. The medial prefrontal cortex consider the decision to make, since the insula, which processes the pain, reacts with the economic cost. Then the brain decides whether to buy the product or not, launching a hedonic competition between the immediate pleasure of acquisition and the immediate pain of paying. And it is that our mentality is in line with the evidence that we obtain happiness in buying and obtaining new things, with the feeling of wanting something.

While pleasure is activated only from the act of looking, we must bear in mind that we also obtain pleasure in the act of purchase, or more specifically, in get a bargain. The prefrontal cortex medial is the part of the brain that does the cost-benefit analysis. It is sensitive not only to the price, but to how much we can like this product. But that the comparison of the two: how much I like it and what they charge me for it, is what is called "transactional utility," says Tom Meyvis, a marketing professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University and an expert. in consumer psychology. "This looks a lot with clothes," he says. "Part of the joy you get from shopping is not only that you bought something you really like and are going to use, but also that you get a good result."

The neurological process of purchase

Shopping is a complex process, neurologically speaking. In 2007, a team of researchers from Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon and studied the brains of several test subjects using Functional Magnetic Resonance while taking clothing purchase decisions. The researchers found that when one of the study subjects was presented with a desirable object for sale, the pleasure center, or nucleus acumbens in his brain lit up. In addition, the more the person wanted that garment, the more activity was detected in the Functional Magnetic Resonance.

If just by seeing desirable elements and thinking about getting a bargain waves of joy are generated thinking about your purchase, it is clear that you could not design a culture of consumption more pleasant than modern, that of cheap consumption and rapid transition.

From the left: activation in the nucleus acumbens (pleasure), the medial prefrontal cortex (cost-benefit analysis), and the insula (pain and disgust).

Zara and fast fashion consumption

As we see, fast fashion perfectly feeds this neurological process. First of all, clothes are very cheap, more and more, which makes it easy to buy. Second, the new store marketing deliveries They are very effective, which means that customers always have something new to see and something to be desired. Famous stores like Zara, which "design" and make two new shipments of clothing every week, are famous for knocking out high-end designers, which allows the client to obtain something similar to the original at a small fraction of the cost, with a price significantly lower than the rest of the market, so its products are perceived as a bargain.

The success of Zara (and others)

So it is not surprising that fast fashion brands such as Zara or H&M report sales records year after year.

Tempting price tags on fashionable clothes and accessories for affordable impulse purchases are too "good" to resist.

Zara is successful because it is the best in a market segment called quickly. Look at the name of this market segment. QUICK.

Even so, the only way to turn the sale of cheap clothes into a truly lucrative business is to sell a lot. That is exactly what fast fashion has been doing, and generating great profits in the process. The founder of Zara Amancio Ortega it is recognized by Forbes magazine as the "richest retailer in the world." For its part, the Sweden's richest person is Stefan Persson, president of H&M. And their companies continue to grow ...