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Research: The Last Name Effect: How Last Name Influences Acquisition Timing « Research « Industry Resources « Downloads

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Version2011
Date postedNovember 30, -0001
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In an article published in the August edition of the Journal of Consumer Research, Carlson and co-author Jacqueline Conrad (Belmont University) studied how quickly adults responded to opportunities to acquire items of value to them. They found that the later in the alphabet peopleås childhood surnames appeared, the faster those consumers responded to purchase opportunities. Children with last names that fall late in the alphabet are often at the end of lines or at the back of class. The “last name effectà occurred only with childhood surnames, not names that had changed due to marriage. “The idea holds that children develop time-dependent responses based on the treatment they receive,à Carlson and Conrad explain. “In an effort to account for these inequities, children late in the alphabet will move quickly when last name isnåt a factor; they will âbuy early.å Likewise, those with last names early in the alphabet will be so accustomed to being first that that individual opportunities to make a purchase wonåt matter very much; they will âbuy late.åà According to Carlson, the “last name effectà is important to retailers and salespeople as a predictor of consumer behavior. Additionally, it helps individual consumers understand their purchasing decisions.

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