Touchscreens Prompt Impulsive Buying of Unhealthy Food

At the third China Business Knowledge @ CUHK Luncheon Talk, Prof. Hao Shen shared that consumers are more likely to select unhealthy food through touchscreen. The research was picked up by various local newspapers and media around the world.

With technology and our daily lives intertwining, some restaurants bring convenience to their customers by offering mobile ordering app, touchscreens menus and electronic payment options. However, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School research shows that consumers are more likely to select unhealthy food through touchscreen, as the action of touching a screen is similar to that of grabbing an object.

The research was conducted by associate professors Hao Shen and Meng Zhang, both from CUHK Business School’s Department of Marketing, with their collaborator Prof. Aradhna Krishna from the University of Michigan. 85 students from universities in Hong Kong participated in the study. In one of the experiments, students were asked to choose among cheese cake and salad with tablets or desktop computers. Cheese cake is affectively superior (i.e. more delicious and attractive) while salad is cognitively superior (i.e. healthier). The results reflected that touch screen can influence the online shopping behavior of consumers – tablet users were more likely to pick cheese cake than desktop computer users. Other results also showed that the tablet group was more inclined to base their choice on affection or impulsivity.

Prof. Shen suggested parents to avoid the overuse of touchscreen gadgets in children. During decision making, children should express themselves through writing or communicating with their parents, thereby encouraging them to think and to gain self-control in making rational choices.

HK01 (PDF) and Sky Post (PDF) picked up the research titled “Computer Interfaces and the Direct-Touch Effect: Can iPads Increase the Choice of Hedonic Food?” shared by Prof. Shen at the third China Business Knowledge @ CUHK Luncheon Talk on 30 November, 2017. The research was also cited in an Apple Daily (PDF) story published on the same day featuring a survey on the online shopping habits of consumers from 60 countries/markets. For other coverage on the luncheon, please read the media stories by InfocastHeadline Daily and Quamnet.

Prof. Shen’s research paper was first featured on the school’s China Business Knowledge (CBK) website in a feature article titled “Can Touch Screens Make You Choose Unhealthy Food?“. The Marketing and Communications Office at CUHK Business School disseminated the article’s English, Chinese and Korean version this fall to more than 16,041 distribution points in Hong Kong, China, Korea and over 20 countries in Asia Pacific. It has been widely picked up by the media around the world, with 164 clippings generated so far. The campaign on the research has also successfully drawn attention from the media such as MarketWatch (PDF), Yahoo!Sina (PDF) and more.

Source: Apple Daily/HK01/Sky Post
Date published: 30 November, 2017/1 December, 2017

Sky Post, 1 December 2017