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Ovulating women may buy more things, seek more dating options

New research is suggesting some outlandish links.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

AN INTERESTING NEW study has suggested that women who seek more dating options when they are at their most fertile may also buy more items and try new things.

Researchers in the College of Business at University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) say that women, near the time of ovulation, want to choose from a number of suitors. They suggest this may also lead them to seek out a greater variety of products and services.

“Just like a fisherman casting a wide net, ovulating women seek to cast a wide net into the dating pool and expand the number of potential suitors they have to choose from,” says Kristina Durante, UTSA marketing assistant professor and lead investigator of the study.

And, this desire for variety in men at ovulation triggers a variety seeking mindset that carries over into desire for variety in products.

The team wanted to prove – for the first time – that choice behaviour in personal relationships can influence marketplace habits. They focussed their attention on previous findings that ovulation can shift women’s mating psychology.

The studies found that women’s desire for new options in men triggered a variety-seeking mindset, leading them to also desire variety in products. Loyalty to a romantic partner reduced the desire for product variety, suggesting that loyalty in romantic relationships can translate to brand loyalty.

“From candy bars to cosmetics, ovulating women chose many different options – not just the same product or brand again and again,” says Durante.

However, when we had women imagine themselves in a loving relationship with a desirable partner, or when we had married women put on their wedding rings, they no longer desired variety near ovulation.

So, be careful the next time you’re down the shops or watching the TV – there is practical implications for marketers in this study. Durante explains:

For about a week every month, normally cycling women–constituting over a billion consumers -may be especially likely to respond to appeals by competing brands to switch.

However, further research is needed to find out what type of products this could impact. Researchers are unsure whether the social value, cost or rewarding nature of the product influences the effect of fertility on variety seeking.

The study of 553 women aged between 18 and 40, entitled Playing the Field: The Effect of Fertility on Women’s Desire for Variety, will be published in the Journal of Consumer Research in April.

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